Easy Birding Costa Rica

Day1: arrival – Hotel Bougainvillea

Upon arrival, you will be welcomed at the airport and transferred to Hotel Bougainvillea, located in a nice neighborhood at the edge of San José. The well-maintained botanical gardens of the hotel offer a great introduction to birdwatching in Costa Rica. Here you can encounter some common species like Great Kiskadee, Rufous-tailed Hummingbird, Blue-gray Tanager, Palm Tanager and Blue-crowned Motmot.

Day 2, 3 +4: Puerto Viejo de Sarapoqui – Selva Verde Lodge

After car pick up you will head to the biodiverse Puerto Viejo de Sarapiqui area to spend 3 nights in the beautiful and bird-rich Selva Verde Lodge from where we will schedule some great birding activities in the surroundings. First you will visit Cope, a local nature passionate that will welcome you in his house where you can enjoy some colorful birds at the feeders like Red-legged Honeycreeper, Scarlet-rumped Tanager, White-necked Jacobin and Bronze-tailed Plumeleteer. Cope will also take you ta a nearby rainforest and often knows the perches of some spectacular species like Great Potoo, Crested Owl and Spectacled Owl. On day 3 you will go on a private guided tour to the La Selva biological station, the true “Mecca” for birdwatching in Costa Rica with already more than 400 species recorded. You will look for local specialties like Great Green Macaw, Great Tinamou and Snowy Cotinga. On the last day a private local guide will company you to the Danta hummingbird garden in search of some stunning and hard to see species with possibilities for like Black-crested Coquette and Snowcap among many others.

Day 5 + 6: Caño Negro – Natural Lodge 

Caño Negro might not be the most popular spot for Costa Rica birdwatching, it guarantees an authentic and quiet atmosphere in rural Costa Rica with tons of cool bird species often hard to see anywhere else in the country. We will include a relaxed private boat tour along the precious Rio Frio River where you can enjoy many water birds including all 6 species of neotropical Kingfishers and with some luck the rare Sungrebe. Also Lesser-yellow-headed Vulture and the shy Yellow-breasted Crake are possible. At night we will schedule a nocturnal tour. the Caño Negro area is very good for owling and you can expect up to 4 or 5 species during this tour, with possibilities for Black-and-white Owl, Crested Owl, Great Potoo, Common Potoo, Pacific Screech-owl and Mottled Owl.

Day 7, 8 + 9:  Parque Nacional Carara and Tarcoles area – Hotel Villa Lapas

Parque Nacional Carara, a beautiful piece of untouched nature protecting one of the last transitional forests between tropical dry and tropical wet forests. The result is an interesting and very diverse species mix with influences from both areas. Besides that Carara is one of the last places in Costa Rica with a healthy population of Scarlet Macaws. You will stay in Hotel Villa Lapas, conveniently located about 2 kms from Parque Nacional Carara and at the edge of the rainforest. In the morning of day 8 a private local bird guide will join you in Carara NP in search of local specialities like Baird’s Trogon, Streak-chested Anptpitta, Orange-collared Manakin and Royal Flycatcher. On day 9 you will make a private boat-tour on the Tarcoles Rivier.  First you will explore the open areas near the river mouth to observe Herons, Osperys, Common Black Hawks, Anhinga’s and Roseate Spoonbill; afterwards you will head towards the mangroves to look for Kingfishers some true mangrove specialists like the American Pygmee KIingfisher, endemic Mangrove Hummingbird (Costa Rica only !), Mangrove Warbler, Mangrove Vireo and Panama Flycatcher.

Day 10,11 + 12: San Gerardo de Dota – Hotel Savegre 

You will leave the humid lowlands behind and climb up the Cerro de la Muerte mountain, followed by a scenic descend to the Savegre valley, in the heart of the endemic rich Talamanca mountain range. Hotel Savegre is a recently novated lodge surrounded by beautiful gardens abd with access to an extensive trail system through thick cloudforest. Some of the most spectacular birds of Costa Rica can be seen here and the San Gerardo de Dota area is the best in the country to look for Resplendent Quetzal. Besides that you can expect many endemic birdspecies like Spangle-cheeked-tanager, Black Guan, Collared Redstart,  Yellow-thighed Finch and many hummingbirds like Magnificent Hummingbird, White-throated Mountain-gem, Volcano Hummingbird and Lesser Violetear. On day 11 you will be invited to participate in a guided birdtour in search of the Resplendent Quetzal and other highland birds. On day 12 you will have an extra day to explore the cloudforest and its unique birdlife.

Day 13 + 14: Alajuela – airport – Hotel Buena Vista

You will go back to the Central Valley and stay your last night in the beautifull Hotel Buena Vista. Here you are in the middle of the coffee-plantations with a panoramic view of San José downtown. The hotels gardens attract some interesting bird species like White-eared Ground-sparrow, Plain Wren and Yellow-throated Euphonia. In the late afternoon you rencal car will be picked up in the hotel. The next day (day 14) you will be transferred to the airport. End of trip.

What is included ?

  • All accomodations in double rooms with private bathroom.
  • 3 meals a day from breakfast day 2 until breakfast day 14
  • Welcome at airport + private transfer to first hotel on day 1; private transfer to airport on day 14
  • Birdwatching tours with local English-speaking birdguides as described above
  • Rental Car SsangYoung Korando 4 x 4 + full cover insurance + mobile router that generates Wifi signal + cell phone with 60 min credit for local calls from day 2 till day 13
  • Detailed information package: practical information, background information, road map + checklist of birds of Costa Rica
  • Acces to English-speaking help-desk of Aratinga Tours during your Costa Rica tour. 7 days a week, during office hours

Extra costs

  • Personal expenses
  • Entrance fees National Parks and other reserves  (10 usd per person for Parque Nacional Carara, to be paid at the entrance; all other entrace fees are included)
  • International flight
  • Tips for local guides

Price (per person, with 2 persons participating,  staying in double rooms) :

  • 16/11/2018 – 30/04/2019: 2630 usd
  • 01/05 – 30/06 + 01/09 – 15/11 2019: 2465 usd
  • 01/07 – 31/08 2019: 2510 usd

If you prefer not to drive a rental car, please ask a quote for transportation by private transfers…