Costa Rica Birding at It’s Best Tour

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advanced costa rica birding tour

The Costa Rica Focus Touch: 

  • ✓ Private meet and greet at the Juan Santa Maria (San Jose) International Airport.
  • ✓ Services of your private naturalist guide, Rudy Zamora (35+ years of birding in Central America) 24/7 in-country assistance.
  • Birding checklist and target list customized to each location.
  • ✓ Daily recap every day with your guide to update your birding checklist.
  • ✓ 1 group leader travels for free with 12 full fare guests.

Overview: Itinerary at a Glance

  • Day 1: Arrive San Jose Costa Rica, Hotel Bougainvillea
  • Day 2: Tortuguero | Canals & Kingfishers
  • Day 3: Tortuguero | Caribbean Coast
  • Day 4: Arenal Volcano Area | Lowland Rainforest
  • Day 5: Arenal Volcano Area | Lowland Rainforest
  • Day 6: Monteverde | Monteverde Cloud Forest
  • Day 7: Monteverde | Monteverde Reserve
  • Day 8: Central Pacific | Tarcoles River
  • Day 9: Central Pacific | Carara National Park
  • Day 10: Return Home

advanced costa rica birding tour map

Day 1: Arrive San Jose, Costa Rica

Arrive in San Jose, where you will be met and transferred to your hotel.  Your tour begins with an afternoon walk through the exquisite gardens of the Hotel Bougainvillea. The gardens stretch over 10-acres with pathways, benches, and viewing areas. There are 50 species of bromeliad, native trees, orchids, herbs, cactus and much more. The gardens are a haven for several hard to see bird species including the white-eared ground sparrow and the Prevost ground sparrow. The hotel is decorated with local pottery and hosts an impressive collection of rocks and minerals found throughout Costa Rica. Dine tonight at the hotel restaurant.

Hotel Bougainvillea / Meals: Dinner

costa rica advanced birding tour day

Day 2: Tortuguero | Canals & Kingfishers

You will depart today, very early, and travel through the massive Braulio Carillo National Park, heading to the Caribbean coast.  Once through the rain forest, you’ll pass through typical Tico towns, pineapple plantations, and groves and groves of bananas. If time allows, you’ll stop for a few minutes to see the banana picking and processing in action.  You’ll have breakfast along the way and reach the port of either Cano Blanco or Pavones to board your boat and continue your journey to Tortuguero. You’ll arrive at the lodge in time for lunch. That afternoon you’ll take your first journey into the canals for some fantastic wildlife viewing and birding.

Rana Roja Lodge / Meals: breakfast, lunch, dinner

costa rica advanced birding tour day two

Day 3: Tortuguero | Canals & Kingfishers

Activities vary in Tortuguero, depending on the time of year you visit. Today, first thing in the morning, you’ll embark back into the canals. The early mornings are alive with bird and animal activity. The afternoon you may visit Tortuguero town and the turtle museum and/or return to the canals for more birding. If you’re visiting between June and October, plan on arranging the optional turtle nesting tour for the evening.

Savegre Lodge / Meals:  breakfast, lunch, dinner

costa rica advanced birding tour day threeDay 4: Arenal Volcano Area | Arenal Observatory Lodge

After breakfast today, you’ll board your boat transfer and return to Pavones or Cano Blanco to continue your journey.  You’ll make a stop for lunch en-route and then continue to the town of La Fortuna and the Arenal Volcano area. The drive is only about 2.5 hours and you’ll bird along the way as you pass through fields, farms, and rolling hills. You’ll arrive at the lovely Arenal Observatory lodge with time for birding the grounds. The Observatory Lodge has a huge observation deck overlooking the Arenal Volcano and an expansive garden.  There is a total of 870 acres of forest and an excellent trail system. This is the premier bird watching location in the Arenal area.

Arenal Observatory Lodge / Meals: breakfast, lunch, dinner

costa rica advanced birding tour day fourDay 5: Arenal Volcano Area | Arenal Observatory Lodge

Today you will spend the full day around the trails at the Observatory Lodge.  More than 500 species have been registered on the grounds and forest of the lodge.  Keep watch for the black-crested coquette, yellow-eared toucanet, great curassow and many more. The diverse habitat provides a true paradise for bird watchers.

Arenal Observatory Lodge / Meals: breakfast, lunch, dinner

Day 6: Cloud Forest|Hotel de Montana Monteverde

After breakfast at the Observatory Lodge you’ll make a stop at the trails of Sky Trek.  This is a great stop for birders as it gives you a chance to see the canopy at eye level. Look for the blue and gold tanager, and large mixed flocks. After the Sky Trek trails, travel around Lake Arenal to the lush cloud forests of Monteverde.  

Hotel del Montana Monteverde / Meals: breakfast, lunch, dinner

costa rica advanced birding tour day six


Day 7: Cloud Forest | Hotel de Montana Monteverde

You will spend the day today in the rich, exuberant Cloud Forest at the Monteverde Reserve. Monteverde is home to 2.5% of the world’s biodiversity. 10% of its flora is endemic. A wonderful network of trails covers more than 13-kilometers. Marvel at the huge tree ferns, bromeliads, and orchids. The reserve is home to the three-wattled bell-bird, quetzals, tawny-throated leaf-tosser, lineated foliage-gleaner, and many more fantastic species.

Hotel del Montana Monteverde / Meals: breakfast, lunch, dinner

costa rica advanced birding tour day sevenDay 8: Central Pacific | Macaw Lodge

Time to move from the cool mountains of Monteverde to the warmth of the Pacific Coast. En-route, stop for a float trip on the Tarcoles River. This trip is a great place to see shorebirds, marsh species, and of course the gigantic Central American Crocodiles. You will arrive at your hotel late afternoon for check-in.

Macaw Lodge / Meals: breakfast, lunch, dinner

Day 9: Central Pacific | Macaw Lodge

Few places in Costa Rica boast the diversity and grandeur of Carara National Park. It’s a key location as a wildlife corridor between northern and southern Costa Rica creates a sanctuary for a huge variety of animals and birds.  More than 400 species are possible in this region. The fertile Tarcoles river, famous for its massive crocodiles flows through the region bringing in shorebirds and sea birds as well. Keep watch for tinamous, manakins, and puffbirds (just to name a few).

Stay In Costa Rica / Meals: breakfast, lunch, dinner

costa rica advanced birding tour day nineDay 10: San Jose | Time to Return Home

The birding adventure comes to a close. Return to the San Jose Airport for your flight home.

Meals: breakfast



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