AMAZING COSTA RICA
Birds, Nature and more
Jan 20-Feb 1st 2024
Flyways Birding and Nature
In conjuction with Birding Experiences Costa Rica
Tour at a glance:
Tour leaders – Jonathan Meyrav and Mercedes (Meche) Alpizar
12 days of birding
6-11 people with 2 guides
Difficulty – easy
Photography options – Fantastic
Pura Vida! This phrase is used by everyone in Costa Rica, it means “pure life” but is used for just about anything, hello, goodbye, yes and everything in between. This is the essence of this beautiful country, friendly, inviting and will leave you feeling full of life. This tour was specially designed to give first time visitors to Costa Rica the full Costa Rica birding and nature experience.
With over 930 species of birds recorded Costa Rica is one of the most diverse countries in terms of bird species per square mile in the World. Four of these species are endemic to Costa Rica, and more than one hundred regional endemic species are shared with the neighboring countries.
Our tour will focus on birds but we will also spend time to admire all diversity, mammals, reptiles, butterflies, insects, some botany and more. This is not a hardcore dash to try and see as many species as possible, we will take the time
to enjoy the birds, wildlife and beautiful scenery Costa Rica has to offer.
Click for our Full Program
Day 1 – January 20th 2024
Arrive to Juan Santamaria International Airport, welcome and transfer to Hotel
Bougainvillea for dinner and our first night.
Day 2 – January 21st 2024
After Breakfast at the hotel, we will head towards the Caribbean lowlands to the region of Sarapiquí. Our first stop will be at the famous “soda” in Cinchona. This charming café is known for its feeders that attract fantastic species, such as Northern Emerald Toucanet, Prong-billed and Red-headed Barbet, Common Chlorospingus, the endemic Coppery-headed Emerald and a supporting cast of Tanagers, Hummingbirds, Orioles and many more! From here we will continue and bird the Virgen del Socorro road where we will get our first taste of real forest birding with Antbirds calling from the thickets, flocks of Tanagers and a nice selection of Woodcreepers, Woodpeckers, Warblers, Flycatchers and many more.
In the afternoon we will arrive at the beautiful Selva Verde Lodge, our base for the next 2 nights. The lodge itself is very good for birding and time permitting we will do some exploring before dinner.
Night at Selva Verde Lodge.
Day 3 – January 22nd 2024
Following an early breakfast, we will drive the short distance to the famous La Selva biological station. La Selva is a large protected area in the heart of Sarapiquí that is shared by several universities as a base for many research projects. La Selva is amazing for birding (and wildlife) especially in the morning. We will explore the trails with a local warden and should expect a large list of birds including Hummingbirds, Motmots, Oropendolas, Flycatchers, Manakins and maybe an Owl or 2. Towards lunchtime we will head to one of our special spots, La Pierella Eco Garden where we will have lunch. La Pierella Ecological Garden is an oasis of birds located around an agricultural area. We will explore the trails and search for White-whiskered Puffbird, White-collared Manakin, Long-tailed Tyrant, Rufous-tailed Jacamar, American Pygmy Kingfisher and more. It’s a lovely place and an example of amazing ecotourism. Besides birds Pierella has impressive butterfly gardens and other wildlife such as Sloths, reptiles and big insects. In the late afternoon we will bird a nearby rural road where Great Green Macaws and Scarlet Macaws are possible to observe at dusk!
Back to Selva Verde for the night.
Day 4 – January 23rd 2024
An early start to get to the area of La Fortuna at the foothills of the mighty Arenal Volcano. We will visit the Sky Trek Arenal park, a circuit of beautiful trails that connects along with hanging bridges across the canopy of the pre-montane rainforest. We will enjoy spectacular views of the forest from the treetops and great scenic views of the Arenal Volcano and its lake. Some of the birds we expect here are: Collared and Black-throated Trogons, Rufous and Broad-billed Motmots, Black-headed Nightingale Thrush, and with some luck and an army ant swarm, it’s possible to observe several species of Antbirds such as Bicolored Antbird, Ocellated Antbird, Spotted Antbird and Dull-mantled Antbird. Following Sky Trek, we will load up and drive to Boca Tapada, to the rustic (and incredible) Laguna De Lagarto lodge.
Laguna de Lagarto is a small lodge located in the lowlands. The lodge is surrounded by rainforest and has a wonderful setup of feeders and trails, attracting shy and hard to come by species.
Night at Laguna De Lagarto.
Day 5 – January 24th 2024
We will start the day with early morning birding from the restaurant deck. The open air restaurant overlooks some great feeders where we will enjoy excellent views and incredible photographic opportunities of Keel-billed Toucan, Yellow-throated Toucan, Brown-hooded Parrot, Shining and Red-legged Honeycreeper and many more. The lawns often attract shy species such as Great Currasows and the higher trees may attract Great Green Macaws. After breakfast we will take a private tour to their famous hide to watch and photograph King Vultures. The King Vulture experience is like no other and offers a chance to see good numbers of these magnificent Vultures at point blank range, as well as Black Vultures and Caracaras. We will have lunch in the lodge and after a little rest in the afternoon we will do a walk around the grounds of the hotel, hoping to get some more bird
species such as Double-toothed Kite, Pied Puffbird, Chestnut-colored Woodpecker, Scaly-breasted Hummingbird, White-ringed Flycatcher and Scaled Pigeon.
Night at Laguna de Lagarto.
Day 6 – January 25th 2024
Following another early morning session on the balcony we pack up and head North towards the magical region of Caño Negro. This very special wetland area near the Nicaragua border is home to many amazing specialty species and an important RAMSAR site. We will arrive in early afternoon and enjoy a boat ride at Medio Queso. While exploring the canals we will search for some amazing birds such as Jabiru, Least and Pinnated Bitterns, Yellow-breasted Crake, Northern Beardless Tyrannulet and the endemics; Nicaraguan Seed-Finch and Nicaraguan Grackle. We will then head to Caño Negro Natural Lodge and possibly do a night tour in search of Black-and-White Owl, Striped Owl and Great Potoo.
Night at Caño Negro Natural Lodge.
Day 7 – January 26th 2024
This morning we will visit the Caño Negro reserve and take a long boat trip through the beautiful river system. This area is one of the best places in the country to find the beautiful and enigmatic Agami Heron as well as other rarities such as Green and rufous Kingfisher and Yellow-tailed Oriole. Besides these we will enjoy good numbers of several other Kingfisher species and a host of other wetland birds, Roseate Spoonbill, White Ibis, Boat-billed Heron and with some luck the rare and localized Black-collared Hawk. In the afternoon we will bird around the lodge where in the past we found many good birds such as Yellow-bellied Tyrannulet and Bare crowned Antbird.
Night at Caño Negro Natural Lodge.
Day 8 – January 27th 2024
Following breakfast, we will load up the vehicle and hit the road. We will have another stop at the San Emilio wetlands and start the long journey south to the province of Cartago. We will have some birding stops along the road and should arrive to the area of Turrialba in the afternoon. Time permitting, we will visit a large reservoir near the town where aquatic birds and forest-edge birds coexist. We should expect Snail Kite, Limpkin, White-tailed Kite, Yellow Tyrannulet, Black-crowned Tityra, Gray-crowned Yellowthroat and four species of Kingfishers.
Night at La Florencia Hotel.
Day 9 – January 28th 2024
A whole day birding in and around famous Rancho Naturalista.
We will spend some time at the feeders which are frequented by Gray-headed Chachalaca, Montezuma Oropendola, Orange-billed Sparrow and Red-throated Ant-Tanager. The Hummingbird feeders at Rancho are also fantastic and we will take the time to watch and photograph attractive hummers such as Green-breasted Mango, Crowned Woodnymph, White-necked Jacobin and Green-crowned Brilliant. The trees and gardens around Rancho Naturalista also attract impressive numbers of wintering north American warblers such as Blackburnian Warbler, Chestnut-sided Warbler, Black-and-white Warbler and Golden-winged Warbler. During the day we will explore the trails of the lodge’s private reserve in search for middle-elevation forest birds such as Spotted Woodcreeper, Buff-throated Foliage Gleaner, Golden-crowned Warbler, White-ruffed Manakin and Bicolored Hawk. We will also visit the hummingbird gardens at Rancho Bajo (part of Rancho Naturalista’s property) to look for some of the rarer Hummingbirds, including the iconic Snowcap and possibly Black-crested Coquette, Garden Emerald. In the afternoon we will head to the rural town of Tayutic, where we will visit the Platanillo river, the perfect habitat for the mysterious Sunbittern, a major target of the area.
Night at La Florencia
Day 10 – January 29th 2024
After some morning birding and breakfast we will head up into the mountains towards the Costa Rica Highlands. Our journey takes us up to the Talamanca Mountain range to get to Savegre River Valley. As we gain elevation we will stop at Paraiso Quetzal, a beautiful restaurant with a balcony and fantastic feeders that host some very good endemic Hummers: Fiery-throated Hummingbird, Talamanca Hummingbird, Volcano Hummingbird, White throated Mountain Gem and more. We will take a short walk around and search for more highland specialties such as Large-footed Finch, Sooty-capped Chlorospingus and Slaty Flowerpiercer. After this we will head to our hotel Suenos Del Bosque.
Day 11 – January 30th 2024
A full day to enjoy the beautiful highlands of Costa Rica. We will head out bright and early in hope of finding beautiful specialties such Long-tailed Silky Flycatcher, Flame-throated Warbler, Ochraceous Wren, Black-thighed Grosbeak, Black Guan and the most wanted of all the Resplendent Quetzal! Later in the day we will visit the Paramo forest, a very different and spiky-bushy and elfin looking forest at over 3000m elevation. In this spot we will look for the endemics Volcano Junco and Timberline Wren and keep an eye to the sky for the local Red-tailed Hawks. During our time at the highlands we will also visit famous Casa Dowii, a clever birders cafe located in the middle elevations. This magical spot has fantastic food, locally grown coffee and special feeders that attract hard to find species such as the Spangle-cheeked Tanager, Buff-fronted Quail Dove, Buffy-crowned Wood Partridge, Prong-billed Barbet and more.
Night at Suenos Del Bosque.
Day 12 – January 31st 2024
Following breakfast, we will start making our way down from the highlands, stopping at several locations along Providencia road for birding and the breathtaking scenery. We will work our way down to Peñas Blancas de Cachi, an intersting agricultural area with some great birding. We will visit one of the dams in search of Least Grebes and other waterbirds and search the skies for Raptors that like the valley for thermals. In the afternoon we will arrive at beautiful hotel Quelitales. Quelitales lies in a narrow valley and is a true birding paradise. We will explore the trails and gardens and enjoy a good variety of Hummingbirds, Tanagers, Warblers and many more. In the late afternoon we will visit a local spot for the rare Scaled Antpitta.
In the evening we will enjoy a wonderful farewell dinner especially prepared by the hotel owner and chef, a meal you will not forget!
Night at Quelitales.
Day 13 – Febuary 1st 2024
Our final day in Costa Rica will begin bright and early with a visit to a small pool and beautiful waterfall where every morning a Green fronted Lancebill arrives to bathe. It is essential to arrive early to see this rare Hummingbird as it normally disappears quickly. We will bird the grounds some more before breakfast.
After breakfast we pack up and start the drive back to San Jose, where our tour sadly ends…
Tour price: $4990 (6 pax)
$4150 (10 pax)
Single supplement: $700
12 nights accomodation
All meals, starting from dinner on day 1 to breakfast on day 13
Full time guiding services
All transportation and entry fees
Medical expenses, prescription drugs etc.
Alcoholic drinks and items of personal nature.