Dates and Costs

November 3-16, 2018
$4200 per person ($825 single supplement)


About This Trip

Join us for an exciting, two week trip to heart of Central America.  During this “Costa Rica Sampler” we will focus on favored locations of this small, but bird rich country. Each location will provide a very different mix of birds and we’ve scheduled time to enjoy each at a comfortable pace. (By the end of the tour we’ll likely have seen over 400 species!) Our friend Kip Miller, who has been guiding in Costa Rica for many years, will be returning again to assist Vernon Campos in leading our tour. Vernon is knowledgeable in all things Costa Rican (he lives there!) and is a popular and outstanding guide.

Day 1, Sat, Nov 3 – Arrival in San Jose. After arriving in San Jose, you will be transferred to Hotel Robledal via hotel shuttle. Hotel Robledal is charming, family-run hotel conveniently located just a 10-minute drive from the airport. Those arriving during daylight hours may want to relax around the pool – with binoculars in reach!  Night:  Hotel El Robledal

Day 2, Sun, Nov 4 – La Paz Waterfall Gardens. We will begin birding as a group on the hotel grounds, a great introduction to Costa Rican birds. Here we will see our first of many Hoffmann’s Woodpeckers, Great Kiskadees and Blue-gray Tanagers, as well as other common species of the Central Valley region.  After breakfast we will depart for the La Paz Waterfall Gardens. Here we will enjoy lunch, spectacular waterfall views and some great birds. The hummingbird feeders are a primary attraction here and we will hope for close views of 10 or more species including the endemic Coppery-headed Emerald, Green Thorntail, White-bellied Mountain-Gem, Green Hermit and the handsome Black-bellied Hummingbird. Later we will continue to the Sarapiqui region of Costa Rica’s Caribbean lowlands. It is a region of extremely high bird diversity and the comfortable La Quinta Country Lodge will be our base for the next two nights.   Night: La Quinta Country Inn

Day 3, Mon, Nov 5 – La Selva Research Station. Today we will enjoy a full morning at the La Selva Organization for Tropical Studies Research Station. This is a working biological station in the Caribbean lowland rainforest. It is considered one of the richest birding sites in Costa Rica and after a day here you will see why!  The entrance road and open areas around the station facilities are alive with birds in the early morning hours. Toucans, parrots, tanagers and others will all be evident. As the day begins to warm up we will proceed into the shade of the primary forest.  Species here are more difficult to see, but with patience and the help of our local La Selva guide we always find good things.  After lunch and a break at the hotel, we will visit other nearby areas, possibly including a location known as the “Old Butterfly Gardens” where a variety of hummingbirds, including the amazing Snowcap, feed on the flowering shrubs. And if arrangements can be made, we may visit with a local artist and guide who maintains a wonderful feeding area and often knows of the location of an owl or two on day roost in a nearby forest patch. Night: La Quinta Country Inn

Day 4, Tues, Nov 6 – Travel to Caño Negro. We’ll start on the grounds of La Quinta where a variety of species come to the fruit feeders and toucans, trogons and others can be seen on the grounds. Later we will depart for the wetlands and shore of Lake Caño Negro in the North Central sector of Costa Rica. Our comfortable lodge is located just off the lake and offers great birding on the grounds, as well as air-conditioned rooms – which are welcome after a day birding this tropical lowland region. After dinner we will offer an optional night bird drive as the night birding in the Caño Negro area is excellent, with several species of owls – Pacific Screech, Black-and-white and Striped – and two species of potoo – Great and Common – all possible.   Night: Natural Lodge Caño Negro.

Day 5, Wed, Nov 7 – Lake Caño Negro Boat Trips.  Boat trips in the tropics are exciting and relaxing and the boat trip on Lake Caño Negro is no exception. Birds are abundant and include a host of regional specialties. The Caño Negro area is the only regular site in Costa Rica for Lesser Yellow-headed Vulture and Black-collared Hawk. In addition to a variety of common waders, other highlights could include Sungrebe, Green Ibis, and the rather bizarre-looking Boat-billed Heron. And this year we’ve added a second night at Cano Negro, so we can explore the area at a more relaxed pace and we’ll be able to enjoy a second boat trip at the end of the day! Night: Natural Lodge Caño Negro.

Day 6, Thur, Nov 8 – Caño Negro to Arenal.  After early birding around the lodge and in the community of Caño Negro, we will transfer to La Fortuna in the comfortable mid-elevations of Costa Rica’s Caribbean slope. Here we will spend the next two nights outside of town at the Arenal Observatory Lodge, which features great birding on the grounds and great views of the active (but currently quiet!) Arenal Volcano. Night: Arenal Observatory Lodge.

Day 7, Fri, Nov 9 – Arenal Observatory Lodge. We will begin a full day exploration of the Arenal area birding from the lodge deck. Fruit is put out for the birds and it is one of the most impressive feeder displays anywhere! Red-legged and Green Honeycreepers, Golden-hooded Tanagers and Montezuma Oropendolas are all some of the regular visitors. After breakfast we will walk along the edge of the lodge gardens. Hummingbirds are abundant and may include Crowned Woodnymph, Violet-headed Hummingbird, and the amazing Black-crested Coquette. Later we will explore along lodge trails or along the edge of Lake Arenal. Toucans are well represented here with Collared Aracari and both Keel-billed and Yellow-throated Toucans present. This area also holds three species of motmots; Rufous, Broad-billed, and the rare Keel-billed. Two more crowd pleasers, Rufous-tailed Jacamar and Long-tailed Tyrant can often be seen along the road. The afternoon – after lunch and a short siesta – will be more of the same! Night: Arenal Observatory Lodge

Day 8, Sat, Nov 10 – Arenal Sky Walk. After some garden birding and breakfast we will make the short drive to the Arenal Sky Walk for a morning of forest birding. A trail system through the mid-elevation rainforest passes through steep ravines over which are suspended two hanging bridges. These give a unique opportunity to witness canopy species at eye level. Mixed flocks in this area can include an array of local species including Smoky-brown Woodpecker, Spotted Woodcreeper, and Bay-headed Tanagers. While on the trails we will look for skulkers such as Spotted Antbird and Nightingale Wren and any open area could produce White Hawk and/or Ornate Hawk-Eagle overhead! After lunch we will transfer to the Central Pacific lowlands where the large and noisy Scarlet Macaw is a main attraction. Night: Punta Leona Beach Resort.

Day 9, Sun, Nov 11 – Punta Leona Beach Resort grounds and Carara National Park.   Birding is excellent on the grounds of Punta Leona and we will begin right around our rooms watching for Ferruginous Pygmy-Owl, Turquoise-browed Motmot and Lineated Woodpecker. Trogons are well represented here with Baird’s, Slaty-tailed, Black-headed, Violaceous and Black-throated all possible. Just a short drive from our resort is Carara National Park. Along a well maintained rainforest trail we will watch for woodcreepers, antbirds, puffbirds and other interior rainforest species.  Afternoon activities will likely include relaxed birding along Guacimo Road. This is the southern limit of dry tropical forest in Costa Rica and will be our only chance to see species restricted to this habitat such as Cinnamon Hummingbird, Stripe-headed Sparrow, Yellow-naped Parrot, Long-tailed Manakin, Lesser Ground-Cuckoo and White-throated Magpie Jay. Night: Punta Leona Beach Resort

Day 10, Mon, Nov 12 – Mangrove Birding Boat Trip and transfer to Talari Lodge.  This morning we will enjoy a boat tour on the Tarcoles River. We will search for waders, the endemic Mangrove Hummingbird and raptors such as Yellow-headed Caracara and “Mangrove” Black Hawk. Following the boat trip we will transfer to the Talari Mountain Lodge at the foot of the Talamanca Mountains. Birding from the deck here is always exciting and we will keep on the lookout for such notables as Fiery-billed Aracari, Turquoise Cotinga and Speckled Tanager. Night: Talari Mountain Lodge

Day 11, Tue, Nov 13 – Talari to the Talamanca Highlands. This morning we will enjoy birding on the grounds of Talari and explore side roads for southern Costa Rica specialties such as Smooth-billed Ani, Pearl Kite and Fork-tailed Flycatcher. Then we will drive to 11,000 feet, where the bamboo dominated paramo is host to highland species such as Timberline Wren, Sooty Robin and Volcano Junco.  Then we will drop into the secluded Savegre Valley, watching for such species as Collared Redstart and Long-tailed Silky-Flycatcher. The setting of our lodge along the Savegre River could not be more picturesque. Hummingbird feeders typically have at least five species present including Lesser Violet-ear, White-throated Mountain-Gem and Talamanca Hummingbirds.  Night: Savegre Mountain Lodge

Day 12, Wed, Nov 14 – Savegre Mountain Lodge area. The Savegre area is excellent for the stunning Resplendent Quetzal. With patience we hope to enjoy views of one or more coming to favored trees to feed. The grounds and trails are also excellent for Slaty Flower-piercer, Black-faced Solitaire, Flame-throated Warbler and many other highland species. In the afternoon we’ll board the bus to drive up the valley access road to the cloud forest above the lodge. Here we will look for Collared Trogon, Emerald Toucanet, Golden-browed Chlorophonia and others. Night: Savegre Mountain Lodge

Day 13, Thur, Nov 15 – Savegre Valley, Paraiso Quetzal and return to San Jose. After early birding around the lodge, we will work our way back up to the Pan-American Highway. Lunch will be at Paraiso Quetzal, where the feeders provide views of the stunning Fiery-throated Hummingbird. The open highland forest will also provide a final opportunity to see other montane species, such as Black-and-yellow Silky-Flycatcher and Yellow-thighed Finch.  From here we will continue back to Hotel El Robledal, where we will enjoy a final checklist session and dinner together. Night: Hotel El Robledal.

Day 14, Fri, Nov 16 – Departure for Home. The hotel shuttle will provide airport transfers.


All of the hotels we stay at are comfortable with all the modern conveniences and provide warm, pura vida hospitality.

This trip starts and ends in San Jose, Costa Rica.

Click here for the 2017 Costa Rica Sightings Solipaso 

To book your trip or for more information, please contact us by email or call 888-383-0062.