Overview

This amazing adventure will encompass the rainforest, cloud forest, volcanoes, and beaches, and an abundance of opportunities to find and photograph amphibians – with all proceeds supporting worldwide amphibian conservation efforts!

Dendrobates pumilio poison dart frog. Credit: Bruce Jones.

We invite you to join the 2021 Costa Rica Frogs & Wildlife Ecotour ! The tour takes place June 18th to June 29th, 2021.

Costa Rica has an incredible array of biodiversity, landscapes and ecosystems, and is home to 211 known amphibian species, all within a very small geographical area. There are lots of frogs to be found, making Costa Rica a perfect place for a frog-focused Ecotour.

A Lot More Than Just Frogs

The ecotour has a frog focus, but is much more than just frogs! We will see and learn about a variety of wildlife, including crocodiles, bats, monkeys, sloths, lizards, whales and even leaf-cutter ants. We will even be joined by a professional bird guide for the entire tour, so if you love waking up at the break of dawn to spot colorful birds, bring your binoculars and expect to see a lot of amazing birds!

While our nights will be filled with frogs, daytime offers a range of activities, including hiking to waterfalls; swimming at beaches and relaxing in thermal hot springs; adventure in the form of ziplining, snorkeling and kayaking; and cultural activities such as learning how coffee and chocolate are produced.

We will meet many biologists and local wildlife guides who will educate us about tropical ecology, wildlife, ecotourism, and the threats and opportunities facing Costa Rica in the modern era.

In short, even if you are not a frog fanatic (yet!), as long as you love nature and wildlife, you will have an incredible time on this ecotour.

“The tour was the best trip ever! A magical combination of smart, knowledgeable, warm, caring people and the most amazing wildlife, terrain, culture, and adventures. I would love to go again!”–Ann Sigafoos, Virginia

Oophaga pumilio.

About Our Partner

Conservation Careers has teamed up with the world’s most effective amphibian conservation organization. Their mission is to protect amphibian populations and to promote a society that respects and appreciates nature and wildlife. They work in California, across the USA, and around the world to prevent the extinction of amphibians, and to create a better planet for humans and wildlife.

Our partner protects amphibian populations and empowers ordinary citizens to make extraordinary contributions to the betterment of the planet. Since 2008, their staff and volunteers have held over 2,000 educational events in 57 countries to inspire, educate and empower people like you to protect and care for amphibians.

They created, restored and protected habitat for threatened amphibian populations; spearheaded successful local, state and federal legislation on behalf of amphibians; and educated millions of people worldwide about amphibians.

If you register your interest below, we’ll put you in touch with our partner to take the booking and to plan your trip!

Family-Friendly

The Costa Rica Ecotour is truly an experience of a lifetime. We carefully chose locations that are amazing, unique and thoroughly unforgettable, and that offer the best in travel, wildlife, culture and education.

In July 2017, 2018 and 2019, we led Costa Rica Ecotours and they were huge successes. We aim to make the 2021 Ecotour to Costa Rica even better!

This family-friendly ecotour has been designed to be fun, safe and interesting for travelers of all ages. Kids, parents and grandparents are all welcome.

There will be lots of excitement through each place we visit as we learn about ecology, conservation, and environmental protection in some of the most beautiful places on the planet. And with a group of participants and your tour leaders, there will certainly be lots of smiles, laughs, and learning going around.

We hope to see you in Costa Rica!

“This truly is the trip of a lifetime – getting to spend twelve days in Costa Rica learning about frogs with the team.”– Beth Pratt, Participant on the 2017 Costa Rica Ecotour

Cochranella granulosa adult.

Ecotour Highlights

  • Search for poison dart frogs, red-eyed tree frogs, glass frogs, monkeys, sloths, parrots, toucans and more on nature trails and a canopy skywalk.
  • Spend time in beautiful natural areas with incredibly knowledgeable local guides.
  • Observe wildlife on private boat cruises through dense jungles
  • Join a community of passionate, dedicated frog lovers for the experience of a lifetime
  • Learn all about amphibians, tropical rainforests, environmental conservation and how ecotourism benefits the Costa Rican flora and fauna.
  • Your participation directly funds worldwide amphibian conservation efforts and supports local communities in Costa Rica that are dedicated to land and wildlife protection.

“It was non-stop fun, adventure, and education. I had a wonderful time.”– George Quiroga, Wildlife Photographer, Florida; participant on the 2017 Costa Rica Ecotour

Ecotour Destinations

We will begin in the capital, San Jose, and head north to the jungles of Sarapiqui, then west to La Fortuna and the Arenal Volcano. Next, we head south to visit the crocodiles of Tarcoles River, the beaches at Dominical and to search for whales in Marino Ballena National Park. Finally we will head into the mountains to visit the paramo and cloud forests of Quetzales National Park, home of the Resplendent Quetzal, Costa Rica’s most famous bird and return to the outskirts of San Jose our final evening.

Itinerary

San Jose

Pura Vida! We will pick you up at San Jose’s Juan Santamaría International Airport (SJO) and bring you to the Casa Cielo, north of the city. Our tour officially begins at the hotel on June 18th, 2021 at 6pm. The hotel has a fabulous view, comfortable accommodations and a pleasant mountain temperature. We will spend the evening relaxing and meeting our fellow ecotourists, and enjoy our first dinner together.

Sarapiquí

On the morning of June 19th 2021, we will depart our hotel and head to Parque Nacional Volcán Poás, home of one of the world’s most active volcanoes: Volcán Poás has erupted 40 times since 1828! The volcano ascends to 8,885ft (2,638m). We will take a short hike around the park, get some volcano photos and then drive to Cinchona, to see its hummingbirds and waterfalls.

We will have lunch at CoopeSarapiquí and take a coffee tour to taste the local coffee and to learn about coffee production and the Costa Rican coffee industry. Afterwards, we will descend to the jungles of Sarapiquí!

For two nights, we will explore Sarapiquí and stay at one of our favorite hotels, the family owned Kinkajou Town at Hotel La Quinta. The hotel is nearly completely sustainable and incredibly frog friendly! We love this place for its frog diversity. ​

We will visit the Ants Farm, where we will learn all about the fascinating world of leaf cutter ants. Later in the evening we will look for frogs and go bat mist-netting, to discover the great world of bats.

While in Sarapiquí, we will learn about rainforest ecology and current scientific research in the region.

On the June 20th 2021, we will visit La Selva Biological Station and walk the trails to explore this amazing place, from which has emanated thousands of research publications on tropical biology. If we are lucky at La Selva, we may be able to see tent-making bats sleeping.

That afternoon we will visit Tirimbina Rainforest Center and explore another interesting patch of rainforest. Here we will walk on a bridge that takes us high into the trees to experience the rainforest canopy.

We will take a boat trip on the Sarapiquí River to see the riverine wildlife, and in the evening, we will visit some incredible frogging locations and possibly find glass frogs!

“Sarapiqui. That whole location was magical. It felt like fairies were among us even.”  — Christina Ostdiek, 2017 Costa Rica Ecotour Participant

La Fortuna

On the morning of June 21st 2021, we will depart to La Fortuna, where we will find even more frogs and have time to relax and enjoy the natural hot springs of this volcanic region. Upon our arrival, we will eat lunch in the Arenal Volcano National Park at Observatory Point, from which we should have a magnificent view of the volcano (dependent on weather of course!). We will check into the Arenal Manoa Lodge, where we will spend three nights.

In the evening, we will visit the Texas A&M University Soltis Center, which is home to some of the best protected – and least visited – rainforest in the country. During our 2017 visit to the Soltis Center, we found 22 amphibian species over the course of three days!

We will have opportunities for early morning birding. After breakfast on June 22nd 2021, we will take a Rainforest Chocolate Tour. This is a great experience about sustainability and the pleasure of chocolate. We will have lunch at Finca don Juan and tour the farm to learn about organic food production. In the afternoon, we will relax and enjoy the hot springs.

At night, we will visit the Night Wings Project to mist-net for bats and learn all about these amazing flying mammals of the night.

After breakfast on June 23rd 2021, we will visit the Malecu Indigenous Community to conduct a service project and learn about the life and challenges of indigenous people in Costa Rica. After lunch we will enjoy some adventure tourism: riding the ziplines at Ecoglide! We will enjoy the late afternoon relaxing in the hot springs and have dinner at Arenal Manoa.

Dominical, Reserva Baru and Marina Ballena National Park

Located on Costa Rica’s central Pacific Coast, the greater Dominical region is renowned for its vast diversity of tropical plants and wildlife, from three-toed sloths and white-faced capuchin monkeys to hundreds of bird species.

On June 24th 2021, we will leave Arenal and head south for the Tarcoles River, where we will have lunch and take a safari boat ride to see crocodiles and waterfowl.

We will check into the Villas Rio Mar hotel, hidden in the forest just inland from Dominical Beach. We will enjoy sunset on the beach, then relax and explore the hotel grounds in the evening.

After breakfast on June 25th 2021, we will take a boat trip in Marino Ballena National Park. If luck is on our side, we will see humpback whales and dolphins. We will also have the opportunity to snorkel at the reefs in the national park.

We will have lunch in the nearby town of Uvita, and enjoy free time and the beach in the afternoon. After dinner, we will take a night hike at Barú Wildlife Refuge to see the nocturnal wildlife of Costa Rica’s Pacific Coast. Afterwards, we will spend the night once again at Villas Río Mar.

San Gerardo de Dota

Upon leaving Dominical the morning of June 26th 2021, we will head uphill to San Gerardo de Dota, stopping along the way in the paramo, the highest tropical ecosystem in the Americas. That afternoon we will check into the Savegre Lodge, which is where we will stay for two nights.

We will experience truly spectacular scenery in this wonderful region of Costa Rica. We will have morning birding opportunities and the possibility of observing the Resplendent Quetzal. We will explore the incredible oak forests of the region and visit the Savegre Waterfall. We will have a free afternoon to enjoy the spa or otherwise relax. And we will have amphibian conservation presentations and discussions. At night we will look for frogs and other creatures of the night!

Before departing for San Jose, we will visit the Batsu Birding & Photography Gardens.

Return To San Jose

After leaving the forests of San Gerardo de Dota, we will board our bus to return to San Jose on June 28th, 2021. We will eat lunch on the way, then check in to the Bougainvillea Hotel, on the northern outskirts of the city. We will spend the afternoon relaxing. The hotel gardens are an incredible place to see the beautiful birds of Costa Rica! Even better, the hotel has developed a great project to restore breeding populations of the endangered Blue-sided Tree Frogs (Agalychnis annae) in their garden ponds. We will likely also see Forrer’s Leopard Frog (Rana forreri). Our first frogs of Costa Rica!

At night, we will enjoy our last dinner together and reminisce about the great times we shared. On the morning of June 29th 2021, we will arrange transportation for you to the airport (SJO) and say our goodbyes!

Group Size

Our group will consist of up to 18 participants, two tour leaders and an amphibian guide. During hikes, we will split into smaller groups.

Trip Cost

Are you ready to join us in Costa Rica? Fabulous!

The 2021 Costa Rica Ecotour pricing is as follows:

  • Base cost for a single traveler in a shared room: $3,625
  • Base cost for a family of two: $7,245
  • Base cost for a family of three: $10,635
  • Base cost for a family of four: $13,795
  • Base cost for a family of five: $16,875
  • Base cost for a family of six: $19,945
  • Student Discount: Full-time students receive a $100 discount.
  • If you require a private room, add $650; otherwise we will place you in a shared room with your family (or in multiple shared rooms if you are a large family).

All proceeds support worldwide amphibian conservation efforts, enabling us to protect amphibians and promote a society that respects and appreciates wildlife and nature.

Your ecotour payment will cover:

  • All lodging
  • All meals
  • In-country transportation
  • World-class tour guides and their scientific expertise

It is your responsibility to pay your own costs of:

  • International Airfare: The tour begins and ends at San Jose’s Juan Santamaría International Airport (SJO)
  • Snacks
  • Alcoholic beverages
  • Travel insurance
  • Souvenirs
  • Note again that you will be required to pay your own airfare to and from Costa Rica.

Payment Options & Securing Your Space On The Tour

  • To secure your space on the tour, you can pay a $1,000 per person non-refundable deposit if you prefer not to pay in full all at once.
  • Full payment is due by April 18th, 2021.
  • Failure to pay in full by April 18th, 2021 may result in forfeiture of your deposit money and your space on the ecotour.
  • We accept checks and credit cards.

Cancellations

To cancel your tour, you must notify us directly.

If you cancel on or prior to April 18th, your entire trip will be refunded, minus your deposit (as deposits are non-refundable).

If you cancel between April 18th and May 18th, you forfeit your deposit and half of your remaining trip fee.

If you cancel after May 18th, you forfeit your deposit and your entire trip fee.

As such, we strongly recommend all ecotourists purchase travel insurance, which generally covers unforeseen events that lead to cancellations.

Reserve your place or ask a question