Explore the highlights of Costa Rica, from laid-back seaside towns to wonderful wildlife hidden high in the cloud forests. Read more below about our favourite places and things to discover during a trip to this diverse Central-American country. When you're ready to plan your own adventure, you can choose from our suggested itineraries and combine with our responsible experiences for a memorable holiday with a positive impact to boot.

Whether you want to be surrounded by hummingbirds, search for the resplendent Quetzal or experience scarlet Macaw fly over head, Costa Rica gives you the chance to experience it all. Access to the countries many reserves and National Parks, combined with a sustainable infrastructure and lack of mass urbanization makes Costa Rica almost unbeatable for birdwatching. Rainforests or cloud forests, mountain or marine environments, dry season or green season, our trained naturalist guides will help you to find the species you wish to see and those you may not be aware of. We can create an entire holiday based around your bird watching interests, or you can simply add a few guided days into your itinerary, just enough to keep you enthralled until your next visit!

Whilst you can see birds in many of the best known National Parks and Reserves in Costa Rica, we like to suggest some of the lesser known areas that enable you to have a more intimate experience. For example, Montverde Cloud Forest is one of the best known and most visited reserves in the country, however its cousin to the south, The Savegre Cloud Forest in San Gerado de Dota, offers an unparalleled birding experience and is much less visited. Whilst it is one of the best places in Costa Rica to see the Resplendent Quetzal there is also over 170 other species of bird to find!

We also know that some of the best birding can be experienced in many of the locally run reserves that we offer. As we are one of the lucky few who get to work with these reserves and communities, these will also offer you an amazing window into the life of rural ticos! A good example of this is El Copal. El Copal is a rural lodge and reserve owned and run by a lovely local family. The reserve itself is home to over 380 species of birds, which combined with very few tourists (if any) candle lit dinners and stunning balcony views, makes for a quite exceptional birding experience.

It’s no secret that Costa Rica has some of the most stunning natural beaches in Latin America and with two coastlines with different seasons, you can visit all year round.Guanacaste is the best known beach resort area with lots of great hotels and activities, while the southern Nicoya peninsula is closer to the classic image of Costa Rican beaches - secluded, wild and romantic, where the forests meet the soft sand and you can escape from the world and truly relax.

If you love laid-back culture, coral reefs and beautiful stretches of sand, then the southern Caribbean coast is a must. Cahuita and Puerto Viejo boast a typically Caribbean vibe but with the addition of tree-covered coastline, broken only by a string of great beaches. You can explore the coral reefs in the morning, check out wild sloths after lunch and be back on the beach for a beer in the afternoon, what more could you ask?

There are even beaches that sit right inside national parks and all their wonderful wildlife experiences, like the Osa peninsula and Manuel Antonio, where you can experience Costa Rica's incredible biodiversity from the comfort of your beach towel!

Abundant wildlife and stunning beaches may be great reasons for choosing Costa Rica, but we promise that after one of our holidays you'll have lots more reasons to return. One of the biggest highlights of our customers' holidays is the rare opportunity to stay over in community-run wildlife reserves that offer a unique mix of nature and culture.

They all have their own wonderful lodges if you choose to stay overnight, but even if you visit for just a day you will still get a chance to chat with people from the community, learn about their history and most importantly eat their delicious food.

From trekking through pristine forest to the hidden paradise of Cerro Escondido Lodge, to getting an adrenaline rush as you cross hanging bridges 40ft above the river at Los Campesinos, this is your chance to experience the day to day life and share the customs and culture of Costa Rica’s rural communities.

You can find more information on the Partner tab, but here's a quick rundown of some of our favourites. We can also combine any of the community reserves listed below with Costa Rica’s other better known gems such as Montverde Cloud Forest, Arenal Volcano, Manuel Antonio, Tortuguero and almost any beach you could choose!

Monteverde cloud forest is one of Costa Rica's best-known and best-loved destinations. It is a mystical place, resting on the edge of the Tilaran Mountains and home to a huge variety of wildlife. Due to its high altitude – some 1440m above sea level - the Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve captures water from the ever-present mists that shroud the forest. The release of this captured water helps to create a unique habitat for vast array of birdlife and more than 100 species of mammals. You are certainly likely to see monkeys and possibly even the splendid quetzal bird between January and May, although sightings of the large cats and tapirs are very rare.

Within the reserve is a well-marked network of walking trails for short or long treks through the forest. On your Monteverde tour, we can also arrange guided walks through the forest to show you the native flora and fauna. In the nearby town of Santa Elena, where most of the accommodation is located, there are also canopy walkways (a series of suspension bridges set up above the rainforest canopy) that are perfect for bird-watching, as well as orchid gardens and an excellent butterfly farm.

Lying in the northern highlands of Costa Rica, the spectacular Arenal volcano is only a few hours' drive from San José and a short boat ride across Lake Arenal from the Monteverde cloudforest. Many people think of Arenal as just a volcano, however the National Park offers a variety of beautiful trails through the rainforest and the chance to up close to the local flora and fauna. The park is also a great place for thrill-seekers with a famous canopy walkway, zip line and some truly beautiful white water rafting.

Perhaps one of the most recognisable volcanoes in the world with its perfectly conical shape, Arenal was dormant until 1968 when it erupted in massive lava flows. It has remained active ever since although the degree of activity varies from week to week. The volcano also provides the heat for the area's other major attraction, hot springs with mineral pools and waterfalls for you to soak in after a day spent exploring.

Whilst Tortugero is the explorers' paradise on the Caribbean coast, the Osa Peninsula is the place to go on the Pacific side. Located at the south end of the coast, the peninsula includes the primary rainforest area of Corcovado National Park, which is home to the greatest variety of plants and animals of any national park in Costa Rica - and that is saying something! In true Costa Rican style you will find a range of lodges for you to stay at, from guest houses to luxury jungle hideaways, all developed with nature and sustainability in mind.

This area is one of the most impressive parts of the country for its vast areas of wilderness and untouched forests. Although time spent on the peninsula can reward visitors with glimpses of sloths, monkeys or even tapirs, it's also a great location to get closer to some of the communities that live there and the unique experiences they offer. The waters of the coast are awash with small islands, offering great chances to see tropical fish, dolphins and manta rays. If you have even one adventurous bone in your body, then Osa is definitely worth a visit.

Manuel Antonio National Park epitomises the popular view of Central America’s remote Pacific coast. Lush green forest creeping up to the beautiful white sands and warm waters of the Pacific Ocean. For this reason Manuel Antonio is one of Costa Rica’s most popular and scenic national parks, offering a well-marked trail system and prolific wildlife such as toucans and several species of monkeys. What makes it that extra bit special is that whilst it is easily reachable by road from San Jose, thanks to its National Park status it remains an unspoilt paradise. However, because of its beauty and accessibility Manuel Antonio National Park is a very popular weekend destination, so we advise that you try and fit it in during the week.

Lying on Costa Rica’s stunningly beautiful Caribbean coast and facing the Atlantic Ocean, the Cahuita National Park is one of the most amazing national parks in the country. Created in 1970 to protect Costa Rica’s biggest coral reef, the park is located in Limon province, 42km south of Puerto Limon.

While it encompasses a land area of just 1,067 hectares, the national park protects over 22,400 hectares of ocean and marine life and is one of the most picturesque regions in the entire country. The main attraction of the park is its underwater world, which is home to a fantastic array of marine life and the largest coral reef in Costa Rica. Tourists from all over the world flock here to sample the fantastic snorkeling and scuba diving opportunities, as well as the park’s white sand, palm tree-lined beaches and crystal clear blue waters. The park also boasts a unique co-management system with the local community where in place of entrance fees, the community collects donations at the entrance in the town.

Tortuguero National Park is one of the most important nesting sites in the world for the green sea turtle, which finds its way onto the brown sand beaches every year. It is a remote and stunning part of Costa Rica and whist there are no luxury accommodation options, it is definitely a must-see for serious nature lovers.

The park consists of deep forest criss-crossed by canals and lagoons and the only form of transport is boat or plane. One of the reasons that there is no luxury accommodation is that the National Park has managed to keep infrastructure to a minimum, helping you to immerse yourself in one of the most remote destinations in the Americas. All of the lodges in the park have their own boats, which is the best way to see the alligators, iguanas, howler monkeys, boa constrictors and the myriad bird life, quietly exploring the waterways and canals that run inland from the coast.

From July to October, Tortugero is one of the best places in the world to see the giant green turtles coming ashore at night to lay their eggs. The hatchlings emerge from the nest by November at the latest. Leatherback turtles can also be seen here from March to June.