Awards & Accolades

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.

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

Awards & Accolades

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!

Contact Costa Rica Focus