Nature & Photography
Tour includes: 14 nights of lodging and meals (pre-arranged) starting with dinner on day 1 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 (including 2 airport transfers, any additional transfers will have an additional charge of $60 per transfer); full time private bi-lingual professional guide/driver specializing in birds and natural history; entrance fees to the parks and reserves specified in the itinerary; 3 chilled bottles of water per day per client; and taxes (airport taxes and tips to local staff, guide and driver not included. Tipping is customary and merit-based in Costa Rica). 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.
Day 1, 2, 3: Arrive in Liberia where you will be warmly welcomed by your guide/chauffer. Travel to the Arenal Observatory Lodge, which offers breath-taking views of the jungle-covered Arenal Volcano. This is a birding and wildlife hotspot, and the stunning natural beauty will astound you. You will spend the next 3 nights here. 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. (Overnight: Arenal Observatory Lodge, Room type: Superior Smithsonian Volcano View rooms. Travel time: Approx. 2.5 hours)
Day 4: Travel to Hotel Hacienda Sueno Azul in the tropical lowlands of Sarapiqui. Spend the afternoon exploring the wildlife-rich riparian zone along the banks of the Puerto Viejo and San Rafael Rivers. 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. (Overnight: Hotel Hacienda Sueno Azul, room type Superior with A/C)
Day 5: Spend the day 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 Fruit Crow, and Snowy Cotinga, among many others. Animals here are not camera shy, so there will be ample photo opportunities. Peccaries (wild pigs), agoutis, coatis, sloths, and monkeys frequent the area. All of which makes for an unforgettable experience. (Overnight: Hotel Hacienda Sueno Azul, room type Superior with A/C)
Day 6: 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. This is also a great place to see a variety of beautiful orquids, characteristic to the highlands. (Overnight at the Savegre Mountain Lodge, nestled in a quaint highland valley nearby. Room type: Jr Suites)
Day 7 & 8: Spend the next two days exploring the gardens, riparian highland habitats, and old growth tropical oak cloud forests surrounding the Savegre Mountain 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. While in the area, we will also visit the Paramo habitat at approximately 3500m above sea level in search of the Volcano Junco. This is a very unique alpine habitat, dominated by by tussock grasses, large rosette plants, shrubs with evergreen, coriaceous and sclerophyllous leaves, and cushion plants.
In the evening after a delicious dinner, we will go over the birds, reptiles, mammals, and any other wildlife seen that day. (Overnight at the Savegre Mountain Lodge, nestled in a quaint highland valley nearby. Room type: Jr Suites)
Day 9: 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. After a delicious lunch at the hotel, we 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. (Overnight at Hotel Villa Lapas)
Day 10, 11: Spend the next two days 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 Sreech-Owl, Spectacled Owl, and many species of shorebirds. (Overnight at Hotel Villa Lapas)
Day 12: Travel to your lovely beachfront boutique hotel on the expansive sandy Pacific beach of Playa Hermosa. Enjoy the gentle sounds of ocean waves and tropical birds and maybe even a howler monkey or two. The beachfront location provides a relaxed, peaceful atmosphere, a wonderful way to finish off your trip. (Overnight at Hotel Bosque del Mar in Jr Suites)
May 13, 14: Spend the next few days relaxing and enjoying plenty of unscheduled leisure time on the beach. Your naturalist guide will be available for wildlife viewing outings upon request. (Overnight at Hotel Bosque del Mar in Jr Suites)
Day 15: Breakfast before departing for the airport to return home.
*Each morning we will be getting an early start to make the best of our time, and maximize our opportunities to see the most species of birds possible. As an optional outing, one night in each location, we will go owling. Each evening there will also be an optional meeting after dinner to go over the bird list.
Entrances/Tours include in the quote:
1 full day visit to La Selva, 1 visit to Cinchona hummingbird feeders, 1 visit to Paraiso de Quetzal, 1 visit to the Oak forest reserve at Savegre, 1 visit to Tapir Reserve, 2 visits to Carara National Park, 1 two-hour boat tour on the Tarcoles River, 1 visit to Paramo.
Important notes and conditions:
*Meals are pre-arranged and pre-paid so if clients or tour leaders 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 group and the guide and driver (to be paid for directly by the Tour leader to the hotel or restaurant).
**Airport exit taxes are not included and are approximately $30 per person
***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 driver as well as for local guides/ boatdrivers, $1 per bag for porters, $1 per night for cleaning staff in hotels)
****Alcoholic beverages and costs of a personal nature are not included
*****Payment method is by bank wire deposit due 60 days prior to the arrival of the group. Payments by credit card will incur a 4% processing fee added to the quoted price