Costa Rica is a birdwatcher’s paradise, boasting over 900 species of birds, making it one of the most diverse countries in the world for avian wildlife.
With its vast array of ecosystems, from dense rainforests to dry savannas and tropical beaches, Costa Rica offers bird enthusiasts an endless opportunity to spot a wide variety of bird species.
However, the best time for bird watching in Costa Rica varies depending on various factors, including climate, migration patterns, and breeding seasons.
Best Time for Birding
The best time for bird watching in Costa Rica is generally considered to be during the dry season, which runs from December to April. During this time, the weather is warm and sunny, with little rainfall, which makes it easier to spot birds in their natural habitat.
The dry season also coincides with the breeding season for many species of birds, making it an excellent time to see birds in their most active state.
It’s very important to understand that the “Dry Season” only applies to the Pacific side of the country; that is, all locations west of the Continental Divide.
The Caribbean side of the country receives almost the same amount of rainfall year round, meaning it is possible and likely to have rain almost every day in the Caribbean. This does not mean visitors will normally experience total rainouts, it means an evening or late afternoon shower is normal. Again, this is important because so many top birding destinations are on the Caribbean side of the country.
One of the best places to go bird watching during the dry season is the Guanacaste region, which is located in the northwestern part of the country.
This area is home to several national parks and wildlife reserves, such as Palo Verde National Park, Santa Rosa National Park, and Rincon de la Vieja National Park.
These parks offer birdwatchers a chance to see a wide variety of birds, including the Jabiru Stork, the colorful Turquoise-browed Motmot, and the elegant Roseate Spoonbill.
Another excellent location for bird watching during the dry season is the Osa Peninsula, located in the southwestern part of Costa Rica.
This area is home to the Corcovado National Park, which is one of the most biodiverse regions in the world, offering birdwatchers a chance to spot a wide variety of bird species, including the Scarlet Macaw and the Black-Cheeked Ant Tanager.
The Pacific dry season is not the only time to go bird watching in Costa Rica. The country is also home to many resident bird species that can be seen throughout the year. Additionally, the rainy season on the Pacific, which runs from May to November, can also be an excellent time for bird watching in Costa Rica, despite the increased rainfall.
During the rainy season, the forests and jungles of Costa Rica come to life, with an explosion of plant growth that attracts a wide variety of insects and other small animals, which, in turn, attract many species of birds. Additionally, many migratory birds come to Costa Rica during the rainy season to breed and feed, making it an excellent time to see birds that are not usually found in the country.
Some of the best places to go bird watching during the rainy season is the northern Caribbean coast of Costa Rica. This area is home to one of the top wildlife areas, Tortuguero National Park. The area offers birdwatchers a chance to see many migratory bird species, including the Northern Jacana, the Purple Gallinule, and the Black-bellied Whistling Duck.
Two other excellent locations for bird watching during the rainy season are the Arenal region, located in the northern part of Costa Rica and the Sarapiqui area.
The Arenal area offers birdwatchers a chance to see many species of birds, including the Keel-Billed Toucan, Hummingbirds, Motmots, Trogons, and Tanagers.
The Sarapiqui area is notable not just for birds but reptiles and amphibians as well.
It’s worth noting that birdwatching in Costa Rica requires a certain level of planning and preparation. The country’s terrain can be challenging, with dense forests, rugged mountains, and vast wetlands, so it’s important to choose the right location and the right time of year based on your experience and fitness level.
Your experts at Costa Rica Focus can help you choose the right areas for you, and make all your arrangements including hotels, transportation, and private birding guides.
If you are thinking about a trip to Costa Rica for birding or photography we’d love to help you plan. Click here to contact us and get started on your perfect birding or photography vacation.
Nestled in the heart of Central America, Costa Rica is a natural wonderland that beckons...
Costa Rica is a land of unparalleled biodiversity and natural beauty. Nestled in the...
Limon, a province located on Costa Rica's Caribbean coast, offers bird watchers an...
Costa Rica, a tropical paradise in Central America, is renowned for its extraordinary...
Get a Free Quote for Your Birding Tour
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!