Costa Rica Birding Journeys

Describing each and every wildlife destination in Costa Rica is a massive task. There are hundreds of websites dedicated to talk about climate, precipitation, species summaries, road conditions etc. But our intention is not only to provide a comprehensive understanding of the areas we wish you to join us. We would like to get an all different picture of every single place we have chosen in the hopes to get the most amazing wildlife images possible.

Based on 30 years of constant observation, hundreds of books and articles read but the most important countless hours behind cameras.

Costa Rica Birding Journeys has put together itineraries for those really serious about getting a memorable experience in the country but also they have been created it to tell an untold story of the massive efforts this tiny paradise has done in order to preserve, restore the untamed nature that once existed before a man set a foot on earth.

Number of participants: Minimum 2 Maximum 6 (8 upon request)

Wild Life Journeys:

    Overview

    Wildlife Targets: Whales, Dolphins, Sea Turtles, Rainforest Frogs, Snakes & Birdlife

    Months: Late August, September, October 15th latest.

    14 days

    Destinations: San Jose, Osa Peninsula, San Gerardo de Dota, La Selva Biological Station, Tortuguero National Park.

    Destination & Targets:

    San Jose 1 night Arrival to Costa Rica. Juan Santamaria’s International Airport.

    3 nights Osa Peninsula: Tapirs, Pumas, 4 species of Monkeys, Whales, Snakes & Amphibians.

    3 nights San Gerardo: Resplendent Quetzal, hummingbirds and endemic birds.

    2 nights La Selva Biological Station: Snakes, Amphibians, Birdlife.

    3 nights Tortuguero National Park: Sea Turtles, Jaguars, Birdlife & night macro photography.

    San Jose 1 night – Departure

    Trip Highlights

    This journeys trip will focus on:

    • Lighting
    • Focal styles and focal points
    • Composition
    • Recommended Aperture/DOF
    • Suggested lenses for bird photography
    • Metering/Exposure
    • Landscape photography explained
    • Post-processing
    • Macro photography
    Day 1. San Jose, Arrival to Costa Rica. Meet CRBJ staff to take you to your hotel.
    Hotel Adventure Inn.
    Day 2. Osa – Drake Bay Wilderness Resort or similar
    Drive 4 hours to Sierpe area to board on a 1hour trip by boat to Drake’s Bay.

    · Arrival and lunch

    · 1430 – 1830 hrs garden hike: possible targets, lizards, macaws, snakes, frogs and insects

    · 19:00 dinner and first images and review workshop

    Day 3. Osa – Drake Bay Wilderness Resort or similar
    · Early rising 05:00 am capturing light. 1 hour of landscape photography

    · Breakfast and Dolphin/Whale watching tour 4 hours

    · Return by lunch and leisure time until 14:30

    · Garden exploration, dinner and night hike for macro

    Day 4. Osa – Drake Bay Wilderness Resort or similar
    · Early breakfast and departure to Sirena Station in the heart of Corcovado National Park

    · Full day at the station, lunch on site

    · Dinner and image post-processing workshop

    Day 5. San Gerardo de Dota, Savegre Lodge
    · Morning garden exploration followed by departure to the Talamanca mountains at over 3500 meters above sea level

    · Lunch at the lodge and garden exploration until dark.

    · Dinner

    Day 6. San Gerardo de Dota, Savegre Lodge
    · Early morning garden and forest exploration

    · Breakfast and continue exploring lodge adjacent oak forest

    · Lunch followed by leisure time until 14:30

    · Visit Batsu’s bird garden. A marvellous little corner where dozens of species of hummingbirds, warblers, tanager etc.

    Day 7. San Gerardo de Dota, Savegre Lodge
    · In search of Resplendent Quetzal a quest to one of the most magnificent life forms on our earth. It could be a longer journey in order to capture mind blowing images.

    · Lunch and leisure time until 14:30

    · Drive to the upper regions of Cerro de la Muerte for Endemic species and sunset

    Day 8. La Selva
    · After a well deserve lunch we will be driving to the Caribbean Lowlands crossing the central valley into the Braulio Carrillo National Park.

    · Upon arrival lunch and trail exploration until dinner time

    Day 9. La Selva
    · Breakfast, lunches and dinners on a schedule time

    · 1500 hectares of rainforest to explore all day long

    · 42 km of trails to hike to, endless possibilities to capture anything from Pumas to tiny frogs

    · Night tour after dinner. Macro photography

    Day 10. La Selva
    · Breakfast, lunches and dinners on a schedule time

    · Exploring different trail systems

    · Post- processing photography workshop

    Day 11. Tortuguero – La Baula Lodge
    · Breakfast followed by a nature hike in search of birds, nearly 450 species of birds are found within the Biological Station

    · Travel 1 ½ hours to La Pavona where we will embark to the boat leading us to the amazon of Costa Rica.

    · Lunch upon arrival and garden/forest exploration for Howler Monkeys, Toucans and Great Green Macaws

    · Dinner

    Day 12. Tortuguero – La Baula Lodge
    · Early rising 5:00 am to those willing to capture the sunrise.

    · 5:45 am boat tour (3-4 hours)

    · Breakfast and garden exploration

    · After lunch we will visit the town for more bird life

    · Dinner and photo lab

    Day 13. Tortuguero – La Baula Lodge
    · 5:00 am departure to the beach on where Jaguars go in the hunt for sea turtles

    · Sea turtle watching & breakfast

    · 10:00 – 13:00 boat tour followed by lunch and 14:30 boat tour to the national park

    · Image reviewing the last post- processing workshop

    Day 14. San Jose, Hotel Bouganvillea
    · 5:00 am departure to the beach on where Jaguars go in the hunt for sea turtles

    · Boat tour (3-4hours), breakfast on the go

    · Lunch and departure to San Jose

    · 1 ½ hrs boat ride back to Pavona

    · 3 hrs drive from Pavona to your hotel

    · Hotel Bouganvillea arrival 16:00

    Overview

    Wildlife Targets: Monkeys, sloths, pumas, jaguars, tapirs, snakes, frogs & Birdlife on their natural environment

    Months: December – July

    14 days

    Destinations: San Jose, Nicoya’s Peninsula, Carara, Manuel Antonio, Corcovado, San Gerardo de Dota

    San Jose 1 night. Arrival to Costa Rica, Juan Santamaria’s International Airport

    3 nights Nicoya Peninsula: 3 species of monkeys, birdlife

    2 nights Carara: Crocodiles, birdlife, snakes and poisonous frogs

    1 night Manuel Antonio: Sloths, monkeys and reptiles

    5 nights Osa Peninsula: Tapirs, pumas, jaguars, antaters, birdlife, insects, amphibians, reptiles, dolphins

    1 night San Gerardo: Resplendent Quetzal, hummingbirds & endemic birds

    Heredia 1 night – Departure

    Trip Highlights

    This journeys trip will focus on:

    • Lighting
    • Focal styles and focal points
    • Composition
    • Recommended Aperture/DOF
    • Suggested lenses for bird photography
    • Metering/Exposure
    • Landscape photography explained
    • Post-processing
    • Macro photography
    • Story teller meeting with a journalist
    • Conference with local conservationist
    • Conservation & nature speaker
    Day 1. San Jose, Arrival to Costa Rica. Meet CRBJ staff to take you to your hotel.
    Hotel Adventure Inn.
    Day 2. Nicoya’s Peninsula- Curu Wildlife Refuge
    · Breakfast and departure to one of the first conservation areas in Costa Rica, a famous place for the efforts on primate conservation.

    · Focus on monkeys, unique journeys in which 3 species of monkeys are the main target, be prepared with the following lenses: 85mm; 50mm; 70-200mm and 300mm 2.8 or anything similar.

    · Hotel check in and dinner

    https://curuwildliferefuge.com

    Day 3. Nicoya’s Peninsula- Cabo Blanco Absolute Reserve
    · Early rising 05:00 am capturing light. 1 hour of landscape photography

    · Breakfast and heading to the first preserved area in Costa Rica Oct 21/1963

    · Return by lunch and rainforest photography until 16:00

    · Sunset photography and Dinner

    https://es.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cabo_Blanco_(Costa_Rica)

    Day 4. Nicoya’s Peninsula- Nosara
    · Early breakfast and departure to Nosara beach, world famous for its astonishing beauty, picture perfect sunsets and its vicinity to Ostional Sea Turtle Refuge.

    · Visit to Ostional Wildlife Refuge until dark, long exposure photography

    · Dinner a

    https://es.wikipedia.org/wiki/Refugio_de_vida_silvestre_Ostional

    Day 5. Jaco Area, Mangrove Boat Tour
    · Morning garden exploration followed by departure to the Talamanca mountains at over 3500 meters above sea level

    · Lunch at the lodge and garden exploration until dark.

    · Dinner

    Day 6. Jaco Area, Carara National Park
    · Full day at Carara National Park, exploring two different trails systems.

    · This park is particularly known for its birds but in our experience it is so unpredictable that at the least aspect it moment nature can surprise us with an Ocelot killing a Tinamou or a Tayra chasing an Agouti.

    · Lunch in between trails

    · Dinner in town.

    Day 7. Quepos Area, Manuel Antonio National Park
    · Full day at Manuel Antonio, it’s indeed a busy park, full of tourists but there are very high chances to get extraordinary photography of two species of sloths and much more including the feared Fer de Lance.

    · Lunch nearby and return back to your hotel

    Day 8. Osa, Casa Corvocado or Punta Marenco
    · Boat transfer to Corcovado National Park at Drake’s Bay via Sierpe

    · Exploring hotel grounds

    · Dinner and photography workshop

    Day 9. Osa, Casa Corvocado or Punta Marenco
    · Early breakfast and departure to Sirena Station

    · Full day at Sirena lunch included Picnic Style

    · Sunset time and leisure

    · Dinner followed by a night walk for macro photography

    Day 10. Osa, Casa Corvocado or Punta Marenco
    · Early morning nature hike

    · Breakfast and continue rainforest exploration until lunch time

    · Break between lunch & 15:00 Toucan Search

    · Dinner & photo lab

    Day 11. Osa, Casa Corvocado or Punta Marenco
    · Early morning nature hike

    · Breakfast and continue rainforest exploration until lunch time

    · Break between lunch & 15:00 bird photography at hotel gardens

    · Dinner & night hike for macro photography

    Day 12. Osa, Casa Corvocado or Punta Marenco
    · Early rising 5:00 am to those willing to capture the sunrise.

    · Breakfast and dolphin tour (3-4 hours)

    · Leisure time until 15:00 hrs followed by rainforest exploration

    · Dinner and photo lab

    Day 13. San Gerardo de Dota, Savegre Lodge
    · Morning garden exploration followed by departure to the Talamanca mountains at over 3500 meters above sea level

    · Lunch at the lodge and garden exploration until dark.

    · Dinner

    Day 14. San Jose, Hotel Bouganvillea
    · 5:00 am Search for Resplendent Quetzal; a quest to one of the most magnificent life forms on our earth. It could be a longer journey in order to capture mind blowing images.

    · Lunch and leisure time until 14:30

    · Hotel Bouganvillea arrival 16:00

    Overview

    Targets: Sea turtles, jaguars, tapirs, primates, snakes, insects,birdslife, amphibians & reptiles

    Months: September mid-October

    14 days

    Destinations: San Jose, Braulio Carrillo, Tortuguero, La Selva, Arenal, Caño Negro, Tenorio.

    San Jose 1 night. Arrival to Costa Rica, Juan Santamaria’s International Airport

    2 nights: Braulio Carrillo: Tapir, rainforest snakes, frogs and birdlife.

    3 nights: Tortuguero: Sea turtles, jaguars & birdlife

    2 nights: La Selva Biological Station: Birds, Sloths, monkeys and reptiles

    2 nights: Arenal: pumas, jaguars, anteaters,

    1 night: Caño Negro: Birdlife, caymans, iguanas, jaguars

    2 nights: Tenorio: Tapirs, insects, amphibians, reptiles & birdlife

    Heredia 1 night – Departure

    Trip Highlights

    This journeys trip will focus on:

    • Lighting both natural and artificial
    • Focal styles and focal points
    • Composition
    • Recommended Aperture/DOF
    • Metering/Exposure
    • Landscape photography explained
    • Post-processing
    • Macro photography
    • Capturing jaguars killing sea turtles
    • Conference with local conservationist organization
    Day 1. San Jose, Arrival to Costa Rica. Meet CRBJ staff to take you to your hotel.
    Hotel Adventure Inn.
    Day 2. Braulio Carrillo National Park. Tapirus Lodge.
    · In the heart of the Caribbean Lowlands searching for the largest terrestrial mammal of the neotropics. Tapirs.

    · After lunch we will jump on the first rainforest gondolas to explore life above the floor

    · Dinner and night walk

    Day 3. Braulio Carrillo National Park. Tapirus Lodge.
    · Early rising 05:00 am capturing light. 1 hour of landscape photography

    · Birds and other wildlife photography before breakfast

    · Return by lunch and rainforest photography until 18:00

    · Dinner

    Day 4. Tortuguero National Park. La Baula Lodge.
    · Early hike searching for the last bird of the rainforest

    · Departure after breakfast to Tortuguero National Park

    · Lunch upon arrival and hotel garden exploration

    Day 5. Tortuguero National Park. La Baula Lodge.
    · 5:30 am boat tour, breakfast afterwards

    · Lunch at the lodge and leisure time until 14:00

    · Boat tour #2 followed by dinner & macro photography

    Day 6. Tortuguero National Park. La Baula Lodge.
    · In search for jaguars, early start beach hike looking for Jaguar kills and sea turtles

    · 5:30 am boat tour, breakfast afterwards

    · Lunch at the lodge and leisure time until 14:00

    · Boat tour #2 followed by dinner and photo lab

    Day 7. La Selva Biological Station
    · Early boat tour followed by breakfast and departure to the most well studied rainforest on earth

    · Lunch at the biological station & garden exploration.

    · Photography workshop (preparing for macro) dinner & night hike

    Day 8. La Selva Biological Station
    · Full day at the station 52 km of trails

    · Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner at schedule time

    · Macro Photography

    Day 9. La Fortuna, Arenal National Park
    · Early breakfast and rainforest exploration

    · 11:00 am departure to Arenal

    · Lunch on the road and slow drive searching for

    · Dinner followed by a night walk for macro photography

    Day 10. La Fortuna, Arenal National Park
    · Early morning nature hike

    · Breakfast and continue rainforest exploration until lunch time

    · Break between lunch & 15:00 garden & forest exploring

    · Dinner & photo lab

    Day 11. Caño Negro
    · Early morning nature hike

    · Breakfast and continue rainforest exploration until 11:00 am

    · Departure to Caño Negro for a boat tour at 1430 (lunch on the way)

    · Dinner

    Day 12. BIjagua, Tenorio Volcano.
    · Early rising 5:00 am to boat tour (3-4 hours)

    · Breakfast and departure to BIjagua’s Rainforest

    · Leisure time until 15:00 hrs followed by rainforest exploration

    · Dinner and photo lab

    Day 13. BIjagua, Tenorio Volcano.
    · Morning garden exploration followed by breakfast and rainforest canopy hike

    · Lunch at the lodge and garden exploration until dark.

    · Dinner & macro night walk

    Day 14. San Jose, Hotel Adventure INN
    · 5:00 am hike in the rainforest canopies, breakfast to go

    · Lunch and drive back to San Jose 208 km 3:45 hrs

    · Hotel Adventure Inn arrival 16:00

    Day 15. International Flight: Departure 3 hours prior to your international flight.
    .
    Costa Rica Wild Life

    cargando mapa - por favor, espere...

    Osa Peninsula: 8.978770, -83.532700
    Golfito: 8.641060, -83.168500
    Drake: 8.719110, -83.641700
    Sirena: 8.648370, -83.666100
    Carate: 8.443960, -83.462200
    Puerto Jimenez: 8.535740, -83.305900
    Sarapiqui: 10.454100, -84.009700
    Braulio Carrillo: 10.181300, -83.920200
    Tortuguero: 10.569000, -83.515100
    San Gerardo: 9.558400, -83.805100
    Curu: 9.787900, -84.923800
    Carara: 9.781000, -84.606100
    Ensenada: 10.163560, -85.012207
    Manuel Antonio: 9.389200, -84.135500
    Tenorio: 10.608500, -85.086000
    Caño Negro: 10.892300, -84.786600
    Arenal: 10.543700, -84.896400
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    Osa Peninsula

    Divided in several different conservation areas, Osa or sometimes better known as Corcovado National Park is the absolute destination for those seeking to capture one life time photos over and over, day and night the South Pacific Lowland Rainforest is one the world’s magical places in where the rainforest meets the sea. Thousands and thousands of acres both in land and off the sea to the enjoyment of nature lovers.


     

    Sierpe by far is the closest section to the rest of the country, access by boat only. The largest conservation area in Central America for mangrove forests with more than 35000 acres protected. Dozens of waterways to explore including the Violin Island.


     

    Perfect location to photograph thousands of crabs, sloths hanging in the tangle aerial roots of mangroves and toucans feasting on nearby fruiting trees. At night the frog life is abundant and one of the few places where you can capture Rainbow Boas or Mangrove Boas. 


     
    • Altitude 20 m
    • Precipitation: 4500 mm / 177.2 inches
    • Drier month: February
    • Rainiest month: October
    • Temperatures: 20.1/33.5 C (minimum/maximum)

    Municipalidad de Osa Provincia Puntarenas, Costa Rica
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    Golfito

    Golfito is to us the very best place to go birding in the Osa Peninsula, including the well- known Esquinas Lodge & Piedras Blancas National Park. A magnet for bird life including some rare endemics, unusual hummingbirds, and a remarkable place for nocturnal creatures. Is very little exploration and tourist impact is small.


     

    Deep mountain forest surrounds the upper hills of Golfito/Esquinas/Piedras Blancas; a destination suitable for bird life and macro photography. But also is the very best place in Costa Rica for Dolphin tours and whale watching.


     
    • Altitude: 127 m
    • Precipitation: 4116 mm / 162 inches
    • Drier month: February
    • Rainiest month: October
    • Temperatures: 19.8/33.4C (minimum/maximum)

    Golfito Provincia Puntarenas, Costa Rica
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    Drake

    Drake is definitely the best well visited region of Corcovado National Park, an excellent place to access locations such as San Pedrillo, Madrigal, Llorona and Sirena. Anything could happen here from a Brown Booby resting in the middle of the sea over a sea turtle to a pair of snakes mating. Although it is highly touristy, it is still a worth exploring with your cameras. Perfect for bird life such as Scarlet Macaws, monkeys, marine life and reptiles.


     
    • Altitude: 4 m
    • Precipitation: 4000 mm / 157 inches
    • Drier month: February
    • Rainiest month: October

    Temperatures: 22/35.5 C (minimum/maximum)


    Aeropuerto de Bahía Drake Provincia Puntarenas, Costa Rica
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    Sirena

    Sirena or Mermaid is the destination par excellence, overwhelming with nature this distance corner of Corcovado National Park is home of Tapirs, Pumas and the always elusive Jaguar. Four species of monkeys occur here and they are not that hard to capture, and are also a fairly good place for medium size to large birds such as Tinamous, Trogons and Puffbirds.


     
    • Alititude: 3 m
    • Precipitation: 5000 mm / 196.85 inches
    • Drier month: February
    • Rainiest month: October
    • Temperatures: 24/34 C (minimum/maximum)

    Parque Corcovado Los Planes Provincia Puntarenas, Costa Rica
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    Carate

    Bordering the ocean, this station is the last corner of the national park, perhaps the least explored. The serenity and calmness of this section of Corcovado invites us to that sensation of true 1600’s explorers. Tamanduas, Pumas and even Jaguars walking along the isolated beaches can be a destination full of surprises. Due is vicinity and distance to the outside world amphibians and reptiles find a perfect location for life. Macro photography is as good as it gets.


     
    • Altitude: 2 m
    • Precipitation: 4589 mm / 180.67 inches
    • Drier month: February
    • Rainiest month: October
    • Temperatures: 22.5/35.3 C (minimum/maximum)

    Carate Provincia Puntarenas, Costa Rica
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    Puerto Jimenez

    Puerto Jimenez is a small town of a few thousand people but the adjacent areas are full of birds especially towards the road to Rio Piro Biological Station. Without doubts an excellent place to capture Scarlet Macaws and hundreds of other species such as Potoos, Raptors, Woodpeckers, Seedeaters, etc.


     
    • Altitude: 8 m
    • Precipitation: 4289 mm / 168.9 inches
    • Drier month: February
    • Rainiest month: October
    • Temperatures: 20.3/33.9 C (minimum/maximum)

    Puerto Jiménez Provincia Puntarenas, Costa Rica
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    Sarapiqui

    Sarapiqui – La Selva Biological Station


     

    As the sunrises after a heavy shower from the night before life erupts as a frenzy of nature’s beauty. Sarapiqui region and La Selva Biological Station are those extraordinary places where wildlife boosts in every single season. An all well around destination from macro to the almighty Jaguars. Bird lovers must, butterfly passionate photographers and literally anyone else with a camera.


     
    • Altitude: 58 m
    • Precipitation: 3874 mm / 152.5inches
    • Drier month: March
    • Rainiest month: September
    • Temperatures: 20/32 C (minimum/maximum)

    Puerto Viejo Provincia Heredia, Costa Rica
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    Braulio Carrillo

    Braulio Carrillo lies in the centre of the country this 50000 hectares national park offers dreamy moments day and night. Home of the largest terrestrial mammals of the new world tropics, more than 450 species of birds, countless flowering plants and a mind blowing quantity of insects is the place we all imagine when someone mentions a rainforest.


     
    • Altitude: 8 m
    • Precipitation: 4289 mm / 168.9 inches
    • Drier month: February
    • Rainiest month: October
    • Temperatures: 20.3/33.9 C (minimum/maximum)

    Teleferico Braulio Carrilo Provincia Limón, Costa Rica
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    Tortuguero

    Tortuguero National Park is called the “Amazon” of Central America; but in reality is much more than that. Toucans, monkeys, large boas, Great Green Macaws, thousands over thousands of sea turtles hunted by the secretive Jaguars at night. Tortuguero is a realm of nature’s expression. 


     
    • Altitude: 8 m
    • Precipitation: 4774 mm / 188.8 inches
    • Drier month: March
    • Rainiest month: December
    • Temperatures: 21/32.8 C (minimum/maximum)

    Aeropuerto de Tortuguero Provincia Limón, Costa Rica
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    San Gerardo

    San Gerardo de Dota if there is a place in Costa Rica where the word “beautiful” shall be used is this 3556 meters mountain range. Located in the high Talamanca is hidden a Harry Potter little valley. Shower by Savegre River and the misty mornings San Gerardo is the place to be for Resplendent Quetzal, hummingbirds and zillions of nocturnal butterflies. A remarkable destination for developing bird photography skills.


     
    • Altitude: 2564 m
    • Precipitation: 3643 mm / 143.4 inches
    • Drier month: February
    • Rainiest month: October
    • Temperatures: 8/19 C (minimum/maximum)

    San Gerardo Provincia San José, Costa Rica
    The table above is listing 10 out of 17 markers (sorted by ID ascendente)