Costa Rica Focus: Client Stories, Reviews & Testimonials

Our TripAdvisor page showcases candid experiences our clients shared after their birding trip with Costa Rica Focus. We’re sharing here several testimonials, and to get the whole picture you can visit our TripAdvisor page and see all of them.

The Way to Go

My husband and I and a friend used Costa Rica focus to organize an 8 day trip for us to Rancho Naturalista and Savegre. It could not have gone better. They were so proactive, so easy to work with, and they clearly have a ton of experience. They made excellent suggestions about where to go, got wonderful guides for us, suggested great tours, and all for a very reasonable price. I would use them again in a heartbeat and recommend them to everyone I know. I felt completely comfortable with knowing I could contact them at any time and they would respond. Also, our drivers and guides love working with them. I loved hearing that as well.


Reviewed May 5, 2024

Great bird photography excursion in Costa Rica

From the first contact to trip completion, Costa Rica Focus delivered! They were honest during the inquiries regarding availabilities and dates requested. We followed their recommendations and put together a superior trip for my wife and I. The trip was seamless, and we felt fully supported by Costa Rica Focus during the entire trip. They provided a great guide and driver for our two-week excursion. We will use this company again and will highly recommend them to family and friends! Thank you!

Occasionally you encounter a person who exemplifies professionalism, expertise, and dedication to their field. Fito Downs is such a person! We had the privilege to have Fito as our personal guide and driver on our photography excursion through Costa Rica from 04/13/24 through 04/26/24. It was incredible how prepared Fito was and how he used the resources of other guides to facilitate our quest for certain birds. This included the Resplendent Quetzal, Snowcap hummingbird, and the Striped Owl.

Craig H.

Reviewed April 30, 2024

Trip of a lifetime

I’ve just returned from the most amazing trip with Costa Rica Focus. My dream for years was to see the scarlet macaws fly in the wild. Adriana knew exactly where to send me and they were there in abundance. A dream come true. She also recommended Arenal as a second destination for my 8 day trip. Such a beautiful location. The guides were so knowledgeable & helpful and I learned a lot as a birding beginner. The drivers were great and accommodations were comfortable. Everything went so smoothly and having access 24/7 to the team on WhatsApp is great. I am already thinking about my next trip with Costa Rica Focus.

Nadia P

Reviewed April 29, 2024

An Amazing Journey to see Costa Rican birds!

Our journey to five birding locations in 10 days, all with wonderful hotels and parks, was at the end of March – beginning of April 2024… Our guide, Andres Zuniga, spotted so many birds and gave such knowledgeable information (and also such kind treatment to our group, with our diverse physical and birding abilities). I can also not say enough praise for our careful and incredibly road-savvy driver Victor, who led us through unexpected road heights and occasional traffic issues, always with a smile, and always unruffled. (That was not a bird pun). The range of birds seen by the group was absolutely phenomenal, and in such a variety of regions. For this, our guide should have all the credit.

The sleeping, bathing, walking, and shade opportunities in a hot 10-day trip, were wonderful, as was the choice of restaurants. Any issues we had were easily anticipated and solved, but so few were those… as preparations made ahead for us were truly amazing. Thank you for a wonderful trip! YES, we will be recommending Costa Rica Focus to anyone that will listen.


Reviewed April 8, 2024


This was our third trip to CR. We received several proposals from local CR tour companies specializing in birds. We studied ornithology at university, worked on bird research projects in Alaska and Africa and been fortunate to bird six continents. We chose CR Focus to plan our two week independent private birding tour with local guides. We are very happy with CR Focus. Our trip met all of our expectations. Gustavo was great to work with. Gustavo maintained contact throughout our trip and quickly resolved several minor issues. Lodging was comfortable, convenient with good food and service. Arenal Observatory Lodge is exceptional.

Having private transportation for most of our trip was delightful and convenient. The drivers were prompt, courteous, accommodating and cautious. We had private local guides at La Selva, Arenal, Monteverde, and Carara. The guides were exceptional. With extensive local knowledge, we were able to see a total of 48 life birds.


Reviewed March 24, 2024

Great Birding and Much More with Costa Rica Focus

Costa Rica Focus (Joan and her team) put together an excellent tour that allowed our group of four (we are all retired) to experience the sights and ecosystems across a wide swath of the country. Our guide (Mayer) was fantastic with great knowledge and expertise in helping us to find and see more than 300 bird species, as well as several mammals, reptiles and local flora. Our trip included some off-the-beaten track birding/wildlife places with local guides as well as some of the well-known birding hot spots like Arenal Observatory, Monteverde, La Selva, and Rancho Naturalista.

The pace of the trip was just right and we appreciated Mayer’s sense of humor, patience, and flexibility in accommodating our sight-seeing and food sampling requests. He also helped us learn about the history and culture of the country. We would definitely recommend Costa Rica Focus to other birders and nature enthusiasts as not only was the tour well-organized, the CRF team was responsive and supportive throughout the trip.

Edward G

Reviewed March 23, 2024

Trip of a Lifetime

The planning and coordination by Costa Rica Focus was simply exceptional. They put our trip together, lined up some of the best lodges we’ve ever visited and set up every detail of our 11 day birding trip from Arenal through Savegre, a big circle through the heartland of the country. Adriana, our contact, was in constant touch, keeping us informed of where to be and who we’d meet. She set up exceptional birding guides along the way, and quite honestly, made this a trip of a lifetime for us.

Anders G

Reviewed March 6, 2024

Far Exceeded Expectations…

We wanted a twelve day Costa Rican birding adventure with stays at 5-6 locations of our choosing, along with an expert birding guide and CR Focus came through, exceeding all of our expectations. Birding CR requires a great deal of local knowledge if you want to do it efficiently and CR Focus came up with a schedule which targeted the areas and birds we most desired (378 total species, including 286 lifers for the trip). They even redid the original schedule when we learned friends of ours would also be in CR at the same time, so that we would all be at one of the lodges for a couple of days together. Thank you, Costa Rica Focus, and thank you Carlos J., our awesome guide.


Reviewed February 18, 2024

Best Experience Ever in a Wildlife Viewing Photo Safari. Most Highly Recommended

We captured wonderful photographs of the gorgeous Costa Rica tropical birds while visiting four Ecotourism sites in different parts of the country. The travel company Costa Rica Focus created an excellent 10-day itinerary and a dedicated private guide expert in wildlife identification and photography.

The entire experience and our resulting photographs greatly exceeded expectations. Andres, our guide, was highly knowledgeable, and extremely talented at hearing, spotting, identifying and finding the best viewpoints for photographing the great variety of birds and other wildlife. For example, he showed us a tiny “poison dart” frog no bigger than your small fingernail hidden among leaves by hearing its high pitched squeak. We are an older couple and Andres was enormously considerate of our travel needs throughout. It really was a privilege being treated with such consideration by a fine gentleman.

Andres enabled us to enjoy a stimulating experience impossible for us in a large group or alone. An unexpected benefit was seeing a wide cross section of the thriving country of Costa Rica. In a difficult zip code area (Central America) Costa Rica is a bastion of civilization.


Reviewed February 13, 2024

Costa Rica Focus Receives Top Marks from Us

This was our second trip with Costa Rica Focus. My spouse (who is really the big birder) stated that the last Costa Rica Focus trip (Hunt for the Harpy Eagle in Panama) was her “best trip ever”. Now, after completing Tracking the Trogons with Costa Rica Focus, she has declared that this was her “best trip ever” (and was totally unconcerned when I pointed out that there cannot be two “bests”)!

This tour company is exceptionally well organized. The management maintains constant communication while the tour is on-going and is doing everything within its control to make sure the experience is the absolute best it can be for the clients. Both our personal group guide and our group van driver demonstrate the highest level of professionalism and customer service and we, as participants, really had nothing to worry about at all except for being at designated places on time.

If there was any criticism of the trip (and this was repeated numerous times by many of our group) we were offered (and subsequently ate) WAY too much delicious food during the course of each day. As a final testament, my spouse and I are already signed up for another Costa Rica Focus trip later this year — I fully expect her to say that that upcoming trip is her “best trip ever” once we have completed it.

Jeffrey W

Reviewed February 2, 2024

Excellent Birding and All-Around Nature Trip, Well Organized and Executed, First Class Guiding!

Simply the best! My husband and I completed a private 10-day birding trip with our guide Carlos from Jan 8 – 17. Probably the most well organized and executed trip we have ever been on, and we travel internationally quite frequently. Carlos was an excellent guide; he was incredible at finding birds and so enthusiastic about what we were seeing. We visited 4 different areas – Sarapiqui, Arenal, Monteverde, and Tarcoles, and in 10 days, we saw almost 300 species of birds, including some very special birds like Highland Tinamou, White-fronted Nunbird, Azure-hooded Jay, Resplendent Quetzal, and Streak-chested Antpitta.

It’s not just about the birds – there were beautiful forests, sloths, monkeys, hot springs, and waterfalls. Joan was in contact with us via WhatsApp throughout the trip, checking to make sure everything was going smoothly. We are considering a trip next year to the Osa Peninsula area, and if we go, we will definitely be using Costa Rica Focus.


Reviewed January 31, 2024

Wonderful Tour of the Southern Zone

My Father and I had an amazing trip with Costa Rica Focus. Everything was taken care of for us, with a driver and our awesome guide, Minor. I can’t wait until I can take another tour with them. I got some of my dream photographs, of birds I’ve wanted to see for a long time. Joan was responsive on WhatsApp, and even though I didn’t have any requests I know her quick responses helped our guide at points during our travel. Such a smooth, easy trip. I didn’t worry about a thing; I just went to enjoy nature.


Reviewed January 30, 2024

Amazing Experience!!

We were absolutely impressed with the care in which the team at Costa Rica Focus took care of details of the trip. Alex, our guide, and Chicho, our driver, worked together to provide an outstanding experience. Alex had it all: he was so knowledgeable about not only the birds, but other flora and fauna, and the history, economics and geography of Costa Rica. He kept the group focused with the schedule and gave us updates of daily bird sightings each evening. His enthusiasm was infectious. As well, the team back at the office chimed in on the group blog and took care of many details. Bottom line: this was an amazing experience and we are already planning our next trip with Costa Rica Focus, possibly to Ecuador.

Harold D

Reviewed January 22, 2024

The Birding Trip of a Lifetime – Superb!

We cannot speak highly enough of CRF who organized our recent private birding tour of Costa Rica. It was superb, exceeding all expectations. We spotted 310 bird species in 11 days – very exciting as we had not visited CR before. Our guide, Minor Hidalgo, was fantastic – an absolute genius at finding and identifying birds, and making sure that we each had a great sighting of each species and plenty of opportunity to photograph and enjoy watching them.

Our itinerary was perfectly organized to maximize birdwatching, but also ensure that we were well-fed at regular intervals with wonderful local cuisine, had comfortable lodgings and got to see the magnificent variety and beauty of Costa Rican scenery.

CRF and Minor took such great care of us throughout that we could relax entirely and have no anxiety about travelling through this beautiful country as ‘newbies’ and non-Spanish speakers. All communication with CRF, from the planning stage, right through to the finish of our trip was spot-on; they were responsive, friendly and understanding throughout.

We had the most amazing experience and absolutely recommend CRF to any other birders wanting to visit this biodiversity wonderland.

Louise M

Reviewed December 26, 2023

Perfectly Planned, From a Very Experienced and Great Tour Business

I just don’t know what to say that has not already been said, the locations –amazing; The wildlife — unbelievable , the accommodation great , the guide ,well you couldn’t imagine how brilliant he was, he has an incredible skill of spotting birds even on the move , the driver superb, what a team ,just amazing, this whole package has been very finely tuned almost to perfection , it runs like clockwork, I honestly could not fault a single thing, and would recommend Costa Rica Focus to anyone for a holiday of a lifetime , all in all a wonderful experience I shall never forget .

Len I

Reviewed December 22, 2023

Costa Rica Focus is the best wildlife travel company available and deserves 10 out of 5

How can you summarize such a perfect holiday experience! if possible, we would give Costa Rica Focus 10 stars out of 5 as 5 doesn’t seem enough. The company has supported us from beginning to end, with rapid responses to any queries and providing an app which supported us throughout the 15 night experience. We asked for an individualized, tailor-made experience which encompassed the best birding that Costa Rica could provide and we feel that Costa Rica Focus successfully achieved this. The guides were outstanding, hotels amazing and transport all along was extremely well coordinated. We had no issues that affected our enjoyment and you can’t often say that about a holiday!

Overall, we saw/heard 288 species of bird, with some incredibly colorful exotic birds, including great views of the Resplendent Quetzal among others. One guide had even been the director of the Rainforest reserve that we were guided through, so we learnt far more than just the bird names.

If you are reading this review and hesitating about whether to use Costa Rica Focus DON’T! We have been genuinely astonished at how good this company is and would jump at the chance to use them again if we had an opportunity to return to Costa Rica. Highly Recommended without reservation.


Reviewed December 12, 2023

Extraordinary Birding Tour of Costa Rica with C.R. Focus and Alex

A phenomenally planned trip by CR Focus (incredible job Wanda). We’ll never forget it, and we will most certainly return. We hit 6 separate birding/type lodges around the country, immersing us in several microclimates, each offering a separate and incredible abundance of wildlife.

Our private guide for our trip, Alex, was everything you’d want in a private guide, and so much more. (An honors biology instructor, historian, incredible birder (knows not only the 922 species, male, female, juvenile, non-breeding, morphing colors, but his eyesight is extremely rare… perhaps 20 12 vision!) Not only did he have very specialized knowledge of each area to maximize our experience, but he was super attentive to our needs, a pleasure to be around, patient and kind, and went beyond the call of duty to ensure the best possible trip. (He drove me 8 hours round trip to get my camera lens de-watered in the middle of our journey, no questions asked, no complaints, he was just thrilled he resolved my problem to carry on our journey.) I don’t think we would have seen 1/4 of what was out there without him and I highly recommend hiring him, with Costa Rica Focus planning where to go.

Costa Rica Focus also helped us get thoroughly prepared before the trip, and Alex helped us with exactly what we needed each day for every adventure (boat, rainforest, easy walking trail, etc…). This was a trip of a lifetime and we’re still plowing through so many stunning photos. I’m a novice photographer, just enjoying the hobby, and holy cow, my pics can go into a Costa birding magazine!!! DO THIS TRIP with them. you will be so thrilled you did.

Roy P

Reviewed November 26, 2023

An Unparalleled Experience

Our 10-day Costa Rica Focus trip was nothing short of fantastic. We’ve been birding for almost thirty years, in what we consider a casual way, without a life list or target species, and this was our first trip planned solely around birding. We loved the format of arriving at a destination with some time to get acquainted with it on our own before meeting with our guide the next morning, and then having some time after a guided birdwatching session to unwind and continue birding on our own with our increased familiarity.

Each of our guides was super. They were true naturalists with genuine, unbridled enthusiasm for birdwatching. We learned so much from them in an organic way and saw an astonishing number of species. Our drivers were also wonderful, always on time, accommodating our requests to stop for photos or at a “panaderia”. We were comfortable at all of the places we stayed and they all met, and in some cases exceeded, our expectations. Staff at the ecolodges were friendly and efficient and the food was very good.

The travels went perfectly smoothly. The Costa Rica Focus team gave us helpful information, so we felt well-prepared prior to going and once in Costa Rica, they checked in with us regularly. I am already dreaming of the next birding adventure Costa Rica Focus is who I’d choose to plan it.

Lily C

Reviewed November 15, 2023

Birds and More!

We’ve just returned from a fabulous 16 day birding adventure in Costa Rica. Thanks to the team from Costa Rica Focus we saw nearly 400 species of birds, a host of mammals from coyotes to squirrels, snakes, lizards and crocodiles, and lots of frogs. Along with the good accommodation and food, this added up to a fantastic experience.

Our guide Carlos had amazing sight and hearing, seeking out elusive species such as antpittas in the rainforest and, of course, quetzals (we saw about 10!). He kept us going all day – on only one morning did we not start at 6 or earlier, and a few times we continued into the evening seeking out owls and nightjars. We enjoyed not only his expertise, but his sense of humor and ability to interpret all aspects of Costa Rican life and nature.

We planned the trip with Adriana and found the interaction very easy. Not only did she set out an appropriate itinerary, but she contacted us every few days to make sure that we were enjoying the trip. We even added in a tour of the Gold and Jade Museums in San Jose that gave us a wider appreciation of the country’s history and culture.

If you’re thinking of a nature-based trip to Central America, get in contact with Costa Rica Focus – you won’t be disappointed.

Peter A

Reviewed November 13, 2023

Unforgettable Birding Trip

I have just returned from the birding trip of a lifetime in Costa Rica and that’s all thanks to Costa Rica Focus – the arrangements they put in place were simply flawless and everything happened exactly as it was supposed to. Communication was excellent, Adriana was in constant touch, checking that everything was working out OK.

The drivers they used were friendly, professional and helpful with tips and advice, but what really made the trip a success were the local guides they chose. Each one was dedicated and a complete expert on the birds of Costa Rica. Without their help I don’t think I’d have got a quarter of the ‘lifers’ I achieved. I saw an incredible 230 birds in 11 days, way more than I expected.

I would recommend Costa Rica Focus to anyone looking for the birding experience of a lifetime in the country, or any of the other countries they operate in. I cannot rate them highly enough and I shall definitely be using them again!


Reviewed August 21, 2023

Amazing and Unforgettable 15 day trip for Fauna and Flora!

Our 15D-14N trip with Costa Rica Focus was, without a doubt, perfectly-planned and flawlessly-executed. This was a customized itinerary for a group of fauna and flora specialists whose diverse interests in nature lie beyond birds (CR Focus’s specialty). The conversation with Joan started 6 months prior to the trip and she had always been prompt in replying and patient in answering our questions. Our requests were admittedly challenging for any tour agency to meet but Joan always found a way to help us get what we needed.

We had specifically requested guides who could share not just about the myriad of fauna in CR, but also the flora and environmental aspects of the country. From day one, our guides Alex and Carlos displayed their professionalism, infectious passion and immense knowledge throughout the trip. They were also savvy in handling the wide-ranging questions that our group had – despite them saying they specialized in birds, their knowledge about the local flora was amazing. For questions which they could not answer on the spot, Alex and Carlos would do their research and get back to us. They would also share interesting stories whenever we encountered CR’s landmarks, even in transit.

What impressed us even more was how they managed to contact local experts to share their work with the group, greatly adding to the learning value of this company trip. Alex and Carlos were also accommodating to our occasional requests for minor changes to the itinerary and always put our needs as top priority. Their healthy dose of humor and camaraderie with our group always made us feel at home, and we can certainly say we ended the trip as friends. Pura Vida maes! We couldn’t ask for better guides, and hope to see you again.

Last but not least, thanks Edwin for the dedicated “concierge” support over the WhatsApp group.

Our itinerary: Tortuguero – La Selva – Arenal – Tarcoles – San Gerardo de Dota and Cerro de la Muerte – Turrialba – San Jose

Jensen S

Reviewed July 22, 2023

Extraordinary birding Trip

We wholeheartedly recommend Costa Rica Focus and our guide Johan to anyone seeking an extraordinary birding journey to Costa Rica. They possess the perfect blend of expertise, professionalism, and personal touch, ensuring that your travel experience exceeds all expectations. Whether you’re a seasoned traveler or embarking on your first birding adventure, entrusting your journey to this exceptional team will undoubtedly result in memories to last a lifetime.

Thank you, Johan, Wanda, and Joan!

Han B

Reviewed July 19, 2023

A ‘Once in a Lifetime Experience’ That I Hope Isn’t a ‘Once in a Lifetime Experience’

As a wildlife guide and photographer, Costa Rica has been high on my list of places to visit. Largely because of the bird life. Whilst this did not disappoint, my mind was opened up further by all aspects of nature. The other surprise was the very friendly and welcoming nature of the Costa Rican people.

The itinerary put together for me was world class. It included a mix of very well-known destinations, along with some more niche destinations to match my birding requirements. The drivers and guides were all exceptional and gave me great insights into birding in the rainforest, of which I am a novice at. I hope to take photography tours to Costa Rica in the future and I will certainly ask Costa Rica Focus to arrange my trip. Thank you to the Costa Rica Focus team for making my trip so special!

Andy P

Reviewed July 12, 2023

Memorable Birding Trip with Costa Rica Focus

A First Class experience from inquiry stage to execution of the trip. Costa Rica Focus organized the trip so well, giving great thought to what I wanted to see during this birding trip, chose the best places to stay at and hooked me up with Mayer, our tour guide who is knowledgeable and a wonderful professional.

I was a bit nervous before arriving at San Jose, since this was my first ever trip to Central America. However, Costa Rica Focus made those 8 days the most memorable. I will not hesitate to rely on Costa Rica Focus if I return to CR again, or if any of my friends are planning a trip in future. Thank you, Joan, Wanda and Mayer.

Shailesh D

Reviewed June 28, 2023

Agami Heron Trip was First-Rate

All I can say is that I can’t wait to book my next trip with Costa Rica Focus. I came into this journey as a seasoned birder already living in Costa Rica, looking to reach that “next level” of birdwatching. The “Quest for the Agami Heron” tour far exceeded my expectations and was worth every penny. The selected birding locations, accommodations and food were top-notch. Our driver, Victor, expertly transported us from point to point.

By far, however, this trip achieved “extraordinary” in my mind due to our phenomenal guide, Minor Hidalgo. I had never birded with a local expert before and would not have seen even half of what we saw had it not been for him. His focus the entire time was on meeting our group’s diverse goals and needs. Thank you, Minor and the staff of Costa Rica Focus!

Annie V

Reviewed June 19, 2023

Finding the Agami Heron

The trip was to see the birds of Costa Rica, and the itinerary was chosen to highlight different habitats, from the top of volcanoes to the beach. The lodges chosen as accommodations were all top notch. The food was great, the various staff dedicated to our comfort and enjoyment. But the trip was made extra special by our fabulous birding Guide, Minor Hidalgo. What an eye! What encyclopedic knowledge of the birds. He and our driver Victor took excellent care of our group of six “mature” birding ladies.

We were on a Quest to see the Agami Heron, and we were successful. We got to see this rare and beautiful bird, and spend time in the beautiful country of Costa Rica. Highly recommended

Liz S

Reviewed June 12, 2023

One of the Best and Most Memorable of My Life!

Our recent trip to Costa Rica was the dream of a lifetime and so glad that I had added it to my bucket list. The purpose of our trip was birding and we were not disappointed! Joan and Wanda worked with our friends to create the most ideal trip imaginable. Our guide Andres was an amazing guide, knowledgeable and made sure that all four of us had the best trip possible. He went out of his way to make sure we had all seen the birds (four of us), and that was quite remarkable.

The total experience was amazing for our group. Costa Rica Focus went out of their way to assist us throughout our stay, and we are profoundly grateful! Andres was definitely the best guide ever! I managed to see 200 species of birds for my life list. Wow! The accommodations were great, we especially enjoyed our stay at Arenal Volcano Observatory as well as Cerro Lodge and Monteverde. Costa Rica focus was superb in planning our stay including visiting bird gardens, feeding stations, and all our lodges and countless activities.

Lynn M

Reviewed May 18, 2023

Too Many Highlights to Pick Just One!

From the time the first driver met us at the airport, to the time our last driver dropped us off at the airport, our 3 week trip was perfectly coordinated. Joan and Wanda worked with us to create a customized trip that exceeded our expectations! We spent 12 days with our extremely knowledgeable guide Gabriel. He helped us identify and see 295 species of birds, as well as sloths, monkeys, insects and reptiles.

The biodiversity in Costa Rica is astonishing! Gabriel made sure we were all well looked after at every stop along the way. He also shared a lot of information to help us understand the culture and the history of the people and the area. Impossible to pick out my favorite experience. It was all so interesting. Might take us till next Christmas to edit all the photos though! We won’t hesitate to use Costa Rica Focus for our next trip.


Reviewed May 10, 2023

Birds Galore with a Great Guide

I just returned from a dream trip to Costa Rica. My main interest was hummingbirds but I found that there was so much more to enjoy. First of all the great planning done, all in advance, by Costa Rica Focus was outstanding. But more importantly, our private guide,

Alex Castro was an absolute joy. His experience, enthusiasm, knowledge and ability to connect our group with hundreds of birds and other wildlife was just FABULOUS!

Alex and our congenial and expert driver, Chicho were able to provide a stellar experience, keeping us entertained, safe and informed. They fostered camaraderie among the participants which was helpful to me in particular, not being an expert birder myself. The highlights for me were the hummingbirds of course. Accommodations varied: Savegre and Arenal Observatory were exceptionally good. The birds, searched out by Alex and expertly offered for view to all guests, were wonderful at every stop. I can only say, I wish I’d done this before, and hope to do it again.

Mary Ann F

Reviewed May 2, 2023

Another Great Costa Rica Trip

This was our second trip with Costa Rica Focus. Joan created an amazing 16 night independent tour. We stayed in 7 hotels/lodges and had 4 different bird guides. All were excellent (some rustic, some more fancy). It was all amazing. Everything went smoothly. The drivers were excellent (mostly Henrique drove us – And we loved him). Throughout the trip the attention to detail, and the immediate response to questions was amazing. We wish all trips were this good.

Pipper D

Reviewed April 10, 2023

Bird Photography Tour in Costa Rica

My wife and I just returned from a 14-day privately guided, bird photography tour in Costa Rica, offered by Costa Rica Focus. The tour was well designed and operated. We stayed in 1 hotel and 6 birding lodges around the country, including several special birding sites along the way. It covered the magnificent rain forest, cloud forest, Caribbean Low and high lands and the Central Pacific.

The tour balanced out the bird hunting for the challenge and bird feeders for close photography. Our bird guide, Mayer, was very experienced in finding the birds and always patiently positioned you at the best spot to take the shot. He was extremely excited when he saw an endemic bird and ensured you to have that photo. We are very happy with the numbers of species and sharpness of the bird photos we got. It was the most productive bird photography tour we ever had in recent years.

Luke G

Reviewed April 9, 2023

Excellent Focus on the Traveler

Without a doubt, Costa Rica Focus was one of the best tour companies we have ever dealt with. The trip was planned perfectly, they kept in constant contact with us, and quickly answered and resolved any questions we had. Thanks to wonderful guides we saw our bucket list birds. It was nice to travel for the week and not have a care in the world, as Joan had everything so carefully planned.

I would recommend them to everyone. And in fact, might use them in the future for a trip to Columbia.


Reviewed April 1, 2023

A Fantastic Experience of Birding/Photographing with Costa Rica Focus!

The birding trip with Costa Rica Focus, March 18-27, was fabulous and perfect, much beyond our expectation. With the help of the experienced guide, Alex, we identified more than 240 species of birds, and my husband, Chanlun, took dozens of successful pictures of them. Besides having expertise on birds, Alex is knowledgeable. He introduced Costa Rica to us in many aspects, such as geography, races, culture, history, etc., which made this trip abundantly informative.

Last but not the least, the locations, accommodations, restaurants, and food were wonderful. This was a well-arranged trip. Thanks to Costa Rica Focus. I highly recommend this company to those who are planning to go birding/photographing in Costa Rica.

Jessie W

Reviewed March 31, 2023

Diverse, Bird Filled, and Spectacularly Beautiful!

With in-depth knowledge of their subject, excellent organization, and great communication, Costa Rica Focus created an incredible and unforgettable trip for us. Diverse, bird-filled and spectacularly beautiful, the only regret was that we couldn’t stay longer at each of the ‘habitats’ and fabulous lodges on our itinerary.

Our guide, Gabriel, and driver, Vincent, were a fantastic team and great companions throughout, combining extensive ‘birding’ knowledge and skill in finding great species with a warm and empathetic approach, picking up the pace when appropriate and knowing when to provide breaks too!

Our Monteverde local guide, Adrian, was also excellent. A medical issue was handled by the team with impressive efficiency and care; a small, requested change to the itinerary at the end of the trip was easy to organize. Thank you, Joan. I can recommend CRF very highly and wouldn’t hesitate to use them again.

Helen R

Reviewed March 20, 2023

A Brilliant Trip

From my initial enquiries to the end of the trip itself, Costa Rica Focus was excellent in every way. Joan responded promptly to messages and was kind and flexible when I needed to postpone my tour. A WhatsApp group allowed for easy communication with the organizers and other members of the trip before and during the holiday. The varied itinerary gave me the chance to explore many different areas, and accommodation and food were all of very high standard.

Everything was taken care of, so all I needed to do was enjoy the beautiful country and the amazing birds. Erick, our guide, and Chicho, our driver, were unfailingly helpful and friendly. Erick is a splendid guide, passionately keen to share his superb knowledge of the birds and indeed all the wildlife, and always working hard to make sure everyone in the group had a chance to see as much as possible. I saw over 300 species, most of them new to me, and had the most fantastic time. Thoroughly recommend Costa Rica Focus and intend to travel with them again!

Jane S

Reviewed March 15, 2023

Terrific Birding of the micro-climates of Costa Rica!

We had a wonderful two weeks of birding various areas of Costa Rica with top notch bird guides, pleasant and comfortable accommodations, and safe, friendly transportation from location to location. The CR Focus team did a thorough, detailed job working with us ahead of time to create a customized itinerary, including cultural and other high interest activities in between a lot of organized birding outings.

The team was professional, friendly, organized, responsive throughout the trip, and showed us a beautiful side of Costa Rica land and people. I cannot highlight enough how engaged from start to finish the team remained with us, addressing our every need and desire.

This was a trip of a lifetime. If you are a birder, even just with passing interest, CR is a destination to visit and Costa Rica Focus will put together a tour that will turn you into a birder for life! We saw 286 species of birds, including 27 species of hummingbirds, the amazing Resplendent Quetzal, and some rarities that our local guides were thrilled about finding during our outings. Mind you, this was an “out by 5am, in bed by 9pm” trip with plenty of walking and searching; one in which I never stopped smiling in joy and awe at what was before us! High Recommendation for Costa Rica Focus for your travels!

Liz S

Reviewed February 28, 2023

A Trip that Exceeded our Expectations

The 1st time we spoke to Joan Borelli @ Costa Rica Focus about arranging a photography/birding trip, we believed we had the right company. Time has truly reconfirmed that decision. She is responsive, informative, & concerned about creating the best possible experience to fit your needs/interests. Our initial plan was a trip in Feb of 2022, but COVID postponed that until Feb of 2023, & Joan made all of the necessary adjustments to our schedule.

Our guide, Alex, was extremely knowledgeable on any number of topics, but he truly knows the birds. He was incredibly willing to adjust our planned activities as our ideas evolved during our 13-night trip. HIs concern for our needs was his primary goal. He knew we wanted to see the Resplendent Quetzal & he knew where we might get to see it, & it worked out perfectly. Once Alex picked us up @ the airport all of our needs were met. All we had to worry about was our camera & our binoculars. It was truly a wonderful experience that we greatly enjoyed.


Reviewed February 18, 2023

Amazing Experience with Costa Rica Focus

We are 4 friends who traveled to Costa Rica for a 2-week birding adventure. Costa Rica Focus was instrumental in helping us to create and experience an amazing trip. From our first email contact with them they were helpful in aiding us to focus on what we wanted and how we wanted to travel. Wanda answered all our questions, gave us comparisons on various options, and finalized our plans with a clearly outlined document.

The trip itself was amazing. Johan Weintz, our private guide, was an amazing birding guide, as well as having a depth of knowledge about flora, fauna, and Costa Rica in general. He took super care of us throughout the entire trip, accounting for our age (apparently, we’re all seniors now!), varied interests, stamina, and abilities. We saw 285 species of birds!

In total, I can’t say enough good things about Costa Rica Focus. I’ll travel with them again, and I’m sharing their information with my friends.

Glynes G

Reviewed February 17, 2023

A Superb Experience for the Experienced Birder

This trip was advertised as a trip for experienced birders to cover the southern half of Costa Rica. It more than lived up to the advertising! As we were appropriately advised, the trip included a fair amount of moderate intensity walking. This is the expectation for an “experienced” birding trip. The guide, Alex Castro, was extremely knowledgeable, both about birds and about locations for finding them. He found a large number of extra species on trips that were only intended as transfers between lodges.

The accommodations were excellent. Planning was perfect, with no glitches at all. They even put together additional birding on short notice for the final “rest” day, for us diehards. Both the birding and the photography opportunities were magnificent! We recorded 300 species, including some that were quite rare and unexpected. I recommend Costa Rica Focus without reservation!


Reviewed January 28, 2023

Exceptional, Unique Birding Tour

My wife & I just completed the spectacular Searching the Southern Zone of Costa Rica tour with Costa Rica Focus. I have been traveling for over fifty years & this was my first time to take a multi-day tour (a concession to age). I know how to organize travel & I can’t speak highly enough of the tour that was put together. Joan has incredible communication skills & organized an exemplary tour. Alex, our guide, was a great mother hen and extremely knowledgeable.

We are intermediate birders & saw an incredible number of beautiful & rare birds at our four locations, as well as in between. From the foothills in the Caribbean watershed to mountain cloud forests to mid-level habitat to the Osa Peninsula, we explored many terrains. Alex was relentless in his pursuit of birds & we found over 300 species in ten days. The rapport within our group was great & we strove to help each other with the sightings. I highly recommend birders not miss out on a superb experience.

Craig C

Reviewed January 27, 2023

Excellence in Travel and Birding

My partner and I completed a privately guided Unique Costa Rica Birding & Beach Tour. Superlative experience, which is a pretty high standard as we are experienced travelers, albeit relatively new to birding. Pre-trip planning to meet our goals and preferences was well done with easy contacts and informative materials. Arrival at airport went smoothly.

The itinerary was well paced, varied, and included a luxurious beach stay at the end. Accommodations were wonderful and/or amazing. Our guide, Andrés Zuñiga, was outstanding. Andrés was phenomenal at spotting, identifying, and photographing birds at every occasion and at every point in-between. In addition, he was a wonderful host throughout- prepared, punctual, informative, accommodating and fun.


Reviewed January 15, 2023

Saw all I had hoped for

I scheduled a trio like non I had ever done before. First I traveled alone. Second I wanted nine days and eight nights of birding across Costa Rica — two nights at each sight. That mean that transportation had to work, the sites had to expect me, guides had to be available and top notch. What can I say, Costa Rica Focus made it all happen. Day after day they placed me in excellent, unique venues. All kinds of birds, some animals, and a series of guides and drivers that made me feel welcome — as if I was the first person they had ever worked with. I was not sure how this would all work, but at the end of the day I was just so pleased. A great company to work with.



Reviewed December 18, 2022

I had an amazing time! Highly Recommend

This was my first time to Costa Rica, and as a bird photographer I didn’t want to mess it up. Costa Rica focus did a fabulous job getting me to some wonderful places. While it wasn’t perfect, I truly believe they tried their hardest to make it perfect. I would highly recommend them! If you want to see some of the photos I captured while on this trip check out my Instagram @george_arnold_photography.


Reviewed November 30, 2022

Absolutely Fabulous

We couldn’t decide where to go to celebrate our 50th anniversary but after some research we decided to look into Costa Rica Focus for a 10 day private birding trip. Wow – what a great decision! Wanda was so helpful in setting everything up. Each lodge, as well as Wanda and Carlos, did something special for our anniversary.

Our guide, Carlos Tavy Jimenez, was nothing short of absolutely fabulous. He had an eye for spotting birds. We saw 185 different species of birds not found in the US plus quite a few reptiles, mammals and frogs. Carlos didn’t just show us birds, he was actually excited to see them as well. It was obvious that his passion is birding. His knowledge of birds and 20 years experience made our trip one of the most memorable of all our travels. If we ever went back to see birds in another region of Costa Rica we would definitely ask that he be our guide.

Bill and Sharon

Reviewed September 9, 2022

Words cannot fully describe this awesome trip! ¡Estupendo!

We took a privately guided 10-day tour, which included San Jose, Sarapiqui, Arenal, Monteverde, and Central Pacific. This was my first trip to anywhere in Latin America let alone Costa Rica, and it was nothing short of a fantastic first experience!

The itinerary for this trip is well-thought out and provides an excellent way to experience the birds, beauty, biological diversity, and culture of the country in a very short time yet not feel overwhelmed. As someone who has appreciated all aspects of nature since childhood, I am very pleased and impressed with how very knowledgeable our guide, Johan, is on not only the bird species, behaviors, and habitats but also on the agricultural, wildlife, and vegetation. Johan’s genuine excitement at every new discovery for us added to our own excitement.

Our accommodations were very nice and the food muy delicioso. Every step of the way, Wanda, Joan, and Johan, made sure that we knew what to expect, things went smoothly, and the one or two very minor issues were resolved quickly.

Every evening, Johan reviewed the day’s bird checklist with us, and we discussed the possibilities for the next day. Overall, it’s not just a birding trip. It’s an adventure that exceeded my expectations!

We left Costa Rica with many great memories and over 250 new avian experiences not to mention the mammals, insects and reptiles. How often do you get to experience an anteater, sloths, and monkeys right outside of your hotel?!?!

Thank you Costa Rica Focus!


Reviewed August, 2022

Wonderful birding trip

Wanda very promptly planned a great itinerary for our first birding and bugs trip to Central America, and customised it perfectly for our needs. We did a circuit of 4 sites with 2 nights in each, with some nice stops on the transit days. This allowed us to get a good overview of many different climate zones and habitats.

Our guide Erick was fantastic, he got us great views of some amazing species – not just the colourful flashy ones but also the skulky specialities such as Nightingale Wren, Antbirds and Antpittas.

He wasn’t just great at birds, but logistics too. One of the best locations was inaccessible due to a landslide closing the road, but Erick managed to juggle the itinerary so that we could visit on another day without missing out on any stops. He also switched around our last day since our flight home was late, to fit in an extra stop.

All in all a great trip and I will definitely be back!


Reviewed June, 2022

Birds Galore and More!

We had a fantastic time on our birding adventure through many regions of Costa Rica. Costa Rica Focus created a seamless trip that incorporated great people, food, accommodations, and locations from start to finish.

At the airport, we were greeted by our charming and knowledgeable guide Rudy, who turned out to be a walking encyclopedia of information on the birds, flora and fauna, and wildlife of Costa Rica (which is not the limit of his vast knowledge).

With our group in tow Rudy and our driver Chicho lead us on an amazing discovery of birds, vegetation, landscapes, and adventures that filled every minute of our 10-day trip. Each stay along the way had its own flavor that reflected the region that we were visiting. Although our “CRFocus” (pun intended) was birding, birding was not our only activity.

Our itinerary also included white water rafting, zip-lining, hiking, and a boat ride out to an island where we snorkeled seeing a white-tipped shark, turtles, and an array of reef fish.

Thank you, Rudy, Joan, and Wanda for arranging such a wonderful trip!!

Patty O

Reviewed June, 2022

Gotta Love Costa Rica Focus

Every part of the trip was fantastic. Rudy Zamora is the best guide on the planet. His knowledge of the plants and animals is exceptional. But, his breadth of knowledge is unbelievable – from the history of food to geopolitics to arts and culture. Who needs Google?

My advice would be to spend more time in each spot. Every place we stayed had its own unique character. Everyone in our group expressed how much they would have liked to spend more time at each lodge.

Joan and Wanda were excellent to work with. If there were any problems they were solved in advance without the guests even knowing about them. Everything went smoothly and on schedule.

Tony V

Reviewed May, 2022

The Perfect Photography and “Pura Vida” Experience!

We have just returned from a 2-week journey to Costa Rica and to say that it was truly one of the most incredible travel experiences we’ve ever had is an understatement. Being (experienced) amateur photographers, Costa Rica has been on our destination bucket list for many years. Wanting a privately guided trip with attention to detail was extremely important us. So, after researching several options, it didn’t take long for us to realize that Costa Rica Focus offered exactly what we were looking for. We contacted Joan and began planning our trip in earnest. She put together a trip proposal for us that turned out to exceed all our expectations.

Our passion for wildlife and bird photography found us being perfectly paired with Minor, our private guide and native Costa Rican who quickly became not only our friend but our valued, tailor-made mentor as well. Due to his vast knowledge of the flora and fauna of Costa Rica, and being an amazing photographer himself, we were able to experience and photograph things that we otherwise would have missed. He also introduced us to many of the traditions and special wonders that Costa Rica has to offer.

From the moment we cleared Immigration and for the next 2 weeks until we departed for our return to the U.S., Costa Rica Focus made sure that we were taken care of every step of the way, including facilitating the required Covid tests prior to our return. The food, the people, the varying landscapes, the total environment, the attention to detail and the photography…all of it can be summed up in one word: WOW!

Costa Rica Focus succeeded in demonstrating to us that they are committed to making each and every experience a truly special one…so much so that we have already booked a return trip in early 2023, and are taking a friend with us!

Pura Vida!

Nina I

Reviewed April, 2022

Costa Rica Focus

Dreams do come true ! This was my first ( age 70 ) international birding adventure and CRF ( Costa Rica Focus ) nailed it . Outstanding itinerary , great hotel destinations and the food was joyful . I never said mmmmm so much . And the birding ! What more can I say ? 290 species in 9 days . With pictures of everything !

Mr . Erick Castro is one exceptional guide . Heard the birds , found the birds , knew every species and made sure everyone got to see it through his spotting scope or binoculars . Great stories and wonderful knowledge of all CR nature . Ask him about the leaf cutter ants .

Absolutely a great experience with a very well run organization . Joan and Wanda are professional with just the right amount of personal attention . You will not be disappointed . Costa Rica Focus is THE best .

Joseph W

Reviewed March, 2022

A pure Pura Vida experience!

There were 5 birders in our group and we booked ahead 10 months for the 14-day package that included staying at 7 different places with a private bird guide the whole time.

It was fantastic! All details were covered. We didn’t have to worry about a thing! I personally saw 274 new Life Birds and we came in at just over 300 birds total.

Our guide was Minor Hidalgo and he knew every bird call. He made sure each person in the group saw the bird. And he was also our driver.

Joan and Wanda were incredible fashioning just the right trip according to our needs. We are re-booking another trip in February 2023 to see more of Costa Rica and go to completely different places with different birds to see.

I highly recommend this tour company and if you are lucky enough to get Minor as your guide, you’ll have an amazing trip. Frankly, I bet all their guides are amazing, as this company strives for excellence, but I’m just partial to Minor since he proved himself quite well on our trip. Great tour! I didn’t want to come home. You can’t go wrong booking with Costa Rica Focus.

June D

Reviewed March, 2022

A Resplendent Trip, if ever there was one

Joan & Wanda at Costa Rica Focus did nothing short of a fantastic job of arranging our trip! Not only was every detail and request accounted for in the final itinerary – but the price was also remarkably reasonable when compared to the prices offered by the larger international companies.

The team at CR Focus have many years of experience in working closely with all the best (for birdwatching/wildlife) lodges, hotels, guides, private gardens, etc, in Costa Rica – and it really, really shows. My partner and I saw just under 300 bird species on our 12 day trip, which, as per our request, was partly with local guides and partly independent bird watching We like this balance as we feel it maximises learning but also offers plenty of opportunities to be mentored by local experts (some of whom were incredible guides, having grown up in the area in which they were guiding us – their knowledge and understanding of their patch was incredible and it was such a privilege to have it shared with us). Without the help of CR Focus I doubt we could have found such wonderful guides (or space at such a great selection of lodges) – especially at such short notice, given that we booked the trip just two weeks prior to the arrival date

Another thing worth mentioning that made our trip so well managed was the fact that CR Focus were available to chat via whatsapp 24/7 – not that we messaged them at 4AM – but when a few bits needed tweaking, be it changing a taxi pick-up time, arranging a guided morning/afternoon at our next destination, or just sharing advice/information – CR Focus dealt with the arrangements so quickly and efficiently – I really couldn’t fault them!

I would definitely 100% recommend this company to anybody looking to go birdwatching in Costa Rica.


Reviewed February 18, 2022

A Trip of a Lifetime!

When planning our first bird watching / photography trip to Costa Rica we looked at several different companies to work with and settled on Costa Rica Focus because of their prompt and personalized responses to our questions. Not really knowing much about the country we gave them a high-level idea of what we wanted to see and experience. Within a couple of days they provided us with a personalized itinerary that was perfect! Joan and Wanda were a real pleasure to work with at every step of the planning process and throughout entire the trip. Their attention to every detail to ensure you have the best trip possible is meticulous. They communicated frequently with us and were always happy to answer our questions. The lodging that they arranged was perfect. All the rooms were clean and comfortable, the surroundings gardens were beautiful, the food was well prepared with a good variety of choices, and the staff were very friendly. We cannot say enough good things about our guide – Rudy Zamora. There is no way we would have visited, seen, or experienced 95% of what we did without him. He is extremely knowledgeable about all the fauna, wildlife, birds, geography, and history of Costa Rica. Being our first trip having a private guide we were a little unsure what to expect. Rudy and the trip exceeded all of our aspirations from showing us around the gardens and guiding us on treks into the National Parks, nature reserves, forest, jungle, and off the beaten path. Being a photographer himself he frequently helped me get “the” shot. His love of nature and his enthusiasm to ensure you have the very best trip possible knows no bounds. There is nothing that we would change about our trip from beginning to end. It was perfect!


Reviewed February, 2022

Costa Rican adventure!

Much gratitude to Costa Rica Focus for creating the perfect trip into the jungles and waters of the Osa Peninsula for my husband and I. It was good to be back on the road again. Costa Rica Focus was responsive and communication was easy throughout the process – from planning through the final covid test. This trip involved small plane, many boats, and drivers. And navigating covid requirements. Wanda at Costa Rica Focus tended to every detail and answered all questions. The vacation was fantastic. Fun travel, beautiful water and habitats, cool birds and wildlife. Our guides, drivers, and boat captains all were incredible. Capable and knowledgeable. We’ll book with then again.

Tawna M

Reviewed December, 2021

Twins birthday celebration birding Costa Rica

We have just returned from an excellent 15 nights bird tour of Costa Rica. The tour was supposed to be in 2020, but was delayed due to the pandemic. Joan and Wanda of Costa Rica Focus expertly reorganised the whole trip for this year and luckily we were able to travel.

Our guide Rudy Zamora met us at the airport and from this point was with us throughout. We visited a total of 7 different locations and habitats. It was fun and as experienced birders we were prepared for the long days and early starts. Rudy ensured that there was always some down time.

We are more than happy to recommend Costa Rica Focus, we saw a total of 473 birds many of which were special. We enjoyed comfortable hotels, ate too much good food and learnt such a lot from Rudy about flora fauna and local history.

A thoroughly enjoyable trip thank you Costa Rica Focus for so many happy memories.


Reviewed November, 2021

Costa Rica Birding – the essence of breeding birds in June

After more than a year of COVID19 lockdown, my kids and I had enough! We booked Costa Rica Focus because they offer a flexible cancellation policy.

Wanda was our main contact who designed the itinerary for us. We wanted to see Green Sea Turtle nesting, so she went the extra mile getting us a very diverse itinerary and recommended a 12-day birding itinerary that covers 4 different habitats including both Caribean and Pacific coasts.

The bird guide, Alex Castro, served as the bird guide and the driver. He is very knowledgeable in Costa Rica’s history, culture, geography, and birds. We truly enjoyed the nature, wildlife, culture, and local food while we were in Costa Rica.

We had seen about 240 species of birds, a few eye-lashed tree vipers, fer-de-lance, anteater, 2-toed sloth, and other wildlife.

Before the trip ended, we’ve already talked about our next trip here!

Thank you, Costa Rica Focus!


Reviewed July 2021

Birding while constantly having a smile on your face.

I chose Costa Rica Focus initially simply because the dates of the Bird Watching Trip were convenient for me and Joan agreed to let me potentially transfer to the same trip the following year if Covid 19 restrictions prevented me from leaving UK at the appropriate time.

I made a very good choice. The planning and attention to detail from Joan and Wanda was excellent and Rudy (guide) and Ricardo (driver) proved to be an amazing double act. Both possessed a great sense of humour and were very good in their respective roles.

Rudy’s knowledge of birds and plants is incredible and his ability to explain the ecological interactions between plants, insects and birds was brilliant. I had a wonderful time and will have absolutely no hesitation in using this company again.


Reviewed June, 2021

Excellent group to work with

I stumbled across Costa Rica Focus planning a visit to CR to include some Birding activity. They responded very quickly. Working with Joan, we put together an in-country plan meeting both our interests and budget.

Concerned with covid issues, Joan arranged private ground-transfer vans and drivers, private birding guides for the volcano area and a mangrove river tour. Her suggested accommodations were spot on. She even arranged specific rooms at each location to help deal with some mobility limitations. Fantastic, and as I said, spot on.

Additionally, Joan and her crew were attentive to every detail, to the point that our drivers and guides knew exactly what we needed, what we wanted to do, and even were aware of the mobility issue for one of our party. The only hitch in the whole thing was that one of the driver agencies did not follow through on Joan’s instructions but the driver took responsibility and solved it.

Normally we arrange our own trips instead of using an agency. But, traveling to a new country and culture that we had not previously experienced, and unfamiliar with arranging things like the private drivers, etc., working with Costa Rica Focus turned out to be an excellent choice.

Was it a little more expensive? Sure, but you get what you pay for, and we felt that the trip Joan arranged was reasonable and within our budget. Made us happy.

I would recommend them to anyone who needs help putting together a trip with a birding focus, and maybe even if not.


Reviewed May, 2021

Simply amazing Costa Rican adventure!

We had an amazing time birding and exploring Costa Rica with Alex Castro! The itinerary and accommodations were great and Alex is simply amazing! He knows so many people and off-the-beaten-path birding locations. He also has an incredible depth and breadth of knowledge of Costa Rican flora and fauna as well as history, culture and cuisine. His sharing of that knowledge certainly made our experience that much more special.

Our favorite birds were Resplendent Quetzal (Savegre), Sunbittern (Rancho/El Silencio) and Three-wattled Bellbird (Monteverde). Just such special birds and encounters with them, and all were key targets when we arrived in Costa Rica. Of course, there were so many other great birds like White-tipped Sicklebill, Black Hawk-Eagle, Rufous-tailed Jacamar, all the Toucans and Motmots and 35 species of hummingbird! Snowcap, Black-crested Coquette and Violet Saberwing had to be some of our favorites. Overall, we found 340 species on the tour and I managed 99 lifers.

We thoroughly enjoyed working with the Costa Rica Focus family on planning and executing our Costa Rican adventure. We so appreciate the professional approach during the entire process, being very responsive and providing valuable details each step of the way. We hope to return to Central America and when we do we’ll let you know. And, of course, we’ll tell our friends who may be considering a trip to the area about the marvelous job you all did for us.


Reviewed Mar 18, 2021

Tracking the Torgons….and 400 more species

Costa Rica Focus and our guide Rudy provided an outstanding and intense birding adventure. In a period of 9 days, we traveled to 4 separate locations and identified 424 different bird species! The trip was intense with our bird walks beginning at 5:30 am, but it was well worth the effort.

The Costa Rica Focus support team was professional and very helpful in planning the trip. Rudy knows birds better than anyone I have ever met and it was a pleasure being in his group. The travel accommodations where comfortable and our driver Chicho was outstanding. If you want an intense birding adventure with the best guide, this is the group for you.


Reviewed Jan 20, 2021

Top notch birding trip – Costa Rica Focus does it right.

This company will provide world-class birding and full-service support while you are there. You will not be disappointed. I have used half a dozen birding operations from the tropics to Eastern Europe, and Costa Rica Focus has my highest recommendation.

We’ve just returned from this trip – on March 25, 2020. #Coronapocalypse. We departed two weeks prior just as Coronavirus madness was beginning to sweep the globe. It was a challenging time to be traveling: a couple of lodges closed and had to be rebooked, as did all the national parks towards the end of our trip. Many restaurants closed. Airlines started canceling flights, and our families back home were fearful. Again, what we got with Joan and Wanda was constant attention. They had set up a WhatsApp group and we were in regular contact. They monitored all of our flights and State Dept. announcements – and they rebooked hotels for us seamlessly, and leaving our guide to focus on our immediate needs – the birds. Ultimately, family pressure back home proved too much for one of our companions, and he told Joan he needed to leave early. She changed his flights for him, arranged a car to pick him up and bring him to the airport, and got him home 2 days early. When my other companion’s airline (American) canceled flights, Joan rebooked him onto my flight (Delta) which was still flying. In short – they took complete care of us. If you want a tour company in this region to have your back while you are having your adventure, Costa Rica Focus should be at the top of your list.

But what about the birding? It was crushing! Our guide, Minor Hidalgo is an exceptional birder and guide. He knows every area of the country – and even got us access to a couple of places that were already closed to the public, resulting in us getting some of our TOP target species, like Snowcap. Minor is also an incredible photographer and is not only patient with those of us (myself) who wanted photos, but knows how to get them. Oh, and he’s a great guy and (thankfully) very laid back. He did not let any of our stress about the global situation affect his demeanor. On our last day, literally, as we drove to the airport, Minor even got us the Costa Rica endemic Mangrove Hummingbird in a totally obscure location, when we had dipped on it in the most expected spots. It was epic. We also saw multiple great non-avian species, including THREE Eyelash Vipers, two species of monkey, American Crocodiles, Sloth, Agouti, Poison Dart Frogs and more.

I never expected the trip to crush my Colombia list from several years ago, but it did. We netted 446 species and got at least decent ID photos of almost all of them. While it was hard not to worry about the crisis back home, the office staff looked after the situation and had our backs, regularly assuring us that they had it under control, and they did. If you want to go on the cheap – find a freelance guide and just wing it. If you want to be sure you’ve got good, safe places to stay, with excellent birding opportunities; and if you want a lifeline at every step along the way… Costa Rica Focus will provide it. I’d put them up against any of the much large industry leaders any day.

Graham G

Reviewed March, 2020

A trip custom made for your needs.

This was my first time going with CR Focus and I am very pleased with all aspects of the trip from planning to execution. We provided Wanda a list of the birds we would like to photograph and what some of our special interests were since this was our second trip to CR. They then planned our 12 day excursion. Rudy led the trip and is extremely well skilled in finding particular birds and putting yourself in positions where quality photographs are possible. I recommend that you let CR Focus set up your itinerary and handle all the arrangements. They know the details of CR very well and are knowledgeable of little known places where you can get extraordinary photographs. It would be hard getting this information yourself from the internet. They clearly have rapport with many birders and guides around the country so they keep current on the latest rarities that show up. Having that personal connection with other contacts is often the key to finding those hard to get birds.

Karl K

Reviewed March, 2020

Phenomenal Birding Trip

Costa Rica Focus did an amazing job designing and coordinating a custom birding and photography trip for the four of us. Joan continued to stay in contact with us as we travelled around the country with our guide Alex. We referred to him as our walking encyclopedia! He did a tremendous job of guiding the tour and taking us safely to every destination while pointing out almost 200 species of birds, explaining the history, politics, flora and fauna of this lovely country. Always upbeat and patient while we took 10,000 photos!

All accommodations were pristine with delicious food. Joan and her team seem to strive for excellence and succeeded! I would highly recommend this company!


Reviewed Feb, 2020

We are two couples of retirees from Canada and this was the first time for all of us to travel and bird watching & photography in Costa Rica. Over 12-day tour, we stopped at San Jose, Sarapiqui, Bosque del Tolomuco, Las Cruces Biological station/Wilson Botanical Garden, Carara National Park/Tarcoles River, Arenal Observatory Lodge, etc. We enjoyed every single day of entire trip and like all activities that were designed for us. We have had a lot of great pictures so as memories. We would never expect a better bird watching/photography tour like this. Special thanks to Wanda, who made this trip plan according to our need, and Rudy, who was our guide from beginning to the end. Wanda has been extremely responsive, thoughtful, responsible and ease to talk to. Rudy was a fantastic bird guide, very knowledgeable, true naturalist, live lover dedicated, very respectful, and responsible. We are fully satisfied with the services that Wanda and Rudy provided, and has no hesitation to use them again to plan our next tour.

Dasan Luo

Reviewed December 16, 2019

Wanda and Joan provided us with such a well planned and true to our needs itinerary! We traveled from San Jose to Monteverde to Arenal to Sarapiqui back to San Jose with unforgettable experiences both at our destinations and in-between! Knowledgeable tour guides and courteous drivers immersed us in the information we needed. In a two week period we had such wonderful birding and an all around observation of nature and photographic opportunities . We gave Costa Rica Focus a budget; they gave us the trip of a lifetime! This is only the beginning for us! Pura Vida! . . . sums it all up! Mucho gracias Wanda and Joan and all your amazing employees!

Diane Larsen-Pare

Reviewed November 29, 2019

Costa Rica Adventure tour with Costa Rica Focus

Wanda and the team @ Costa Rica Focus along with Costa Rica Driver (transportation company they use) put together one of the best vacations we had - a combination of adventure & relaxation to really experience the beauty & diversity if Costa Rica...

The hotels, food, people, culture and diverse landscape/climates were amazing to experience and all the excursions really helped our families truly experience the wonders of Costa Rica. The tours were very well organized and the transportation (especially Danny) were excellent. Throughout the trip Wanda was accessible & very responsive via Whatssup in case there were any issues or questions.

We definitely recommend Wanda & Costa Rica Focus if you are looking for an adventure vacation in Costa Rica!

Joe M

Reviewed July 22, 2019

Excellent Guide and logistics arrangement for this Costa Rica bird watching trip

A friend searched from web and get connected with Costa Rica Focus. It is our first time visiting Central America for eco-tour. A combination of bird watching and photographing are our main goals, but any other mammals, reptiles, butterflies, ... would be welcome bonus. Turns out that our guide is very experienced in all areas, and knows Costa Rica inside-out, and demonstrated enthusiasm throughout the journey. The trip logistics are well organised and destinations are well planned to cover a variety of habitats. It is a very positive experience, will sure engage same company and guide in future for eco-tour in this part of the world

Alfred L.

Reviewed June 27, 2019

Regina & James Costa Rica Bird Photography Trip

Booking with Costa Rica Focus was great. I gave them a list of birds & wildlife that I hoped to photograph & they setup my destinations with that in mind. They were wonderful, efficient & knowledgeable. They were available 24/7 in case we needed help or had questions. We would definitely use them again.


Reviewed May 18, 2019

The best Bird Photography Trips by Erick, Rudy, Wanda and Joan

We just came back from our 2nd bird photography trip with Costa Rica Focus. WOW! Wanda & Joan took care of the trip planning and were very patient and kind in dealing with all of our questions. They offered us excellent advice and were also available during our trip. Our first Trip in 2017 was in Panama with Rudy as our guide. Since the trip was so well planned and guided, we wanted to use Costa Rica Focus again and ended up in Costa Rica. Our guide this time around was Erick and he did not disappoint. He is extremely knowledgeable and allowed us enough time to get the perfect shots. He is a great photographer himself and very passionate about birds. We enjoyed our trip so much. Thanks Erick, Wanda and Joan for another unforgettable trip. We can’t wait to come back.


Reviewed April 29, 2019

Everything we could hope for and more!

This was the 5th time that I have planned a trip for a birdwatching group with Joan and Rudy. This time we went to Panama in search of the harpy eagle and many other new species. Our group of 12 people had an amazing time! Wonderful accommodations, terrific local guides, incredible birding and good times. We saw the harpy and so much more. The tour also took us into Panama City, Casco Viejo and a transit on the Canal. So many wonderful memories and great experiences. When you plan travel with Costa Rica Focus you can be assured that everything is taken care of and planned to perfection. We are planning our next adventure as I write this….


Reviewed April 17, 2019

Costa Rica Focus/ Hunting for the Harpy Eagle in Panama

Excellent trip. Wonderful accommodations, food excellent, service excellent, trip well planned out with balance of nature and city activities. Birding was fabulous and the guides were beyond compare.They are experts who combine knowledge with passion and a desire to share their love for the environment and its living creatures with their travel companions. I recommend this travel company as top rate for personal service and value and would choose them again without hesitation!

Lucinda Lea

Reviewed April 16, 2019

Rudy is simply the best guide ever

I have been fortunate to be guided by Rudy Zamora on two trips to Costa Rica. They were far and away the best birding trips I have ever been on and the reason was Rudy.
For starters he is enthusiastic about his work and it carries over to everything he does.
He is very bright and has an encyclopedic memory. For example, he knows every Costarican bird name in english, spanish and latin. He knows all of their calls and frequently if you are looking for a specific bird, he often knows where to find it.
On my first trip he took a look through my bird book where I mark all the birds I have seen and he then set an agenda to find the ones I had not seen. With that done, once he discovered that I would bird from dawn until dark it was a magic week of discovery.
He did not require the all day birding, but was willing to tailor each day to what I wished to do instead of sticking to some fixed plan.

In addition he will tell you about the history of the country, or talk about the trees and plants along the way, or as I requested he tutored me to improve my mediocre Spanish skills. He took time to teach me about some of the differences between groups of birds such as flycatchers and some of them are difficult to tell apart. Then each day he would point out a few birds and quiz me to see what I had learned and the best part was he really cared.

He took me to places I never would have seen had I not been with him. I am not talking about lodges etc but we went to little out of the way places because he knew we might find a particular bird. The second trip was completely different than the first in terms of the places we went but the routine didn't change.
And everywhere we went he was warmly greeted by everyone and that says something about him as well. I could go on for pages but let me say that he is the best guide I have ever known.

Mark H Bluffton

South Carolina, Reviewed January 19, 2019

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About Costa Rica Focus

Costa Rica Focus is a birding tour company that offers customized Costa Rica birdwatching tours for individuals or groups of people and guided by a knowledgeable birding expert who will help you spot and learn about the beauty of the birds of Costa Rica. Let’s talk about your Costa Rica birding vacation!

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