15 days Bird`s Heaven
Months to visit: All year. Peaks from January to early May – July second peak
Destinations: San Jose, Cerro de la Muerte, Carara, Arenal Volcano, Sarapiqui,
San Jose 1 night: Adventure Inn Hotel
Cerro de la Muerte 3 nights: Paraiso de Quetzales, Savegre Lodge
Carara 3 nights: Cerro Lodge
Arenal Volcano 3 nights: Arenal Observatory Lodge
Sarapiqui 3 nights: La Selva Biological Station
Heredia 1 night: Hotel Bouganvillea
Day 1. Arrival in Costa Rica. Meeting CRBJ staff and transfer to Adventure Inn.
1. Arenal Volcano Area is well known for its active summit, but little is talked about its great bird diversity and its beautiful rainforest. Coming across Quail doves, mix flocks, soaring eagles, elusive antpittas are just another day in paradise. Bordering forest edges by the lake is very successful, the complex vegetation of many different ages makes this piece of Costa Rica a must to visit for birdwatchers. Great Currasows in the middle of the paths, active Black throated Wrens on tangled vines, silently perched raptors on exposed death tree trunks, hyperactive Coquettes going from flower to flower are just part of a daily birding.
Birding Highlights: Scaly breasted Wren, Black crested Coquette, Thicket Antpitta, Ornated Hawk Eagle, Ocellated Antbird, Three wattled Bellbird, Fasciated Tiger Heron, Keel billed Motmot, White fronted Nunbird, Brown capped Tyrannuelt, Long tailed Tyrant, Black headed Nightingale Thrush.
Day 1. Arenal Observatory Lodge. Upon arrival we are going to explore the hotel grounds, for a good number of honeycreepers, tanagers, oropendolas, some hummingbirds and many other forest birds such as trogons, pygmy tyrants on the hotel private preserve. The remaining part of the afternoon we will take a drive to the Arenal Lake area in hopes to find guans, parrots, motmots, toucans, etc. All meals included.
Day 2. Arenal Observatory Lodge. Birding all day at the hotel grounds. Exploring its private 600 hectares of primary, secondary forests with unlimited possibilities and good chance for Bare necked Umbrellabird. The hotel is in front of the most active volcano in Central America; its views are majestic and unrivaled. Upon request a visit to Baldi Hot Springs (non included)
Day 3. Arenal Observatory Lodge. Early birding to the forest nearby the Arenal lake which ist mostly secondary forest where a good combination of microhabitats increased the birding possibilities such as Long tailed Tyrant, Broad billed Motmot, Crested Guan, Keel billed Toucan, White Hawk, Thicket Antpitta, and maybe Ornated Hawk Eagle.
2. Sarapiqui is a real rainforest experience with vast areas to cover, primary rainforest, active and no active pasture fields, river edges, canopy bridges, thick understory, etc. Cotingas, macaws, oropendolas, guans, eagles, toucans are some of the many species to find. At Gavilan Lodge daily birds to spot are Green Ibis, Sunbittern, Jacamars, Tanagers, Orioles, Woodpeckers, Tityras, etc. Botanical gardens nearby offer great opportunities to spot a dozen or more species of hummingbirds and its adjacent forest always bring good surprises as Little Tinamou, Lattice tailed Trogon, Cinnamon Woodpecker, and much more. The Braulio Carrillo National Park is a real rainforest experience with the largest mixed flocks ever including favorites such as Sharpbills and Umbrellabirds.
Birding Highlights: Great green Macaw, Nicaraguan SeedFinch, Green Ibis, Snowy Cotinga, Slaty breasted Tinamou, Shiny Cowbird, White collared Manakin, Great Potoo, Bare necked Umbrellabird, Sharpbill, Blue and gold Tanager, Short tailed Nighthawk, Spectacled Owl.
Day 1. La Selva Biological Station. Traveling to the Braulio Carrillo is breathtaking, its 95% of the forests has never been altered by human hands, dozens of small waterfalls, evergreen vegetation makes this little piece of jungle one of the best places in Costa Rica to visit. More than 350 species had even recorded within the park area & adjacent villages. Our first visit is to a local’s farm in search of Spectacle Owl, Long tailed Tyrant, Great Potoo, White throated Crake and the least goes on!! Lunch at a nearby restaurant and visit the national park to try to find Sharpbill, aracaries, mix flocks of tanagers, orioles, woodpeckers, barbets, woodquails, rare wrens, etc. All meals included.
Day 2. La Selva Biological Station. Birding all day at the lodge grounds. At the lodge, the nearby riparian forests hold a good biodiversity of birds, such as Sunbittern, Green Ibis, Bright rumped Atila, Fasciated Antshrike, Rufous tailed Jacamar to mention a few. We will also visit a couple local spots for guans, toucans and more.
Day 3. La Selva Biological Station Visit to the world known La Selva Biological Station, which is some of the best birding in the area with large forested areas combined with secondary vegetation and gardens. Dozens of birds are found upon arrival, guans, tanagers, motmots, toucans, becards, euphonias, etc. Several hours at La Selva and continue to explore close by grounds for Great Green Macaw, Bat Falcon, etc.
3.Carara National Park is by far one the best birding places all year round in Costa Rica and perhaps in all of Central America. Within the national park protects the second largest population of Scarlet Macaws, easy access to all trails, mangrove swamps, pasture fields and forest edges. There are very few places in the country where more than hundred species can be found in one trail. Meandrica’s trail it has become an icon for quality birding, tinamous, trogons, wrens, antpittas, manakins, cotingas, bellbirds, antshrikes are among the most common birds in the forest. The nearby forested edges give as a good number of open field birds, jays, blackbirds, greenlets, rails, ground doves, motmots, hawks, parakeets, owls are among many of the avifauna found in these habitats. The mangroves at Rio Grande de Tarcoles are very rewarding on a good day along the river edges 5 species of kingfishers can be spotted, more than a couple dozens of shorebirds, herons, egrets are also easy to find but the most remarkable species are the ones with a restricted range or to the mangroves such as vireos, warblers, cuckoos, flycatchers, the elusive Rufous necked woodrail and the only true Costa Rican endemic Mangrove Hummingbird.
Birding Highlights: Scarlet Macaws, Orange collared Manakin, Fiery billed Aracari, Baird’s Trogon, Riverside Wren, Crane Hawk, Red breasted Blackbird, Mangrove Vireo, Mangrove Hummingbird, Scrub Greenlet, Cherrie’s Tanager, Great Tinamou, Northern Royal Flycatcher.
Day 1. Cerro Lodge. No meals included. Pick up transfer and information meetings. Today, CRBJ staff will describe the day by day activities, the destinations, possible bird sightings, what to wear by destination and all other general information regarding the trip.
Day 2. Cerro Lodge. Breakfast at a local restaurant after a boat trip to the mangroves. Traveling for half hour to birdwatch about 3 hrs boat tour to Tarcoles River Mangroves in which a combination of deforested areas, river edges, mangrove forest and river mouths are impressive. Herons, egrets, vireos, hummingbirds, frigatebirds, shore birds, waders, cuckoos, macaws, parrots, hawks, also looking for White throated Magpie Jay, Ferruginous Pygmy Owl, Black headed Trogon and much more are among the common groups of birds sighted; although the boat tour main goal is to find the mangrove specialities such Mangrove Hummingbird, Cuckoo, Vireo, Warbler, Rufous necked Woodrail, Panama & Scrub Flycatchers & American Pygmy Kingfisher. On the afternoon we will visit open farm lands, forest patches, river edges and more pasture fields; the goal here is to find seedaters, raptors, parakeets, flycatchers, lapwings, anis,ducks, species that are no longer found at the national park due their habitats disappearance.
Day 3. Cerro Lodge. Breakfast on the go! “The early bird catches the worm”, today we will visit one of the best birding sites in Central America, Carara National Park is a combination of ecosystems, that aloud an amazing number of endemics, birds with restricted ranges and many other beauties with more than 400 species recorded antbirds, macaws, hummingbirds, euphonias, tanagers, flycatchers, cotingas, wrens, manakins and dozen more families are daily sightings. All day at the park, lunch at a local restaurant & dinner at Jaco Beach town.
Day 14: Departure day. Transfer to the airport based on your flight itinerary. (3 hrs prior taken off)