Travel: Costa Rica: on top of creation

Pacific Specifics

Getting there: From Britain, there are no direct scheduled flights to Costa Rica, so visitors from the UK will need to change planes en route. At the moment fares are reasonably low: Journey Latin America (0181- 747 3108), for example, is currently offering a return ticket on Iberia via Madrid for pounds 512 including tax.

Getting around: The easiest way to get to the middle of nowhere in Costa Rica is to arrange a package with one of the lodges - which will include flying to a tiny airstrip cut out of the forest, straight from San Jose in a chartered air taxi. Independent travellers can fly with the domestic airline Sansa to Golfito, gateway to the Peninsula de Osa and Golfo Dulce region, and either arrange to be met at the airport or travel on by taxi- boat or local air taxi to most lodges along the coast. Tracopa runs a daily bus service between San Jose and Golfito, which takes eight hours. Once in the rainforest, walking and swimming will be the only ways of getting around.

Where to stay: The mid-priced Tiskita Jungle Lodge, located among 250 acres of virgin rainforest on the Pacific coast, offers wooden cabins built in the forest with rustic outdoor bathrooms, and wide-platform verandas looking out over the treetops and the ocean. Meals are eaten communally in the open-sided dining-room at the main lodge.

Tiskita is bookable direct in San Jose (00 506 255 2011). Prices start at around pounds 309 for a two days and nights all-inclusive deal, including transfer flights from San Jose, or with Worldwide Journeys and Expeditions (0171-381 8638) which offers tours from London (including flights) and can include Tiskita and other lodges all over Costa Rica, at prices from pounds 2,085 for two weeks. Other lodges in the area include the more luxurious Lapa Rios Lodge and the more basic Corcovado Lodge Tent Camp.

What to bring: This really is the middle of nowhere, so don't forget to bring everything you may need with you, including a torch (the solar- powered electricity lasts only until dinner is over), insect repellent and all the necessities for walking, swimming and hot sun. And keep an eye out for giant scorpions.

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