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Birding Tours of Costa Rica

The Amazing South             June 1-11-2012       10 nights-11 days

Destinations:
Carara Nt. Park, Guanacaste Dry Tropical Forest, Tenorio Volcano, Arenal Volcano Area & Juan Castro Blanco Nat. Park

 Why these destinations?
Carara National Park is by far one the best birding place all year round in Costa Rica.Within the national park protects the second largest population of Scarlet Macaws, easy access to all trails, mangrove swamps, pasture fields and forest edges. There are very few places in the country where more than hundred species can be found in one trail. Meandrica’s trail it has become an icon for quality birding, tinamous, trogons, wrens, antpittas, manakins, cotingas, bellbirds, antshrikes are among the most common birds in the forest. The nearby forested edges give as a good number of open field birds, jays, blackbirds, greenlets, rails, ground doves, motmots, hawks, parakeets, owls are among many of the avifauna found in these habitats.
The mangroves at Rio Grande de Tarcoles are very rewarding on a good day along the river edges 5 species of kingfishers can be spotted, more than a couple dozens of shorebirds, herons, egrets are also easy to find but the most remarkable species are the ones with a restricted range or to the mangroves such as vireos, warblers, cuckoos, flycatchers, the elusive Rufous necked woodrail and the only true Costa Rican endemic Mangrove Hummingbird.

Tenorio Rainforest among one of the best places to go birding in the country and definitely the best canopy birdwatching, with net of suspended tree top bridges this rainforest its an impressive destination for birders. Some of the best highlights are Tody Motmot, Bare necked Umbrellabird, Rufous ground Vented Cuckoo, Ornate Hawk Eagle, Slaty breasted Tinamou, Yellow eared Toucanet and few hundred more species.

Arenal Volcano Area is well known for its active summit, but little is talk about its great bird diversity and its always beautiful rainforest. Coming across Quail doves, mix flocks, soaring eagles, elusive antpittas are just another day in paradise. Bordering the lake forest is very rewarding, the complex vegetation of many different ages makes this piece of Costa Rica a must to visit for birdwatchers. Great Currasows in the middle of the paths, active Black throated Wrens on tangled vines, silently perched raptors on expose death tree trunks, hyperactive Coquettes going from flower to flower are just part of a daily birding.

Bosque de Paz if your idea of birding is endless trail opportunities, uncrowded forests, great food, breath taking vegetation, appealing lodging and over 350 species to target! Then, Bosque de Paz is your gateway. Or if your idea of birding is to watch hummingbirds everywhere, friendly trogons, singing wrens, rapid endemic jays, and the adore beauty of Resplendent Quetzals! Bosque de Paz is your destination.

DAYS 1 - 6 Carara Nt Park, Jaco Beach Area, Tarcoles River & Tenorio Volcano Area.

Day 1. April 1. Arrival to Costa Rica, Overnight at Arenal Pacifico. No meals included. Pick up transfer and information meeting. Today, CRBJ staff will describe the day by day activities, the destinations, possible bird sightings, what to wear by destination and all other general information regarding the trip.

Day 2. April 2. Breakfast at local restaurant after a boat trip to the mangroves. Arenal Pacifico Hotel.
 Travel a for half hour to birdwatch about 3 hour boat tour to Tarcoles River Mangroves in which a combination of deforested areas, river edges, mangrove forest and river mouths are impressive. Herons, egrets, vireos, hummingbirds, frigatebirds, shore birds, waders, cuckoos, macaws, parrots, hawks, also looking for White throated Magpie Jay, Ferruginous Pygmy Owl, Black headed Trogon and much more are among the common groups of  birds sighted; although the boat tour main goal is to find the mangrove specialities such Mangrove Hummingbird, Cuckoo, Vireo, Warbler, Rufous necked Woodrail, Panama & Scrub Flycatchers & American Pygmy Kingfisher. On the afternoon we will visit open farm lands, forest patches, river edges and more pasture fields; the goal here is to find seedaters, raptors, parakeets, flycatchers, lapwings, anis,ducks, species that are not longer found at the national park due their habitats disappearance. All meals included.

Day 3. April 3. Breakfast on the go! “ Arenal Pacifico Hotel.
 The early bird catches the worm”, today we will visit one of the best birding sites in Central America, Carara nt. Park is a combination of ecosystems, that aloud an amazing number of endemics, birds with restricted ranges and many other beauties with more than 400 species recorded antbirds, macaws, hummingbirds, euphonias, tanagers, flycatchers, cotingas, wrens, manakins and dozen more families are daily sightings. All day at the park, lunch at a local restaurant & dinner at Jaco Beach town. All meals included.

Day 4. April 4. Breakfast on the go! Arenal Pacifico Hotel. 
 We are still going to visit the amazing Carara, but daily targets are going to be antpittas, tinamous, uncommon quaildoves,  flycatchers, woodcreepers, becards and hopefully more than glimpse of Three Wattled Bellbird and King Vultures. But the order to the trail visit will vary, we are going to visit first primary forest early in the morning and semi-open forests at Meandrical’s trail on the afternoon.  All meals included.

Day 5. April 5. A long journey awaits for us, breakfast at the lodge and departure to the northern Guanacaste rainforest, the only places in which the canopy is just a step away. Heliconias Lodge. Several suspended bridges, easy trails and tons of rainforest to explore for Nunbirds, Tinamous, Motmots, owls, woodpeckers. All day at the lodge grounds. All meals included.

Day 6. April 6. A day for exploring the rainforest canopies, its wildlife & flora. Heliconias Lodge.
The most remarkable bird of this lodge is Tody Motmot, and today we will work our ways to the forest to find this bird and hundreds more. All meals included.

DAYS 7 - 15  Tenorio Volcano Rainforest, Arenal Volcano Area & Juan Castro Blanco National Park.

Day 7. April 7. All day at the lodge grounds. Heliconias Lodge.
 Our targets today are going to be army ant swarms, and some open forest birds as woodpeckers, tanagers, flycatchers and more. All meals included.

Day 8. April 8. Breakfast at the lodge, follow to departure to La Fortuna. Arenal Lodge.
Upon arrival we are going to explore the hotel grounds, for a good number of honeycreepers, tanagers, oropendulas, some hummingbirds and many other forest birds such as trogons, pygmy tyrants on the hotel private preserve. The remaining part of the afternoon we will take a drive to the Arenal Lake area in hopes to find guans, parrots, motmots, toucans, etc. All meals included.

Day 9. April 9. Full day birding at the hotel grounds. Arenal Lodge.
Exploring its private 600 hectares of primary, secondary forests with unlimited possibilities and good chance for Bare necked Umbrellabird. The hotel is place in front of the most active volcano in Central America its views are majestic and unrivaled. Upon request a visit to Baldi Hot Springs ( non included ) All meals included

Day 10. April 10. Arenal Lodge. Early birding to the forest nearby the Arenal lake which ist mostly secondary forest where a good combination of micro habitats increase the birding possibilities such as Long tailed Tyrant, Broad billed Motmot, Crested Guan, Keel billed Toucan, White Hawk, Thicket Antpitta, and maybe Ornated Hawk Eagle. All meals included

Day 11. April 11. Breakfast at the lodge, follow to departure to Bajos del Toro’s town. Bosque de Paz Lodge.
Early birding, breakfast and lets go to the “Forest of Peace”, fantastic destination for hummingbird lovers, quetzal seekers and much more. The lodge has dozen of trail systems to explore, we will spend all day at the lodge grounds.  Bosque de Paz is an amazing place to find highland endemics such Azure hooded Jay, Prong billed Barbet, Gray breasted Woodwren, etc. All meals included.

Day 12. April 12. Early birding at the forest trails. Bosque de Paz Lodge.
Looking for Resplendent Quetzal, Red headed barbet, leaftossers, woodhunters, woodcreepers , highland tinamous, etc. After a well deserved breakfast we will travel few minutes down the road to another great hummingbird garden at Bajos del Toro’s waterfall some other great birds are found such as Prevost’s Ground Sparrow, Purplish backed Quaildove, Long tailed Sylkyflycatcher, etc.. After exploring the forest trails and hummingbird gardens we will return to the lodge for lunch more forest birds.  All meals included.

Day 13. April 13. All day birding at the rainforest trams, trails & dense forest hikes. All meals included.

Day 14. April 14. Relax breakfast and good bye paradise, transfer to the international airport!! Breakfast Included

Price per participant
 6 pax $3100 ( double accommodation )
**Single supplement add $250 u.s**
Included

  1. All lodging
  2. All meals except arrival day.
  3. All ground transportation
  4. All park fees
  5. All activities
  6. Pro-birder guiding the entire trip
  7. Costa Rica Bird Check lists

Non included                                                                      

  1. International Airfare
  2. Gratuities
  3. Travel Insurance
  4. Alcoholic drinks

What to bring on your trip to Costa Rica

Clothing
Tennis shoes with good traction or Hiking boots with good ankle support (waterproof)
Comfortable sandals or flip flops
Swim wear
Underclothes and socks
Neutral colored clothing for rain forest hikes
Several cool long sleeve shirts and short sleeve shirts
Hat for sun protection (breathable)
2-3 pairs of light weight long pants for rain forest hikes
Lightweight rain jacket (neutral color only)
Casual beach clothing(t-shirts, shorts, sun dresses)
Long pants and a fast drying sweater for the city/mountains (temp. are cooler there)
Lightweight gloves for cooler areas
Rubber boots can be bought in Costa Rica for $12 us.

Gear
Small hiking backpack for day trips
Small first aid kit
Binoculars
Camera (optional)
Sunglasses
Sun block and Bug Spray (Avon’s Skin So Soft)
Several pencils
Daily journal
A passport purse (to carry money, credit cards, etc... wear it close to your body)
Any needed medications, anti-diarrhea, or any prescriptions
Flashlight
Alarm Clock
Money,credit cards, identification
About $50-200 in cash (not tears in bills, small bills are better)
Travelers checks (American Express or Visa)(can exchange some of them for Colones at the the local banks or hotel front desk)
Visa credit card widely accepted in Costa Rica, except rural towns(keep phone number of credit card company separate.)
Passports
Photo copies of passports and driver’s license(kept in a separate place) IUse a credit card to call US from your hotel room or local phone.
For local calls in Costa Rica, purchase a phone card at pharmacies or supermarkets-use public phones (1000 colones)
You can also purchase a phone card here for international calls ($9 for 12 minutes to US)


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*Photography by Randall Ortega 2007.