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The Costa Rica Birding Tour - 21 Days

The Costa Rica Birding Tour

Extensive Birdwatching Tour in Costa Rica

This 21-day Costa Rica Birding tour will guide you through the unique birding ecozones and top hotspots in Costa Rica with an emphasis on hummingbirds and the opportunity to see over 400 bird species in this three-week birding adventure, plus many other wildlife.

This unique Costa Rica birding tour will take you across the Northern plain to the stunning Arenal Volcano, the Sarapiqui lowlands and the famous biological station, Turrialba the Snowcap mecca in the foothills of the Caribbean Slope, the Talamanca highlands home of the strictly beautiful Resplendent Quetzal, the Central and Southern Pacific Lowlands showered by the Pacific Ocean and the Northern Pacific Lowlands and volcanos, where the wetlands and dry forest specials await for you.

Costa Rica, though relatively small in size, is home to one of the highest levels of biodiversity in the world. Encompassing four birding zones and numerous micro-ecosystems, Costa Rican birds and wildlife are virtually on display in their natural habitat.

Costa Rica is home to more than 50 species of Hummingbirds, so whether in the cloud forest, humid Caribbean lowlands, arid mountain peaks, dry Pacific forests or mangroves, hummingbirds are highly accessible to visitors.

The country’s natural wealth is no accident. In the mid-20th century, Costa Rican leadership realized the importance of conservation for the future of the nation. Today, 27 per cent of Costa Rica has been officially designated as protected land and rather than devoting resources to developing a military, Costa Rican officials instead chose to build educational and social security programs. Despite the ensuing growth of tourism, the country remains peaceful, friendly and open.

Costa Ricans continue to exude appreciation and joy for the many treasures of their country.

Costa Rica Birding tour highlights include:

  • Visits Costa Rica's 5 continental ecozones
  • Experience the birdlife of the top ecosystems for birding in the country: tropical rainforest, premontane forest, cloud forest, the coast, paramo, dry forest, and pastures
  • Look for hummingbirds, quetzals, and other trogons, motmots, toucans, tanagers, and endemics in the top birding hotspots.
  • Discover the top national parks and private reserves for birding
  • Support conservation and social development while watching mega birds

Are you interested in a photography tour in Costa Rica? Please visit Costa Rica Bird Photography Tour

Day 1
Day 1 - Central Valley | Arrival.

Upon arrival in San Jose, you will be met and transferred to your hotel. Overnight at Hotel near the city. (D)

Day 2
Day 2 - La Fortuna & Arenal | Caribbean Lowlands

Check out, then we head this morning to the middle elevations Caribbean Foothills in the Central mountain range, Virgen del Socorro road and Cinchona hummingbirds’ feeders.

Keep your eyes peeled for the White Hawk, Barred Hawk, Bat Falcon, Prong-billed Barbet, Red-headed Barbet, Northern Emerald Toucanet, Silver-throated Tanager, Violet Sabrewing, Green Thorntail and the very special endemic to Costa Rica Coppery-headed Emerald. We have lunch in the area then we depart to the Arenal area, where we will have an evening hike in search of Great Curassow, Great Black Hawk, Ornate Hawk-Eagle and Emerald Tanager. Overnight at Lodge. (BLD).

Day 3
Day 3 - Northern Plains | Caribbean Lowlands

This morning we depart for a day trip to the Caño Negro National park Wetlands, in search for kingfishers, Agami Heron, Sungrebe, Black-collared Hawk, Gray-headed Kite and the endemics Nicaraguan Seed Finch and Nicaraguan Grackle. Overnight at Lodge. (BLD).

Day 4
Day 4 - Sarapiqui | Caribbean Lowlands.

During the morning we will have an excursion to the Suspension bridges for birding in a local preserve, searching for more Caribbean slope Specials including Black-crested Coquette, Emerald Tanager, Specked Tanagers, Guans and more. Have lunch en route and depart.

Protecting 500 acres of primary and secondary rainforest and home to more than 370 species of birds, the area provides opportunities to see varieties such as the Keel-billed Toucan, Sunbittern, Snowy Cotinga and the endangered Great Green Macaw. After lunch in the lodge’s Costa Rican restaurant, enjoy a chance to spot birds and wildlife during a two-hour boat safari on the Sarapiquí River.

Overnight at Rainforest Lodge. (BLD)

Day 5
Day 5 - Sarapiqui | Caribbean Lowlands

This morning we depart the lodge for early morning birding at the nearby Organization for Tropical Studies La Selva Biological Field Station.

La Selva consists of approximately 2,500 acres of land, over 90% of which is virgin forest. The area averages over 13 feet of rainfall each year, making it a prime spot to observe birds. Over half of Costa Rica’s more than 900 recorded bird species have been spotted at La Selva, including the Bare-necked umbrellabird, Red-capped manakin, Great Antshrike, Chestnut-backed Antbird, Slaty-tailed trogon, Middle American Screech-Owl, Slaty Spinetail, Sunbittern, Agami Heron and more. We will return to the hotel for lunch and in the afternoon and we will look for incredible birds on the trails.

Overnight at Rainforest Lodge (BLD)

Day 6
Day 6 - Turrialba | Caribbean Foothills

After breakfast, we visit the Cope´s Place in Guapiles searching for White-tipped Sicklebill, Great Potoo, Crimson-collared Tanager, owls and more specials. In the afternoon, depart to a lodge in Turrialba, home of the Snowcap.

Set at an altitude between 766 and 1167m the area provides stunning views of Turrialba and Irazu volcanoes. Spend the afternoon observing some of the over 400 species of birds attracted to the exotic fruits, flora, and hummingbird feeders at the lodge. Highlights include the Grey-headed Chachalacha, Gray-headed Piprites, Lineated Woodpecker, White-crowned Manakin, Thicket Antpitta, Great Tinamous, Barred Forest-falcon, Black-crested Coquette, Tawny-chested Flycatcher and the Snowcap, star of the region. End the day with a night walk.

Overnight at Lodge (BLD)

Day 7
Day 7 - Turrialba | Caribbean Foothills

Today will be spent exploring the lodge grounds with a chance to see birds of differing sleep cycles and increase your chances of spotting the more elusive birds. You may catch a glimpse of the Sulphur-rumped Flycatcher, Long-billed Gnatwren, White-winged Becard, Yellow-crowned Euphonia, Lovely Cotinga, and the Red-throated Ant-Tanager.

Overnight at Lodge (BLD)

Day 8
Day 8 - Talamanca Highlands | Los Quetzales

During the morning we depart from Turrialba to the Quetzales National Park. With a lunch stop at Casa Tangara dowii, home of some really hard to find bird species, like the Buffy Crowned Wood Partridge, the Buff Fronted Quail Dove, the Silvery-fronted Tapaculo and more.

After a good lunch, a small walk in the afternoon we continue to our Lodge. In this place, other than the Resplendent Quetzal, which is a fantastic reason to visit the area in itself, the presence of regional endemic species that evolved in the highest mountains of Costa Rica and Western Panama, make this site a perfect destination for bird lovers. More than 170 species have been recorded in the tropical cloud forest and nearby subalpine paramo-covered peaks. This afternoon, enjoy a walk along the trails in the cloud forest.

Overnight at Lodge. (BLD)

Day 9
Day 9 - Talamanca Highlands | Los Quetzales

After breakfast, we have the internationally famous Quetzal Tour, which consists of going birding along the upper trails of a local oak forest and farms, looking for Resplendent Quetzals, but in addition to these birds, the region is home to a number of species that are only found at this elevation, such as the Collared Trogon, Flame-colored Tanager, Long-tailed Silky-flycatcher, Buffy Tuftedcheek, Golden-browed Chlorophonia, Elegant Euphonia, and Tufted Flycatcher.

For lunch, we visit Miriam's restaurant at San Gerardo de Dota Valley and spend some time at the hummingbird feeders for the popular Fiery-throated Hummingbirds, Lesser Violetear and search the gardens for the Black-and-yellow Silky-flycatcher. During the afternoon, we take a trip through the Providencia route at Los Quetzales National Park in search of a Black-capped Flycatcher, Costa Rican Pygmy-Owl, Silvery-throated Jays and more.

Overnight at Lodge. (BLD)

Day 10
Day 10 - Bahia Ballena | Southern Pacific Lowlands

After breakfast, we will go looking for more birds and depart towards Bahia Ballena with lunch on route and a stop for the Volcano Junco and Timberline Wren in the paramo.

The journey follows the Pan-American Highway, the highest road in Central America, passing over 3000 m (9840 ft) above sea level. Bahia Ballena is located in the famous Osa region of Costa Rica, in a 12 hectares reserve next to the Marino Ballena National Park, a protected area where you can find coral reefs, a sanctuary for the breeding of whales, dolphins, turtles, sea birds and other endangered species. In the afternoon explore the gardens and forest trail overlooking the stunning Pacific Ocean in search of the Fiery-billed Aracari, Baird ́s Trogon, Bay-headed Tanager, Long-billed Hermit, and more.

Overnight at Hotel (BLD)

Day 11
Day 11 - Bahia Ballena | Southern Pacific Lowlands

Have breakfast with the toucans, this morning and take a boat trip to experience the birds and wildlife of the Sierpe Wetlands. Visit along the river for Brown Pelican, Magnificent Frigatebird, White Ibis, Brown Boobies, herons, terns, sandpipers and the endemic Mangrove Hummingbird.

Return to the hotel, enjoy the view and continue birding the gardens and boundaries of the reserve. At night there is an optional owling hike.

Overnight at Hotel (BLD)

Day 12
Day 12 - Piedras Blancas | Southern Pacific Lowlands

Today we head to the Piedras Blancas National Park, known as one of Costa Rica's hotspots for birdwatchers.

Piedras Blancas with its several endemic bird species, such as the Rusty Margined Flycatcher or the endemic to the region Costa Rica Swift, and the true endemic Black-cheeked Ant-tanager, is an excellent place to enlarge a birders life list. The bird fauna of the more open areas includes Parrots, Curassows, Parakeets, Egrets, Flycatchers, Hummingbirds and Toucans. Animals often sighted include agoutis, coatis, basilisks and caimans.

Overnight at Lodge (BLD)

Day 13
Day 13 - Piedras Blancas | Southern Pacific Lowlands

This morning we will be concentrated in the area in search of endemics and other specials such as the Black-cheeked Ant-tanager, Fork-tailed Flycatcher, Crested Oropendola, Charming Hummingbird, Uniform Crake, Sapphire-throated Hummingbird, Brown-throated Parakeet and Tawny-winged Woodcreeper.

Overnight at Esquinas Lodge (BLD)

Day 14
Day 14 - Carara & Turrubares Hills | Central Pacific Lowlands

Today we arrive at Turrubares, this is a place located between two different life zones, the humid tropical forest and the high humidity pre-montane forest.

Also, it is surrounded by expanses of mature and secondary forests, rural roads, pastures and organic farming plots. These bioclimatic, ecological and landscape conditions make it possible for an abundance of birds to live in the Central Pacific, the potential species list of migratory and resident birds is huge. The regional specials include the endemic Fiery-billed Aracari, Sunbittern, Blue-crowned Manakin, White-crested Coquette, Tanagers and more toucans. Have lunch on the route and check-in at our Macaw Lodge. Relax and explore the bird-filled gardens and start your Central Pacific checklist.

Overnight at Lodge (BLD)

Day 15
Day 15 - Carara & Turrubares Hills | Central Pacific Lowlands

Wake up early, because today we have an entire morning at the famous Carara National Park, this place consists of transitional forest and is home to many humid forest bird species that are only found in south-western Costa Rica. Keep your eyes peeled for the Golden-naped woodpecker, Orange-collared Manakin, Riverside Wren, Streak-chested Antpitta, Marbled Wood-Quail, Baird’s trogon and the colourful Scarlet Macaw.

During the afternoon, we will have a fabulous boat ride on the Tarcoles River, during the tour we will see herons, plovers and more birds. Return to the Lodge for dinner.

Overnight at Lodge (BLD)

Day 16
Day 16 - Nicoya Peninsula | Northern Pacific Lowlands

Early birding followed by breakfast in the lodge Reserve then departure to the Nicoya Peninsula, Tambor Area. We arrive in time for lunch and then we explore the reserve in search for the Peninsula specials including Plain Chachalaca, Yellow-naped Parrot, Long-tailed Manakin and Black-headed Trogon. We enjoy the view in the evening and get ready for a delicious dinner overlooking the sea.

Overnight at Hotel. (BLD)

Day 17
Day 17 - Tango Mar | Nicoya Peninsula | Northern Pacific Lowlands

After breakfast birding and wildlife hike in the Curu Reserve, other than birds this is a great spot for White-faced Capuchin-monkeys, White-tailed Deer, Caimans and crocodiles, do not miss the very social White-throated Magpie Jays and Double-striped Thick-knee. we enjoy lunch in the area and take the local trail Panica River for water birds, in the evening we walk along the shore for seabirds.

Overnight at Hotel. (BLD)

Day 18
Day 18 - Palo Verde | Northern Pacific Lowlands

After breakfast departure to the Nicoya Gulf and Colorado River Area area. The lodge is located on the Tempisque River. The area along the river is known for its dry forest system, attracting a variety of birds such as Lesser Ground-Cuckoo, Spot-breasted Bobwhite, the rare endangered Jabiru. herons, ibis, pelicans, and others. This afternoon we have the famous Tractor Tour, enjoy the beautiful pampa and Nicoya Gulf landscape.

Overnight at Lodge. (BLD)

Day 19
Day 19 - Rincon de la Vieja | Guanacaste

This morning we have a boat tour in the wetlands in search for dry forest specials. After lunch, we depart our hotel in the Peninsula towards the Guanacaste Volcanic Mountains, Rincon de la Vieja Volcano to settle at a lodge at the feet of the volcano. Check-in and we explore the manicured gardens and facilities in search of birds. This area is becoming a new birding destination in Costa Rica, for the combination of Dry Forest and Caribbean Lowlands specials at the same place. Including some of the most elusive and rare birds.

Overnight at Lodge. (BLD)

Day 20
Day 20 - Rincon de la Vieja Guanacaste

This morning we go birding the lodge trails and we go inside the National Park network of trails for some specials including Tody Motmot, Yellow-eared Toucanet, Northern Potoo, Great Curassow, Nightingale Wren, Cinnamon Hummingbird, Elegant Trogon, Turquoise-browed Motmot, Ivory-billed Woodcreeper, Banded Wren and more. We return to the lodge for lunch then we get back to bird the pailas trail (calderas) of the volcano.

Overnight at Lodge. (BLD)

Day 21
Day 21 - Departure

Begin with an early morning birding hike followed by breakfast. After breakfast Check out and journey back to San Jose for your flight home. (B)

Some of the wildlife expected to see on this trip are:

White Hawk, Bat Falcon, Prong-billed Barbet, Red-headed Barbet, Northern Emerald Toucanet, Violet Sabrewing, Green Thorntail, Coppery-headed Emerald (endemic), Ornate Hawk-Eagle, Emerald Tanager, Great Curassow, Agami Heron, Sungrebe, Nicaraguan Seed Finch, Nicaraguan Grackle, Black-crested Coquette, Keel-billed Toucan, Yellow-throated Toucan, Collared Aracari, Great-green Macaw, Green Ibis, Bare-necked Umbrellabird, Red-capped Manakin, Snowy Cotinga, Chestnut-backed Antbird, Orange-billed Sparrow, Red-throated Ant-tanager, Slaty-tailed Trogon, Middle America Screech-Owl, White-tipped Sicklebill, Great Potoo, Crimson -collared Tanager, Gray-headed Priprites, White-crowned Manakin, White-ruffed Manakin, Thicket Antpitta, Dull-mantled Antbird, Great Tinamou, Barred Forest-Falcon, Tawny-chested Flycatcher, Snowcap, Buffy-crowned Wood-Partridge, Buff-fronted Quail-Dove, Silvery-fronted Tapaculo, Common Chlorospingus, Resplendent Quetzal, Collared Trogon, Flame-collared Tanager, Long-tailed Silky-Flycatcher, Buffy-Tuftedcheek, Golden-browed Chlorophonia, elegant Euphonia. Fiery-throated Hummingbird, Lesser Violetear, Talamanca Hummingbird, Black-and-yellow Silky-Flycatcher, Costa Rican Pygmy-Owl, Silvery-throated Jay, Volcano Junco, Timberline Wren, Fiery-billed Aracari, Baird’s Trogon, Bay-headed Tanager, King Vulture, Brown Pelican, Magnificent Frigatebird, White Ibis, Brown Boobie, Mangrove Hummingbird (endemic), Rusty-margined Flycatcher, Costa Rican Swift, Blue-headed Parrots, Black-cheeked Ant-Tanager, Fork-tailed Flycatcher, Crested Oropendola, Charming Hummingbird, Sapphire-throated Hummingbird, Tawny-winged Woodcreeper, Blue-crowned Manakin, White-crested Coquette, Orange-collared Manakin, Marbled Wood Quail, Streak-chested Antpitta, Riverside Wren, Scarlet Macaw, Plain Chachalaca, Yellow-naped Parrot, Long, tailed Manakin, Black-headed Trogon, Double-striped thick-Knee, Lesser-ground Cuckoo, Jabiru, Tody Motmot, Northern Potoo, Elegant Trogon, Turquoise-browed Motmot, Banded Wren.

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Why book with Costa Rica Birding?

Costa Rica Birding is one of the leading local birding companies based in Costa Rica offering birding with a lot of fun, lead by Sergio Arias. Costa Rica Birding offers specialised birding tours and a number of other wildlife experiences including nature and bird photography adventures directly to the independent traveller while also working as a specialised ground operator for a number of international birding companies.

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06/03/2023 - 26/03/2023 available USD 6,325
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21 Days

Price & Availability

USD6,225 / per person
Based on twin/double room
Single Supplement USD 1000
Group Discount Available
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This tour is operated by: Costa Rica Birding

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Tour Facts

  • Costa Rica
  • Set Departure
  • Set Departure Tour
  • Birds
  • 2-6 pax
  • 21 Days
  • March-June
  • +15 years
  • Leisurely
  • No
  • English, Spanish
  • Juan Santamaría Airport
  • Juan Santamaría Airport