Costa Rica Birding tour on a Budget
Day 1: Arrival – Hotel Robledal
Upon arrival you will be welcomed by a representative of Aratinga Tours and transferred to HOtel Country Inn & Suites, conveniently located at only 15 minutes from the airport. In the gardens you can expect some common birds of Costa Rica like Hoffman’s Woodpecker, Rufous-naped Wren, Great Kiskadee,…
Day 2 + 3: OTS biological station of La Selva
To start your Costa Rica birding tour you will head towards the Caribbean lowlands en route passing by the vast wilderness of Parque Nacional Braulio Carillo. You will spend the next days in “La Selva”. This is one of the most famous biological stations in the neotropics and one of the classic and most productive places for birdwatching in Costa Rica, where you will be spoiled with colorful birds like Parrots (up to 9 species including the possible endangered Great Green Macaw), Trogons, Tanagers and Toucans (up to 3 species) at the forest edge. Besides that you will have access to an extensive trail system penetrating a beautiful piece of lowlands virgin rainforest in which you can expect some of the more elusive typical forest birds like Tinamous, Manakins, Woodcreepers and Antbirds. On day 3 you will be joined by a private birdguide for an early birdwalk.
Day 4 + 5: Arenal area – Arenal Observatory Lodge
Arenal Observatory Lodge is a comfortable lodge with a spectacular setting at the edge of the rainforest and right in front of the Arenal Volcano. The beautiful gardens of the lodge, fruit feeders and forest edge attract some easy to see birds like the colorful Crimson-collared Tanager, Scarlet-rumped Tanager, Golden-hooded Tanager, Emerald Tanager and Crested Guan. Besides that the purple verbena flowers in the garden attract many hummingbirds including Violet-headed Hummingbird and sometimes even the spectacular Black-crested Coquette. On day 5 you will make a private guided birdwalk partly through the canopy passing large suspension bridges. This is the ideal way to see a bit more of the fauna and flora of the canopy. You will be on the lookout for local specialties like Ornate Hawk-eagle, White-fronted Nunbird , Song Wren and the rare Yellow-eared Toucanet among many others.
Day 6 + 7: La Ensenada Lodge
Passing the continental divide you will all of a sudden enter a complete different world of dry pasturelands and savannas. This produces a completely different habitat and set of birds. You will stay in the isolated La Ensenada Lodge from where you will have access to the veach, mangroves, extensive pasturelands and pieces of tropical dry forest. Here you can see some of the typical birds of the dry Northwest including Turqoise-browed Motmot, Black-headed Trogon, White-throated Magpie Jay and Orange-fronted Parakeet. On Day 7 you will go on a private boattour on the Golfo de Nicoya in search of seabirds like Brown Pelicans, Magnificent Frigatbirds, Royal Tern and with some luck also Black Skimmers…also some mangrove birds can be expected (Herons, Kingfishers, shorebirds,…)
Day 8 + 9: Parque Nacional Carara: Cerro Lodge
Cerro Lodge is an isolated lodge that offers simple but clean accommodations with great views of Parque Nacional Carara and its surroundings. Parque Nacional Carara is another must-do for birding tours in Costa Rica. The national park protects one of the last natural stands of transitional forest between tropical dry forest of the northwest and tropical wet forest in the southeast. Birds to look out for are Orange-collared Manakin, Baird’s Trogon, Streak-chested Antpitta, Riverside Wren, Royal Flycatcher and the spectacular Scarlet Macaws. On day 9 in the morning you will make a guided private birdwalk in Parque Nacional Carara in search of the local specialties; in the afternoon you will enjoy the boatride on the Tarcoles River where you can expect many herons, ibises, kingfishers and will have a chance to spot the endemic Mangrove Hummingbird…
Day 10 + 11: Dominical – Hacienda Barú
In Hacienda Barú you will stay in simple but clean bungalows at the edge of the rainforest and at about 200 m from a beautiful tropical white sand beach with coconut palms and rainforest in the background. A well-maintained trail system brings you through primary and secondary rainforest where you can see the beautiful Yellow-throated Toucan, and Fiery-billed Aracari’s, colorful Tanagers and troops of White-faced Capuchin Monkeys. On day 11 a guided birdwalk through the reserve is scheduled.
Day 12 + 13: Talari Mountain Lodge
Talari Mountain Lodge is a small lodge a little outside of San Isidro del General surrounded by quiet gardens packed with birds including Lesson’s Motmot, Red-crowned Woodpecker, Green Honeycreepers, Roadside Hawks and many more…Fruit feeders attract colorful birds that are easy to approach. On day 13 we will schedule exciting birdtour for you around the Aracari Birddeck in the nearby Quizara. Here, your local guide will help you to spot Turqoise Cotinga, Speckled Tanager, Fiery-billed Aracari, Orange-collared Manakin, Bay-headed Tanager, Olivaceous Piculet and many more…
Day 14 + 15: Cerro de la Muerte – Quetzal’s Paradise Lodge
Your trip will continue through the endemic rich area of the Cerro de la Muerte. You will stay at around 2500 masl in the Quetzal’s Paradise lodge. Here you will be in the middle of the cloudforest with dramatic views of the surrounding mountain scene. Several trails give access to the cloudforest where you might see the spectacular Resplendent Quetzal and can spot many (near-)endemic bird species like Spangle-cheeked Tanager, Black Guan, Collared Redstart and Yellow-thighed Finch among many others. Sugarfeeders attract several highland hummingbirds including the colorful and rare Fiery-throated Hummingbird, tiny Volcano Hummingbird and Magnificent Hummingbird. On day 15 you will go on a birdwalk in search of the Quetzal and other local specialties.
Day 16 + 17: airport – Hotel Country Inn
You will end in Hotel Country Inn, conveniently located at only 10 minutes from the airport. At the end of day 16 your rental car will be picked up at the hotel. On day 17 you will be transferred to the airport. End of trip.
What is included ?
- All accommodations in double rooms
- In all lodges / hotels there is a breakfast included per night
- English meet and greet at airport + private-transfer to first hotel on day 1 and to airport on day 17.
- Half-day birding excursions with English speaking birdguides as mentioned above
- Rental Car: Geely GX3 4 x 2 with automatic transmission (or similar) from day 2 until day 16. Including full cover insurance, mobile router that generates Wi-Fi signal .
- Detailed information package: practical information, background information+ checklist of birds of Costa Rica
- Access to English-speaking help-desk of Aratinga Tours during your Costa Rica tour. 7 days a week, during office hours
- Personal expenses
- Entrance fees to National Parks and other reserves (in this case 10 usd pp for Parque Nacional Carara; the rest is included)
- International flight
- Tips for local guides
Price (per person, with 2 persons participating, staying in double rooms) :
- May 1st – June 30th 2023: 2050 usd
- July 1st – August 31st 2023: 2200 usd
- September 1st – October 31st 2023: 2100 usd
- November 1st 2023- April 30th 2024: 2350 usd
- May 1st – June 30th 2024: 2100 usd
- July 1st – August 31st 2024: 2250 usd
- September 1st – October 31st 2024: 2150 usd
If you prefer not to drive a rental car, please ask a quote for transportation by private transfers at firstname.lastname@example.org