February 2 - 16, 2019
Tour includes: 14 nights of lodging and all meals (pre-arranged) starting with Breakfast on day 2 and ending with breakfast on day 15; all transportation Day 2-14 in Costa Rica in a modern and spacious air-conditioned vehicle with clear glass windows ideal for wildlife viewing with a full time professional driver; 2 Airport transfers: one on arrival day (February 2) and one on departure day (February 16); full time private bilingual professional guide specializing in birds and natural history from Day 2-14; entrance fees to the parks and reserves specified below; 1 chilled bottle of water per day per client (we encourage guests to refill water bottles at filtered water dispensers in lodges to reduce our use of plastics); and taxes (airport taxes and tips to local staff, guide and driver not included). Price based on double occupancy. Owling excursions will be available one night at each location weather permitting. Meals are pre-arranged. All rooms are comfortable, clean and have en suite bathrooms.
February 2: Arrive in San Jose where you will be warmly welcomed by your guide/chauffeur 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. 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.
February 3, 4: Spend two nights in the Arenal area, which offers breathtaking views of the jungle-covered Arenal Volcano. This is a birding and wildlife hotspot, and the stunning natural beauty will astound you. 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.
February 5: Travel to the Central Pacific lowlands, situated at the edge of the Carara Biological Reserve on the banks of the Tarcoles River near the Pacific coast. In the afternoon, we will explore the bird-rich trails through the forest, and hope to see Scarlet Macaws and Tiger Herons, among many others.
February 6, 7: Spend the day exploring the Carara National Park, 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 antbirds, up to five different species of Trogons, Rufous-tailed Jacamar, and even Royal Flycatchers. We will also take time to visit Playa Azul where some of the species we will look for are Gray-necked Wood-Rail, Yellow- crowned Night-Heron, Red-crowned Woodpecker, Melodious Blackbird, Bare-throated Tiger- Heron, Pacific Screech-Owl, Spectacled Owl, and many species of shorebirds.
While in the area, one afternoon you will enjoy a two-hour mangrove tour by boat along the Tarcoles River with a local guide. During the tour we will not only be impressed by the giant crocodiles that inhabit the area but also the variety of shorebirds, water birds, and raptors.
February 8: Travel to Cerro de la Muerte, stopping for lunch en route. We will spend the afternoon exploring the misty highland cloud forest reserve at the Paraiso de Quetzal. The area is home to Resplendent Quetzal as well as fiery-throated hummingbird, Black-and-yellow Silky- flycatcher, Large-footed Finch, Black-billed Nightingale-Thrush, Sooty Robin, Sooty-capped Bush-Tanager, Peg-billed Finch to name a few. Before returning to our lodge for dinner, we will also visit the Paramo habitat at approximately 3500m above sea level in search of the Volcano Junco. We will overnight in San Gerardo de Dota, nestled in a quaint highland valley nearby.
February 9: Spend the day exploring the gardens, riparian highland habitats, and old growth tropical oak cloud forests surrounding the lodge. Walking through the gardens and along the Savegre river, we can hope to see Flame-colored Tanager, Collared Trogon, Torrent Tyrannulet, Volcano hummingbird, and Gray-tailed Mountain Gem, among many others. Some of the other species we will be looking for include Black-faced Solitaire, Spotted Wood-Quail, Buffy Tuftedcheek, Golden-browed Chlorophonia (Blue- hooded Chlorophonia), Ochraceous Wren, Ornate Hawk-Eagle, and of course the Resplendent Quetzal. In the evening after a delicious dinner, we will go over the birds, and any other wildlife seen that day.
February 10: Travel to 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.
February 11, 12: Spend the next two 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 Rufous Motmot, Trogons, Caciques, Purple-throated Fruitcrow, 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 unforgettable days.
February 13, 14: Travel by boat to Tortuguero National Park on the Caribbean. Here we will explore the rich labyrinth of waterways which will afford us excellent wildlife viewing. The area boasts 320 bird species, including Tiger Herons, Agami Herons, White-fronted Nunbird, and all six species of Kingfishers belonging to the Americas. Along with birds, we may also see sloth, caiman, iguanas, poison-dart frogs, freshwater turtles, basilisk lizards, the Honduran White tent-making bats, and three species of monkeys that frequent the banks. If your travel dates are between June and October, we will venture out along the beach in the evening to look for the Green Sea Turtles, who come up to nest June-October. July is known to be an excellent month to see the Green Sea Turtle, while rare; it is also possible to see the giant Leatherback Turtles and the Hawksbill turtles at this time.
February 15: Return to San Jose for a farewell dinner and an overnight stay, to rest up for departing flights the next day. En route you will have the chance to visit a spot where the Snowcap and other species characteristic to the Braulio Carrillo region, frequent.
February 16: Transfer to the airport for departing flights.
Tour does not include: International air fare, airport taxes (Approximately $30.00) and tips to local staff, guides and driver.
*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.
Important notes and conditions:
*Meals are pre-arranged and prepaid so if the group wishes to make changes to the schedule that result in missing a pre-arranged meal, there will be no refund for the missed meal and guests will assume the additional cost of the missed meal elsewhere for the themselves and the guide and driver.
*Any additional airport transfers that are not on the arrival or departure date for this tour have an additional charge of $50 per transfer.
*Airport exit taxes are not included and are approximately $30 per person (Most airlines are including them now, so please check with your airlines for details.)
*International airfare not included
*Cotinga Tours will not cover any additional costs that could result from flight changes such as schedule changes, flight cancellations, airstrip closures, flight rerouting or other situations that are out of our hands, including extra costs in transfers, lodging, or costs due to missed/rerouted flights that may result from these changes. All additional costs due to flight related changes will be covered by the client.
*No refund for any unused entrances or tours
*Tips to guides and hotel staff not included. (Tipping is customary and merit-based in Costa Rica. General guidelines: $5 per guest per day for the driver and $8-$10 per guest per day for the main guide as well as for local guides/ boat drivers, $1 per bag for porters, $1 per night for cleaning staff in hotels)
*Alcoholic beverages and costs of a personal nature are not included
*Cancellations and respective refunds are according to the following schedule:
All cancellations must be received in writing.
Cancellations received before 90 days prior to the arrival date, the client receives a full refund less the non-refundable deposit.
Cancellations received between 90 and 75 days prior to the arrival date, the client receives a 50% refund of the total less the non-refundable deposit.
Cancellations received between 74 and 66 days prior to arrival date, the client receives a 25% refund of the total less the non-refundable deposit.
Cancellations received at 65 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.