A small, tropical country with a tradition of hospitality and a long history of peace – it has had no army for almost 60 years – Costa Rica is most renowned for its great natural beauty and astonishing diversity. Featuring Pacific beaches stretching down its coastline, active volcanoes dotted throughout amazing cloud forests, turtle nesting sites, and an incredible flora and fauna in the numerous national parks and wildlife reserves.
Our Latin America specialists can tailor-make your Costa Rica itinerary specific to your preferences and travel style. From the moment you set foot in South America our experts can take care of all your arrangements and make your holiday an unforgettable one.
Drake Bay, in the north of the Osa Peninsula on the southern Pacific Coast, is a perfect base from which to explore the adjacent Corcovado National Park. The park has been called “the most biologically intense place on earth” and is home to tapirs, peccaries, giant anteaters, jaguars and ocelots, as well as incredible birdlife. You can hike or horse-ride along the extensive beaches, snorkel or scuba-dive among volcanic rocks, and explore the tidal pools.
The Central Pacific coast of Costa Rica is a great place to enjoy water sports or to explore lowland rainforests. Manuel Antonio National Park, although the second smallest, has become Costa Rica’s most popular national park with its easy accessibility from the capital, San Jose, its well-maintained jungle trails and the unique mixture of mangroves, rocky headlands and jungle forests that come right down to the tropical beaches. Activities include hiking through the rainforest watching out for the prolific birdlife (more than 350 species reported in the park), several species of monkeys, and other wildlife like armadillos, peccaries and sloths; guided walks to learn about the abundantly varied flora; and swimming and snorkeling from the tranquil beaches.
Monteverde is mainly a dairy farming area, with a small community of Quakers who migrated there in the 1950s and live in the little village of Santa Elena at the entrance to the Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve. This is one of the richest and most diverse cloud forests in the New World. It is perhaps best known as the home of the Resplendent Quetzal but also shelters hundreds of other bird, mammal and plant species, as well as reptiles, amphibians and insects.
Known as Costa Rica’s “little Amazon”, the Tortuguero National Park is a must for nature lovers and is a fantastic spot for wildlife viewing. There are no roads so travel is by boat along a series of rivers and canals or by exploring by foot on forest paths. Whilst exploring the brackish and freshwater canals and lagoons in small boats, it’s possible to see Spider Monkeys, Howler Monkeys and White–faced Capuchin as well as Sloths.
Although resting for the past few years, the Arenal Volcano, Costa Rica’s youngest and most active volcano, is a majestic site. The volcano erupted violently July 29th 1968, destroying the region to the west of its base with hot gases, rocks and later, lava flows. The volcano now steams quietly and heats local rivers that have been turned into popular hot springs and spas. The area is surrounded by the magnificent Lake Arenal and multiple waterfalls.
Located on Osa Peninsula in a private nature reserve that spreads across 405 hectares of Central America’s last remaining lowland tropical rainforest, the Lapa Rios Eco Lodge overlooks the point where the Golfo Dulce meets the wild Pacific Ocean. Constructed to harmonise with the surrounding forest and beach environment, a wonderful mix of comfort and conservation, the lodge is set along ridges 90m above the sea to catch the cooling ocean breezes. The main building houses the bar and the restaurant and, like the 16 private bungalows with their intricately woven palm thatched roofs, is built of locally harvested materials; all are connected by walking paths and steps. And private wooden-decked garden terraces allow you to watch out for passing monkeys, toucans in the trees, and plenty of scarlet macaws – for which the lodge is named.
Close to the port of Quepos on the Central Pacific coast of Costa Rica and only a stroll away from the wildlife-rich Manuel Antonio National Park, this luxurious and sustainable resort hotel is beautifully situated on a cliff overlooking Espadilla Beach and the shimmering ocean. It is one of our favourites, combining the best of all worlds – deluxe accommodation, wonderful views, direct access to its own stretch of secluded white sand beach, and a setting that blends effortlessly into the surrounding rainforest without disturbing the wildlife, allowing you opportunities for up-close sightings of white-faced capuchin monkeys and perhaps even three-toed sloths.
As a member of the National Geographic unique lodges of the world, the Pacuare Lodge is a highly regarded and recognised eco-lodge surrounded by nature in its purest and most primitive form. Thoughtfully designed to perfectly fit in with its beautiful surroundings, the Pucuare Lodge has been cited by the World Tourism Organisation for its model sustainable ecotourism practices. Overlooking the Pacuare River, one of the top five rivers in the world for white-water rafting, your stay here will provide you with the perfect Costa Rican experience.
Located in the Arenal Volcano National Park, the Nayara Tented camp combines luxury with eco-friendly practices with the tents merging with the surrounding nature affirming the majesty of the rainforest. Perched on a hill with privileged views of the Arenal Volcano, air-conditioned tents feature a plunge pool fed with natural hot springs and all of the amenities expected of a world-class accommodation option. Close to the tents there is a protected area with the hopes of creating a sanctuary for sloths by planting 1000 Guarumo trees, the sloths favourite habitat. Feel transformed by the beauty and variety of the wildlife and tropical jungle which is right on your door step.
This combined Coffee Plantation and Resort is a National Geographic Unique Lodge of the World with many reasons as to why. Luxury accommodation coincides with a sustainably forested coffee plantation creating an unforgettable experience for its guests. Rich local culture, steaming volcanoes, cloud forests and natural wonders all complement each other in showing its guests the world of Costa Rica. Environmental consciousness and proactive sustainable practices are core to the culmination of the Finca Rosa Blanca Coffee Plantation Resort, providing income, education and positive cultural exchanges to the local community.
Grano de Oro
San Jose, Costa Rica
Top class design and the finest facilities. Usually located in a spectacular setting it may be an exclusive hotel in a meticulously restored historic building, or recognised as the leading property of an international chain.
Lapa Rios Eco Lodge
Osa Peninsula, Costa Rica
A perfect alternative to the big brand hotels:
exclusive and independently-owned properties with a smaller number of rooms and highly personalised services.
Monteverde Lodge & Gardens
Moneteverde, Costa Rica
High quality with an excellent room standard, a full range of facilities and first-rate service; may be a new property or regularly refurbished with attention to ongoing maintenance.
South America Travel Centre can look after all aspects of your holiday, including flights and travel insurance.
We start by asking you what your interests are and where you are interested in, when, for how long, what standard and style of accommodation. Once we have a good understanding of just what you’re looking for, we can begin to create a holiday to meet your time and budget requirements and, most importantly, that will deliver interest and enjoyment in an experience to exceed your expectations.
Please book early. Many of the hotels, lodges and cruise vessels we recommend are relatively small. This exclusivity combined with high demand means they can be booked out up to 6-8 months in advance.
If you’re thinking of travelling during any major holidays like Christmas, New Year and Easter, or during any festivals, our advice is simply to book as early as you can, even 12 months or more, and we can add flights as soon as they become available.
Australian citizens do not require a visa to enter Peru. You will need to hold a valid passport and have a return ticket when you arrival. Visitors are allowed to stay up to 183 days in Peru.
It is strongly recommended that all travellers to Peru be vaccinated for yellow fever before commencing their trip.
Malaria is prevalent in some areas of India. Your Travel Doctor will be able to advise you whether prophylaxis is required. Vaccinations are advised for common diseases like Hepatitis A and B, Typhoid as well as Influenza. Japanese Encephalitis may also be a risk for some travellers. There are no compulsory vaccinations.
We advise you to consult a Travel Doctor specialist prior to departure to assess any health risks in relation to your medical history and travel plans.
We have access to a wide range of airfares and have excellent relationships with our key airline partners. Our two main airline partners in Latin America are LATAM Airlines, QANTAS Airlines and Air New Zealand. We can also arrange internal flights for you within Latin America.
Irrespective of whether you book directly with us or with your preferred travel agent, we’ll request the details of all of your fights to ensure if there are any changes your transfers and other arrangements are adjusted accordingly.
Best time to travel is during winter which is during mid-December to late March, the driest time of year.
Summer- April-November is the rainy season, with a risk of hurricanes Jun-Nov.
While all of Central America lies within the tropics, there is a lot of regional variation in climate. Lowlands are hot and humid, higher altitudes have spring-like weather, with cool to cold nights.
Now back in Sydney after a wonderful holiday. The EcoCamp was also fantastic! The whole holiday was co-ordinated beautifully – everything just flowed from one adventure to the next without a single problem. We now have 100’s and 100’s of absolutely spectacular photos to sort through. Interestedly we had 8 different flights whilst we were away and each one of them was either full or nearly full – people are obviously travelling again. Thank you so much for all your assistance in co-ordinating our Patagonia experience. With Kindest regards Joe & Judy
Now back in Sydney after a wonderful holiday. The EcoCamp was also fantastic! The whole holiday was co-ordinated beautifully – everything just flowed from one adventure to the next without a single problem. We now have 100’s and 100’s of absolutely spectacular photos to sort through. Interestedly we had 8 different flights whilst we were away and each one of them was either full or nearly full – people are obviously travelling again. Thank you so much for all your assistance in co-ordinating our Patagonia experience. With Kindest regards, Joe & Judy
We cannot recommend Hayley from South America Travel Centre (SATC) more highly. Our entire trip was planned perfectly from the second we left Sydney. Not only did she incorporate all of our preferred destinations, Hayley also made suggestions on additional places based on our preferences and some of these turned out to be the highlights of our trip! We tend to be more independent travellers and Hayley was able to create the perfect mix of seamless travel with the flexibility for us throughout the journey to take advantage of any unexpected opportunities that arose. The guides at every location were extremely knowledgeable and offered excellent suggestions on everything from safety through to restaurants and laundry locations. I absolutely cannot fault the services provided both locally and in Australia from the SATC team.