15 day and 14 nights of lodging
All meals from Breakfast on day 2 - Breakfast on day 15
All Transportation in Country
Resident Guides (certain locations)
All Fee's and entrances (national parks, reserves, etc…)
Day 1: 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.
Day 2: Travel to Cerro de la Muerte. We will spend the morning exploring the misty highland cloud forest reserve at the Finca Mirador de Quetzales, where up to 20 pairs of quetzals have been seen. We will have lunch and overnight at the Albergue de Montana Savegre, nestled in a quaint highland valley nearby, also home of the Resplendent Quetzal.
Day 3: Spend the day exploring the bird rich habitat in the Savergre River Valley. 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, to name a few. In the evening after a delicious dinner, we will go over the birds, reptiles, mammals, and any other wildlife seen that day.
Day 4: 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.
Day 5: Spend the day 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.
Day 6: Travel to Guanacaste to explore the tropical dry forests, marshlands, estuaries, and mangroves, characteristic to the northern Pacific region. This is an ideal place to see water birds, raptors, and other species found only in this zone. In the wetlands, we are likely to see Snail Kites, Wood Storks, Roseate Spoonbills, Boat-billed Herons, Black-crowned Night-Heron, Limpkins, and several species of Kingfishers. Walking through the semi-deciduous forest, we are likely to see Turquoise-browed Motmot, the Long-tailed Manakin, and several species of Parrots, Orioles, Cuckoos, Trogons, Jays, and Owls.
Day 7 and 8: 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.
Day 9: 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.
Day 10 & 11: 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.
Day 12 and 13: 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, fresh-water turtles, basilisk lizards, the Honduran White tent-making bats, and three species of monkeys that frequent the banks. In the evening we will venture out along the beach 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.
Day 14: Return to San Jose for a farewell dinner and an overnight stay, to rest up for departing flights the next day.
Day 15 Breakfast before departing for the airport to return home.
Tour includes: all lodging and meals starting with breakfast on day 2 and ending with breakfast on day 15; all transportation in Costa Rica in a modern and spacious air-conditioned vehicle with clear glass windows, ideal for wildlife viewing; full time private bi-lingual professional guide specializing in birds and natural history; entrance fees to parks and reserves; 3 chilled bottles of water per day per client; and taxes. Price based on double occupancy.
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 pre-paid so if clients unanimously want to make changes to the schedule that result in missing a pre-arranged meal, there will be no refund and clients will assume the additional cost of the missed meal elsewhere for the themselves and the guide and driver (to be paid for directly to the hotel or restaurant).
**Airport exit taxes are not included and are approximately $30 per person. Although most airlines are now including the taxes in their ticket prices. Please check with your airlines.
***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/ boatdrivers, $1 per bag for porters, $1 per night for cleaning staff in hotels)
****Alcoholic beverages and carbonated soft drinks are not included. Costs of a personal nature are not included either. Predetermined Fruit juices, tea and coffee are provided at meal times and included in your tour.