Southern Tour

(you pick the date & we'll take care of everything for you)


Tour Includes:

15 day and 14 nights of lodging
All meals from Dinner on day 1 - Breakfast on day 15
All Transportation in Country
Full Time Professional Birding/Nature Guide
Resident Guides(certain locations)
All Accommodations
All Fee's and entrances (national parks, reserves, etc…)

Day 1: Arrive in San Jose where you will be warmly welcomed by your guide and 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. If you feel like getting some exercise, there are lighted tennis courts available to you at the hotel. Depending on arrival time, you may also be able to do some birding with your guide on the hotel grounds. 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: Travel to Selva Verde Lodge in the tropical lowlands of Sarapiqui, birdwatching along the way. The lodge is located at the edge of the wildlife-rich riparian zone along the banks of the Sarapiqui river. This lowland rain forest region at the base of the Caribbean slope is well-known for hosting the greatest diversity of tropical flora and fauna in the country. 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 sloths, 3 different species of monkeys, and peccaries.

Day 3 and 4: Spend the next two 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 Rufous Motmot, Trogons, Caciques, Purple-throated Fruit Crow, and Snowy Cotinga, among many others. Animals here are not camara 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.

Day 5: 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.

Day 6: Spend the 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. (Overnight Villa Lapas)


Day 7: Travel to South along the Pacific coast where we will spend the next day and a half at in the Dominical area, just north of the unique Ballena Marine National Park. Ballena is the Spanish word for whale. The park gets its name because of its located on the north-south migration path of the humpback whales. If we are lucky we might have the opportunity to see one of these beautiful creatures on its migrations path. The area is also known for its rich marine life and coastal terrestrial habitats. We will explore the nearby forests, home to howler monkeys, white-face monkeys, iguanas, basilisk lizards and other reptiles, as well as excellent birdlife including the Fiery-billed Araçari , Yellow-billed Cotinga (a species endemic to Costa Rica and Panama), King Vulture, Grey-necked Wood-rail, American Oystercatcher, Elegant Tern, a variety of shorebirds, Tawny-winged Woodcreeper, Smooth-billed Ani, Scaled Pigeon, Striped Owl, Costa Rican Swift, Olivaceous Piculet, Panama Flycatcher, Yellow-crowned, Tyrannulet, Riverside Wren.

Day 8 and 9: 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 10 and 11: 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 on the 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 12: 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. We will have lunch and overnight at the Savegre Mountain Lodge, nestled in a quaint highland valley nearby.

Day 13: Spend the day 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.

Day 14: Return to San Jose for a farewell dinner and an overnight stay, to rest up for departing flights the next day.

Day 15: Breakfast before departing for the airport to return home.

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.