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What Are the Top Sites to Visit on a Birding Tour in Costa Rica?

When planning a birding tour in Costa Rica, there's a lot to consider. Go birding for one week, two weeks, or more? Which birds do we want to see the most? Photography or looking for certain species? In addition to those important questions, most of all, we need to decide where to actually go birding in Costa Rica.

Costa Rica might be a small country but it's still big enough and so biodiverse that different parts of the nation have different suites of bird species, some sites are better for certain birds than others, and other sites are more suited to photography.

This Broad-billed Motmot was at a site suited for watching birds and taking their pictures.


A bird tour can't go everywhere but what it can do is visit key sites to provide the best birding experience. With that in mind, even then, the top sites on a birding tour in Costa Rica aren't going to be the same for every trip. This is because some trips might be focused on photography while others are focused on seeing certain key, target species. Where the tour goes really depends on the main focus of the trip.


For example, if it's a custom tour in search of the rare, endangered, and spectacular Bare-necked Umbrellabird, we would probably spend time at such sites as the Pocosol Biological Research Station, the Volcan Tenorio area, Veragua, and the Rainforest Aerial Tram. If we wanted to see and take pictures of lots of tropical birds, we might visit such sites as the Arenal area, Cano Negro, Laguna de Lagarto, the Carara area, and Quetzal Paradise (it's as nice as it sounds!). Other options are also possible, where the tour goes depends on which birds clients want to see the most and how much time is available to look for them. Luckily, since we live in Costa Rica and go birding in our spare time, we know various sites for every species.

Since the top sites for birding in Costa Rica are many and vary depending on what you want to see, there are too many excellent sites to mention here. But, what we can do is mention 5 of the factors that we look for in top sites for our birding tours. They include:


Access

There is truly fantastic birding way up there off the beaten path but since we can see the same birds in any number of other, more accessible sites, top sites on birding tours in Costa Rica tend to have relatively easy access.


High Quality Habitat

In common with most better sites for birding, habitat is everything and in Costa Rica, that often means large areas of mature forest as well as large wetlands.


Accommodation with Good On-Site Birding

Some of the best sites are right at nature lodges or hotels that protect high quality habitat. Since many such places also have plants or other situations that bring in the birds, these places are especially good for birding and bird photography.


Quality Birding

Of course a top site should always offer the chance to see a good variety of birds, the closer the better, and rare or uncommon birds that are difficult to see elsewhere.



Photography Opportunities

Some sites are perfectly situated and set up for bird photography. Naturally, these are top sites for photo tours but they also tend to be wonderful for regular birding tours too.


These are some of the factors that we take into account when planning an itinerary. However, these factors always have to fit in with a main, central tenet, that of planning the tour around the idea of giving the customer an experience of a lifetime that surpasses their expectations. At least that's what we strive to do!

To learn more about some of the places we visit on our birding tours and how we can help you or your birding club have a fantastic birding trip in Costa Rica, contact us at sharpbill@lifertours.com.