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Birding Tours of Costa Rica

From Quetzals to Macaws 2016

Feb 21-29

8 nights 9 days

Talamanaca Mountains there is not destination in Costa Rica more fullfilling for endemic birds, although the number of species in the highlands in the country are far less than rainforest lowlands, the exceptional number of endemics far exceeds those ones in areas as Corcovado National Park or La Selva. Hummingbirds, flycatchers, vireos, trogons, wrens, are some the families that had been isolated for millions of years; creating specialization of species therefore endemics. Among some of the most beautiful birds are found the Resplendent Quetzal and perhaps the only place in which can be found all year round. Gian oaks, misty mornings and crips air are many of the wonderful things that makes this destination a favorite among us....



Day 1   Feb 21. Savegre Lodge. Early departure to the Savegre Valley; birding along the road for endemics such as Timberline Wren, Junco Volcano, Volcano Hummingbird, Flame throated Warbler, etc.. Upon arrival lunch and garden birding  to oak forest, were dozens of birds are found in the dense understory or high in the canopy. Redstars, silky flycatchers, woodcreepers, woodquails, becards and some eagles are among others to search for. In the late afternoon we will visit several local spots for endemic warblers. All meals included.


Day 2   Feb 22. Savegre Lodge. Birding before breakfast. In search of Resplendent Quetzal. Early birding in search for always elusive Zeledonia, Tapaculo and Resplendent Quetzal. All day birding at the lodge grounds, roadsides, gardens, and river edges. All meals included.


  Pejibaye’s mid elevation rainforest is without doubts the best birding place in Costa Rica, it lies beneath the caribbean slope of Talamanca Mountains near Tapanti National Park, its unique geographical position benefits the area with an exuberant forest cover, intermountain valleys, river gorges and more importantly very little human presence. The lower forest near the lodge is a magnet for tanagers, orioles, shrike vireos, oropendulas, toucans, hummingbirds, etc.

Its understory with an even vegetation is fantastic for manakins, spinetails, finches, wrens, sparrows and even tinamous. In a single mixed flock over 30 species are found songwrens, antthushes, antpittas are common on the understory darkness, meanwhile grosbeaks,17 species of tanagers, woodcreepers, woodpeckers, flycatchers, also the not often found yellow ear toucanets glide from branch to branch in the forest canopy. Pejibaye’s Rainforest is the best place to find Snowcaps anywhere!! The charm of the hotel staff and the unrivaled privacy of this lodge makes a supreme combination for birdwatching.


Day 3   Feb 23. Copal Lodge. Leisurely take a breakfast pack and get ready to intense birding at Pejibaye’s Rainforest, birding along roadside, farms, cattle fields, etc. Once at the lodge explore the surrounding forests, birdwatch on site. Around the lodge in the mid of the day large eagles and other raptors are present, mixed flocks are very abundant and near the lodge forests, snowcaps, spinetalis, forest sparrows are also spotted. All meals included.


Day 4   Feb 24. Copal Lodge. Early rising, search for antbirds, leaftossers, woodcreepers return for breakfast and spend all day birding at the lodge grounds and nearby trails.The small loop trails at the Copal are very rewarding, insect eating birds such as Song Wrens, Tawny faced Gnatwrens, Brown billed Scythebills, Schiffornis and many others are some of the most active, its dense forest also is very good for rarities like Highland Tinamou, Yellow eared Toucanet and Lovely Cotinga, which in fact its the best month to find it. All meals included.


Sarapiqui is a real rainforest experience with vast areas to cover, primary rainforest, active and non active pasture fields, river edges, canopy bridges, thick understory, etc. Cotingas, macaws, oropendulas, guans, eagles, toucans are some of the many species to find. At La Selva Biological Station daily birds to spot are Green Ibis, Sunbittern, Jacamars, Tanagers, Orioles, Woodpeckers, Tityras, etc.

Botanical gardens nearby offer great opportunities to spot a dozen or more species of hummingbirds and its adjacent forest always bring good surprises as Little Tinamou, Lattice tailed Trogon, Cinnamon Woodpecker, and much more. The Braulio Carrillo National Park is a real rainforest experience with the largest mixed flocks ever including favorites such as Sharpbills and Umbrellabirds.


Day 5   Feb 25. La Selva. Traveling to the Braulio Carrillo is breath taken, its 95% of the forests has never been altered by human hands, dozens of small waterfalls, evergreen vegetation makes this little piece of jungle one of the best places in Costa Rica to visit. More than 350 species had even recorded within the park area & adjacent villages. Our first visit is a local’s farm in search for Spectacle Owl, Long tailed Tyrant, Great Potoo, White throated Crake and the least goes on!! Lunch on a nearby restaurant and visit the national park to try to find Sharpbill, aracaries, mix flocks of tanagers, orioles, woodpeckers, barbets, woodquails, rare wrens, etc. All meals included.


Day 6   Feb 26. La Selva . Spend all day La Selva Biological Station, whom is some of the best birding in the area with large forested it areas combined with secondary vegetation and gardens. Dozen of birds are found upon arrival, guans, tanagers, motmots, toucans, becards, euphonias, etc.. Several hours at La Selva and continue to explore close by grounds for Great Green Macaw, Bat Falcon, etc. All meals included.


  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.


Day 7   Feb 27.  South Beach Hotel. Afternoon birding in open fields and secondary forest near Jaco Beach.  All meals included.


Day 8   Feb 28. South Beach Hotel. Breakfast at local restaurant after a boat trip to the mangroves.. 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, anies ducks, species that are not longer found at the national park due their habitats disappearance. All meals included.


Day 9   Feb 29. South Beach Hotel. Breakfast on the go! “The early bird catches the worm”, today we will visit one of the best birding sites in Central America,Carara National Park is a combination of ecosystems, that aloud an amazing number of endemics, birds with restricted ranges and many other beauties with more than 490 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.




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*Photography by Randall Ortega 2007.