special bird and photography tour Costa Rica 2020

From August 1st Costa Rica opens its international airports again after a closure of about 5 months. Also restrictions will gradually be less and as a result international tourism will be possible again taking into account some very strict safety protocols. To celebrate this we would like to offer a unique tour through Costa Rica especially for social bubbles like couples or families making use of remote small ecolodges in the middle of nature and private tours, private transfers and a rental car. This way we can guarantee an exclusive natural experience with a minimum of risk for Coronavirus.

Day 1: arrival – Hotel Buena Vista

After your welcome at the airport a private transfer will take you to Hotel Buena Vista, a comfortable hotel with free Wi-Fi in the room 5 kms out of the center of Alajuela at the flanks of the Poas Volcano and surrounded by coffee plantations. The view from the garden of the Central Valley below is spectacular.

Day 2, 3, 4 + 5:  Boca Tapada – Laguna de Lagarto Lodge (standard room)

At 8:30 am you rental car will be delivered at the hotel. Following the beautiful scenery of Varablanca with thick cloudforest and some large waterfalls you will reach the Caribbean lowlands. The landscape will change and you will see plantations of tropical crops along the road like banana’s, papaya’s and pineapples. Your final destination is Laguna de Lagarto Lodge a little outside of the remote village of Boca Tapada surrounded by pastureland en tropical lowland rainforest. Especially the avifauna is overwhelming here…up to 2 species of Macaws can be expected, 3 species if toucans, parrots, Montezuma Oropendolas, a wide variety of colorful tanagers, the bizarre Great Currasow, … Photography enthusiasts will be very excited since many of these birds species will come to the nicely set up fruit feeders and can be photographed from up close and at eye level. Laguna de Lagarto Lodge is an ideal place to enjoy the enormous biodiversity of the rainforest and a very relaxed pace. You can enjoy the deck in front of the bird feeders overlooking a small lake, or discover the rainforest using the well maintained network of trails that are exclusive for hotel guests. Or you can enjoy a relaxed kayak ride on the lake, where besides Kingfishers, possible Northern Jacana or a few herons none else will be encountered. As an extra we are offering access to the King Vulture hide, the only of his kind in the world, for 2 hour a photography session. With some luck besides the Black Vultures the spectacular King Vulture will show up at only a few meters away from you, a unique and breathtaking experience that will produce some spectacular pictures…

Day 6, 7, 8: Puerto Viejo de Sarapiqui – Selva Verde Lodge (standard room)

Puerto Viejo de Sarapiqui is a very biodiverse area and a magnet for nature lovers from all over the world. Selva Verde Lodge is one of the pioneers of the ecolodges in Costa Rica: cozy wooden bungalows built on large posts nicely integrated in the rainforest will give you a true jungle feeling. The Sarapiqui River runs next to the lodge and offers a great scenery and some interesting birds with up to 3 species of Kingfishers and with some luck the rare Sunbittern or Fasciated Tiger-heron. Again there are many interesting activities to choose from for naturalists and photographers. On day 7 we are offering a visit to Cope. Cope has a very special connection with nature and has converted his small backyard beautifully with nice fruit feeders and a small pond that attract a wide variety of birds but where also some unique reptile and amphibian species can be enjoyed like the Green Basilisk, Helmeted Iguana and the Strawberry Poisson Dart Frog. Besides that Cope will join you on a short rainforest walk in search of the White Tent Making bat and the mysterious Spectacled Owl. On day 8 you will have a relaxed day with a private boat safari on the Sarapiqui River in search of Kingfishers, herons, Caiman, Green Iguanas and Howler Monkeys. At night we are scheduling a private night tour at Selva Verde Lodge to look for the frogs like the iconic Red-eyed Leaf-frog, bizarre insects, and with some luck an opossum, snake or nocturnal bird.

Day 9, 10 +11: San Gerardo de Dota – Hotel Savegre (standard kamer)

Next up is the dramatic highland scenery of the Talamanca mountains. The isolated community of San Gerardo de Dota is surrounded by mature cloudforest, the habitat of a unique avifauna including the spectacular Resplendent Quetzal: the iridescent red-green male has a 1 meter long tale and is frequently found near fruit-bearing wild avocado trees, the quetzal’s favorite food. During 3 days you will be able to enjoy this beautiful using the fine Hotel Savegre as a base. You will have access to the exclusive trail system of the hotel going through a wonderful old oak forest. Sugar feeders around the gardens of the hotel allow observation and photography of some stunning hummingbird species including the tiny Volcano Hummingbird weighing only 2 grams !. On day 10 a private guide will join you for a half day birding tour in search of Resplendent Quetzal and other colorful species.

Day 12, 13 + 14:   Cachi – Hotel Quelitales (bungalow)

To end in style the last nights will be at Hotel Quelitales; and exclusive boutique eco-hotel at the outskirts of the tiny town of Cachi surrounded by the beautiful green Orosi valley with coffee plantations, the Cachi lake and at the edge of the emerald forests of Parque Nacional Tapanti. From your own private balcony you can relax and absorb nature’s beauty while sipping from a freshly brewed local organic coffee…The owner of Hotel Quelitales, José, is a passionate nature lover and a talented cook. His cooking abilities you will be able to enjoy in the gourmet restaurant overlooking the valley where local fresh products are used to produce healthy and delicious meals.  In the garden of the hotel you will be overwhelmed by the wide variety of hummingbird species attracted by the many verbena bushes with small purple flowers. A network of forest trails gives access to secondary rainforest with some good birdwatching. On day 13 a private guide will take you down to Ujaras to bird along the coffee plantations in search of local specialties like the Lesson’s Motmot, Squirrel Cuckoo, Rufous-capped Warbler, White-eared Ground Sparrow and the endemic Cabani’s Ground Sparrow. Afterwards we will take a look at the central park of the nearby town of Paraíso where day roosts of both Barn Owl and Tropical Screech Owl can be enjoyed.

Day 15: flight back

You will drive back to the airport and drop off the rental car en route.

What is included ?

  • Accommodations in double rooms with private bathroom
  • 3 meals a day: from breakfast on day2 until breakfast on day 15
  • Local tours as described above; all tours are with private English speaking certified guides
  • All entrance fees.
  • Detailed information package + road map
  • Private transfer airport – first hotel
  • Rental car SsangYong Korando 4 x 4 + full cover insurance + mobile router that generates free Wi-Fi signal.
  • Access to English speaking helpdesk of Aratinga Tours

What is not included?

  • International flight
  • Not mentioned meals / activities
  • Tips

Price for 2 persons staying in double room for August 1st – October 31st 2020

4580 usd (2290usd pp)