Birding Highlights

Feb 7 - 15, 2020


Tour Includes:

9 day and 8 nights of lodging
All meals from Breakfast on day 2 - Breakfast on day 9
All Transportation in Country
Professional Guide
Resident Guides (certain locations)
All Accommodations
All Fee's and entrances (national parks, reserves, etc…)

Feb 7: Arrive in San Jose where you will be warmly welcomed by your guide and chauffer and escorted back to your hotel. Spend the afternoon relaxing by the poolside or taking a walk in the lovely gardens to recuperate from your long day of travel. If you feel like getting some exercise, there are lighted tennis courts available to you at the hotel. Depending on arrival time, you may also be able to do some birding with your guide on the hotel grounds. This is a good place to see the White-eared Ground-sparrow, the Blue-crowned Motmot, some colorful hummingbirds, and maybe even the Prevost’s Ground-sparrow.

Feb 8: Travel to Selva Verde Lodge in the tropical lowlands of Sarapiqui. Spend the afternoon exploring the wildlife-rich riparian zone along the banks of the Sarapiqui River. This rain forest region at the base of the Caribbean slope is well-known for hosting the greatest diversity of tropical flora and fauna. Here the Sunbittern, Black-faced Grosbeak, and Gray-necked Wood-Rail are a few of the inhabitants of the area. This is the most likely spot on the trip to see the Great Green Macaw, an endangered species that depends on the Dipteryx tree for feeding and nesting. This is one of the emergent trees commonly found in Sarapiqui. Also lurking in the forest are two- and three-toed sloth, 3 different species of monkeys, and peccaries.

Feb 9 & 10: Spend 2 full days at La Selva Biological Station run by the Organization for Tropical Studies (OTS), clearly a highlight of the tour. The station is among the four most famous tropical research facilities in the world. We will see an outstanding abundance of wildlife. The station is home to more than 420 bird species, more than 500 species of butterflies, 55 species of snakes, and 120 species of mammals. A vast variety of different species of trees can be seen in the arboretum. This is the most likely place to make your Tinamou dream come true. There are three species of Tinamou that inhabit La Selva. We will be looking for Roufous Motmot, Trogons, Caciques, Purple-throated Fruit Crow, and Snowy Cotinga, among many others. Animals here are not camera shy, so there will be ample photo opportunities. Peccaries (wild pig), agoutis, coatis, sloth, and monkeys frequent this area. All of which makes for an unforgettable day.

One of these days we will organize a lecture by one of the researchers to discuss current research projects.

Feb 11 & 12: Spend two nights at the Arenal Observatory Lodge, which offers breath-taking views of the thundering Arenal Volcano. It is one of Costa Rica’s active volcanoes, where we are sure to enjoy some fireworks. Great photo opportunities! The extensive trails at the lodge allow for tremendous opportunities to view the Crimson-collared Tanagers, White Hawk, Brown-hooded Parrot, and the Golden-olive Woodpecker, along with an array of colorful hummingbirds, and three species of Toucans. One night, we will go owling in search of the Black-and-White Owl, Mottled Owl, and Striped Owl in the open fields, below the lodge.

Feb 13: Travel to Hotel Villa Lapa, situated at the edge of the Carara Biological Reserve on the banks of the Tarcoles River near the Pacific coast. We will stop along the way to look for Blue-winged Teals, Least Grebes, Northern Jacanas, Anhingas, and Cormorants. After lunch at the hotel, we will explore the bird-rich trails through the forest, and hope to see Scarlet Macaws and Tiger Herons, among many others.


Feb 14: Spend the days in the Carara Biological Reserve, a unique climatological zone where the ecosystem of the humid southern coastal region joins the dry climate of the northern Pacific area, becoming a rich meeting ground for species from both regions. This is truly one of the highlights of the tour, where we hope to find the Orange Collared Manakin dancing in their lek. This is a great location to spot ant birds, up to four different species of Trogons, Rufous-tailed Jacamar, and even Royal Flycatchers. In the early mornings, before entering the reserve, we will visit the nearby bridge overlooking the Tarcoles River, where Scarlet Macaws fly over daily. Here you will also be amazed by the gigantic crocodiles basking on the banks of the river.

We will organize a lecture by one of the park rangers to discuss conservation in the area.

Feb 15: Transfer to the airport for departing flights (scheduled flights cannot depart earlier than 2:00pm).


*Each morning we will be getting an early start to make the best of our time and to maximize our opportunities to see the most species of birds possible. As an optional outing, one night in each location we will go owling (weather permitting). Each evening there will also be an optional meeting after dinner to go over the bird list and the next days activities.

Tour includes:

  • 8 nights of lodging as specified above

  • Meals starting with breakfast on Day 2, and ending with breakfast on Day 9

  • Full time Bi-lingual English-Spanish speaking guide/driver, specializing in birds and natural history starting Jan 26th until Feb 2, when clients are dropped off at the airport

  • Airport transfer to Hotel Bougainvillea on Jan 25

  • Ground transportation in a spacious, air-conditioned vehicle from Jan 26 until Feb 2, when clients are dropped off at the airport

  • All tours and entrances listed above

  • Filtered water to refill your reusable water bottle

  • Taxes (airport taxes and tips to local staff and guide not included)

  • Owling excursions will be available throughout the tour, weather permitting, and when the guide deems them productive.


Tour does not include: International air fare, airport taxes (Approximately $30.00) and tips to local staff, guides and driver.

Entrances Included:

  • Carara National Park (x2)

  • Tarcoles Boat tour

  • La Selva (x1)

  • Cinchona Hummingbird feeders

  • Tapir Reserve

  • Cope's gardens

  • Trip to Earth University

Price: $2195.00/person/double occupancy for 10 paying clients and 1 tour leader free. Single supplement $375.00


Important notes and conditions:

  • Meals are pre-arranged and pre-paid so if clients want to make changes to the schedule that result in missing a pre-arranged meal, there will be no refund and the clients will assume the additional cost of the missed meal elsewhere for themselves and the guide.

  • Airport exit taxes are not included and are approximately $30 per person but most airlines are including this in their fare now, so check with your airlines.

  • Tips to guides and hotel staff not included (Tipping is customary and merit-based in Costa Rica. General tipping guidelines can be provided upon request)

  • Alcoholic beverages, soft drinks and expenses of a personal nature are not included

  • Any additional airport transfers have an additional cost of $50 each from or to the SJO hotel

  • No refund for any unused entrances or tours. Changes to tours are not possible once the guests are in country.

  • Payment method is by bank wire. If more than two wires are sent to cover payment there will be an additional $65 per wire charged to cover bank processing fees.

  • Full balance due in our accounts 90 days prior to the arrival day. Please take into consideration weekends and bank holidays, so that wires are sent with enough time to arrive in our account by 60 days prior to the arrival date. We will process any cancellations and respective refunds according to the following schedule:

  • All cancellations must be received in writing.

  • *Cancellations received between 90-70 days prior to the arrival date, the client receives a full refund less the non-refundable deposit.

  • Cancellations received between 69 days to 43 days prior to the arrival date, the client receives a 50% refund of the total.

  • Cancellations received between 42 days to 29 days prior to the arrival date, the clients receive a refund of 25% of the total

  • Cancellations received at 28 days or fewer prior to the arrival date, there will be no refund available.

  • We highly recommend purchasing comprehensive travel insurance that covers trip cancellation, trip interruption, and loss or damage to optics and equipment, in order to protect your investment.