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Phillips Exeter Academy Birding Expedition

Drake Bay - Osa Peninsula

March 3-11, 2018

Guide: Jimmy Trejos

Exeter Science Instructors: Rich Aaronian and Chris Matlack


Tour includes: 


  • 9 days/8 nights of lodging; Meals starting with dinner on March 3, and ending with Breakfast on March 11 *excludes lunch on March 10

  • Bi-lingual English-Spanish speaking guide,(Jimmy Trejos) specializing in birds and wildlife (from March 4-10)

  • Airport transfer on arrival day & airport transfer on departure day

  • Airport transfers: Hotel - San Jose Airport (March 4 & March 11)

  • Round trip domestic flights San Jose to Drake Bay; ground and boat transfers round trip Drake Bay Airstrip - Drake Bay Wilderness Resort (provided by the hotel)  

  • All tours and entrances listed below

  • Taxes (except airport taxes)

  • Pre-breakfast birding and owling excursions available throughout the tour, weather permitting and if tour schedules allow. 

  • Exeter Science Instructors Rich Aaronian and Chris Matlack will accompany the group as tour leaders

  • Maximum of 12 participants


Tours and Entrances included:


  • Tour of Corcovado National Park  (San Pedrillo Station)  

  • Tour of Corcovado National Park (Sirena Station)

  • Snorkeling, tour to the waters surrounding Caño Island 

  • Boat tour of the mangroves and coastal birding/Bird Island

  • Unlimited walks with your guide on the lodge trails

  • Use of lodge kayaks at your leisure

Please note: Wet landings required for some tours.  5 - 6 hours of walking/activity per day.



Price: $3248 per person based on double occupancy/$232 single supplement

* Single rooms are limited and requests will be on a first-come, first-served basis.

*Booking will be received on a first-come, first-served basis with a final deadline of October 15, 2017. We highly recommend booking as soon as possible to secure your space on the trip.


A non-refundable deposit of $650 per person due upon booking (no later than October 15, 2017). Full balance due by December 23, 2017 . (see important notes below)

To Book: Register Here or Contact us at

and we will email you a printed form.

For questions:


Contact our travel experts at or call our USA office: Toll Free at 1.888.205.6415


Detailed Itinerary:

March 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 pool or taking a walk in the lovely gardens. Depending on arrival time, you may also be able to do some birding with your guide on the hotel grounds to look for Blue-crowned Motmot, wrens, colorful tanagers and hummingbirds.


(Dinner & overnight: Hotel Buena Vista)


March 4: Travel by flight to Drake Bay on the Osa Peninsula, home to Corcovado National Park. Enjoy the aerial views of the breath-taking landscape during the short flight. You will be transferred to the Drake Bay Wilderness Resort via ground and boat. Be prepared for a wet-landing. You will wade out into the cool aquamarine waters on the soft sand to get to the boat waiting for you, just a few feet off the beach. With a short boat ride, you will arrive at the hotel. After lunch you can enjoy a leisurely afternoon, take a dip in the pool, go kayaking along the coast, or go for a walk on the trails with your guide. This is one of the richest areas in the country in terms of biodiversity. It is the largest nesting grounds for Scarlet Macaws in Costa Rica. While here, we will explore one of the most extensive patches of primary rain forest in the South Pacific region of the Americas. This is the most likely place along the trip to see a Tapir or even a Jaguar or other types of wild cats. Among the great number of colorful birds that inhabit this region, we will enjoy seeing toucans, Blue-crowned Manakins dancing in their lek, a variety of trogons, possibly the Yellow-billed Cotinga in the mangroves, and many others. Snakes may also be a part of the adventure. Our hotel is situated on the coast, allowing for breathtaking views of the ocean from the pool area and open-air pool bar. Humpback whales are often seen here during certain times of the year and while it is not breeding season in March, there is still a possibility of spotting a whale.


(Breakfast at Hotel Buena Vista, lunch, dinner & overnight at Drake Bay Wilderness Resort)


March 5: You will spend the next 5 days exploring this amazingly wildlife rich region of the country. The Osa Peninsula is best known for the famous Corcovado National Park. One of the days while in the area you will spend at the Sirena Station in the heart of Corcovado National Park, truly a highlight of the itinerary. This requires an ocean boat trip to get there. Corcovado National Park is considered one of the most biologically diverse places on earth. Truly a nature lover’s paradise, the park contains 2.5% of the planet’s total animal species. This list includes all four species of monkey found in Costa Rica, an enormous concentration of Scarlet Macaws, four species of turtle, peccaries, red-eyed tree frogs, Harpy Eagles, and a small number of jaguars. One of the few endemics to Costa Rica resides in the area: the Black-cheeked Ant Tanager. Here among the 400+ bird species in Corcovado, we may also see the Great Curassow, antbirds, tinamous, toucans, Fiery-billed Aracari and many others.


(Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner & overnight at Drake Bay Wilderness Resort)

March 6: Today you will embark on another wildlife adventure. Two of Corcovado’s four ranger stations are accessible by boat from Drake Bay. The San Pedrillo Station is only about thirty minutes away, and features two trails – one of which leads to a refreshing waterfall. You will spend one of the days while in the Osa exploring the San Pedrillo Station inside the Corcovado National Park.

(Breakfast, lunch, dinner & overnight at Drake Bay Wilderness Lodge)


March 7: Spend the day in the waters surrounding Caño Island, approximately a two-hour boat ride from the lodge. We will enjoy a day of snorkeling among the coral reefs that surrounds this tropical paradise. Snorkelers will find a broad and colorful spectrum of Pacific Coast reef fish such as: triggerfish, needlefish, parrotfish, angelfish, puffers, grunts among many others -- as well as rays and sea turtles. In nearby waters, common bottlenose dolphin, pantropical spotted dolphin, Orca whales, humpback whale, false killer whale, several species of turtle can be seen. We hope to have the pleasure of seeing some of these marine beauties from the boat. This is a full day tour so you will enjoy a picnic lunch on the boat.


(Breakfast, lunch, dinner & overnight at Drake Bay Wilderness Lodge)


March 8: Today you will enjoy a boat tour of the unique mangrove habitat and Bird Island. Full of legends and rich history, this isolated and unexplored wilderness area will inspire everyone who visits it. Start the tour by entering the Sierpe River, leading into a large mangrove forest with ancient mangrove trees. This is the largest mangrove habitat in Costa Rica, excellent for seeing water birds, crocodiles, caimans, and turtles. Return to the ocean by another river channel, to a large beach where you will enjoy a nature hike. And finally, you will visit Bird Island by boat, to see impressive numbers of nesting frigate birds.


(Breakfast, lunch, dinner & overnight at Drake Bay Wilderness Lodge)


March 9: For your final day in the area, you can explore the extensive forest trails with your guide. There is plenty of wildlife that can be seen right on the lodge grounds and nearby trails. You may also choose to take some leisure time for a dip in the ocean or swimming pool, or paddle along the coast on the lodge kayaks. Relax on a hammock and take in the expansive ocean views. However you choose to spend your final day in the area we are sure it will be an experience to remember.


(Breakfast, lunch, dinner & overnight at Drake Bay Wilderness Lodge)

March 10: Today we say farewell to the Osa Peninsula and head back to the San Jose area. You will travel by boat and ground transfer from the hotel to the Drake Bay airstrip. The flight is approximately 40 minutes long. Upon arrival in San Jose, you will be greeted by one of our drivers and escorted back to the hotel where you may relax and enjoy the gardens before dinner.


(Breakfast at Drake Bay Wilderness Lodge, Lunch Not included, Dinner and overnight at Hotel Buena Vista)


March 11: Departure day. Our driver will greet you at the reception area of the hotel for your transfer to the airport for departing flights.


(Breakfast at Hotel Buena Vista)


Important notes and conditions:

  • Wet landings required for some tours.  5 - 6 hours of walking/activity per day.

  • 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 guests will assume the additional cost of the missed meal elsewhere for the themselves and the guide if applicable.

  • Airport exit taxes are not included and are approximately $30 per person (Most airlines are including them now, so please check with airlines for details.)

  • Tips to guides and hotel staff not included (Tipping is customary and merit-based in Costa Rica).

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

  • International airfare not included 

  • Any additional airport transfers have an additional cost of $50 each. 

  • There is no refund available for unused tours, in the case that guests decide to stay behind.

  • A non-refundable deposit of $650 per person due upon booking. Full balance due by December 23, 2017. 

Cancellations and respective refunds are 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 61 days prior to the arrival date, the client receives a 50% refund of the total less the non-refundable deposit.

  • Cancellations received at 60 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. 


***IMPORTANT: The day that each tour is offered may vary. The tour schedule in this itinerary is just a sample to give guests an idea. The National Park strictly regulates the number of people who can enter the park each day so the exact day will depend on which date during your stay that the National Park authorizes.

The tour to the Sirena Station of the Corcovado National Park requires a boat ride on the open ocean. Please be aware that the ocean can be quite choppy and somewhat rough. The Sirena Station Tour is contingent upon safe weather and ocean conditions; if necessary, this tour will be replaced with a second tour to the San Pedrillo Station.

This is an amazing tour as you get into the heart of Corcovado National Park where you have the best chances of seeing large mammals like Tapir, Tamandua, spider monkeys, white faced monkeys, howler monkeys, and even the Squirrel monkeys, sloth, etc. (occasionally cats are seen here too--ocelot, puma, and jaguar)

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