Best of birding of Costa Rica
Merlin Birding and Nature Tours is offering this trip through Global Travel Alliance. This is truly an extraordinary birding opportunity. Please contact us for a detailed itinerary and trip specifics.
Costa Rica has become one of the premier birding destinations in the world. Examples of all the major habitats in the country are concentrated in an area the size of the state of West Virginia. The country boasts over 850 known species and this birding trip will take you to a majority of the best sites.
This time of year is ideal for birding in Costa Rica. The birding activity is high and the weather is good (i.e. dry season and milder temps). As we visit some of the best sites in Costa Rica, we will track many of Central America’s most spectacular birds. This includes but not limited to the stunning Resplendent Quetzal, Black Guan, Great Curassow, Scarlet and Green macaws, more than 30 species of hummingbirds, toucans, motmots, trogons, aracaris, Prong-billed barbet, manakins, Long-tailed Silky-Flycatcher, Snowy Cotinga, and many more. There is no more enticing location for the birder.
You should plan your flights to arrive in San Jose Juan Santamaria International Airport (airport code SJO) between 8-10:00 pm. Your guide will meet you after clearing customs and immigration and transfer
you to our hotel. Participants arriving at other times may either take a taxi to the hotel or arrange for hotel shuttle. Settle in to our beautiful hotel overlooking the central valley and surrounded by gardens
and coffee fields. No Meals included. Overnight at Hotel: Casa Cielo Grande
We leave the heavily settled central valley and travel to a beautiful sub-tropical mountain valley. The climate is cool and damp with the hills constantly shrouded in mist. The hummingbird feeders at our hotel will attract some common species such as Green Hermit and Magenta-throated Woodstar. Other Montane specialities: Emerald Toucanet, Prong-billed Barbet, Spot-crowned Woodcreeper, Long-tailed Silky-Flycatcher amongst others.Overnight at Bosque de Paz Lodge.
On our third day, we will travel to the higher elevations nearby into the “cloud forest” ecosystem into the realm some of the best birding and birds in Central America: Black Guan, Collared Trogon, Streak-chested Treehunter, Golden-browed Chlorophonia, Spangled-cheeked Tanager. Overnight at Bosque de Paz Lodge.
We drive to the Sarapiqui lowland rain forest (La Selva and Braulio Carillo National park) We will settle in for three days of birding and study in the lowland rainforest, where we will explore an area that harbors the richest avifauna in the country. We will travel to the Sarapiqui region with its lush tropical rainforest and the famous La Selva Biological Station. La Selva Field Station is operated by the Organization for Tropical Studies and has been a birding destination for many years with a wide variety of habitats including primary and secondary rain forests, gallery forests, rivers and creeks, disturbed areas and areas in regeneration. Braulio Carillo National Park is a huge area of upper tropical and subtropical rainforest. Some specialties of the Sarapiqui Lowlands and Braulio Carrillo National Park:
Bronze-tailed, Chestnut-colored, Snowy Cotinga, Purple-throated Fruitcrow, Pied Puffbird, Long-tailed Tyrant, White-ringed Flycatcher, Black-capped Pygmy-Tyrant, Black-headed Tody-Flycatcher, Western Slaty Antshrike, Great Antshrike, Fasciated Antshrike, Ocellated Antbird, Black-throated Wren, Nicaraguan Seed-Finch, Yellow-tailed Oriole, Green Ibis, Semi-plumbeous Hawk, Sungrebe, Olive-backed Quail-Dove, Great Green Macaw, Vermiculated Screech-Owl, Great Potoo, Short-tailed Nighthawk. Hotel: Hotel La Quinta. Overnight at La Quinta de Sarapiqui
We will intensively bird the day, basing our target areas on what we saw (and didn't see) the previous day. Overnight at La Quinta de Sarapiqui
By now, you'll understand why this area set a record for most numbers seen during the Christmas Bird Count with over 400 species. We'll spend another day searching the amazing diverse habitat around La Selva. Overnight at La Quinta de Sarapiqui
Early morning birding is followed by a stunning drive to the dry Pacific lowlands. Of particular interest will be the opportunity to study several varieties of flycatchers. Overnight at Hotel Villa Lapas
The mangroves of the Tarcoles river and nearby Carara National Park offer extraordinary birding opportunities. This region is on the boundary of the southern Pacific rainforest and the northern tropical dry forests. It is one of the most fantastic birding sites in all of Costa Rica. Some specialties of Carara National Park and Tarcoles River: Great Tinamou, King Vulture, Fiery-billed Aracari, American Pygmy Kingfisher, Scarlet Macaw, Mangrove Hummingbird, Mangrove Vireo, Mangrove Cuckoo, Mangrove Warbler, Baird's Trogon, White-whiskered Puffbird, Black-hooded Antshrike, and several species of manakins. Overnight at Hotel Villa Lapas.
Today will be a full day of birding Carara National Park and the surrounding area for a stunning variety of birds.
Today, we travel to one of the most famous birding locations in all of Costa Rica - Monteverde.
The Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve and several surrounding reserves sit atop the continental divide with approximately 25,000 acres of protected and undisturbed cloud and highland rain forest. This is a premier location for observing the Resplendent Quetzal and the Three-wattled Bellbird. Other species we may find in the region include Black Guan, Orange-bellied Trogon, Ruddy Treerunner, Gray-throated Leaftosser, Red-faced Spinetail, Golden-bellied Flycatcher, Slaty-backed Nightingale-Thrush, Black-faced Solitaire, Collared Redstart, Costa Rican Warbler, and Spangle-cheeked Tanager.
Other avian attractions of the area include the famous Monteverde hummingbird feeders—where such dazzling birds as Green Violetear, Violet Sabrewing, Magenta-throated Woodstar, Stripe-tailed Hummingbird, the endemic Coppery-headed Emerald, Purple-throated Mountain-gem, and Green-crowned Brilliant may be seen at arm’s length, and forest specialties from Chiriqui Quail-Dove, Prong-billed Barbet, and Streak-breasted Treehunter to Black-breasted Wood-Quail, Azure-hooded Jay, and Bare-shanked Screech-Owl. Overnight at San Luis Ecolodge
We will use the entire day to bird the cloudforest at Monteverde.
After a final morning birding, return to the San Jose area. Possible trip up to Irazu volcano. Some specialties of the region: Sooty Robin, Black-and-yellow Silky-flycatcher, Large-footed and Peg-billed finches, Volcano Junco.
The tour ends this morning with an early transfer to the San Jose airport in time for flights departing between 8-10 a.m. Transfer for flights departing at other times can be arranged in advance.