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Bird Photography in Costa Rica Tour - 12 Days

Bird Photography in Costa Rica Tour

Costa Rica Birding Photo Tour

This 12-day Bird Photography in Costa Rica Tour is leisurely paced and available on request. We can offer you the opportunity to see up to 350 species with the emphasis on photographing them in their natural habitats. There is also the opportunity of tailoring your trip to observe any specific bird on your list, including Quetzals, Trogons, Toucans, Hummingbirds, Motmots, Puffbirds, Manakins, and Antbirds.

From your base near San Jose this bird photography in Costa Rica tour visits some of the region's best locations for birding. This includes Waterfall Gardens, which is a paradise for hummingbirds and mountain species, with three endemics resident. There will also be the opportunity for an optional visit to the King Vulture Hide.

The Sarapiqui region of the Caribbean lowlands is renowned for its many national parks, private protected forests and bird sanctuaries. On this bird photography in Costa Rica trip you'll also get exclusive access to a private estate in search of Chestnut-headed Oropendolas, Gray-necked Rails, Sicklebills, White-collared Manakins and Crested Owls.

The pristine San Gerardo Valley nestles high in the Talamanca Mountains at 7,220 feet above sea level, with steep walls and a cloud forest of oak trees and more than 50 species of birds, including the Volcano Hummingbird, Long-tailed Silky-Flycatcher, Black-billed Nightingale-Thrush, Yellow-thighed Finch and Large-footed Finch. On this bird photography in Costa Rica tour we'll also spend a day on a quest for not only the Resplendent Quetzal, but also the Highland Tinamou, Red-tailed Hawk, Black Guan,  Sulphur-winged Parakeet, Ruddy Treerunner, Silvery-fronted Tapaculo, Sooty Robin, Ruddy Pigeon and  the White-throated and Purple-throated Mountain-gem and Scintillant Hummingbird.

The tropical lowland dry forests and salt pans of the Northwest Pacific that are visited on this bird photography in Costa Rica adventure are home to numerous shore birds and migratory species, as well as some rare endemics. Meanwhile, the open areas around Ensenada Lodge are good for Snail Kites, Yellow-crowned Night Herons, Marbled Godwits, Short Billed Dowitchers, Roseate Spoonbills, Double-striped Thick-Knees, Lesser Ground-Cuckoos, Spotted-breasted and Streak-backed Orioles, Yellow-naped Parrots, Mangrove Hummingbirds and Banded Wrens.

A tour along the Tarcoles River and Guacalillo mangrove estuary in the afternoon is a great way to enjoy numerous waders and shorebirds – not to mention the highest population of American Crocodiles anywhere in Central America.

Throughout your adventure you can take advantage of the expertise of our experienced guides to ensure you enjoy the trip of a lifetime and capture unique images that you will treasure forever.

Bird Photography in Costa Rica Tour highlights include excursions to:

  • The Caribbean Foothills and Waterfall Gardens
  • King Vulture Hide
  • The Sarapiqui Central Caribbean Lowlands
  • La Selva Reserve and Cope's private estate
  • Take part in a Quetzal quest

If you’d like to try an alternative tour, look at what this Birding Tour in Costa Rica has to offer.

Alternative Tour Name: Costa Rica Birding and Photography
Day 1
Day 1 - Arrival

When you get to Juan Santamaria International Airport, your guide will meet you and take you to your hotel. Depending on what time you arrive, you might also be able to watch birds on the hotel grounds.

Dinner Included | Hotel In San Jose

Day 2
Day 2 - Caribbean Foothills | Waterfall Gardens

You will drive north from the central valley, over the active volcanic zone, down into the Caribbean forest lowlands, and toward one of the best places to see hummingbirds and birds at middle elevations. Waterfall Gardens is known as a paradise for hummingbirds. It has some mountain species that can only be found there and nowhere else in the world. Ochraceous Wren, Crimson-collared Tanager, Coppery-headed Emerald, American Dippers, and Torrent Tyrannulet. Where to find the best Northern Emerald Tucanet

All Meals | Lagarto Lodge

Day 3
Day 3 - King Vulture Optional Hide and Tucans

The first thing I do in the morning is watch the feeders for birds. The group gets to use a hide for King Vulture after breakfast. This activity is not part of the package, but you can buy it if you want to. It is the best hide in the country for this beautiful bird. Following the plan, you will visit a private property in the afternoon that is a great place to take pictures and watch birds. The Red-legged Honeycreeper, the Shiny Honeycreeper, the Blue Dacnis, the Chestnut-headed Oropendola, the White-necked Jacobin, the Bronze-tailed Plumeleteer, and the Crowned Woodnymph could all be seen up close.

All Meals | Lagarto Lodge

Day 4
Day 4 - Sarapiqui Central Caribbean Lowlands

The Sarapiqui area is in the Caribbean lowlands of Costa Rica. It is known for its many National Parks, private protected forests, and bird sanctuaries, as well as the large migration of raptors and hawks that passes through the area every year. In Sarapiqui, the Great Green Macaw and Sunbittern are the birds that people are trying to save. Birdwatchers can see several types of Egret and Tiger-Heron, Green Ibis, Keel-billed and Yellow-throated Tucans, Motmots, Trogons, and many different types of hummingbirds, as well as parrots and parakeets, along the Sarapiqui River.

All Meals | Selva Verde Lodge

Day 5
Day 5 - La Selva Reserve and Cope´s Garden

La Selva Biological Reserve offers a walk with a guide early in the morning. This is the most important research center in the country and an excellent birding place. In the afternoon, you will go to the home of Cope, an artist who lives nearby. He is a well-known local artist and environmentalist who has turned his property into a beautiful nature reserve and viewing gallery.

With its fruit and nectar feeders and well-placed natural perches, this place is a dream for birdwatchers and photographers. We will watch a variety of honeycreepers, tanagers, pigeons and hummingbirds coming and going, while the pool attracts Wood-rail and Pygmy Kingfisher. Here, you might see an Orange-billed Sparrow or even a White-tipped Sicklebill. Everything is close and well-lit. From the house, we will go on a short trip into the area to look for birds like the Bat Falcon, Spectacled Owl, Great Green Macaw, Great Potoo, and maybe even a Crested Owl that is roosting.

All Meals | Selva Verde Lodge

Day 6
Day 6 - San Gerardo Valley | Central Highlands

A pristine mountain valley high in the Talamanca Mountains, at 2200 meters (7,220 feet) above sea level, nestled in a river valley with steep walls and a cloud forest full of huge oak trees and other native highland species. In the central highlands of Savegre, there are more than 50 kinds of birds that only live there.

Before we get to our lodging, we'll bird along the road at an elevation of about 9000 feet. This is our first chance to see some of the special birds that only live in these mountains, like the Volcano Hummingbird, Long-tailed Silky-Flycatcher, Black-billed Nightingale-Thrush, Yellow-thighed Finch, and Large-footed Finch.

All Meals | Savegre Lodge

Day 7
Day 7 - Quetzal Quest

You will start the day by looking for the Resplendent Quetzal, which is one of the most beautiful birds in the world. Our main goal is to see a quetzal, but the valley is also a great place to see all the other birds that are unique to the area. The Highland Tinamou, the Red-tailed Hawk, the Black Guan, the Sulphur-winged Parakeet, the Ruddy Treerunner, the Silvery-fronted Tapaculo, the Sooty Robin, the Ruddy Pigeon, and many hummingbirds like the White-throated Mountain-gem, the Scintillant Hummingbird, and the Purple-throated Mountain-gem are all likely to be seen.

All Meals | Savegre Lodge

Day 8
Day 8 - Northern Pacific Dry Forest

Some of the last tropical lowland dry forests, which are in danger of dying out, are in the Northwest Pacific. It has a lot of large salt pans where shore birds and migratory birds can be seen. Best chance to see rare endemics and specialties of the local dry forest, such as birds that are hard to see farther south.

All Meals | Ensenada Lodge

Day 9
Day 9 - Ensenada Lodge

You will spend the day birdwatching on the property, on its trails and in the seasonal fresh water lake. It has a lot of large salt pans where shore birds and migratory birds can be seen. The open areas are good for Snail Kite, Yellow Crowned Night Heron, Marbled Godwit, Short Billed Dowitcher, Snail Kite, Roseate Spoonbill, Double-striped Thick-Knee, as well as local birds like Lesser Ground-Cuckoo, Spotted Breasted Oriole, Streak-backed Oriole, Yellow-naped Parrot, Mangrove Hummingbird, Banded Wren.

All Meals | Ensenada Lodge

Day 10
Day 10 - Pacific lowlands | River Tour

The Central Pacific is a unique place where species from the north and south can be seen together. The group goes on a tour along the Tarcoles River and the Guacalillo mangrove estuary in the afternoon. Here, there are more American Crocodiles than anywhere else in Central America. Many of the largest ones will be on the sand banks. Great chance for birds that live in fresh water, waders, and shorebirds.

All Meals | Villa Lapas Lodge

Day 11
Day 11 - Carara National Park

Carara National Park is considered by many to be one of the best birding locations in Costa Rica. The national park is famous for its population of Scarlet Macaws, and we are certain to see many, particularly at dusk. The excellent birdlife includes up to five different species of Trogons, Rufous-tailed Jacamar, Royal Flycatcher, King Vulture, Grey-necked Wood-rail, Elegant Tern, Tawny-winged Woodcreeper, Smooth-billed Ani, Scaled Pigeon.

All Meals | Villa Lapas Lodge

Day 12
Day 12 - Tarcoles Grounds and Departure Day

The first thing we do in the morning is take a walk on the lodge trails to look for the last birds of the trip. You leave for the international airport after breakfast. It's a short trip that takes about 1.5 hours.

Breakfast Included

Wildlife species expected to see:

Northern Tamandua, Brown-throated Three-toed Sloth, Hoffman´s Two-toed Sloth, Nine-banded Long- nosed Armadillo, Long- nosed Bat, White- throated Capuchin Monkey, Mantled Howler Monkey, Central American Spider Monkey, Central American Squirrel Monkey, Variegated Squirrel, Red- tailed Squirrel, Mexican Hairy Porcupine, Central American Agouti, Gray Fox, Northern Racoon, White-nosed Coati, Kinkajou, Tayra, Neotropical River Otter, Long- tailed Weasel, Collared Peccari, White- tailed Deer, Frogs and Lizards, Blue jeans Dart Frog, Green and – black Dart Frog, Red- eyed Tree Frog, Green Iguana, Spiny Tail Lizard, Basilisc, American Crocodile, Spectacled Caiman
Black River Turtle

What is included?

  • Full-time bi-lingual birding/ naturalist guide throughout your tour,
  • Extra-local birding guides, air-conditioned vehicle, car fuel, transport service for airport arrival and airport departure,
  • Fine standard accommodations en-suite on a twin/double basis,
  • 32 meals, water, one Costa Rica Deluxe bird checklist per person,
  • Riverboat trip, Quetzal tour, Waterfall Gardens, Cope´s Garden - owls quest, all taxes on meals, lodging, and transport.

What is not included?

  • King Vulture Hide
  • International Plane Fair
  • Visa fees
  • Tips to local staff
  • Items of personal nature,
  • airport tax
  • Anything that is not mentioned in the itinerary and "what is included"

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Why should I book with Wildbird Tours?

Wildbird Tours has more than 25 years of experience in Ecotourism. We are in the top 175 best Birding Touroperators in the world according to Birdwatching Magazine. We are commited to excellence in service, environmental sustainability and the lowest prices in the market.

Do you arrange airport pick up/drop off?

Our guide will be with you throughout yor tour 24/7. He will pick you up at the airport at the first day of your trip, and take you to international airport at the very last day.

When is the best time to travel and why?

Birding in Costa Rica is very productive all year round. However, every October we have around 200 species of migrant birds visiting our country from North America, and they leave in March. That is probably the best time to visit us

Do you need a minimum fitness level to join this tour?

The pace of this tour is easy. There are early morning options and pre-breakfast excursions, followed by morning and afternoon sessions. Sometimes even have night walks. Most of the birding will be done from along roads, and well-maintained and marked forest trails.

What will be the level of connectivity or WiFi access during this tour?

All of the lodges we use have wifi access, in public areas or in your room

Can you cater for special dietary requirements?

All the lodges and restaurants we use can cater your requirements for food no matter if is for religion, diet, medical conditions or whatever needs you have

You can send your enquiry via the form below.

12 Days

Price & Availability

USD2,295 / per person
Based on twin/double room
Single Supplement USD 485
Group Discount Available
Group Discount Guide
Refer to Group Discount Terms
This tour is operated by: Wildbird Tours

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Tour Facts

  • Costa Rica
  • On Request
  • Multi-Day Tour
  • Birds
  • 2 to 8 People
  • 12 Days
  • +10 Years
  • Leisurely
  • No
  • English
  • Juan Santamaría International Airport or Contact Us Know
  • Juan Santamaría International Airport or Contact Us Know