Costa Rica Group Birding Trip - Quest for the Agami Heron

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AS FEATURED IN For any seasoned birders hoping to catch a glimpse of this mega-tick-worthy animal, Central American birdwatching tour company Costa Rica Focus has engineered the perfect itinerary… Read Article

Quest for the Agami Herons is a 10 night /11 day birding and nature trip to Costa Rica gives avid bird watchers the chance to see some of Costa Rica’s rarest and most exciting bird species, plus, for the naturalist in all of us, the opportunity to experience one of nature’s most special and rarest gifts, viewing of the ancient Leatherback Sea Turtles. Stay in a combination of Costa Rica’s birding hotspots and one-of-a-kind Eco lodges.

With your private naturalist birding guide, you’ll travel from the sultry Caribbean Lowlands, through the highest mountain peaks, enjoying nature at its most prolific and pristine.Travel with your expert birding guide on this small group trip to Costa Rica and experience paradise at its best

Costa Rica Group Birding Trip 1

‘Quest for the Agami Heron’ Group Tour Itinerary 

Day 1: Arrive San Jose | Welcome to Costa Rica

Welcome to Costa Rica! We’ll meet you at the San Jose International Airport. Your private guide will meet you at the airport and transfer with you to the charming Hotel Bougainvillea. Check in and enjoy the spectacular gardens at the hotel. This evening join your group for a Welcome Dinner.

Hotel: Hotel Bougainvillea
Birding Group Tour: Quest for the Agami Heron - Day 1 - Bougainvillea Hotel Garden

Day 2: San Gerardo de Dota | Savegre Lodge

Today after breakfast you’ll travel about 3 hours (depending on how many stops you make for birds) from the Central Valley to the foothills of the Talamanca Mountains and the town of San Gerardo de Dota. You’ll pass through farmlands, rolling green hills, and begin to gain elevation. Keep a sweater or fleece handy, you’ll notice the drop in temperature as climb above the paramo and into the mountains. You’ll make several stops along the way to look for the endemic species of the different habitats.

Savegre Lodge is a lovely mountain lodge set within its own private reserve within the Talamanca Mountain Range. Travel over the highest peaks in Costa Rica, through the paramo, and into a gorgeous valley of white oak trees and lush forests to one of the richest birding areas in Costa Rica. We’ll be exploring the highlands looking for the Quetzal, Flame-throated Warblers, Long-tailed Silky Flycatchers and much more.

After check in enjoy a delicious lunch then meet your guide for a birding walk around the gardens and trails of the Savegre Lodge.

Savegre Lodge / Meals: breakfast, lunch, dinner
Birding Group Tour: Quest for the Agami Heron - Savegre Lodge Qutezal


Day 3: San Gerardo de Dota | Savegre Lodge

A full day of birding today at the private reserve of Savegre Lodge. You will walk the trails with your guide and be entranced by the beautiful white oaks, and golden moss of this stunning forest. The array of bird species is astounding. Savegre is the best location to find the Resplendent Quetzal as well as the endemic Flame- throated Warbler, Long-tailed Silky Flycatcher, and the Yellow thighed Finch. In the afternoon, stroll along the river looking for dippers, and phoebes and relax in the gardens surrounded by hummingbirds, tanagers, and warblers as the sun sets.

Savegre Lodge / Meals: breakfast, lunch, dinnerSavegre Lodge in San Gerardo de Dota


Day 4: Turrialba | Rancho Naturalista

You’ll depart after breakfast, driving Northeast towards the town of Turrialba. You’ll pass through the town of Cartago, the original capital city of Costa Rica, and then head into the country passing small towns, beautiful green hills, rivers and forests. Your guide will stop along the way for birds and other sites.
The premier birding lodge in Costa Rica, Rancho Naturalista is one of the finest bird watching lodges in Central America. Several species of hummingbirds, as well as many other birds, can be seen right from the spacious balcony where you also have a great view of the distant smoking Turrialba volcano. It’s a wonderful getaway for birders, photographers, and naturalists.

Rancho Naturalista / Meals: breakfast, lunch, dinnerRancho Naturalista - Snowcap Hummingbird - Birding Group Tour: Quest for the Agami Heron

Day 5: Turrialba | Rancho Naturalista

The birding activity starts early in the morning at sunrise when the birds become active. Meet your guide on the balcony for a quick cup of coffee or tea at dawn. Then it’s birding on the balcony to see what comes to the feeders, off to the insect light to see some of the insect feeding species like the Red-throated Ant Tanager, and birding around the lodge. You will come back for a full breakfast at 7:00 am. After breakfast you will head out on the trails in the private forest reserve to look for mixed species flocks. Several different species can be seen foraging together in the canopy and understory of the forest.

Return to the lodge for lunch and a rest and late afternoon head into the forest, just a short walk from the lodge to the Hummingbird Pools where hummingbirds arrive to dip in the fresh spring water of the stream each evening. In the cool green of the forest under story is an observation deck above a rainforest stream. There you will have an amazing look into a private world as you sit and enjoy the amazing sight of these beautiful gems of the rainforest.

See the striking Purple-crowned fairy, the Snowcap with its gleaming white cap, and the vibrant colors of the Violet-crowned Woodnymph and more. Also other species besides Hummingbirds visit this area including the Tawny-throated Leaftosser, the Dull-mantled Antbird, Great Tinamou and many more.

Rancho Naturalista / Meals: breakfast, lunch, dinner

Day 6: Parismina |Pacuare Reserve Camp – Casa Grande Ecolodge

Today after breakfast you’ll head Northeast towards the Caribbean Coast and the remote, lush, Pacuare Reserve. Your drive will take you about 3 hours . You’ll reach the small town of Matina where you’ll leave the coaster and board your boats to travel through the the river to the lodge.

Imagine a place hidden in a dense jungle forest along the Caribbean Sea, a quasi-island surrounded by the ocean and canals. You can only get there by boat. A place with no electricity and where howler monkeys, egrets, herons and kingfishers herald your arrival. No crowds, no traffic, no luxury .. all left behind for the unique chance to experience raw nature, to be a part of something great, to observe, to learn and maybe teach others as well. Our goal during our stay is to experience two incredible acts of nature; the nesting of the Agami Heron and the Leatherback Sea Turtles.

IMPORTANT: Staying at the Pacuare Reserve is a RUSTIC experience. There is no electricity, no Wifi; just the basic comforts. Some bedrooms have shared bath, some share the downstairs shower. The cabinas have a shared shower and bathroom. Based on the makeup of our group, rooms will be assigned about 30 days prior to our arrival.

Pacuare Reserve Lodge / Meals: breakfast, lunch, dinner Birding Group Tour: Quest for the Agami Heron - Carribean

Day 7: Parismina | Pacuare Reserve Camp – Casa Grande Ecolodge

We’re in for an amazing day as we start the morning exploring the canals of Southern Tortuguero by boat, we’ll then go to visit the nesting site of the Agami Heron, bird watch the surrounding forest, and finally participate in the Leatherback Turtle Census in the evening. We’ll breakf for meals at the lodge, but today is a full immersion into nature.

Pacuare Reserve Lodge / Meals: breakfast, lunch, dinner
Pacuare reserve Camp - Birding Group Tour: Quest for the Agami Heron in Costa Rica

Day 8: Sarapiqui | Tirimbina Lodge

This morning after breakfast we’ll depart by boat from Parismina and return to the small port at Matina to pick up our coaster and head Northwest for about 3 hours to the small town of Sarapiqui. We’ll pass through banana groves and pineapple plantations, small towns and farms for check in at our Hotel, Tirimbina Lodge. Tirimbina Lodge is not just a top birding lodge, it’s also an important research center that hosts scientists and students from around the world. The private reserve is home to a wide variety of birds, mammals, reptiles, and amphibians.

Late afternoon your guide will walk you around the grounds and the reserve at Tirimbina Lodge. This is a great place to spot the Great Green Macaw, among other Caribbean Species.

Tirimbina Lodge / Meals: breakfast, lunch, dinner

Day 9: Arenal | Arenal Observatory Lodge

Today you’ll have an early morning breakfast and then head to one of the top birding destinations in the country, La Selva Biological Station. You’ll spend the morning exploring the trails and gardens. The species richness of La Selva is outstanding, with more than 2,077 species of plants; 125 species of mammals (72 of them bats); 470 species of birds; 48 amphibian species; 87 species of reptiles; 45 species of freshwater fish; and tens of thousands of insects, arachnids and other arthropods.

In the early afternoon you’ll break for lunch and then head West towards the Arenal Volcano. You’ll drive through beautiful rolling hills, farmlands with fields of yucca, groves of bananas, and acres and acres of pineapples, and soon the majestic peak of the Arenal Volcano will appear on the horizon. You’ll arrive at the Observatory Lodge for check in.

Arenal Observatory Lodge is a preferred destination for bird watching in Costa Rica, with more than 500 species of birds found on the grounds and surrounding forest.

Arenal Observatory Lodge / Meals: breakfast, lunch, dinnerArenal Observatory Lodge - Birding Group Tour: Quest for the Agami Heron

Day 10: Arenal | Arenal Observatory Lodge

Today you’ll spend the day with your Naturalist Guide exploring the trails and gardens around the Observatory Lodge. This is truly one of the best places in Costa Rica for spotting wrens, antbirds, tanagers, hummingbirds, raptors, cotingas, woodpeckers, woodcreepers and so much more. It’s a true birdwatchers paradise. The forest is also home to many mammals. We’ll be looking for agoutis, anteaters, armadillos, peccaries, and much more. Enjoy this fabulous day of birding and interaction with nature.

Arenal Observatory Lodge / Meals: breakfast, lunch, dinner

Day 11: San Jose | Transfer to the San Jose International Airport – fly home

The Quest for Agami Heron has come to an end. This morning you’ll depart your hotel and transfer back to the SJO Airport for your flight home.

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