TERRY FORD - SOUTHERN SENSATION

January 3-20, 2023

Price per person based on 2 participants in double occupancy: $6,560

Tour includes: 

  • 18 nights of lodging

  • Meals starting with Breakfast on Day 2 and ending with breakfast on Day 18

  • Full time Bilingual English-Spanish speaking guide/driver, specializing in birds and natural history starting on Day 2 until drop-off at the hotel on Day 11

  • 1 meet & greet and airport transfer (on arrival day)

  • Full time ground transportation in a spacious air-conditioned vehicle Day 2-11

  • 1 private airport transfer on Day 1 & Day 19

  • All tours and entrances listed above

  • 1 small chilled water bottle per person per day with the option to refill at filtered water dispensers

  • Taxes (airport taxes and tips to local staff, guide and driver not included

  • Tipping is customary and merit based in Costa Rica. (See below for tipping guideline to pass along to guests).

  • Owling excursions will be available throughout the tour, weather permitting and where productive based on discretion of the guide.

Tours and Entrances included:

  • 1 visit to Paraiso Quetzal hummingbird gardens

  • Access to Oak Forest Reserve

  • 1 shared, guided tour of Sirena Station (if weather does not permit or minimum number of participants is not met for this shared tour, the alternative tour will be San Pedrillo Station or pay a supplement to make the tour private)

  • 1 shared, guided tour of Coastal Birding & Bird Island 

  • 1 private Tarcoles River Boat Tour with roundtrip transportation

Important Travel Information: US CDC international travel requirement: "If you plan to travel internationally, you will need to get a COVID-19 viral test (regardless of vaccination status or citizenship) no more than 1 day before you travel by air into the United States. You must show your negative result to the airline before you board your flight. If you recently recovered from COVID-19, you may instead travel with documentation of recovery from COVID-19 (i.e., your positive COVID-19 viral test result on a sample taken no more than 90 days before the flight’s departure from a foreign country and a letter from a licensed healthcare provider or a public health official stating that you were cleared to travel)"

Cotinga Tours is NOT responsible for the following:

 

  • The traveler's compliance or the consequences of non-compliance with United States or Costa Rica COVID-19 policies.

  • Costs associated with the required COVID-19 tests.*

  • Any delays in receiving the COVID-19 test results and any costs incurred due to delayed test results.

  • If the traveler tests positive for COVID-19.

  • Any costs incurred if there is delay in departure from Costa Rica.

 

*Cotinga Tours will assist travelers in the appointment making process at a convenient testing location in Costa Rica with the approved PCR test. Cotinga Tours will also provide transportation to the location for testing. It is the client’s responsibility to provide their personal information to make and complete the appointment. Most laboratories will email the test result directly to the client.


Travel restrictions and entry policies for the United States of America can change without notice. It is the responsibility of the client to stay informed the weeks and days before and during their trip to make sure they comply with the most current United States policies. Here is a helpful link to the United States Embassy guidelines: https://cr.usembassy.gov/covid-19-information/

 

 

 

DETAILED ITINERARY

*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 while maintaining a comfortable pace. As an optional outing, one night in each location, we will go owling (weather permitting and if the guide determines the outing to be productive). Each evening there will also be an optional meeting before or after dinner to go over the bird/wildlife checklist for that day.

 

*Please note that exact meal and outing times will be announced by the guide as the tour goes along. This is to allow for flexibility in the itinerary to be able to best take advantage of time in the field and so the logistics run smoothly for the group as a whole.

Day 1 - Jan 3: Hotel Bougainvillea

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.

Day 2 & 3 - Jan 4, 5: Savegre

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. 

 

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.

 

Day 4 & 5 - Jan 6, 7: Las Cruces

Travel to Las Cruces Biological Station home to Robert and Katherine Wilson Botanical Garden, run by the Organization for Tropical Studies. The station boasts an impressive collection of tropical and subtropical plants from around the world, including rare and endangered species from Costa Rica. Among the 1000 genera and 212 plant families represented at the station there is an astounding compilation of ferns, aroids, bromeliads, gingers, heliconias, marantas, and palms. The gardens and surrounding rainforest attract a wide variety of birds, many of which are exclusively found in the southern zone of the country. Some of our target birds while at the station include: Turquoise Cotinga, Fiery-billed Aracari, Masked Yellow-throat, Marbled Wood-Quail, Garden Emerald, White-bellied Emerald, Charming Hummingbird, Olivaceous Woodcreeper, Speckled Tanager, Thrushlike Manakin (Thrushlike Schiffornis), Golden-naped Woodpecker, and Pale-breasted Spinetail, If we are lucky we may even see Crested Oropendula and Wattled Jacana.

 

Day 6 & 7 - Jan 8, 9: Esquinas

Travel to Esquinas Lodge on the outskirts of Golfito where you will spend the next two days. The lodge is surrounded by dense lowland rainforest, bordering the Piedras Blancas National Park. This a great area to look for Ruddy-breasted Seed- eater, Red-breasted Blackbird, Black-cheeked Ant-Tanager (endemic), Baird’s Trogon, Fork-tailed Flycatcher, Blue-crowned Manakin, Brown-chested Martin, Scrub Greenlet, and Thick-billed Euphonia among many others. We might even spot Pearl Kite and Uniform Crake.

 

Day 8 - Jan 10: Drake Bay Wilderness Resort

Travel to Drake Bay Wilderness Resort, home to Corcovado National Park. You will arrive at the Palmar Sur airstrip and take a ground transfer to Sierpe. In Sierpe you will take a 1.5 hour boat transfer through the impressive Sierpe Terraba mangroves to get to the Drake Bay Wilderness Resort. Be prepared for wet-landing. 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 rainforest 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.

 

Day 9 - Jan 11: Drake Bay Wilderness Resort

Spend the day in the waters enjoying Coastal Birding & Bird Island, approximately a two-hour boat ride from the lodge. In nearby waters, common bottlenose dolphin, pantropical spotted dolphin, Orca whales, humpback whale, false killer whale, and 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. (Depending on lodge activity arrangements this activity could be on Day 10 - Jan 12)

 

Day 10 - Jan 12: Drake Bay Wilderness Resort

You will enjoy a full day trip to Sirena Station in the heart of Corcovado National Park. The Osa Peninsula is best known for the famous 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. (Depending on lodge activity arrangements this activity could be on Day 9 - Jan 11)

 

Day 11 - Jan 13: Hotel Punta Leona

Travel to Hotel Punta Leona, 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. This is a long travel day. The guide will make various stops along the way to enjoy the costa views and natural wonders, stopping for lunch will be en route. Upon arrival to the hotel your private guide will bid you goodbye and return to San Jose.

 

Day 12, 13, 14, 15, 16 - Jan 14, 15, 16, 17, 18: Hotel Punta Leona

During your time here you can enjoy a stroll through the Punta Leona private reserva on the property, relax by the poolside, or organize your own tours directly with the staff at reception. On Day January 14th, we have a private Tarcoles Boat Tour reserved for you. Pick-up will be at 8:00am from the hotel reception area and you will return in time for lunch.

We suggest you arrange a trip with the hotel staff to spend a 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 antbirds, up to five 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 17 - Jan 19: Hotel Bougainvillea

After breakfast your private driver will arrive to take you back to San Jose for a relaxing afternoon at the Bougainvillea. Enjoy a stroll through the beautiful 10-acre garden or soak in the sun by the poolside. 

Day 18 - Jan 20: Departures

A private driver will pick you up from Hotel Bougainvillea and drop you off in time for check-in at the SJO airport. 

**Please let Ashley know if you are needing to coordinate a COVID test to enter either your country of return or a layover country. She will be able to assist you with further information.**

 

Important Notes & 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 themselves, the guide and driver.

  • We encourage guests to bring reusable water bottle and refill water bottles at filtered water dispensers in lodges and on the bus to reduce our use of plastic

  • 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 airline 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 Guidelines are available upon request

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

  • We highly recommend purchasing comprehensive travel insurance that covers trip

  • A $600 non-refundable deposit is required upon booking
    cancellation, trip interruption, and loss or damage to optics and equipment, in order to protect your investment.

  • 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 less prior to the arrival date, there will be no refund available.

Fiery-throated hummingbird.JPG
Resplendent Quetzal
Resplendent Quetzal

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Red-headed Barbet
Red-headed Barbet

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Golden-browed Chlorophonia, Costa Rica b
Golden-browed Chlorophonia, Costa Rica b

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Resplendent Quetzal
Resplendent Quetzal

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Grey-headed Tanager (003)
Grey-headed Tanager (003)

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Scarlet Macaw, Costa Rica
Scarlet Macaw, Costa Rica

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Fiery-billed Aracari, Costa Rica by Paco
Fiery-billed Aracari, Costa Rica by Paco

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Grey-headed Tanager (003)
Grey-headed Tanager (003)

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Pale-billed Woodpecker, Costa Rica by Pa
Pale-billed Woodpecker, Costa Rica by Pa

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Royal Flycatcher, Costa Rica by Keith Of
Royal Flycatcher, Costa Rica by Keith Of

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Pale-billed Woodpecker, Costa Rica by Pa
Pale-billed Woodpecker, Costa Rica by Pa

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Gray-necked Wood-Rail, Costa Rica by Pac
Gray-necked Wood-Rail, Costa Rica by Pac

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Spectacled Owl, Costa Rica by Paco Madri
Spectacled Owl, Costa Rica by Paco Madri

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Gray-necked Wood-Rail, Costa Rica by Pac
Gray-necked Wood-Rail, Costa Rica by Pac

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Scarlet Tanager, Costa Rica by Paco Madr
Scarlet Tanager, Costa Rica by Paco Madr

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Whte-fronted Parrot, Costa Rica by Paco
Whte-fronted Parrot, Costa Rica by Paco

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Scarlet Tanager, Costa Rica by Paco Madr
Scarlet Tanager, Costa Rica by Paco Madr

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White-Faced Capuchin (002)
White-Faced Capuchin (002)

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Whte-fronted Parrot, Costa Rica by Paco
Whte-fronted Parrot, Costa Rica by Paco

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Manuel 005
Manuel 005

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White-Faced Capuchin (002)
White-Faced Capuchin (002)

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COVID-19 Detailed Policies and Country Requirements

  • To enter Costa Rica, guests must have a valid passport for the duration of their stay and proof of a departure ticket within 90 days or less of arrival date.

  • Passengers who fail to comply with these requirements may not enter the country.

  • Upon landing in Costa Rican territory, travelers must wear face protection and comply with the strict protocols of the air terminal with regard to physical distancing, disinfection of carpets, and taking temperature readings, and must follow any other sanitary instructions. 

  • Clients must strictly adhere to the Costa Rican government’s mandates on wearing face coverings (which they will be required to bring along with them in sufficient numbers for the entirety of their stay), physical distancing guidelines,  as well as carry hand sanitizer with them on all outings. (NOTE: Costa Rica has required that people must wear a face mask when entering all public buildings. Costa Rica has put a band on wearly only face shields. If you use a face shield, it has to be accompanied with a face mask when entering a public building).

  • Medical costs and any extra costs associated with a medical issue (lodging, transportation, meals, etc) are the responsibility of the client. Cotinga Tours will not be responsible for any costs incurred. Cotinga Tours will assist clients in finding alternative accommodations if client(s) are denied entrance into a hotel in their itinerary due to illness.

  • If a COVID-19 test is necessary while in Costa Rica, extra costs incurred--transportation, medical costs, test cost (approximately $100), alternative lodging and meals will be covered by the client.

  • The above COVID-19 related travel requirements could change at any time please refer to this website for updates: https://www.visitcostarica.com/en/costa-rica/statement-costa-rica-tourism-board-covid-19 

  • In case of a travel emergency within Costa Rica, Cotinga Tours will keep communication with the clients. In terms of a travel emergency that affects travel to or from the country of origin, it will be the responsibility of HeatherLea to communicate with the clients.

  • Traveling during the COVID pandemic does come with risks. Cotinga Tours as well as the hotel properties, tour operators, and restaurants follows the sanitary policies enforced by the Costa Rican Ministerio de Salud. 

  • Be prepared to have your temperature taken with a digital, non-touch thermometer upon arrival at a hotel. If the guest’s temperature is more than 38°C (100.4°F), the guest will not be allowed to enter the hotel. In which case, Cotinga Tours will look into an alternative lodging option for that client. Costs incurred will be the responsibility of the client and the client is responsible to make sure that these costs will be covered by their travel insurance policy.