19 March 2023

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SALE! Price: NOW £2495 (was £2795)/ $2995(was $3295) per person

Date: 3rd to 16th August 2024

Your Local Herpetologist Guides: Max Benito Smeele & Esteban E Arrieta (English, Spanish and Dutch Speaking)

Herping in Cloud Forests, Rain Forests, in the Dry Forest and in High Elevations

Chance to see around 100 Reptile & Amphibian Species

Looking for Central American Bushmaster and the Black-headed Bushmaster

Look for iconic Glassfrogs and Tree Frogs

Learn About and Support the Bushmaster & Black-Headed Bushmaster Projects

Great photography opportunities

Day 1: Arrive at San Jose and travel to Poas

We will meet at Juan Santamaría International Airport (San Jose) and we will head straight to our first location, to Poas. We spend the night looking for vipers, tree frogs and glass frogs.

Main targets are: Bothriechis lateralis, Agalychnis annae, Espadarana prosoblepon, Hyalinobatrachium fleischmanni, Bolitoglossa subpalmata.

Overnight in Poas.

Meals included: Dinner

Botriechis Lateralis viper in Poas

Day 2 – 3: Herping near Santa Rosa National Park

In the morning we are leaving to Santa Rosa National Park, in Guanacaste. We will spend the next 2 days exploring the dry forest looking for some iconic reptiles of the area.

Main targets are: Crotalus simus, Agkistrodon howardgloydi, Porthidium ophryomegas, Micrurus nigrocinctus, Boa imperator, Loxocemus bicolor, Trimorphodon quadruplex, Coleonyx elegans, Ctenosaura similis, Rhynophrynus dorsalis.

Overnight near Santa Rosa National Park.

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Central American coral snake in Costa Rica

Day 4 – 5: Herping at the Osa Peninsula

Rise early today as we have a long drive to get to the South Pacific. We will break the long drive at Manuel Antonio National Park looking for diurnal wildlife. The next two days we will be Based North of Corcovado National Park on the Osa Peninsula. It is one of the most biologically diverse places on the Planet. Explore the rainforest and its herpetofauna. Visit the Black-headed bushmaster project and learn about the ongoing conservation efforts.

Main targets are: Lachesis melanocephala, Porthidium porrasiii, Nothopsis rugosus, Phyllobates vittatus, Hyalinobatrachium collymbophyllum.

Overnight on the Osa Peninsula.

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Black-headed bushmaster from the Osa Peninsula

Day 6: Travel to the Talamanca Mountain Range

We are leaving the majestic Osa Peninsula today and we will be heading towards the mountains. Before we reach our accommodation we stop at a spot to look for some rare species like, Metlapilcoatlus mexicanus, Anolis aquaticus. We stay overnight at San Vito and will observe the fauna near the foothills of the Talamanca Mountain Range.

Main Targets are: Bothriechis supraciliaris, Micrurus yatesi, Duellmanohyla legleri, Bolitoglossa lignicolor, Hyalinobatrachium vireovittatum

Overnight near the Talamanca Mountain Range.

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Bothriechis supraciliaris in Costa Rica

Day 7: Herping at Cerro de la Muerte

Today’s plan is to explore some species in high elevation. Our expedition will take us to over 3000m over sea level. We will be looking for vipers, salamanders and lizards.

Main Targets are: Cerrophidion sasai, Bothriechis nigroviridis, Bolitoglossa pesrubra, Bolitoglossa cerroensis, Abronia monticola, Sceloporus malachiticus.

Overnight in San Gerardo de Dota

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Abronia monticola lizard in Costa Rica

Day 8: The Reptiles of Turrialba

We are slowly making our way towards the Caribbean-side of Costa Rica. We will have another stop near the capital, San Jose. We will have another chance to look for the Mexican jumping pit viper and other colourful snakes.

Main Targets are: Metlapilcoatlus mexicanus, Sibon lamari, Tripion spinosus, Pristimantis altae.

Overnight in Turrialba

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Coronated Treefrog in Costa Rica

Day 9 – 10: The Caribbean Costa Rica

Today we will reach the Caribbean side of the country. En-route we will be visiting Cahuita National Park. With its crystal clear waters and forest it is a beautiful place to spend some hours of the day. We will have the chance to see sloths, capuchin monkeys and the famous Eyelash pit viper. In the afternoon we will head to Kekoldi where we spend our next two nights. Here we will learn about the Bushmaster Conservation Project.

Main Targets are: Lachesis stenophrys, Bothriechis schlegelii, Porthidium nasutum, Bothrops asper, Micrurus mosquitensis, Diploglossus monotropis, Cruziohyla sylviae, Hyalinobatrachium valerioi, Cochranella granulosa, Dendrobates auratus,Phyllobates lugubris, Pristimantis gaigei.

Overnight in Kekoldi

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Yellow Eyelash Pitviper in Cahuita

Day 11: Discover the Frogs of the Costa Rican Amphibian Research Centre

After leaving Kekoldi, we will still stay at the East of Costa Rica, on the Caribbean-side. We spend the night at the Costa Rican Amphibian Research Centre, where we will be looking for iconic frog species, coral snakes and the infamous Fer-de-lance.

Main Targets are:  Agalychnis lemur, Agalychnis spurreli, Cruziohyla sylviae, Duellmanohyla rufioculis, Hyloscirtus palmeri, Itsmohyla lancasteri, Micrurus mosquitensis, Bothrops asper, Metlapilcoatlus mexicanus.

Overnight near the Research Centre.

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch Dinner

Agalychnis lemur in Costa Rica

Day 12: Herping at Centro Manu

Our next stop will mainly concentrate on the colourful amphibians of the region, although we will have the chance seeing coral snakes and the unique Rainforest Hognosed-Pitviper.

Main Targets are: Sachatamia ilex, Tripion spinosus, Agalychnis saltator, Hyloscirtus palmeri, Oedipina carablanca, Porthidum nasutum, Micrurus multifasciatus, Pliocercus eurizonus.

Overnight in Centro Manu.

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Ghost glassfrog from Costa Rica

Day 13: San Jose de la Montana

For the last stop of our herping adventure, we will return to north of San Jose. We will have the last chance to see the beautiful Black-speckled palm-pit viper and some rare frog species.

Main Targets are: Bothriechis nigroviridis, Itsmohyla pseudopuma, Agalychnis annae.

Overnight in San Jose de la Montana.

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Agalychnis annae in the cloud forest of Costa Rica

Day 14: Departure Day

After breakfast, free time and individual departure from San Jose de la Montana.

Meals Included: Breakfast

The Iconic Red eyed treefrog from Costa Rica


Posada de Belen

Santa Rosa National Park area

Hotel Blue Dream

Osa Peninsula

Rancho Quemado-Laguna Azul

San Vito

Cuenca de Oro San Vito

San Gerardo de Dota

Cabinas El Quetzal


Hotel La Esperanza


Kekoldi House


Cabañas el Reventazón

Centro Manu

Centro Manu House

San Jose de la Montana

Cabañas el Silencio

Prices & Inclusions

Date: 3rd to 16th August 2024

Holiday Price:


min. 6, max. 10 participants

Single Supplement On Request


  • Accommodation in simple hotels for 13 nights on a twin share basis
  • All meals from Dinner on Day 1, till breakfast on Day 14
  • Transportation as per the itinerary
  • Local Herpetologist experts throughout the holiday
  • Guided daily walks as per the itinerary
  • Full financial protection by Protected Trust Services



  • International flights
  • Airport transfers
  • Meals not mentioned in the program
  • Tips
  • Travel Insurance

Your Expedition Guides

Max Benito Smeele

Max is a biologist from the Universidad de Salamanca in Spain. His main interests are around amphibian and reptile conservation, as well as in nature photography as a way to spread knowledge and awareness about these animals. He has worked as a researcher in Spain and Costa Rica, to which he travelled 5 times, with the aim to explore its overwhelming biodiversity. Currently he resides in Spain were he works as photographer for the Exsitu Project, tour leader, teaches courses about Iberian herpetofauna and studies a masters in tropical biodiversity. Moreover he speaks Spanish, Dutch and English fluently.

Max Benito Smeele Costa Rican guide

Esteban E. Arrieta

Esteban, from an early age, due to him living in the Caribbean slopes of the Talamancan mountain range, he has been passionate about herpetofauna. Since them he acquired a lot of field experience, focusing on finding rare species. He has been able to rediscover lost species and even find new ones for science. He now works as a private guide through Costa Rica to show people the wonders that inhabit this amazing and biodiverse country.

Esteban E Arrieta Costa Rican guide

The Gallery

Next Holiday

Costa Rica is in Central America between Nicaragua and Panama; it is bordered from the East by the Caribbean Sea and from the West by the Pacific Ocean.


Volcanoes, high mountain ranges, and lush tropical forests are dominating the landscapes. It also provides beautiful golden beaches for those who want to relax at the end of their holiday.


This Central American country is one of the leaders in eco-tourism and sustainability. They have more than 190 biological reserves and national parks. The country has 12 different life zones, and despite its small size, it is home to nearly 5% of the total living species of the Earth.


It is a perfect place for wildlife watching, birding (over 900 species of birds), wildlife and nature photography, and for families who can combine nature, adventure, and the beach.

+44 (0) 738 888 45 30


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