Day 1: Arrival. Overnight in San Jose area. Residencias de Golf or similar.
Day 2: Breakfast, Travel to Cerro de la Muerte. We will spend the morning exploring the misty highland cloud forest reserve at the Finca Mirador de Quetzales, where up to 20 pairs of quetzals have been seen. We will have lunch and overnight at the Albergue de Montana Savegre, nestled in a quaint highland valley nearby. Walking through the gardens and along the Savegre river, we can hope to see Flame-colored Tananger, Collared Trogon, Torrent Tyrannulet, Volcano hummingbird, and Gray-tailed Mountain Gem, to name a few. In the evening after a delicious diner, we will go over the birds, reptiles, mammals, and any other wildlife seen that day (3 meals).
Day 3: Travel to Jaco Beach. We will stop along the way to look for Blue-winged Teals, Least Grebes, Northern Jacanas, Anhingas, and Cormorants. After lunch at the hotel, we will explore the bird-rich trails through the forest, and hope to see Scarlet Macaws and Tiger Herons, among many others (3 meals).
Day 4: Spend the next day in the Carara Biological Reserve , a unique climatological zone where the ecosystem of the humid southern coastal region joins the dry climate of the northern Pacific area, becoming a rich meeting ground for species from both regions. This is truly one of the highlights of the tour, where we hope to find the Orange Collared Manakin dancing in their lek. This is a great location to spot antbirds, up to four different species of Trogons, Rufous-tailed Jacamar, and even Royal Flycatchers. In the early mornings, before entering the reserve, we will visit the nearby bridge overlooking the Tarcoles River, where Scarlet Macaws fly over daily. Here you will also be amazed by the gigantic crocodiles basking on the banks of the river (3 meals).
Day 5: Breakfast, Travel to Guanacaste Inocentes Lodge to explore the tropical dry forests, marshlands, estuaries, and mangroves, characteristic to the northern Pacific region. This is an ideal place to see water birds, raptors, and other species found only in this zone. In the wetlands, we are likely to see Snail Kites, Wood Storks, Roseate Spoonbills, Boat-billed Herons, Black-crowned Night-Heron, Limpkins, and several species of Kingfishers. Walking through the semi-deciduous forest, we are likely to see Turquoise-browed Motmot, the Long-tailed Manakin, and several species of Parrots, Orioles, Cuckoos, Trogons, Jays, and Owls (3 meals).
Day 6: Travel to Monteverde Finca Valverde HTL., a mountain community founded by Quaker dairy farmers. We will stop to birdwatching along the way, arriving for lunch. In the afternoon, we will visit the Ecological Farm, where there is a reforestation project, providing the vegetation and trees that attract and help to sustain local bird populations. Three-wattled Bellbirds are seen here every year between the months of February and April. The farm has extensive trails where we will look for White-eared Ground Sparrow, Prong-billed Barbet, Chiriqui Quail Dove, Rufous-and-white Wren, among many others (3 meals).
Day 7: Spend the day in the famous Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve. In years past, during the Christmas bird count, this was the location where the most number of bird species were counted in one day. As we walk through the cool, misty forest we will be surrounded by astounding richness in bio diversity. As well as being home to the Resplendent Quetzals, the reserve is also inhabited by other spectacular bird species, such as, Golden-browed Chlorophonias, Emerald Toucanets, Red-faced Spinetail, and Black Guans.
After lunch, before re-entering the reserve, we will visit the hummingbird gallery, where up to 7 species of hummingbirds can be seen, including the Majenta-throated Woodstar and the Green-crowned Brilliant (3 meals).
Day 8: Travel to the Arenal Observatory Lodge, which offers breath-taking views of the thundering Arenal Volcano . It is one of Costa Rica's active volcanoes, where we are sure to enjoy some fireworks. Great photo opportunities! The extensive trails at the lodge allow for tremendous opportunities to view the Crimson-collared Tananger, White Hawk, Brown-hooded Parrot, and the Golden-olive Woodpecker, along with an array of colorful hummingbirds, and three species of Tucans. One night, we will go owling in search of the lack-and-White Owl, Mottled Owl, and Striped Owl in the open fields, below the lodge (3 meals).
Day 9: Travel to El Gavilan Lodge in the tropical lowlands of Sarapiqui, birdwatching along the way. After lunch, explore the wildlife-rich riparian zone along the banks of the Sarapiqui river. This lowland rain forest region at the base of the Caribbean slope is well-known for hosting the greatest diversity of tropical flora and fauna in the country. Here the Sunbittern, Black-faced Grosbeak, and Gray-necked Wood-Rail are a few of the inhabitants of the area. This is the most likely spot on the trip to see the Great Green Macaw, an endangered species that depends on the Dipteryx tree for feeding and nesting. This is one of the emergent trees commonly found in Sarapiqui. Also lurking in the forest are two- and three-toed sloths, 3 different species of monkeys, and peccaries (3 meals).
Day 10: Spend a full day in the El Gavilan Lodge (3 meals).
Day 11: Spend the day at La Selva Biological Station run by the Organization for Tropical Studies (OTS), clearly a highlight of the tour. The station is among the four most famous tropical research facilities in the world. We will see an outstanding abundance of wildlife. The station is home to more than 420 bird species, more than 500 species of butterflies, 55 species of snakes, and 120 species of mammals. A vast variety of different species of trees can be seen in the arboretum.
This is the most likely place to make your tinamou dream come true. There are three species of Tinamou that inhabit La Selva. We will be looking for Rufous Motmot, Trogons, Caciques, Purple-throated Fruit Crow, and Snowy Cotinga, among many others. Animals here are not camar shy, so there will be ample photo opportunities. Peccaries (wild pigs), agoutis, coatis, sloths, and monkeys frequent the area. All of which makes for an unforgettable experience (3 meals). Overnight at El Gavilan Lodge.
Day 12: En route to Virgen del Socorro, visit the hummingbird gallery at El Mirador, where at least seven species of hummingbirds can be seen. As we make our way up between the Braulio Carrillo National Park and the Poas Volcano National Park, we will pass spectacular waterfalls, excellent spots for viewing the Tropical Parula, the American Dipper, and the Torrent Tyrannulet. Finally we will walk through the serene river valley called Virgen del Socorro, where we may be lucky enough to see the Lanceolated Monklet. We will return to San Jose for a farewell dinner and an overnight stay to rest up for departing flights the next day (3 meals).
Day 13: Breakfast before departing for the airport to return home.
Also see tour packages in:
Central America and Caribbean Costa Rica Nature & Wildlife Birdwatching