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Birding Tours of Costa Rica

Costa Rica’s Richness      February 6th-20th 2012      14 nights-15 days

Why these destinations?
Carara National Park is by far one of the best birding places all year round in Costa Rica. Within the national park the second largest population of Scarlet Macaws is protected, 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.

Hacienda Solimar  private preserve located on the Palo Verde Wildlife Refuge area in which thousands of birds inhabit during the migration from the north, also a fabulous place to find dry tropical forest specialities such as Thicket Tinamou, Long tailed Manakin, Lesser ground Cuckoo, and the rare Jabiru stork. The areas is a seasonal flooded flatlands with semi deciduos forest evergreen riparian vegetation, small shrubs and bushes are a great combination for birding possibilities.

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.

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 Gavilan Lodge 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. Our visit to will extend to the lower base of the park on a private property which belongs to the Aerial Tram Rainforest, a concept originally design to understand rainforest canopy ecosystems that later on; was transform into a tourist activity. Our goal here is to target rare birds such as Sharpbill, Rufous ground vented Cuckoo, and the best know lek of Bare necked Umbrellabird, an endemic specie that most people only dream about it.

DAYS 1 - 6 Carara Nt Park, Jaco Beach Area, Tarcoles River & Guancaste Plains.

Day 1. February 6. 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. February 7. 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 Humminbird, 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. February 8. 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. February 9. 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. February 10. Leisure breakfast at the hotel’s restaurant and departure to Guancaste’s lowlands. Hacienda Solimar. Upon arrival exploration of the local spots, lunch at the lodge follow to a relax time until 3:30 pm for more birding on the nearby forests. All meals included.

Day 6. February 11. Birding with sunrise; visit the local swamps, marshes, forest before and after breakfast. Hacienda Solimar. Due the high temperatures during 11 am to 1 pm we strongly suggest to take some resting time and continue birding after 3 pm. All meals included.

DAYS 7 - 15 Guancaste Plains, Tenorio Volcano Rainforest, Sarapiqui Area & Braulio Carrillo.

Day 7. February 12. 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 at the lodge. Breakfast Included.

Day 8. February 13. 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 day at the lodge grounds. Breakfast Included.

Day 9. February 14. 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. Breakfast Included.

Day 10. February 15. Breakfast at the lodge and leisure departure to Sarapiqui Lowlands ( 3 hours ). Gavilan Lodge.
 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. February 16. All day at the morning at the lodge grounds. At Gavilan Lodge, the nearby riparian forests holds a good biodiversity of birds, such as Sunbittern, Green Ibis, Bright rumped Atila, Fasciated Antshrike, Rufous tailed Jacamar to mention few. We will also visit couple local spots for guans, toucans and more. All meals included.

Day 12. February 17. Early start to Tirimbina Rainforest Preserve. Gavilan Lodge.
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. February 18. After a good typical breakfast a short travel distance will put us at the base to Braulio Carrillo Nat. Park & the Aerial Tram Rainforest Lodge, the destination is a complex system of canopy trams design to explore & understand this rich ecosystem. Our goals are mixed flocks, and the always rare Umbrellabird. All meals included.

Day 14. February 19.  All day birding at the rainforest trams, trails & dense forest hikes. All meals included.

Day 15. February 20. Relax breakfast and good bye paradise, transfer to the international airport!! Breakfast Included.

Price per participant
4 to 6 pax $2650 ( double accommodation )
**Single supplement add $250 u.s**

  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                                                              

    • Airfare
    • Gratuities
    • Travel Insurance
    • Alcoholic drinks


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*Photography by Randall Ortega ©2007.