Four Ecosystems of Costa Rica

Costa Rica is the perfect destination for wildlife fanatics. The country boasts a variety of ecosystems, each supporting wildly different species of flora and fauna.

Through this itinerary you will discover the very best of Costa Rica, presented through four of the most unique and diverse ecosystems the country has to offer. From the volcanic mountain ranges and lush rain forests, to the sweeping rivers, mangroves and ocean playgrounds, this 12 day tour is full rich experiences. And with luxury accommodation and ‘perennial springtime’, it is also the perfect place to relax and recuperate.

Itinerary Highlights

– Helicopter flight over Costa Rica’s volcanic mountain range

– Coffee Experience

– Sugar Cane Experience

– Rain Forest Hike

– Untamed River Rafting

– Bioluminiscence Phenomenom

– Ocean Odyssey

– Turtle Conservation

– Chasing Waterfalls

– Culture Tour

– Encounters of the Wild: American Crocodile

– Surfing, Kayaking and exploring

Ecosystem 1

Land of Fire

With some stunning views of Costa Rica’s rural countryside, Turrialba is a charming little town in the lush and beautiful Central Valley in Cartago province.

Cartago, is a small and peaceful province bordering the provinces of San José and Limón. It is a visually stunning province with a cool climate and eight cantons teeming with vast sugar cane fields, extensive coffee plantations and rich farm lands. Cartago was formerly the capital city of Costa Rica until 1823, when the capital was changed to San José, making it the wealthiest province in colonial tradition.

Tierra del Volcán is an architectonical and cultural gem, which offers guests a natural luxurious rural style experience. All of the structures on the property have been built using ancient hard woods and brick. There are surprises around every corner, including an on-property reconstructed church from the 1890s, a stone maze and beautiful gardens. This Hacienda has been with the same Costa Rican family for several generations and most of the furniture is a collection of artistic antique Costa Rican pieces, making the property an experience by itself.

Day 1

Arrival Day

Arrive at Juan Santamaría International Airport (SJO) and transfer to your accommodation. Dine at an À la carte colonial-style restaurant. During service, we will detail the itinerary brief.

Day 2

Helicopter flight over Costa Rica’s volcanic mountain range

Guests will board a private helicopter for a scenic flight over Costa Rica’s volcanic mountain range hovering over waterfalls, indigenous lands and landing in the Turrialba Region of Costa Rica. Taking advantage of the flight, we will stop on Costa Rica’s most famous archaeological site.

Coffee Experience
Discover one of the oldest ways of processing coffee at the Hacienda – using local coffee in a huge stone grinder and applying the sun drying process. This plantation recreates the agricultural techniques of the early 1900s to show visitors how coffee was grown, harvested, and processed by Costa Rica’s forefathers.

Sugar Cane Experience
The sweetest tradition in Costa Rica. Located at the Hacienda, witness the oldest and most traditional way to produce sugar cane. Some years ago, the traditional way of getting the juice from the sugarcane was by using an Ox walking in circles and moving two big pieces of wood to squeeze the sugarcane. Then the juice was heated up to a boil for about an hour until the juice turned into a harder and stickier texture and placed into a mold, ready to be sold!

Day 3

Rain Forest Hike 

Visit the La Marta Wildlife Refuge – 1,500 hectares of conservation land including primary and secondary forests full of century old trees that tell their own stories, flowing rivers, many lookouts and a plethora of wildlife. Go for a beautiful hike with your expert naturalist guide and learn how to interpret the lush forest. Transfer on custom-designed adventure vehicles to Natural Reserve.

Night Herping
There is something magical about searching for nocturnal animals in their native environment. We will learn strategies that will serve to minimize the impact of searching for herps in the wild.

On the southern Pacific coast of Costa Rica, the Osa Peninsula remains one of the country's most remote destinations

Ecosystem 2

Wildlife Hotspot

The pristine rainforests and the rugged natural beauty of the Osa Peninsula make this region among the most beautiful areas in Costa Rica. Declared ‘one of the most biologically intense places on earth’ by the National Geographic Magazine, the Osa Peninsula has become the premier eco-tourism destination in the country.

The Peninsula is estimated to house 2.5% of the biodiversity of the entire world – while covering less than a thousandth of a percent of its total surface area – genuinely earning its title. Surrounded by some of the most unspoiled and diverse rainforests in the world at the Osa Peninsula, this ecolodge is located on the calm waters of the Golfo Dulce, the only tropical fjord in the Americas. Unique in its native beauty, seclusion and natural treasures where everything is pitch perfect.

Getting here is an adventure by itself. Being accessible only by boat, we will take you in the magnificent coastline with tropical vegetation. You may even be welcomed by the occasional school of dolphins! This destination offers an unparalleled experience for those eager to be immersed in nature and away from it all.

Day 4

Untamed River Rafting 

Raft down the thrilling rapids of white water on the pristine Pacuare River. Maneuver through challenging riverbeds. Experience adrenaline rushes as we traverse through in tight canyons. Enjoy amazing wilderness you won’t see any other way!

Private SUV ground transportation from river take out point to local airport.

Private fixed-wing air transportation from local airport to Puerto Jiménez strip-line in the South Pacific Slope.

Private transportation from the strip-line to Cativo Lodge.

Day 4

Bioluminiscence Phenomenom 

Discover pure adrenaline, with half your body floating in the warm ocean waters look up to see the shower of shooting stars above. These micro-organisms which populate the waters glow when activated by motion, like fireflies, only underwater. Imagine swimming amongst millions of fireflies! When you move your hand through the water they emit a phosphorescent glow.

At Cativo Lodge.

Playa Cativo Eco Lodge: Experience Boutique Eco-Luxury in Costa Rica

Day 5

Ocean Odyssey 

After a peaceful night sleep and a refreshing local breakfast it is time to go explore the ocean! Swap out land for sea and board a private boat to explore the conservation area waters of the Golfo Dulce and the magic of the ocean! You will spot spinner dolphins, bottle nose dolphin and luckily, during this time a year, you might find humpback whales.

Lunch at secluded Beach
During the exploration we will take the family to a secluded beach where they will enjoy an outdoor lunch.

Afternoon at leisure
Enjoy the pool, gardens and beach at the lodge.

At Cativo Lodge.

Day 6

Warriors of Nature – Turtle Conservancy 

Costa Rica is a sea turtle paradise – several beaches on both coasts are nesting grounds for a total of 6 different species. Join us in monitoring and conserving the Osa Peninsula’s three sea turtles species – Olive Ridley, Green, Leatherback and Hawksbill – so that they may endure for many more generations to come.

Re-Wilding – Reforestation Plots
Over 40,000 native trees have been planted here to recreate a robust forest. Get your hands dirty in this wildlife-friendly farm planting and harvesting food and planting endangered native trees and add it to the returning forest. Let’s be part of the solution! 

Lunch box at Nature Reserve. 

At Cativo Lodge.

Ecosystem 3

Hacienda Life

Located in the northern part of Costa Rica known as Bijagua, this rural area is home to Tenorio Volcano National Park, which forms part of a much larger conservation land, the Guanacaste Conservation Area. The real jewel here is the volcano, from which it receives it’s name. Tenorio Volcano consists of four volcanic peaks and two craters. One of the craters is sometimes referred to as the Montezuma Volcano, and it is home to untouched rain forests.

Waterfalls, turquoise waters and hot springs are among the possible discoveries on this volcanic mountain range. Its protection status generates wildlife corridors between the rain and the cloud forest, becoming a sanctuary for wildlife and animals like the elusive puma or the tapir. Panoramic views of the valley and the volcanic mountain range are abundant.

This Costa Rican family run cattle ranch is 100% off the grid, located in the mountains between Miravalles and Tenorio Volcano, and it’s extensive National Park. The 2,000 hectare Hacienda is dedicated to raising and breeding Brangus and Brahaman cattle, with more than 1,300 heads. Visitors can join the ‘sabaneros’, our cowboys, while they herd and work the cattle.

Other of the Hacienda’s most important activity is to protect 700 hectares of primary and secondary forest, where animals such as pumas, jaguars, sloths, monkeys, toucans, and many more species live.

Day 7

The Ultimate Mission – Chasing Waterfalls

Guests will board a private Cessna Caravan flight for a scenic flight over Costa Rica’s volcanic mountain range to Upala Airstrip, followed by a 30-minute ground transfer on custom-designed adventure vehicles to Hacienda Life.

Chasing Waterfalls
Head out in search of a secret waterfall. Spend time cooling off in the river pools and the light spray from the stunning waterfalls.

Afternoon at leisure
Relax and enjoy the amenities of the property.

At Hacienda Life.


Day 8

Captivating Culture

Be a guest under the roof of a Guanacaste family and engage in Costa Rica’s colorful and tasteful folklore while we tour the local community and participate in many traditions with the locals. Guided by the renowned warmth and kindness of the Ticos, we will explore the natural richness of this rural community.

Ecosystem 4

Ocean Playground

The Gulf of Papagayo is less than a 1hour drive from the Liberia International Airport and it is among the best and most easily accessible ocean destinations in the country. Located in the province of Guanacaste, one of the least populated parts of Costa Rica, and home to the enchanting and endangered tropical dry forest providing a unique atmosphere. Secluded inlets and coves that line the emerald green waters of the North Pacific Coast make the views here particularly stunning and are home to abundant marine life. Sunny days, excellent surf and stunning beaches best describe this paradise.

This privately owned and built, family estate, is perhaps the most exclusive beach property in the country. The Hacienda, located in a dry and breeze environment, comprises 1,700 acres of woodlands, fields and hills on a peninsula with over four miles of white sand beaches. Guest accommodations, for up to 16, are in four thatched-roof ranchos about 50 yards away from the main beach and just steps away from the main rancho. There are five beaches ringing the peninsula, each offering a slightly different experience. The main beach, right in front of the guest accommodations, is perhaps the best beach for the dramatic Costa Rican sunsets.

Day 9

Encounters of the Wild – American Crocodile

Go on a wildlife quest in search of the American Crocodile and the amazing Habiru on an off-road tour of the wetlands and the Tempisque River. The Tempisque River passes through the Palo Verde National Park and is an important habitat for various species of crocodiles, monkeys, iguanas and birds.

Note: This experience is by boat, very friendly for families.

30-minute ground transfer on custom-designed adventure vehicles to Cabuya Beach Estate.

At Cabuya Beach Estate.


Day 10

Ocean Odyssey

Lose sight of the shore and discover the abundant marine life in the Pacific Ocean. Swap out land for sea and discover the hidden secrets of the ocean and enjoy marine life unique encounters.

Day 11

Surfing, Kayaking and exploring

Surfing Pura Vida
Costa Rica is a world-class destination for surfing, with two coasts, kilometers of white sand beaches and unrivalled waves. Costa Rica possess waves for every surfer, with breaking points that have been mapped out by both surfing enthusiasts and professionals for decades. Our guides passion for surfing will help you to fall in love with the challenging sport.

At Cabuya Beach Estate.

Gain a whole new perspective of the immense ocean from a kayak, explore the adjacent coastline and watch as the underworld plays below. Visit the property’s beaches and enjoy the landscape on the way. This is a unique opportunity to spot rays, colorful fishes, turtles and many others if you are lucky.

At Cabuya Beach Estate.

To find out how we can create your perfect itinerary in Costa Rica, please get in touch.