It eventually happens to a birder, any birder. Whether we begin birding in the backyard, at a local park, or during visits to a wildlife refuge brimming with ducks and geese, at some point, most of us broaden our birding horizons. We see amazing birds in the book or app but their distributions are far from home; in other states, provinces, or even other countries.
If you don't live in Costa Rica, Panama, or northern South America, you won't find the Green Thorntail near home.
We might start with a three day jaunt or a week of birding in Arizona. Those fantastic trips full of lifers help us realize that traveling to see birds isn't just possible, it's actually much easier than expected. But what about birding in other countries? We read trip reports and see images of toucans and fantastic birds far from home but is it really that easy to bird outside of our boundaries? In places where another language is spoken, places where we can't drink the water and don't know what to expect?
Although people go birding in some of the farthest corners of the globe, some places are definitely easier than others. One of those places is Costa Rica.
Sure, because we live in Costa Rica, we admit that we can't help but have an influenced opinion but honestly, it's much easier to bird in Costa Rica than many other places, this is why:
Close to the USA- Costa Rica is a quick 3 or 4 hour flight from hubs like Houston and Miami. From New York, it's just 6 hours away.
English spoken, dollars accepted- Thanks to years of working with tourism and many Ticos having lived in the USA, a large number of people who work in the tourism sector speak English. Dollars and credit cards are also accepted nearly everywhere.
Small, good infrastructure, protected areas- These three factors are vital for fantastic, easy birding. Good roads access every type of habitat including protected areas that just makes it easier to see more birds. Costa Rica's small size also makes it easier to visit more of these protected sites in a short amount of time. The end result is more birds, literally hundreds of species.
The beautiful Bay-headed Tanager is one of those many birds.
Birding experience- Thousands of birders have been visiting Costa Rica for more than 30 years, many on their own, many others on guided trips. Thanks to those decades of collective experience, we have learned how to help visiting birders see more birds. Thanks to extensive, constant local experience, we know where to find star species like Sungrebe, owls, glittering tanagers, the surreal Snowcap, Three-wattled Bellbird, Resplendent Quetzal, and whatever other species a birder would love to see.
Such as Great Potoo.
900 plus species of birds- With more than 920 species on the country list, you can bet that there's plenty of birds to see!
Not to mention, compared to many other places, birding in Costa Rica is also very affordable, especially when taking a tour with a local provider. Oh and yes, you can also drink the water in Costa Rica! We can't wait to watch birds with you here!