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Costa Rica, essential birding

Resume of the adventure:


April 7, Day 1: Pick up at Juan Santamaria International Airport

April 8, Day 2: Transfer to Carara

April 9, Day 2: Carara area and Tárcoles mangroves specialties Carara National Park and and the flocks of Scarlet Macaws 

April 10, Day 3: Carara National Park and and the flocks of Scarlet Macaws

April 11, Day 4. Carara to La Selva Biological Station

April 12, Day 5. La Selva Biological Station, the most diverse reserve of Costa Rica

April 13, Day 6: La Selva OTS to Arenal Volcano 

April 14, Day 7: The impressive Arenal Volcano and La Peninsula road

April 15, Day 8: Arenal to Caño Negro Wildlife Refuge

April 16, Day 9: Caño Negro Wetlands by boat and “Nicaragua-Costa Rica” specialties 

April 17, Day 10: Caño Negro to Cerro de la Muerte area

April 18, Day 11: Cerro de la Muerte, Hummingbirds and Resplendant Quetzal 

April 19, Day 12: Cerro de la Muerte and the highlands endemics of Paramo 

April 20, Day 13: Transfer back to Central Valley to hotel before your departure

April 21, Day 14: Transfer to the airport to be on times to your flight back home.





Day 1: Arrive to Costa Rica, Juan Santamaria International Airport.

Pick up at Airport and drive 15min to your first hotel in central valley, a lovely oasis in the central valley in where Prevots Ground Sparrow, Ferruginous Pygmy Owl, White-winged Dove, Blue-gray Tanager, Whopping Motmots and many other species can be seen just in the backyard of our Lodge. Have a nice familiar dinner to get settle in this new country. Presentation by your bird-guide, about the country and what we will expect to see in the next few weeks.


Day 2: Transfer to Carara

In early morning we bird a little bit before breakfast and get use to the diversity and climate of the tropics. After breakfast we head to Central Pacific. In the way we might stop a few times for some shorebirds, terns and Magnificent Frigatebirds that hang around next to road toward our next destination.

Arrive at the hotel around lunch time to birdwatch the grounds and gardens.


Day 3: Carara area and Tárcoles mangroves specialties

Early mangrove boat tour looking for Yellow-billed Cotinga, Mangrove Hummingbird, Mangrove Vireo, Northern Scrub-Flycatcher, Costa Rican Swift, Mangrove Warbler, American Pygmy-Kingfisher and several species of herons and egrets. One of the highlights will be the colorful Scarlet Macaw that is quite common around the Carara National Park area.

Afternoon locally in vicinity of the hotel looking for Ferruginous Pygmy-Owl, Pearl Kite, King Vulture, Fiery-billed Aracari and Yellow-naped, White-fronted and Orange-fronted Parrots; the Pacific Screech-Owl and Black and White Owl should give us good view opportunities too near hotel restaurant by dinner time.


Day 3: Carara National Park and and the flocks of Scarlet Macaws.

Morning exploring the two main trails in Carara National Park looking for the elusive Red-capped Manakin and the Orange-collared Manakin. Streak-chested Antpitta, Black-hooded Antshrike, Riverside Wren, Spot-crowned Euphonia, Scrub Euphonia, Royal Flycatcher and Black-faced Antthrush just to mention a few but the park offers some of the most spectacular birding of all central America region.

(The National Park visit and the boat ride can change the order depending on weather and/or guide personal perception of a better coverage of the birds).


Day 4. Carara to La Selva Biological Station

Drive to La Selva area after breakfast with a stop in the way at Zarcero (picturesque little lovely town in middle of cloudforest with a very emblematic park and famous type of special Cheese) for some pictures and then continue to our destination.

Arrive at Sarapiqui area on time for getting use to your hotel and spend the afternoon at the Great Green Macaw favorite roosting site and give it a chance to this elusive target species and other parrots like Red-lored and Crimson-fronted Parakeets that roost in the same general area.


Day 5. La Selva Biological Station

Explore La Selva Biological Station and surroundings give a second chance for Great Green Macaw, Snowy Cotinga, Plain-colored Tanager, Band-backed Wren, Black-throated Wren, Stripe-breasted Wren, Crimson-fronted Parakeet, Red-capped Manakin, Rufous Motmot, White-collared Manakin among others. Woodpeckers are usually a highlight of this reserve with more than 6 species been reliable in the area including the Chestnut-colored, Cinammon, Pale-billed, Rufous-winged, Black-cheeked and Lineated Woodpecker.

Day 6: La Selva area to Arenal Volcano 

Drive to Arenal Volcano area, bird in the way and once we get to Arenal we will spend afternoon at gardens and entrance road of our hotel it usually provides good looks at Banded-backed Wren, Montezuma Oropendula, Buff-throated Saltator, Red-legged Honeycreeper, Crimson-collared Tanager, Passerine’s Tanager among others.

Day 7: The impressive Arenal Volcano and La Peninsula road

Birding is extraordinary here plus the constant presence of Arenal Volcano will always give great scenery. We will spend the early morning in the Lodge grounds. Potential target species are Striped-breasted Wren, White-throated Shrike-Tanager, Tawny-capped Euphonia, Black-crested Coquette and Green Thorntail. Afternoon we will walk the Peninsula road looking for Long-tailed Tyrant, White-fronted Nunbird, Keel-billed Motmot, White Hawk and Dull-mantled Antbird. The order of this walks and spots for birding might change depending on the guide knowledge of recent sightings and weather.


Day 8: Arenal Volcano to Caño Negro Wildlife Refuge

Drive to Caño Negro area. Bird on the roadside of the entrance to Caño Negro for the elusive Jabiru, the Red-breasted Blackbird, many water birds and raptors and the very local endemic Nicaraguan Seed-finch with its massive pink bill.


Day 9: Caño Negro Wetlands by boat and “Nicaragua-Costa Rica” specialties

Caño Negro Wildlife Refuge visit by boat. A very comfortable tour of 2 to 3 hours to the wetlands with targets like Yellow-breasted Crake, Black-collared Hawk, Lesser Yellow-headed Vulture, 6 species of kingfishers (all species present in Costa Rica) and many other waterbirds.


Day 10: Caño Negro to Cerro de la Muerte
Drive to Paraiso del Quetzal with a few stops in the way for birding and lunch at Ujarras area, a very nice town also know among birders as the most diverse site for Hummingbirds. We will vist some hummingbird feeders there and have lunch while watching this lovely birds. Species like Ruby-throated Hummingbird, Green-breasted Mango, Long-billed Starthroat and Rufous-tailed Hummingbird most likely will be seen well.


Day 11: Cerro de la Muerte, Hummingbirds and Resplendent Quetzal

Early morning looking for a good view opportunity of the world famous Resplendent Quetzal, roadside and open areas and gardens provide a fantastic opportunity for birding. This location can produce species like Golden-browed Chlorophonia, Black-thighed Grosbeak, Large-footed Finch, Yellow-thighed Finch, Slaty Flowerpiercer, Spangle-cheeked Tanger, Sooty-capped Bush-Tanager, Black Guan, Sulfur-winged Parakeet, Fiery-throated Hummingbird, Black-faced Solitaire, Black-billed Nightingale-Thrush, Sooty Thrush and Long-tailed Silky Flycatcher.

Bare-shanked Screech-Owl, Dusky Nightjar will be good targets for some night birding.


Day 12: Cerro de la Muerte and the highlands endemics of Paramo 

Morning in the savegre Valley and the Robledal trail and then to Paramo looking for several specialties in this very open habitat, species like Volcano Junco, Timberline Wren, Peg-billed Finch and Maroon-chested Ground Dove.


Day 13: Transfer back to Central Valley to hotel before your departure if time allows we will do our last birding in the highlands getting species we had missed the other days and maybe one or two stops in the way back to San Jose.


April 21, Day 14: Transfer to the airport to be on times to your flight back home. 



Package includes:


  • 14 days of birding and 13 nights lodging in small, good to excellent quality hotels.

  • Transportation on spacious SUV car. Fuel is included in the price.

  • Specialized bilingual guide with Swarovski Spotting Scope, Portable speaker + Ipod with Costa Rican bird calls to play-back calls of a bird if necessary and a laser pointer to help locate birds in the field. All guides expenses are covered on the fee.

  • Accommodation in all hotels listed.

  • All times meals.

  • 3 boat tours covered through the trip and 1 canoe ride.

  • Entrance fees to all National Parks and Private Reserves indicated



Not Included:

  • Airfare and airport taxes

  • Items of personal use, toiletries

  • Travel insurance (We highly recommend purchasing travel insurance. In the event that you need to cancel your trip due to medical or other reasons, this insurance will protect you)

  • Medical expenses, prescription drugs and other items of personal use.

  • Additional tours offered in hotels (Spa, massage, etc.)

  • Alcoholic beverages, cigarettes and anything else not listed on the menus of restaurants.

  • Laundry

  • Tips

  • Souvenirs

  • Any other expense or extra tour not listed as included above


Max of participants





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