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Bird Watching in Costa Rica

Overview

For your information: Bird watching is possible all year round however, migration periods are the best seasons to find higher numbers of resident and migratory species: the autumn migration from North America to South America from August to December and the winter migration when birds go back to the North from January to May.

This itinerary is a fantastic opportunity to explore the wilderness of Costa Rica searching for some of the rarest and most beautiful birds of the area! You will be accompanied by an expert guide and travel to some of the best places for birds and wildlife in the whole country.

Enjoy the breath-taking surroundings of Costa Ricas National Parks, protected areas, cloud forests, and much more! You will be staying in eco lodges and ranches along the way which specialise in showcasing the very best of the natural surroundings - ideal for any avid birdwatcher! After 12 days immersed in this natural wonderland you will not want to return to real life!

Want to extend your stay? Make the most of your time in Costa Rica - get in touch to find out more about adding some days onto your tour!

This itinerary is also available as a self-drive! Get in touch for details

Itinerary

Day 1: Arrival - San Jose
You will be met at Juan Santamaría International airport and transferred to your hotel for the evening. Your luxury hotel is immersed in 10 acres of astonishing and lush gardens!

Day 2: Heredia – San Gerardo de Dota
Meet your private guide and travel to San Gerardo de Dota. Located just 85 km southwest of San Jose, San Gerardo de Dota lies near the Inter-American Highway on the western slopes of the Cerro de La Muerte. An amazingly stunning habitat for a plethora of bird and flora species, this region is most well known for being the primary habitat for the resplendent Quetzal, Costa Rica’s most famous bird. Sitting at an altitude of 2200 meters above sea level, this town offers tourists crisp mountain air, lush cloud forests and some of the best birding in the country. Your guide will take your around the area trying to spot a whole range of bird species today.

Day 3: San Gerardo de Dota
You have a full day for bird watching today with your private guide. Quetzal's are opoulous in this area; Considered to be among the most striking birds in the world, the quetzals here nest in the nearby cloud forest and can be frequently spotted during the months of April and May, their breeding season. Besides the quetzal, a number of other birds found here include tanagers, woodpeckers and hummingbirds making this area truly a birdwatchers haven.

Day 4: San Gerardo de Dota - Turrialba
Take a private transfer to Turrialba today and enjoy some time in this spectacular area. The beautiful Turrialba Valley is irrigated by the pure and wild waters of the Reventazon River, which converted these lands into a rich agricultural area over a hundred years ago. Rains throughout the year create a green collage of primary forests, biological corridors, reforested areas, and extensive plantations of coffee, macadamia and sugar cane, demonstrating a perfect balance between agricultural development and the conservation of the wealth of nature.

Day 5: Turrialba
Today you have a full days birding with your private guide. Explore the private reserve where you will be staying, looking out for a variety of species; this location within the Cordillera of Talamanca serves as a great magnet to many resident and migratory birds. Over 430 species of birds have been recorded in the private forest reserve and within the local area. This region is home to many species that are high on the ‘wanted’ list of many visiting birders. Some of the most common resident birds are the Grey-headed Chachalaca, the White-crowned Parrot, the White-necked Jacobin, the Blue-crowned Motmot, the Collared Aracari, the Keel-billed Toucan, the White-collared Manakin, the Passerini’s Tanager, the Golden-hooded Tanager and the Montezuma Oropendola.

Day 6: Turrialba - Selva Bananito
Take a private transfer today to a pristine region of Costa Rica’s Caribbean area, the Talamanca Mountains. Stay in a local lodge and reserve here tonight where wildlife spotting opportunities are abound! This eco lodge has achieved worldwide recognition thanks to its efforts in nature conservation, in particular watershed conservation, as a key element to provide a source of income for socio economic growth for local communities, and the protection of natural resources that Costa Rica Ecotourism strives to pursue and achieve.

Day 7: Selva Bananito
Enjoy a full day in Selva Bananito Reserve with your private guide. You can also choose one of these tours if you wish: Rainforest tour, introductory tree climbing or horse ride through the farm!

Day 8: Selva Bananito - Sarapiquí
After breakfast, depart to another famous birding spot in Sarapiquí. Sarapiqui stands out for its primary forests, swamps, and the Sarapiqui river, in a biologically rich territory, with temperatures that oscillate between 26°C and 28°C; a hot, humid land which can be explored by way of the dense network of trails within the protected areas which are of great importance for the conservation of birds, butterflies, insects and plants.

Day 9: Sarapiquí
Full day for bird watching with your private guide in the grounds of the lodge you willl be staying at, or in other surrounding areas good for birding. Keel-billed Toucans, Great Green Macaws, Wood Thrushes, Grey-necked Wood Rails, Sun bitterns and Violet Crowned Woodnymphs are just a few of the birds that inhabit the Selva Verde Rainforest Reserve. Grab your binoculars and join the lodge’s naturalist guide for an early morning bird walk on the grounds of Selva Verde. Morning is a very active time for the birds, so you can count on sighting several of the stunning tropical species that inhabit Selva Verde. Every morning is different, but it is always exciting!Your guide has a keen eye and a high-powered scope, so you can get close up views of birds you might not otherwise notice.

Day 10: Sarapiquí - Boca Tapada
After breakfast, depart to the northern plains - next to San Carlos River. Boca Tapada is located in the Northern lowlands, near the mouth of the San Carlos river which forms the border between Costa Rica and Nicaragua. This remote and off the beaten path area of Costa Rica is home to a rich biodiversity of plants and animals and it is specially known for being one of the few remaining nesting sites in the area of the endangered Great Green Macaw. In addition to birding, guests can enjoy a wide variety of activities such as horse riding, kayaking on San Carlos River, planting trees or visiting the Boca Tapada Elementary School.

Day 11: Boca Tapada
This is the one of the best places in Costa Rica for bird lovers with over 410 bird species, including some migratory species, as well as the Great Green Macaw (endangered), the Scarlet Macaw, some toucans, oropendolas, honeycreepers, tanagers, euphonias and jacamars, just to mention a few !The tour starts at 5:30 am, the time when most birds are very active. At first, the naturalist guide will take you through the gardens and lagoons until there are enough sunlight to start walking into the forest for another couple of hours.

Day 12: Boca Tapada – Central Valley
After breakfast, drive back to the Central Valley and spend your last night in Costa Rica enjoy the green vegetation that surrounds you.

Day 13: Departure
Say goodbye to Costa Rica as you transfer to the airport for your onward travel!

Map

Essentials

Included:
  • All transfers/private transfers where mentioned with English speaking guide
  • Accommodation including breakfast in eco lodges and ranches
  • All meals on days 2 to 11
  • Lodging taxes
  • Private English speaking guide and minibus from day 2 to day 12 OR car hire
  • Not Included:
  • International flights
  • Departure tax (US$29 per person)
  • Optional tours
  • Meals & drinks not mentioned in the itinerary
  • Tips & personal expenses
  • Alcoholic beverages
  • Essentials

    Are you wondering about flights, deposits and other bits and pieces? Here are a few items of essential information that could help with the planning of your trip with Tango Tours. If you have any questions please just contact us.

    International Flights
    Getting to Costa Rica is straightforward from most areas of the world, but you may find that the choice is bewildering, or you’re not sure about the easiest route. Tango Tours are experienced in planning flights and we are very happy to advise you on the different choices available. Because prices tend to increase closer to your departure date, we advise that you buy your international flight tickets as soon as you have made a decision about your tour. As an ATOL bonded tour operator, we can assist in your purchase of international flights. In fact, your entire tour can be protected under our ATOL licence by booking your international flight with us. Please note that flight tickets are non-refundable and 100% of your flight ticket price is payable on tour confirmation.

    Internal Flights
    As with international flights, Tango Tours' friendly and knowledgeable staff are on hand to book your internal flights for you if required. For some itineraries, you need to arrive at a particular destination at a required time/date therefore, it is vital that you book the correct flights and times of arrival. Our ATOL licence will protect your whole tour if your internal flights are purchased through us. Please note that flights are non-refundable and 100% of your flight ticket price is payable on tour confirmation.

    Payments
    To confirm your booking with Tango Tours, we require a payment of 20% of the ground-based arrangements and 100% of all flights. The remaining balance of your tour is then payable 10 weeks prior to departure. For any bookings made within these 10 weeks, the full amount is payable.

    Activities
    We provide brief activity/excursion information in the itinerary. If you would like more in-depth details regarding any included activity/excursion then contact us! Please note: itineraries may be subject to change.