Costa Rica Birding Tour
Regions: Carara National Park – Monteverde Preserve – Santa Elena Private Preserve - Arenal Volcano National Park - La Selva Station - Braulio Carrillo National Park – Caribbean Foothills - Cerro de la Muerte mountains.
Day 01. Upon arrival your guide will meet you at the airport and drive you to the hotel. Overnight in a hotel near the airport. The hotel is located at just 30 minutes from there. There are very good grounds for birdwatching, some of the species around the garden are Rufous-naped Wren, Blue-gray Tanager, Steely-vented Hummingbird, Cinnamon Hummingbird, Hoffmann’s Woodpecker and sometimes at night we can find Tropical Screech-Owl and Ferruginous Pygmy-Owl.
Day 02. Departure after breakfast to the central pacific coast area. Night spent near Carara National Park at Hotel Villa Lapas or Cerro Lodge.
This morning we leave towards the pacific coast of the country. Along the way we can do some stops to search for Black-necked Stilt, Mangrove Swallow, Black-bellied Whistling Duck, Bat Falcon and maybe Green Kingfisher and Northern Jacanas. In the afternoon we will go on a river tour along Tarcoles River too look for Southern Lapwing, Cherrie’s Tanager, Common Black Hawk, Wood Stork, Roseate Spoonbill, Black-crowned Night-Heron, Boat-billed Heron. After 1 hour we will reach to mangrove forest hoping to find specialties like Yellow-naped Parrot (endangered) Mangrove Hummingbird (endemic) and large numbers of shorebirds. Night will be near Carara National Park at Hotel Villa Lapas or Cerro Lodge.
Day 03. Full day at Carara National Park. We normally bird the grounds of the hotel before to go to the park. Once in the park we can go to the main trail of the reserve to look for Greenish Elaenia, White-whiskered Puffbird, Great Tinamou, Black-throated Trogon, Riverside Wren, Baird’s Trogon, Black-hooded Antshrike, Northern Barred Woodcreeper, Chestnut-backed Antbird, Orange-billed Sparrow, Golden-crowned Spadebill and more forest species! Night near Carara National Park. Night at Hotel Villa Lapas or Cerro Lodge.
Day 04. Today we go to Monteverde Cloud Forest. After breakfast we depart towards the most famous cloud forest of the world! The Monteverde Reserve. We arrive around lunch time near the town of Santa Elena where our lodge is located. After lunch we will go to the Hummingbird feeders near the preserve. Night at Hotel el Bosque or Manakin Lodge.
Day 05. Full day around Monteverde Reserve. Once in this beautiful cloud forest area we will be looking for species such as Black-breasted Wood-Quail, Slaty-backed Nightingale-Thrush, Ochraceous Wren, Silvery-fronted Tapaculo and the always brilliant Resplendent Quetzal. Night at Hotel el Bosque.
Day 06. Full day to visit the Santa Elena Private Preserve. This forest is located at higher elevation than Monteverde and is home to special species that are not normally found at Monteverde for example Collared Redstar, Violet Sabrewing, Silvery-fronted Tapaculo, Spotted Barbtail and others. Night at Hotel el Bosque or Manakin Lodge.
Day 07. Departure to Arenal Volcano area. Night spent near the town of La Fortuna.
This morning we can see birds that we may have missed the day before and after breakfast we can depart toward the wonderful Arenal Volcano area. We will be stopping on the way if we can see a good chance for birding of course! Once near the Arenal Volcano area we can start finding lots of new species for the trip like Montezuma Oropendola, Black-headed Saltator, Crimson-Collared Tanager, Yellow-crowned Euphonia, Passerini’s Tanager, Shining Honeycreeper, Broad-billed Motmot and more rainforest species. Night near the town of La Fortuna. Night at EcoVillas –Arenal or Hotel Lomas del Volcan.
Day 08. Departure to Sarapiqui area. Night will be near the town of Puerto Viejo. After a final morning in this area we will move on towards a deep rainforest region. SARAPIQUI is the name of the region located just 3 hours from Arenal Volcano area. With a worldwide reputation Sarapiqui holds some of the finest birding in the country. During the afternoon we have plenty of places to go or we just bird the grounds of our hotel or lodge. Night near the town of Puerto Viejo. Night at Suenno Azul Hotel or Tirimbina Lodge.
Day 09. Full day at the La Selva Station. Located Just 4 kilometers from the town of Puerto Viejo the La Selva is not just a famous research center, is one of the best birding place in Central America. After being at Arenal Volcano area we can focus more on species that we missed previously and some specialties like Olive-throated Parakeet, Great Green Macaw, Plain-colored Tanager, Yellow-tailed Oriole (endangered), Great Antshrike, Banded-back Wren, Snowy Cotinga, Red-throated Ant-Tanager, Pale-billed Woodpecker, White-ringed Flycatcher, Semiplumbeous Hawk, Bay Wren, Great Curassow, Crested Guan, Black-headed Tody-Flycatcher and Short-tailed Pygmy-Tyrant just to mention some of the targets. Night near the town of Puerto Viejo. Night at Suenno Azul Hotel or Tirimbina Lodge.
Day 10. Full day at Braulio Carrillo National Park. Braulio Carrillo is another great birding spot. The main birding area is 45 minutes away from the town of Puerto Viejo. Some of the birds here are unique and only found at this elevation in the Caribbean foothills, around 500 and 700 meters above sea level. Some of the birds we hope to see are Emerald Tanager, Blue-and-Gold Tanager, Dull-mantled Antbird, Tawny-faced Gnatwren, White Hawk, Tawny-crested Tanager, Speckled Tanager, White-throated Shrike-Tanager, Lattice-tailed Trogon and amazing hummingbirds like Blue-chested Hummingbird, White-necked Jacobin, Bronzed-tailed Plumeleteer, Violet-headed Hummingbird and if we are lucky Black-crested Coquette and the spectacular Snowcap (hummingbird). Night near the town of Puerto Viejo. Night at Sueño Azul Hotel.
Day 11. Am to bird the areas around the hotel. After breakfast we will leave toward Rancho Naturalista. Our next lodge is located in the foothills of the beautiful and active Turrialba Volcano. The location will allow us to see many unique birds only found at this middle elevation in the country. Some of the special birds here are: Eye-ringed Flatbill, White-vented Euphonia, Mottled Owl and the always good Tawny-bellied Flycatcher or the incredible Snowcap. Night at Rancho Naturalista. www.ranchonaturalista.net
Day 12. Departure to the Talamanca Mountains. Night in Cerro de la Muerte area. We have the whole morning to look for species that we may have missed previously and then after lunch we continue our journey to the next destination. The Talamanca mountain range is another top birding destination. We will be staying in the area of San Gerardo de Dota also known as Cerro de la Muerte. Here we will be focusing on high elevation species. We will arrive in the mid-afternoon and will have some time to do some birdwatching before gets dark. Night at Cerro de la Muerte. Night at Savegre Mountain Lodge or Sueños del Bosque Lodge.
Day 13. Full day at Cerro de la Muerte. (Talamana Mountains) We will be birding on many habitats here (roads, gardens, rivers, forest) in order to find our targets. Some of the birds are Long-tailed Silky-Flycatcher, Dark Pewee, Volcano Hummingbird, Volcano Junco, Slaty Flowerpiercer, Mountain Elaenia, Acorn Woodpecker, Yellow-thighed Finch, Flame-colored Tanager, Fiery-throated Hummingbird, Collared Redstar and as always the most spectacular of them the Resplendent Quetzal. Night spent at Savegre Mountain Lodge or Sueños del Bosque Lodge.
Day 14. Am birding Cerro de la Muerte Area. Pm back to San Jose. Final morning to get our last birds of the holiday. We will be birding the whole morning before drive back to San Jose. Night in a hotel in San Jose. Hotel Villa Turnon.
Day 15. International flight. Fantastic birds.
- All transfers
- All park fee to private reserves and national parks Private bird guide Private transportation Water whole trip Check list
- Tips to driver and guide.
- Personal expenses
Classic Costa Rica
On the last leg of our trip, we bird the caribbean lowlands (Sarapiquí).A very important region of Costa Rica with abundance of agricultural aereas, amazing rivers and tropical rain forest.
Here, we can find the stunning Fasciated Tiger-Heron, Keel-billed and Chestnut Mandibled Toucans, Red-throated Ant-Tanager, Rufous Motmot and the noisy Montezuma Oropendola.The weather is humid and usually we have very hot days. We often will have a very active morning and the activity slows down by mid day to only start again in the late afternoon.
La Selva Biological Reserve: when birding the entrance of the station, the habitat is basically grasslands and second-growth forest. Crimson-collared Tanager, Snowy Cotinga, Nicaraguan Seed-finch, Pied Puffbird, Fasciated and Great Antshrikes. While on the trails, the birds we expect to see are: Great and Slaty-breasted Tinamous, Cinnamon and Chestnut-colored Woodpecker, Black-striped Woodcreeper and a diversity of Wrens and Tanagers.
We should mention that aside from the great bird opportunities, at La Selva reserve, mammal and reptile life is abundant with opportunities for Two and Three toed Sloths, Howler and Spider Monkeys, Agouties, Collared Peccaries and others.
Day 1: Arrival transfer to 4 star hotel
Day 2: 6 am pick up to a birding drive until we reach Rancho Naturalista lodge.
Day 3: Day spent birding Rancho Naturalista
Day 4: Day spent birding at the Rancho Naturalista.
Day 5: Birding drive to Wilson Botanical Garden. This drive will take us through three different habitats until we reach our lodge.
Day 6: Full day spent birding Las Cruces Botanical Garden, night (Wilson Botanical Garden) in gallery forest.
Day 7: We bird the surroundings of the Gardens and the área of the great birding zone of the town of San Vito for grassland and pasture habitat.
Day 8: Early drive to Carara Biological Reserve. A full day of birding the way on rivers, dry forest and grassland. Overnight Villa Lapas.
Day 9: FD Carara Biological Reserve, night spent Villa Lapas
Day 10: Full day birding the road that leads up to Montevede Cloud Forest Reserve.
Day 11: Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve, night (Monteverde)
Day 12: Early departure to the lowlands of Sarapiquí. We drop from the highlands of the cloudforest into the lowland rainforest on the Caribean side. Overnight Selva Verde Lodge.
Day 13: Full day enjoying the Caribean specialties at La Selva Biological Station, Overnight Selva Verde.
Day 14: Full day spent at La Selva BS. Selva Verde
Day 15: Morning spent birding our last time at La Selva, afternoon birding drive to San Jose. San José, night (hotel in San José) or pm flight home.
DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE TRIP
Arrival, our personnel stationed in San Jose will greet you on arrival and transfer you to your hotel of choice. Night in San José. Rancho Naturalista: Before reaching this wonderful cloudforest, we will drive through the central área of San José looking for Snowcap, Bay-headed Tanager, Bat Falcon, At the Rancho Naturalista we will be looking for Purplish-backed Quail Dove, Tawny-chested Flycatcher, Crimson-collared Tanager, eight different species of hummingbirds and many more.
The highway which connects the high mountains of Cerro de la Muerte with the south Pacific valleys will give us the opportunity to find highland specialties such as Timberland Wren, Flame-throated Warbler, Black-capped Flycatcher, Mountain Robin, Fiery-throated Hummingbird and others.
Las Cruces Botanical Garden (Wilson BG) With enough time in a comfortable lodge, nice trails plus good habitas, some of our target birds are Streaked Saltator, Fiery-billed Aracari, Blue-crowned Manakin and Turquois Cotinga. In time we will be exploring the areas near San Vito. In this small town we will search for Yellow-crowned Tyrannulet, Band-rumped Swift, Spot-crowned Euphonia.
On the road to Carara, we may encounter Brown-throated Parakeet, Scrub Greenlet, Yellow-headed and Crested Caracaras, Pale-breasted Spinetail, Blue-headed Parrot. We will try to reach the grasslands and rivers of Villa Lapas in the afternoon to explore them in daylight.
Carara Biological Reserve: we have a chance to see the wonderful Scarlet Macaw, now only found on the Pacific slopes of Costa Rica.In adition, there are a good number of new birds for the trip including; Baird's and Black-headed Trogons, Black-bellied and Riverside Wrens, Mangrove-black Hawk, Long-tailed Manakin, the elusive Streaked-chested Antpitta and Royal Flycatcher.In the afternoon we visit to the mouth of the Tarcoles River searching for Mangrove Vireo, Black-tailed Flycatcher and a variety of Shorebirds.
On our way from the Pacific lowlands to the highlands of Monteverde, with innumerable altitudinals habitats along the road, we will stop at different points for Banded Wren, Turquois-browed Motmot and Yellow-throated Euphonia.
Monteverde Cloudforest Reserve: we have a good possibility for the endemic Coppery-headed Emerald! The best montane species of the área may be found here in Monteverde: Collared Trogon and Red-headed Barbet, Emerald Toucanet, Speckled, Blue and Gold and Black and Yellow Tanagers, Golden-browed Chlorophonia and a variety of hummingbirds including Violet Sabrewing, Green Violetear, Mountain-Gems and others.Remember, Monteverde is home for the wonderful Resplendent Quetzal..