Classic Birding Tour
Feb 3 - 17, 2018
15 day and 14 nights of lodging
All meals from Breakfast on day 2 - Breakfast on day 15
All Transportation in Country
Full Time Professional Birding Guide
Resident Guides (certain locations)
All Fee's and entrances (national parks, reserves, etc…)
Feb 3: Arrive in San Jose where you will be warmly welcomed by your guide/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. 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 4, 5 & 6: Travel to the amazing Arenal Volcano area. Spend the next 3 nights at your lodge, which offers breath-taking views of the jungle-covered Arenal Volcano. 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. This is also a very special place for antbirds! 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 7: Travel to your 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 8, 9 & 10: Spend two 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 days. Spend one of the days exploring some other great birding spots in the area.
Feb 11: 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 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.
Feb 12 & 13: Spend the next two days exploring the gardens, riparian highland habitats, and old growth tropical oak cloud forests. 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, Ochraceous Wren, Ornate Hawk-Eagle, and of course the Resplendent Quetzal. In the evenings after a delicious dinner, we will go over the birds, reptiles, mammals, and any other wildlife seen that day. One morning we will visit the Paramo habitat at approximately 3500m above sea level in search of the Volcano Junco, Fiery-Throated hummingbird, Timberline Wren to name a few, as well as flowering plants and the amazing views of the Talamanca Mountain range.
Feb 14: Travel to the lodge, situated at the edge of the Carara Biological Reserve on the banks of the Tarcoles River near the Pacific coast. Another birding and wildlife hotspot.. We will stop along the way to look for Blue-winged Teals, Least Grebes, Northern Jacanas, Anhingas, Kingfishers,Tiger-Herons, Snail Kite, Cormorants and Jabirus. Lunch on the way. Arrive to lodge in the late afternoon.
Feb 15 & 16: We will spend the next two days in 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 Scarlet Macaws, several species of 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 Sreech-Owl, Spectacled Owl.
Feb 17: Breakfast before departing for the airport to return home. (DEPARTING FLIGHTS MUST BE IN THE AFTERNOON!)
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.