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RAPTOR MIGRATION 2024

September 21 - October 3, 2024

Tour includes: 

  • 12 nights of lodging

  • Meals starting breakfast on Day 2, ending with breakfast on Day 13

  • Full time Bi-lingual English-Spanish speaking guide, specializing in birds and natural history starting on Day 2 until drop-off at Bougainvillea on Day 12

  • Full time ground transportation in a spacious air-conditioned vehicle from Day 2 until Day 12

  • Shared water transportation to and from Tortuguero on Day 7 and Day 9

  • Private ground transfer from SJO Airport to Hotel Bougainvillea on arrival day (Sept 21)

  • Private ground transfer from Hotel Bougainvillea to SJO Airport on departure day (Oct 3)

  • Entrance fees to the parks and reserves specified below

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

  • Owling excursions will be available one night at each location weather permitting and if the guide deems the outing productive.

  • Meals are pre-arranged. All rooms are comfortable, clean and have en suite bathrooms. 

 

Tours and Entrances included:

  • 1 entrance to Bogarin Trails

  • 1 entrance to Cinchona Hummingbird Gardens

  • 1 full day entrance to La Selva Biological Station

  • 1 entrance to Cope Garden’s

  • 1 guided turtle nesting night walk

  • 2 day passes to Tortuguero National Park

  • 4 private boat tours of the canals in Tortuguero National Park

  • 1 visit to Casa Caletea

  • 1 visit to Cahuita National Park

  • 1 visit to the Kekoldi Observation Tower (optional)

  • *Please note that this visit is for the participants that are in good health and fit enough to walk 1 mile uphill, then climb stairs to the Observation Tower. This walk is “strenuous.” The guide plans to take his time reaching the tower and bird along the way. The hike will start at around 5:30am to avoid the heat.*

 

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 amd 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.


Sept 21: 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, Rufous-capped Warbler and Hoffman’s Woodpecker.

 

Sept 22, 23, 24: Spend three nights in the Arenal area, which offers breathtaking views of the jungle-covered Arenal Volcano. This is a birding and wildlife hotspot, and the stunning natural beauty will astound you. 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 and Mottled Owl, in the hotel grounds. The raptor species that you will have a chance to see in this location are the Black hawk Eagle, Ornated hawk Eagle and the Bicolored Hawk.

 

Sept 25 Travel to 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,an d 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. We will be keeping our eyes open for the Semiplumbeous Hawk, Tiny Hawk, and Bat Falcon in this location. 

 

Sept 26:  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 Fruitcrow, 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 unforgettable days. 

 

Sept 27 & 28: Travel by bus and then 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, freshwater turtles, basilisk lizards, the Honduran White tent-making bats, and three species of monkeys that frequent the banks. September is a spectacular time to visit the Caribbean side of Costa Rica because of its unforgettable sights. You will have the opportunity to witness the hatching of hundreds of baby Green Sea Turtles. This location is one of the most critical nesting sites of the Green Sea Turtle in the world. The raptor species that can be seen in this habitat are the Black Hawk, Grey-headed Kite and the Collared forest Falcon.

Sept 29, 30 & Oct 1: Further south in Limon, we will be visiting the Kèköldi indigenous territory to see the annual raptor migration. The Kèköldi observation tower is one of the best places in the country to see the bottleneck of millions of individual raptors as they make their way to their southern wintering grounds. There is a jaw-dropping 17 different kinds of raptor species that pass over the observation tower grounds. You will be able to observe the raptors gliding on the thermals and later roosting in the treetops.

 

Some of the species in migration are turkey vultures, Swainson’s Hawks, Broad-winged Hawks, Mississippi kites, Sharp-chinned Hawk, Peregrine Falcon, Osprey, Plumbeous Kite, Merlin, are some of the migrants visiting Costa Rica during this time. You will also have a good chance of seeing resident raptor species such as the Laughing Falcon, Short-tailed Hawk, and Roadside Hawk.

 

While at the observation tower you will witness the individuals in charge of the raptor count and keeping records of the yearly migration. Beside the raptors, you will be able to observe other migratory bird species that funnel through the area including swallows, warbles, tanagers, and brush withs. 

During your time in this region you will visit the Southern Caribbean Coastal Rainforest, you will visit Cahuita National Park as well as Casa Caleteas which are two impressive locations during this yearly migration.

 

Oct 2:  Return to San Jose.  Return to lodge for dinner and an overnight stay.

 

Oct 3: Transfer to the airport for departing flights. 

*If you have the opportunity to extend your trip to Costa Rica, we would highly recommend visiting the Southern Pacific side of the country to finish off the great wildlife wonders of this season. In the Drake Bay area, mother humpback whales arrive in the warm waters to give birth and raise their young calves.

 

 

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 $56.50 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

  • Early check-in (usually before 3pm) and late check-out (usually after 10am) fees are not included. If an early check-in or late check-out is requested, the client will pay the corresponding charge per hotel policy. 

  • 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

  • Non-smokers prefered. Costa Rica has strict laws on smoking in public. Smoking is only permitted in designated smoking areas away from the main public amenities. This means that there is no smoking on public property, inside the hotel facility, trail systems or reserves. 

  • Physical Fitness Disclaimer: This tour has moderate daily fitness activity. Participants will need to be able to stand for periods of time out in the field. Anticipate walking a daily total of 1-2 miles at a slow pace on faily flat ground. If there are inclines they will be slight and gradual. Minimal amount of stairs. If this could be an issue please let us know. 

  • $650 non-refundable deposit invoiced upon booking.

  • 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
    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.

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