Birdingpaltours around the world
Due to Costa Rica’s small size, range of elevation and twelve distinct ecological zones I can offer tours that encompass a wide variety of habitats and astonishingly abundant wildlife diversity, while maintaining a comfortable pace.
"Ferrugineus Pygmy Owl"
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8 Day Tour with a 6 Day Extention
Tour I - 8 Days
HABITATS Middle Elevations Rain Forest Caribbean Slope /Lowlands Rain Forest Caribbean Slope / Middle and Upper Elevation Cloud Forest / Lowlands Moist Forest Central Pacific Slope
Braulio Carrillo National Park / La Selva Biological Station / Rancho Naturalista / Savegre Mountain Preserve / Carara National Park
Pick up at your Hotel and departure to Braulio Carrillo National Park. You will be pick up at your hotel early, so we can be at our first birding destination at 6:30 a.m. We will head east from San Jose on the Guápiles Highway the Zurquí tunnel transports you from the modern world into the rainforest and cloud forest of Braulio Carrillo National Park, as we drive the views are breathtaking. The park is 117,300 acres (47,500 hectares, 183 square miles, 140 times the size of central park NYC, 4/10ths the size of Rocky Mountain National Park Colorado) and range from 118 feet (36 meters) 9,500 feet (2900 meters). More than 500 species of birds including Resplendent Quetzals, Bare-necked Umbrellabird, Snowcap, Brown-billed Scythebill, Black-crowned Antpitta, Golden-browed Chlorophonia, Flame-throated Warblers, Long-tailed Silky-flycatchers, Yellow-eared Toucanet, and Latticed-tailed Trogon. We will then drive to La Selva Biological Station located in Puerto Viejo de Sarapiqui, where we will rest through the night.
Full day birding La Selva Biological Station, night La Selva Biological Station Lodge. This day we will start with a great breakfast at 6:00a.m. La Selva Biological Station. La Selva is a fabulous birding destination with over 400 species recorded in the area. Terrific birding opportunities are available in the more open areas both outside and inside the entrance gate. It's perhaps the best place in Costa Rica to see tinamous, which are normally very secretive but have become accustomed to the presence of humans. The highly endangered Great Green Macaw regularly puts in an appearance at La Selva, La Selva is a great place to see many species of hummingbirds and tanagers, including the beautiful Passerini's Tanager; Snowy Cotinga, Long-tailed Tyrant, Semiplumbeus Hawk, Broad-billed Motmot, Rofous Motmot, just to mention a few.
Morning Birding at La Selva Biological Station and departure to Rancho Naturalista, night at Rancho Naturalista Lodge . This day after breakfast we will bird La Selva, and then departure to Rancho Naturalista where we will bird for the rest of the day and stay overnight. We will birdwatch a long the way as we drive as much as possible, at some known spots.
Full day Birding at Rancho Naturalista. After another superb Costa Rican breakfast we will spend all morning travelling to Rancho Naturalista which is found at an elevation of 850 meters on the Caribbean Slopes, we will spend two nights there. Rancho Naturalista has, for a long time, been the quintessential ‘birder’s Inn’, there you find warm hospitality, comfortable rooms and excellent food. This superb lodge has a central two storey building from where we can watch many species from the upper observation deck. At Rancho Naturalista they provide services for birders found nowhere else in Costa Rica their excellent resident guides know every square meter of the 270 hectare reserve and provide a superb service. We will spend the afternoon birding around the central lodge and various trails, followed by a delicious evening meal on the first floor of the lodge. The well developed trail system access a good variety of habitats including pasture and secondary & primary rainforest. One particular trail leads to the ‘Hummingbird Pools’ where in the late afternoon many species come to bathe, some species hover over the water and then plunge in for a quick dip whilst others splash about at the edge. Common species seen around the lodge include, Montezuma Oropendola and Scarlet-rumped Cacique, whilst, Grey-headed Chachalaca, White-lined Tanager, Green Honeycreeper and Black-cheeked Woodpecker frequent the fruit trees. Typical hummingbird species that visit the feeders are; White-necked Jacobin, Green-breasted Mango, Violet-crowned Woodnymph, Brown Violetear and Green-crowned Brilliant. After dinner we can go up to the observation deck and listen for Common Pauraque and Mottled Owl and we may be lucky enough to hear a Crested Owl or even a Common Potoo!
Morning birding at Rancho Naturalista and departure to Tapanti. After breakfast and birding the morning we will find our way to Tapanti.
Full day Birding at Tapanti National Park Covering over 583 sq km, the Tapanti-Macizo Cerro de la Muerte National Park is one of the lushes national parks in Costa Rica. Wet and wild, it protects the northern slopes of the Cordillera de Talamanca and acts as a refuge for birds in the area. It has become a popular destination for bird watchers, with dense and verdant vegetation and over 150 rivers and many waterfalls found within its boundaries. There are few other places in Costa Rica where we can have a fair chance at seeing the likes of: White-bellied Mountain-Gem, Green-fronted Lancebill, Black-bellied Hummingbird, Scaled Antpitta, Ochre-breasted Antpitta (good candidate for splitting from South American taxa), Black-banded Woodcreeper, Lineated Foliage-gleaner, Buff-fronted Foliage-gleaner, Streaked Xenops, Immaculate Antbird, Rufous-rumped Antwren, Lesser Elaenia, White-fronted Tyrannulet, Dark Pewee, Sharpbill, and White-winged Tanager. Target species here are: Black Guan, Ornate Hawk-Eagle, Violet Sabrewing, Green Thorntail, Red-headed Barbet, Prong-billed Barbet, Brown-billed Scythebill, Tawny-throated Leaftosser, Streak-breasted Treehunter, Red-faced Spinetail, Silvery-fronted Tapaculo, Scale-crested Pygmy-Tyrant, Golden-bellied Flycatcher, Brown-capped Vireo, Black-faced Solitaire, Slaty-backed Nightingale-Thrush, American Dipper, Azure-hooded Jay, Spangle-cheeked Tanager, Silver-throated Tanager, Ochraceous Wren, and Elegant Euphonia.
Morning birding at Tapanti Kiri Lodge, departure to Savegre Lodge with stop to bird Providencia Road. This day we will bird the early morning in the hotel’s gardens and near roads to departure after lunch to Savegre Valley making a stop at Mirador los Quetzales, where we will have the opportunity to some target species as the Wrenthrush (Zeledonia), Long-tailed Silky Flycatcher, Volcano Hummingbird among other. Luch at Mirador Los Quetzales to continue to Savegre Valley.
Full day birding at Savegre Mountain Reserve. Savegre is a small community in the Talamanca Mountains. Savegre is at an elevation of 2200 meters (7220 feet). The forest around it is one of massive oaks, colorful plants, and an incredible variety of bird life. Over 170 species of birds can be seen in the cloud forest of Savegre Mountain Reserve, including the Resplendent Quetzal, Black Guan, Highland Tinamou, Barred Forest-Falcon, Chiriqui Quail-Dove, Buff-Fronted Quail-Dove, Barred Parakeet, Bared-shanked Screech-Owl, Green Violet-ear, Fiery-throated Hummingbird, Volcano Hummingbird, Scintillant Hummingbird, Emerald Toucanet, Barred Becard, Tufted Flycatcher, Silvery-throated Jay, Flame-throated Warbler, Sooty-capped Bush-Tanager, White-winged Tanager, Flame-colored Tanager, Yellow-bellied Siskin, Volcano Junco.
Morning birding Savegre later departure to the Airport. (or if you are doing the tour extension; departure to Cerro Lodge).
8 Days tour price is:
2 pax: USA$1900 per person – price base on double standard rooms.
4 pax: USA$1500 per person – price base on double standard rooms.
6 pax: USA$1300 per person - price base on double standard rooms.
Contact Johan Fernández.
Tour I - 8 Days
Morning birding at Savegre, afternoon departure Cerros Lodges – Stopping at some know locations along the road to get some specialties. This morning we will leave early to have the chance to stop at some locations along the road where we will have the chance to see some target species and a couple of regional endemics such the White-throated Mountain-Gem, Scintillant Hummingbird, Mangeta-throated Hummingbird, White-tailed Emerald, Turquoise Cotinga, Tropical Mockingbird, Fork-tailed Flycatcher, Pearl Kite, and Golden-naped Woodpecker.
Full day birding at Carara National Park. Protecting a low mountainous area of 11,600 acres (4,700 hectares, 18 square miles) Carara is a favorite site for bird-watchers who visit Costa Rica. A few reasons are its ease of access, its position in a transition zone giving birders the chance to see residents of both habitats and the fact that Río Grande de Tárcoles has free flowing sections and its waters seep into seasonal marshlands and a shallow lake covered with hyacinths further expanding number of local habitats. The park has several ecosystems, such as: swamps, a lagoon, a gallery forest, secondary and primary forests. Among its almost 4oo species of birds are Collared Forest Falcon, Rofous Jacamar, Barred Antstrike, Boat billed Night Heron, many types of wrens, including the Rufous breated Wren, Streak-breated Antpitta, the famous Scarlet Macaw, and the endemics Orange-collared Manakin, Black-hooded Antshrike, Fiery-billed Aracary, River-sided Wren, Black-bellied Wren, Costa Rican Swift, Baird’s Trogon, Golden-naped Woodpecker, Yellow-billed Cotinga, and Cherrie's Tanager.
Morning birding at Tarcoles River and departure to La Ensenada Lodge This morning we will bird from a boat on the Tarcoles River. The Tárcoles River originates on the southern slopes of the Cordillera Central volcanic range and flows in a south-westerly direction to the Gulf of Nicoya. The river is 111 km long and its watershed covers an area of 2,121 km², which encompasses around 50% of the country's population. The river's upper reaches form the northern border of the Carara Biological Reserve. It is a habitat for American Crocodiles, while the marshes located at the river's mouth have many waterfowl and wading birds. Among the many herons and egrets are the Boatbill and Bare-throated Tiger Heron. The mangroves found at the river mouth are quite important and are home to Mangrove Vireo, Mangrove Cuckoo, Rufous-necked Wood-Rail, Panama Flycatcher, and American Pygmy-Kingfisher to just mention a few. Other good birds include Double-striped Thick-Knee, Roseate Spoonbill, Southern Lapwing, Black-necked Stilt, Boat-billed Heron, Common Black-Hawk, White Ibis, Magnificent Frigatebird, Bare-throated Tiger-Heron and the endemic Mangrove Hummingbird, Mangrove Warbler.
Full day birding La Ensenada Lodge Situated on the mainland coast of the Gulf of Nicoya, La Ensenada Wildlife Refuge offers a comfortable and relaxed sitting for birding the North Pacific Slope. La Ensenada is a seemingly paradoxical combination of working cattle ranch, private hotel, and national wildlife refuge. The owners of La Ensenada bought the land in 1977 as a cattle ranch; the hotel was established in 1990, and eight years later the land was officially made a national wildlife refuge. The cattle farming has continued through these changes, and today La Ensenada maintains 300 head, mostly bulls, which are farmed for meat. There is also a Salina (Salt Pond) on the property, where sea salt is harvested during the dry season. The birding in the area is regarding and it is easy to build a good-sized list. Most of the habitat within the reserve is patchy forest and cow pasture, which will produce most of the dry-forest species. Some species that can be found right around the grounds of the hotel are White-throated Magpie-Jay, Crested Bobwhite, and Cinnamon Hummingbird, Mangrove Swallows fly over the fields of the hotel, and Lesser Ground-Cuckoo can be heard calling from the dense forest edge. At night Common Pauraque, Ferruginous Pygmy-Owl, and Pacific Screech-Owl can be heard in the area.
Full day birding Palo Verde National Park, night La Ensenada. The Palo Verde National Park on the banks of the Rio Tempisque is one of the best wildlife and bird watching spots in Costa Rica. Over 16,000 hectares of land are protected in the park. The remote wetland sanctuary harbors one of Central Americas largest concentration of aquatic birds and is the most important migratory bird site of the Mesoamerican Pacific. Hemmed in by limestone hills and rivers, the lowlands of the Tempisque basin become a vast area of wetlands in rainy season. Towards the end of the rainy season Palo Verde is home to at least 250,000 birds.
Morning Birding Hacienda Solimar, afternoon departure to San Jose, night Hotel Airport. Hacienda Solimar is a working cattle ranch adjacent to Palo Verde National Park, where they raise Brahman cattlefor beef. Perhaps not surprisingly one of the most numerous birds at Solimar was Cattle Egret! The Hacienda offers simple, family-style accommodation and some excellent birding in gallery forest, tropical dry forest and extensive wetlands; the local guide, Demetrio, knows the area like the back of his hand and will help us find a remarkable variety of bird species, including the largest stork in this continent, the Jabiru, as well as some dry forest specialties such Crested Bobwhites, Lesser Ground Cuckoo, Long-tailed Manaking, Streak-backed Oriole, and Spotted Orile among a bunch of different species of Egrets, Herons, Ducks and birds of prey. After some great birding will have lunch and then hit the road back to San Jose.
Breakfast and fly back to home.
6 days extentions tour price is:
2 pax: USA$1300 per person – price base on double standard rooms.
4 pax: USA$1000 per person – price base on double standard rooms.
6 pax: USA$850 per person - price base on double standard rooms.
Contact Johan Fernández.
English/Spanish bird guide with field scope and field guide, pick up and drop off from airport, hotels, transportation, lodging, meals and park entrance fees.
Gratuities, alcoholic beverages, items of personal nature, airport departure tax, or international and local airfare.
Expect between 350 to 400 species during the 14 days tour (8 day + 6 days extension).
Birding season: Fortunately, Costa Rica's birds are not shy. Seeing them is relatively easy, you can expect to see many dozens of species on any one day of the year.
Although in addition to around 600 residents, there are more than 200 migrants. So one will say the best time for birding in Costa Rica is when the migrants are here, the most spectacular long distance migrants to Costa Rica come from temperature and boreal north America. Among migratory land birds, warblers predominate in numbers of species and probably also in number of individuals, but flycatchers, swallows, thrushes, vireos, orioles, tanagers and finches, with a few pigeons, cuckoos and kingfishers and a number of raptors swell the multitude. Appearing first along the Caribbean coast in August, migrants arrive in larger numbers in September and October. Many continue onward to winter in South America, but countless more remain in Costa Rica, spreading over the whole country, in both humid and semiarid regions, and extending in the mountaintops
All the date of itineraries include arrival and departure dates.
All trips are available year round, but prices may be adjusted around special holidays.
Minimum lead time six (6)weeks.
To check availability for tours on short notice, fill out “Request for Quote” form with desirable dates.
Easy to moderate hiking is required. For birders with moderate limitations I am able to make a special itinerary. Either way, birders will have a fantastic opportunity to views an impressive number of bird species, and the experience will be an enjoyable one.
Dress for hot and humid tropical weather and be prepare for rain. Light clothing is recommended: cotton shirts and t-shirts (earth colors preferable), long and short pants, poncho, hiking shoes, an extra pair or sandals, hat, insect repellent and sun block.
Binoculars, scope, field guide, notebook and camera.
Contact Johan Fernández.
Check out birders trip reports.
Some facts about Costa Rica.
Official Name: Republic of Costa Rica.
Geography: Area: 51,100 sq. km (19,730 sq. mi.) about the size of the states of Vermont and New Hampshire combined.
Terrain: A rugged, central range separates the eastern and western coastal plains.
Climate: Mild in the central highlands, tropical and subtropical in coastal areas.
Population (2010): 4.516 million.
Ethnic groups: European and some mestizo 94%, African origin 3%, Chinese 1%, Amerindian 1%, other 1%.
Religion: Roman Catholic 76.3%, Evangelical Protestant 13.7%, other 4.8%, none 3.2%.
Languages: Spanish, with a southwestern Caribbean Creole dialect of English spoken around the Limon area.
Education: Years compulsory--9. Attendance--99% grades 1-6; 71% grades 7-9. Literacy--96%.
Health: Infant mortality rate--9.45/1,000. Life expectancy--men 74.61 yrs., women 79.94 yrs.
Type: Democratic republic.
Independence: September 15, 1821.
Constitution: November 7, 1949.
Branches: Executive--president (head of government and chief of state) elected for one 4-year term, two vice presidents, Cabinet (22 ministers, two of whom are also vice presidents). Legislative--57-deputy unicameral Legislative Assembly elected at 4-year intervals. Judicial--Supreme Court of Justice (22 magistrates elected by Legislative Assembly for renewable 8-year terms). The offices of the Ombudsman, Comptroller General, and Procurator General assert autonomous oversight of the government. Subdivisions: Seven provinces, divided into 81 cantons, subdivided into 421 districts. Political parties: National Liberation Party (PLN), Citizen's Action Party (PAC), Libertarian Movement Party (PML), Social Christian Unity Party (PUSC), and other smaller parties.
Suffrage: Universal and compulsory at age 18.
Unemployment (2010 est.): 6.7%.
Currency: Costa Rica Colon (CRC).
Natural resources: Hydroelectric power, forest products, fisheries products.
Agriculture (6.5% of GDP): Products--bananas, pineapples, coffee, beef, sugar, rice, dairy products, vegetables, fruits, ornamental plants, corn, beans, potatoes, timber.
More facts about Costa Rica.
Guide books and CDs recommended:
A guide to the Birds of Costa Rica by Gary Stiles and Alexander F. Skutch
2. The birds of Costa Rica a field guide by Richard Carrigues and Roberth Dean.
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Last update 20/02/2014