Exploring national parks and working in a wildlife conservation project
16 – 27 March 2020
Costa Rica Overview
This expedition immerses you in Costa Rica’s most biodiverse region, the Osa Peninsula. We meet in San Jose before traveling south to Puerto Jimenez to spend our first 3 days walking in the trails of the Corcovado National Park. Having gained a first-hand experience of the unique flora and fauna of the region, we spend 3 full days working on a nature conservation project, also located within the tropical rainforest. Finally, now fully acclimatised to the local conditions, we complete a 2-day hike to the highest point in Costa Rica, Cerro Chirripó, (3820m) for the highlight of the expedition and sea-to-sea views spanning the entire breadth of the country.
Day 1. Meet in San José
The trip starts after breakfast at our hotel in San José. It is a 5-6 hour minibus journey south to Puerto Jiménez where we rest for the night in our beachside hotel. The expedition briefing takes place here before the evening meal.
Days 2 - 4. Corcovado National Park
The first phase of the trip involves an acclimatisation trek in Corcovado National Park. This area is home to 50% of all species found in Costa Rica including the giant anteater and harpy eagle.
It is an early start on Day 2 with a taxi ride to Los Patos, the field station at the end of the road on the edge of Corcovado National Park.
From here, we walk 19km to Sirena Biological Station, the research centre in the heart of the jungle where we stay for 2 nights.
Day 3 is spent exploring Sirena’s ancient, primary rainforest. This area is home to Costa Rica’s largest population of Scarlet Macaw.
Day 4 involves a 19km walk through secondary forest along a coastal trail renowned for its deserted beaches. There is a high chance of seeing monkeys and tapir before we reach the road head at Carate.
Days 5 - 7. Conservation Project
The conservation project is the reason many people choose this expedition.
We spend 3 full days working closely with a well-established and respected wildlife conservation programme.
Here, we locate ourselves in a field station, alongside scientists and other volunteers, within the rainforest reserve.
Opportunities include sea turtle patrols and working in the turtle hatchery, assisting with reforestation and monitoring biodiversity, including support for a study of wildcats.
Our contribution will help protect the globally significant biodiversity of the area as well as provide a unique opportunity to learn about the rainforest.
Days 8 - 10. Cerro Chirripó Trek
Day 8 involves travel to the Chirripó National Park and our comfortable accommodation near the highest mountain range in the country. We spend the afternoon resting and preparing for the mountain trek.
Day 9 is the ascent to the base camp at Crestones lodge. At lower elevations, we walk through cloud forest which also provides cover for rare species such as quetzal, tapir and a small population of jaguars.
Day 10 is the summit day and return to the hotel. At higher elevations, the forest gives way to the tropical páramo ecosystem found only in Central and South America consisting of shrubs, herbs and grasses.
The reward for your hard work is a sweeping panoramic view ranging from the Carribean Sea to the Pacific Ocean, including the surrounding Talamanca Mountains.
Day 11. Rest and Travel to San José
We wake up in our jungle lodge and take the morning to rest and recover from the climb. The afternoon involves a drive to San José, where we spend our final night.
Day 12. San José
The trip ends after breakfast in San José
We visit Costa Rica during the dry season (Dec – April) and can expect an average temperature of 29°C. Rain is unlikely, however, it will be humid.
Costa Rica has a strong Spanish influence with a few areas that have a more noticeable Jamaican or indigenous culture. 70% of the population identify themselves as Roman Catholics.
Level of difficulty
The treks are not technical. However, the walking days are long and Cerro Chirripó involves a significant amount of ascent (2.6 km up to 3820m). Therefore, a good level of fitness is essential.
On the trek, we’ll stay in the dormitory area of the Crestones Base Camp, which is basic. All other accommodation will be comfortable and sometimes shared.
Costs & Inclusions
£2750. This includes all food, drinking water, transport and accommodation from 9 a.m. on Day 1 to 9 a.m. on Day 12. Other drinks (alcoholic or otherwise) are not included. A single supplement of £150 is payable if you would like your own room in the towns. Flights not included.