Flyways Birding

Amazing Costa Rica

Capuchin Monkey
Coppery headed Emerald
Emerald Tanager
Green iguana
King Vulture
King Vulture
Northern Emerald Toucanet
Orange Owl Butterfly
Scarlet rumped Tanager
Talamanca Hummingbird
White necked Jacobin
White nosed Coati
Yellow breasted Crake
Yellow throated Toucan
Keel billed Toucan
Spangle cheeked Tanager
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Amazing Costa Rica
Birds, Nature and more
Jan 22-Feb 3rd 2023

Pura Vida!

This fantastic phrase is used by everyone in Costa Rica, it means “pure life” but is used to describe 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. It covers most of the key habitats of the country, both the Pacific and the Caribbean coasts and the highlands. 

Our tour will focus on birds but we will also spend time to admire all diversity, mammals, reptiles, butterflies, insects, some botany and more. 

Like our other Flyways Birding and Nature tours this tour is limited to 11 participants. 

Our group will be comprised of people from different countries and varying levels of birding. This is not a hardcore dash to try and see as mnay species as possible, we will take the time to enjoy the birds, wildlife and beautiful scenery Costa Rica has to offer. 

Tour program:

Day 1 – January 23rd

Arrive to Juan Santamaria International Airport, welcome and transfer to the Hotel Best Western Irazú for dinner and our first night. 

Day 2 – January 24th

After Breakfast at the hotel, we will start traveling northeast to the province of Cartago, to the Turrialba area to get to our next hotel Rancho Naturalista. After a few short stops on the way to bird, we will arrive to Rancho Naturalista for lunch, during which will enjoy viewing the feeders which are frequented by Gray-headed Chachalaca, Montezuma Oropendola, Orange-billed Sparrow and Red-throated Ant-Tanager. Following a short break after lunch, we will spend some time on the balcony at the hummingbird feeders viewing and photographing Green-breasted Mango, Crowned Woodnymph, White-necked Jacobin and Green-crowned Brilliant. After spending some time with the hummingbirds, we will head out of the lodge into the rural town of Tayutic, where we will go to the Platanillo river, the perfect habitat for the mysterious Sunbittern, a major target of the area. After dinner at Rancho Naturalista, a nocturnal insect tour will be offered for anyone that would like to join.

Night: Rancho Naturalista

Day 3 – January 25th

We will meet in the early morning at the lodge’s balcony to bird during the first hours of light, meanwhile having a nice hot drink of coffee/tea, expecting to see some Keel-billed Toucans and north American migrant winter-resident warblers such as Blackburnian Warbler, Chestnut-sided Warbler, Black-and-white Warbler and Golden-winged Warbler. After breakfast in the hotel, 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. At the end of the morning, we will visit the hummingbird gardens at Rancho Bajo (part of Rancho Naturalista’s property) to look for Snowcap, Black-crested Coquette, Garden Emerald and other small hummingbirds. We will go back to the lodge for having our lunch and after a short rest we will head out into the Turrialba town to visit a large reservoir where aquatic birds and forest-edge birds coexist, some possible birds are Snail Kite, Limpkin, White-tailed Kite, Yellow Tyrannulet, Black-crowned Tityra, Gray-crowned Yellowthroat and four species of Kingfishers.

Day 4 – January 26th

Optional Early morning birding before breakfast at the balcony of the lodge. After breakfast we will travel to the Caribbean lowlands to get to our next destination: Sarapiquí. We will make a stop on the way to have lunch at Guarumo Lodge at Guápiles, a nice restaurant with seats that has an excellent view of the Río Costa Rica, with a possibility of Fasciated Tiger Heron. The restaurant has bird feeders, some of their visitors are: Yellow-throated Toucan, Blue-chested Hummingbird, Long-billed Hermit, Orange-chinned Parakeet, Green Honeycreeper and Hoffman’s Woodpecker. About and hour away we will arrive to our next hotel; Ara Ambigua Lodge where we will rest for a little while and bird the grounds in the afternoon, some birds to expect are Russet-napped Wood Rail, Slaty-tailed Trogon, Olive-throated Parakeet, Cinnamon Woodpecker and Red-legged Honeycreeper.

Breakfast: Rancho Naturalista

Day 5 – January 27th

Early morning birding and breakfast at Ara Ambigua Lodge, after this we will do a visit to La Pierella Ecological Garden which is an oasis of birds located around an agricultural area. We will do a walk around the trails of the garden on the 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 rural ecotourism, plus the birds, the place also has butterfly gardens and other kinds of wildlife around as different kinds of reptiles, sloths and big insects. Here we will have lunch, on the way back to the hotel Ara Ambigua, we will bird a near rural road where the Great Green Macaws are possible to observe at dusk!

Day 6 – January 28th

This day we will travel very early and take a box breakfast with us, we will be heading north to La Fortuna, Arenal Volcano area to visit Sky Adventures hanging bridges. This place has a circuit of beautiful trails that connects along with hanging bridges across the canopy of a pre-montane rainforest, with spectacular views of the forest from the top and great scenic views of the Arenal Volcano and its lake. Some of the birds expected to see: 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 many antbirds such as Bicolored Antbird, Ocellated Antbird, Spotted Antbird and Dull-mantled Antbird. After the walk, we will drive to La Fortuna town where we will have lunch in the restaurant Selva Rustica, this place also has nice gardens where species such as Yellow-headed Caracaras, Ringed Kingfishers, Swallows and many flycatchers are possible. During the afternoon we will drive way up north to the Caño Negro area, a very special wetland with lots of specialty birds and an important RAMSAR site. We will arrive in the late afternoon have dinner at Caño Negro Natural Lodge, and do a night walk looking for Black-and-White Owl, Striped Owl and Great Potoo.

Day 7 – January 29th

After having breakfast at Caño Negro Natural Lodge, we will drive to Medio Queso to do a boat tour around this beautiful wetland located in the border of Costa Rica with Nicaragua. Some of the most delightful bird species here are Jabiru, Least and Pinnated Bitterns, Yellow-breasted Crake, Northern Beardless Tyrannulet and the endemics; Nicaraguan Seed-Finch and Nicaraguan Grackle. After the boat tour we go back to our hotel to have lunch and get ready for another boat tour in the afternoon in the wetland of Caño Negro Wildlife Refuge, here we will be looking for Roseate Spoonbill, Pacific Screech-Owl, Black-collared Hawk, Green-and-rufous Kingfisher and Spot-breasted Wrens. During the second half of the afternoon we will drive to the south east to the remote but beautiful area of Boca Tapada, we will arrive during the night in to our next hotel Laguna del Lagarto Lodge, where we will have dinner and rest.

Day 8 – January 30th

Early morning birding at the restaurant deck where we will enjoy their feeders hoping to get excellent views and incredible photographic opportunities of Keel-billed Toucan, Yellow-throated Toucan, Brown-hooded Parrot, Shining and Red-legged Honeycreeper and more. After breakfast we will take a private tour to get to their famous hide to watch and photograph the King Vultures from up close. 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.

Day 9 – January 31st

Early morning birding at the lodge’s feeders and depart after breakfast. We will head to the central Pacific, passing through several different elevations on the way to the Central Valley. Lovely locations on the mountain, where we will do several stops to bird, including the visit to a little cafe whose feeders produce Northern Emerald Toucanet, Prong-billed Barbet, Chestnut-capped Brush Finch, Common Chlorospingus, Coppery-headed Emerald, Purple-throated Mountain Gem and more. Lunch will take place in the highlands in the surroundings of the Poás Volcano, at Freddo Fresas. Here there are high chances of seeing  stunning Magenta-throated Woodstar and the tiny and endemic Volcano Hummingbird at feeders. During the afternoon we will be traveling to the Central Pacific to Hotel Villa Lapas, arriving during the night, we will have dinner at the hotel.

Day 10 – February 1st

Villa Lapas has a very nice garden right next to the Tarcolitos River and in the early morning is quite birdy, we will bird the grounds before breakfast expecting to see Fiery-billed Aracari, Black-hooded Antshrike, Rufous-and-white Wren, Rose-throated Becard, trogons and more. After breakfast we will visit Carara National Park, a very interesting habitat where the dry forest meets the rainforest, resulting in a highly appreciable mixture of species, some of the birds to look for are: Long-tailed Manakin, Orange-collared Manakin, Gray-headed Tanager, Great Tinamou, Black-faced Antthrush and many more. For lunch we will travel to El Jardín Restaurant, located at Orotina, this place is quite spacious and has a nice souvenir shop, in case somebody wishes to buy souvenirs, this will be the best chance to do it. On the drive back to the hotel we will do a stop in the dry forest, here we will be looking for some of species specific to this habitat such as the threatened Yellow-naped Parrot, the Turquoise-browed Motmot, Striped-headed Sparrow, White-throated Magpie-Jay and the gorgeous Scarlet Macaw. Back to the hotel we will have some free time to use the facilities (pool area) of the hotel.

Day 11 – February 2nd

Optional early morning walk around Villa Lapas grounds and after breakfast we will head down towards the south Pacific to a crossroads that will take us to the highlands of the Talamanca Mountain range to get to Savegre River Valley. At the half way point, we will stop on a local restaurant for lunch and will do another stop to look for Turquoise Cotinga at Perez Zeledón. We expect to arrive in the early afternoon to visit a little cafe with feeders at a higher spot in the highlands, here we can get some very good endemic birds such as Fiery-throated Hummingbird, Talamanca Hummingbird, Large-footed Finch, Sooty-capped Chlorospingus and Slaty Flowerpiercer. After this we will head to our hotel Trogon Lodge or Savegre Lodge.

Day 12 – February 3rd

Early morning birding in the highlands expecting to see great birds like Long-tailed Silky Flycatcher, Flame-throated Warbler, Ochraceous Wren, Black-thighed Grosbeak, Black Guan and the most wanted of all the Resplendent Quetzal. After breakfast in the hotel, we will visit the Paramo forest, a very different and spiky-bushy and elfin looking forest at 3 000m elevation. In this spot we will look for the endemics Volcano Junco and Timberline Wren, additionally the local sub-species of Red-tailed Hawk is very possible. At the end of the morning, we will drive, descending elevation back into Cartago province, but before this we will stop for lunch at Casa Dowii, a clever birders cafe located in the middle elevations of the Central Valley that has feeders with spectacular birds such as the Spangle-cheeked Tanager, Buff-fronted Quail Dove, Buffy-crowned Wood Partridge, Prong-billed Barbet and more. We will depart mid -afternoon back to San José province to the Best Western Irazú. 

Following a farewell dinner, we will spend our last night in Costa Rica…

Day 13 – February 4th

Following breakfast, we will be transferred to Juan Santamaria International Airport for our flights home.

Tour leader – Jonathan Meyrav
Local leader – Mercedes (Meche) Alpizar

Tour price:
$3420 – Sharing 
$3850 – Single 

Price includes: 

All accommodation and transportation within the country
All meals from dinner on day 1 till breakfast on the last morning.
All guiding and entry fees. 

Price excludes: 

International flights
Alcoholic drinks and items of personal nature.