Costa Rica

Birds & Wildlife of Costa Rica


Boca Tapada
Tenorio volcano
Palo Verde

Outline Itinerary

1. Depart UK. Arrive San Jose, to Savegre.
2. Search for Quetzals & other trogons.
3. Birding in the valley.
4. To Sarapiqui.
5. Guided full day birding in La Selva.
6. To Boca Tapada.
7. Morning rainforest hike. Night walk.
8. Morning and evening birding.
9. To Tenorio. Evening bird walk.
10. Early morning birding then birding en route to Palo Verde.
11. Wetlands tour.
12. To Macaw Lodge.
13. Guided birding in Carara.
14. To San Jose. Fly to Puerto Jimenez. Corcovado area lodge.
15. Birding in Corcovado.
15. Guided bird watching in forest and farmland.
16. Return to San Jose.
18. Depart Costa Rica.
19. Arrive UK.


Please contact us for prices

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We believe this to be one of the best birding itineraries in Costa Rica. To be consistent throughout this tour we are including a driver/ bird guide who will accompany you to help you get the most from your birding in the north; but to keep costs realistic, in the south we use good local guides in Corcovado. However, for the more budget conscious we can arrange private transfers and the use throughout of local guides who are generally very good at bird identification.

There is plenty of other wildlife to be seen on this nature itinerary from butterflies and other insects to frogs and lizards, to coatis and possibly tapir. Neotropical birds are at the heart of this holiday but depending on when you travel you are likely to find a good number of migrant species from either North America or South America as Costa Rica is a meeting place between the continents.

This tour of Costa Rica's wildlife hotspots starts dramatically in the high mountains of Los Quetzales National Park where the Savegre River cuts a deep valley through the cloudforest. Using Dantica, by far our favourite lodge in the valley, you can sit on your balcony and count many of the 130 species in the local area. Further down near the hamlet of San Gerrado Resplendent Quetzal can be seen as they occur here in good numbers. But the cloudforest has it all from guans to hawks, parakeets and toucanets; mixed flocks in the canopy which your accommodation overlooks to hummingbirds and ground dwelling species such as spotted wood-quail.

Next, you will descend to Sarpiqui on the Caribbean slope. Here you can spend a couple of days exploring the rainforest in search of wildlife. This is a popular destination on any birding itinerary too. Less know is the wealth of wildlife in the rainforest close to the Nicaraguan border where a comfortable lodge and a diversity of habitats will find your bird list increasing in numbers. Among others, great green macaws, scarlet macaws, parrots, toucans and manikins should be encountered.

Your next destination is also off the beaten track rough Costa Rica, but nevertheless likely to be one of the highlights. This upland area of rainforest has few tourists but good trails and again good levels of wildlife plus over 100 species of birds can be seen regularly in a day of concentrated birdwatching. Over 300 species in total have been recorded here.

Another birding hotspot is Palo Verde in the more arid Guanacaste province. This lowland has a variety of habitats and in particular the Rio Tempisque estuarine river providing good numbers of wading birds. With luck you may find good numbers of endangered Jabiru stork, a number of ibis species and roseate spoonbill. There are also some great opportunities for seeing grassland and woodland species.

Carara close to the mid-Pacific Coast is biologically important as it the meeting place for species from both the northern and southern Americas. The array of bird species is consequently high and it is a good location for finding scarlet macaws, the sign of a healthy mature ecosystem.

The final destination on this tour is the Osa Peninsula which any true naturalist cannot afford to miss. One of the world's truly great biodiversity gems this southerly Costa Rican peninsula holds Corcovado National Park. Whilst you will be extremely lucky to see jaguar, ocelot and other big cats there are many other species here that will delight. Turquoise cotingas, pittas and a vast array of other birds not seen elsewhere can be found here with an excellent naturalist guide.

This itinerary has been recently revised and shortened but we encourage those who are looking for a slower pace over perhaps 3 weeks to get in touch to discuss further possibilities. Equally if you need to shorten the trip further one or two destinations could be omitted.

Inspired? To read more about this itinerary, or for us to design your own unique holiday contact us …

This suggested itinerary is one of the best birding itineraries in the country. Price is dependant on season, standard of accommodation and length of stay.

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