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Birding Tours of Costa Rica

El pajarero Budget Birding Tour      May 6-17-2012               12 nights - 13 days

Talamanca Highlands, Pejibaye Rainforest, Tapanti National Park & Sarapiqui Area.

Why these destinations?

Talamanaca Mountains there is not destination in Costa Rica more fulfilling 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. Giant oaks, misty mornings and crispy air are many of the wonderful things that makes this destination a favorite among us.... Birders!

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.

Tapanti National Park because of its geographical position this national park is effected by constant cloud formation the forest is lush rich in epiphytic plants, mosses, orchids and a dense understory. This environment encloses a incredible number of biodiversity and a fabulous number of over 320 species of birds. Antpittas, hummingbirds, finches, woodquails, tanagers, euphonias, eagles, trogons, owls are common families represented here. With a large main trail bordering both secondary & primary forest; Tapanti is a place for those birders whom are looking for a challenge and finding those elusive ones such as Sharpbills, Monklets, Antpittas, Woodquails, Quaildoves and a soaring eagles or two. One of the most amazing characteristics of Tapanti are its mixed flocks which will arrive at any give moment and a good couple of dozens of species will be sighted.

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 a Private reserve 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.


DAYS 1 - 6 Cerro de la Muerte, Pejibaye’s Rainforest & Tapanti National Park.

Day 1. May 5. Arrival to Costa Rica, CRBJ staff will pick you up & transfer to Villas Zurqui, welcome & information meeting. Your guide will guide you thru your day by day itinerary.

Day 2. May 6. 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. All meals included

Day 2. May 7. Birding before breakfast. In Search of Resplendent Quetzal. Paraiso de Quetzal Lodge.
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.
Day 3. May 8. Birding after breakfast 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, flycatchers, and the always rare Dusky Nightjar.

Day 4. May 9. Leisurely take a breakfast pack and get ready to intense birding at Pejibaye’s Rainforest. Copal Lodge. birding along roadside, farms, cattle fields, etc. Once at the lodge explore the surrounding forests, birdwatch on site. All meals included.

Day 5. May 10. Early rising, search for antbirds, leaftossers, woodcreepers return for breakfast and spend all day birding at the lodge grounds and nearby trails. Commonly this destination brings out the best of Mid elevations birding.  All meals at the lodge. All meals included.

Day 6. May 11. Get up with the sounds of the forest, birdwatch from the lodge deck, breakfast & continue searching for birds inside the forest. Tinamous, songwrens, leaftossers, parrots, becards, grosbeaks, manakins, are many of the species found on the lodge rainforests.  All meals at the lodge. All meals included.

Day 7. May 12. Pick up and transfer to Orosi’s valley to Tapanti national park that lies between the Rio Orosi and the lower Talamanca range. Explore open areas nearby the lodge the upper ridges and active pasture fields. All meals included at the Kiri Lodge.

Day 8. May 13. An early visit to the national park in search of Antpittas, mixed flocks of tanagers, woodcreepers, spinetails, becards and much more. All day at the park. Breakfast on the go, lunch/dinner at the lodge.

Day 9. May 14. Explore open areas, river edges and forest patches. Return to the lodge for breakfast and continue birding until lunch. Afternoon hike to the national park until dark. Dinner at the lodge and short visit to an Owl spotting. Kiri Lodge.

DAYS 10 - 13 Sarapiqui Area & Braulio Carrillo.

Day 10. May 15. Breakfast at the lodge and leisure departure to Sarapiqui Lowlands ( 3 hours ). Andrea Cristina B&B.
 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, 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 11. May 16. All day at the morning at the lodge grounds. At Andrea Cristina B&B., the nearby private forests holds a good biodiversity of birds, such as Sunbittern, Green Ibis, Bright rumped Atila, Fasciated Antshrike, Rufous tailed Jacamar to mention few but also its the best known area to find the endangered Great Green Macaws. The owners of the lodge are true dedicated conservationist and pioneers on preservation for this specie. We will also visit couple local spots for guans, toucans and more. All meals included.

Day 12. May 17. Early start to Tirimbina Rainforest Preserve. Andrea Cristina B&B.
A most to visit for birders of all levels. A complex net of canopy bridges, forested trails & nearby rivers are some of the great habitats to explore. Great place for Black crested Coquette, Yellow eard Toucanet, Great Tinamou, Keel billed Motmot among other good birds.  Lunch at a local restaurant follow to some resting time to continue birding after on several open fields for Snowy Cotingas, Aracaries and more. All meals included.

Day 13. May 18. Relax breakfast and good bye paradise, transfer to the international airport!! Breakfast Included

Price per participant SPECIAL RATES!!!
6 people maximum $2100 ( single accommodation )
6 people maximum $2000 ( double accommodation )
All lodging
All meals except arrival day and last 3 days lunches & dinners.
All ground transportation
All park fees
All activities
Pro-birder guiding the entire trip
Costa Rica Bird Check lists
Non included                                                              
Travel Insurance
Alcoholic drinks

What to bring on your trip to Costa Rica
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.

Small hiking backpack for day trips
Small first aid kit
Camera (optional)
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
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.)
Photo copies of passports and driver’s license(kept in a separate place) Use 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.