- Travel to Costa Rica in the company of natural world film-maker Hugh Pearson
- Explore the flora and fauna of Costa Rica's paramo, a unique highland area.
- Discover Corcovado National Park, one of the most biologically diverse regions in the world.
- Search for and swim with, a super pod of spinner dolphins.
Accompanied throughout by accomplished BBC director and filmmaker, Hugh Pearson, this one-off small group tour (only ten people), explores the magical marine and land-based wildlife of Southern Costa Rica.
The journey begins in Costa Rica’s cosmopolitan capital, San Jose. Visit the orchid botanical gardens, for a colourful introduction to the flora you are likely to see in the cloud forest later in the trip. With a local guide, you will also visit some of the historic neighbourhoods that boast attractive architecture from the late 19th century.
Continue to the cloud forest of San Gerardo de Dota and spend a few days exploring the wonderful native flora and birdlife of this area. Tropical montane cloud forest offers a magical environment that’s filled with epiphytic orchids, bromeliads, giant ferns, mosses, lichens and lianas. 2,200 metres above sea-level, Trogon Lodge has an extraordinary setting. Mist shrouds the forest and the dewy dawn is a prime time to walk trails with specialist local guides for incredible birding, including opportunities to spot the resplendent quetzal, possibly the most beautiful and ornate bird in the western hemisphere.
Leaving the mystical cloud-forest behind, continue south to the Osa Pensinula, a region described by National Geographic as one of the ‘most biologically intense places on earth’, where the verdant rainforest jungle meets the blue Pacific Ocean. This wilderness area is outstanding for general wildlife and you will have plenty of opportunity to explore the rainforests of Piedras Blancas National Park as well as famous Corcovado National Park. Both host a staggering array of animals including four species of monkey, jaguars and tapirs. In addition, there will be three dedicated days with Hugh Pearson on the marine-life rich waters of Golfo Dulce and the open Pacific Ocean, searching for a variety of species of dolphins, including bottlenose and (our ultimate aim) a super-pod of spinners, and you may have the opportunity to swim with them too.
WHY SHOULD I JOIN THIS TOUR?
This tour is for anyone who wishes to experience Costa Rica’s wildlife in an area that is unsurpassed for biological diversity by any other region of a similar size on the planet. You will be accompanied by expert local guides as well as renowned film-maker Hugh Pearson for a specialist insight to both the wildlife and the challenges of documenting nature on film, specifically the resident 'super-pods' of spinner dolphins that can be found off the coast of the Osa Peninsula. These can be over 10,000 dolphins in size. Hugh has spent hundreds of hours filming these animals and has agreed to work with Steppes to give a handful of our clients the rare opportunity to experience a unique and extraordinary natural phenomenon. Join Hugh both in and on the water, in search of these extraordinary marine mammals to observe behaviours that most people will only ever get to see from their sofa.
Who is Hugh Pearson?
Hugh Pearson is known for his work as a BBC director and filmmaker. Hugh has over twenty years experience working in the field on a variety of natural-world projects that have taken him around the world. His knowledge and passion are evident, and he will share his stories and experiences with you throughout the trip. We asked Hugh what was so special about the Osa Peninsula - this is what he had to say:
"I have been fortunate to travel to Costa Rica's Osa Peninsula on two occasions, once in 2013 to film spinner dolphins for The Hunt and again in 2018 to film for Our Planet, a major new series we are producing for Netflix. On the last trip we spent virtually every waking hour with spinner dolphins as we were able to find them so easily, and some pods were 10,000 strong, but we also saw numerous different species of cetaceans, birds, turtles, sailfish and other ocean life. If I had to pick one part of our oceans to spend time at then the seas off the Osa peninsula would definitely be it."
Does this tour offer value for Money?
Travelling to Costa Rica with Hugh Pearson is a rare opportunity to join one of the creators of Planet Earth to experience what it is like to film one of nature’s most spectacular phenomena. Soon to be aired on Netflix, the series Our Planet “takes viewers on an un unprecedented journey through some of the worlds’ most precious natural habitats”. This is your chance to experience first-hand the remarkable habitats and nature of Costa Rica before the series airs. You will be joined by expert naturalist guides throughout the trip and follow in the footsteps of film producer Hugh Pearson’s epic project filming super pods of spinner dolphins, not only with Hugh but also his skipper, who was responsible for finding the pods. This tour takes you to some of the country’s best nature lodges in remote locations without compromising on comfort. Playa Cativo is one of the leading properties in Costa Rica and Casa Corcovado is unrivalled in terms of location, bordering Corcovado National Park. All meals have been included over 10 days, as well as expert led tours from sunset sails, trail hiking, kayaking and birding to dedicated days in search of the spinner dolphins.
Is this tour suitable for solo travellers?
Due to the size of lodges used in this trip, single occupancy is not permitted. Please find a friend to travel with or we will do our best to match you up with another solo traveller of the same sex.
What is the accommodation like in Costa Rica?
You will be staying in comfortable three-star hotels in San Jose and San Gerardo de Dota with the trip culminating in two of Costa Rica’s most respected jungle lodges for remote wildlife experiences.
Do I need to be fit to join this tour?
You do not need to be particularly fit to join this trip, but you must be comfortable with getting in and out of boats and happy to hike on uneven ground. Sealegs are a distinct benefit. Should you wish to swim with dolphins, you will need to be comfortable using a rope ladder to board the boat from the water.
HOW ROUGH WILL THE WATER BE When we are looking for Dolphins?
Around the protected bay of the Golfo Dulce the water is relatively undisturbed. However from Casa Corcovado, you will be travelling in relatively small boats offshore in the open water, so expect it to be choppy. However, excursions in search of the dolphins will be departing early morning and if there is little wind, then the sea can be beautifully calm and glass-like.
What wildlife might I see during my time in Costa Rica?
We hope you will see an array of wildlife both in the cloud-forest and on the Osa Peninsula. There is prolific birdlife in the cloud-forest of San Gerardo de Dota and in the south, it is possible to see many species of monkey, scarlet macaws, sloth, coatimundi, possibly tapir, and of course a number of dolphin species.
IS January THE BEST TIME TO TRAVEL?
January is a great time to travel in Costa Rica and it is one of the most popular months to visit this corner of the world. However, the most pertinent reason for travelling in January is, that it is the month you are most likely to see the spinner dolphins gather in such huge numbers. It will be cooler in San Gerardo de Dota, especially at night, due to the elevation of the cloud-forest; it can often be misty and a little damp here too. The Osa Peninsula will be warmer and while humid under the forest canopy, the beach brings a refreshing breeze.
Can I extend my time in Costa rica?
A three-night stay at Kura Design Villas located in the hills of the south Pacific coast would be a wonderful property at which to extend your stay in Costa Rica. Please call our travel experts John or James for more information about tailoring a post-trip extension to Kura Design Villas or any other region of Costa Rica.
For a detailed itinerary or to book your place on this tour, please contact us.