On my recent research trip to Costa Rica, I travelled to San Jose via Madrid with Iberia airlines. The journey took 15 hours and although the service was not overly impressive, it meant that I didn’t have a plane change in the USA or have to pass through immigration, which is the other main flight route to Costa Rica.
On arrival into San Jose I transferred directly to the Central Valley where I spent a night at the very unique Xandari Plantation, which is one of Sunvil’s all time favourite hotels and a perfect place to be based after a long flight. The hotel has spacious, villa rooms that have fantastic views overlooking the Central Valley and are decorated with contemporary brightly coloured art work. The grounds of the hotel are very tropical and peaceful, guests can walk along the trails in the forty acres of gardens where they can discover the local flora and fauna and view some very picturesque waterfalls.


Next stop Arenal Volcano, the third most active volcano in the world and a site not to be missed. At night if you are lucky you can see lava flow from the top of the volcano. I highly recommend everyone to visit and swim in the hot springs that are in close proximity to the volcano, a great place to relax after a long day walking along jungle trails and crossing the hanging bridges.
While at Arenal I stayed at the Lost Iguana hotel which is ideally located facing the volcano, waking in the morning and seeing the splendour of the volcano looking back at me was simply breathtaking. At Lost Iguana I didn’t see any lost iguanas however I was fortunate to see howler monkeys, toucans and many other colourful and unusual tropical birds.

Osa Peninsula

After Arenal I headed south on a small two propeller Nature Air aeroplane to Puerto Jimenez in the South of Costa Rica. The flight took 35 minutes and on arrival I was met by my guide in a 4×4 vehicle and transferred to Bosque del Cabo. Bosque is a remote jungle lodge in the Osa Peninsula which is fantastic for being close to jungle, nature and wild tropical beaches. The journey to the lodge took fifty minutes and gave me the chance to see some countryside and various different birds and sloth’s. On arrival I was welcomed with a tropical fruit cocktail, made of papaya guava and mango, fruit cocktails are popular all over Costa Rica and very refreshing in the tropical heat.

The Osa Peninsula is an excellent place for avid birders and wildlife lovers who want to experience staying in the depths of the jungle. I was ‘lucky!’ as the Costa Rican’s exclaimed to have an opossum jump on me in the night. It soon became apparent that the mosquito nets are not only for keeping mosquito’s away but also other creatures which may be sharing your jungle bungalow. After my experience, I recommend that anyone thinking of going to Costa Rica takes note unless they want a close encounter with a nocturnal jungle creature, which must have come in through the door whilst I was not looking.

Katrina Mowbry
Sunvil Traveller