Dates and Costs

November 4-16, 2017
$3975 per person ($825 single supplement)

November 3-16, 2018
$4450 per person ($825 single supplement)


About This Trip

As we looked around for locations to expand our trip offerings, Costa Rica stood out from the beginning as an obvious location for us to include! A very small country with over 800 species of birds that may be a bit light on the endemics but offers incredible abundance of birds and incredible locations to see them in!

After our first night in San Jose, we leave via the Pan-American Highway to a cool forested climate surrounded by giant oaks. Our first stop is at Paraiso Quetzal, where the feeders provide unbeatable views of the stunning Fiery-throated Hummingbird. The open highland forest here also provides opportunities to see other montane species, including Sooty Robin and Black-and-yellow Silky-Flycatcher. We will spend a couple of nights in the 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 Green Violet-ear, Gray-tailed Mountain-Gem and Magnificent and Volcano Hummingbirds. Other highland specialties we hope to see here include Resplendent Quetzal, Costa Rican Pygmy-Owl, Collared Trogon, Emerald Toucanet, Silvery-throated Jay, Torrent Tyrannulet, Yellowish Flycatcher, Black-faced Solitaire and many others.

From Savegre, we will cross over the Talamanca Mountains and drive into the Paramo region above tree line. Highland species should include Large-footed Finch, Black-billed Nightingale-Thrush, Sooty Robin and Volcano Junco. From here we will descend towards the town of San Isidro, with a stop for lunch and birding, where hummingbird and banana feeders provide an excellent opportunity to see Green-crowned Brilliant, White-tailed Emerald, Red-headed Barbet, Speckled, Silver-throated, Flame-colored, and Cherrie’s Tanagers. Tonight we will stay at the foot of the Talamancas and birding the grounds of the hotel in late afternoon and early morning is always great with such birds as Fiery-billed Aracari, Long-billed Starthroat, Chestnut-collared Swift and Turquoise Cotinga possible.

We head on to the Pacific and Punta Leona, stopping along the way to look for Smooth-billed Ani, Pearl Kite and Fork-tailed Flycatcher, before heading to the Central Pacific lowlands where the large and noisy Scarlet Macaw is one of the main target birds.  Other birds at Punta Leona include Blue-crowned Motmot, Lineated Woodpecker, Fiery-billed Aracari and Chestnut-mandibled Toucans. Trogons are well represented with Baird’s, Slaty-tailed, Black-headed, Violaceous and Black-throated all possible!  While at Punta Leona we will visit Carara National Park. Along the trail we will watch for raptors, Mealy and Red-lored Parrots, a variety of woodcreepers and antbirds, the dazzling Orange-collared Manakin, Northern Royal Flycatcher, Great Tinamou, Streak-chested Antpitta, Black-faced Antthrush, and Orange-billed Sparrow. A stop within the forest at a regular bird bathing site along a creek usually produces fantastic views of Red-capped and Blue-crowned Manakins.

Then we head to La Fortuna in the comfortable mid-elevations of Costa Rica’s Caribbean slope. Here we will spend the next two nights at the base of the active Arenal Volcano! Hummingbirds are abundant and may include Stripe-throated Hermit, Violet-crowned Woodnymph, Brown Violet-ear, Violet-headed Hummingbird, and the amazing Black-crested Coquette. This area also holds three species of motmots – Rufous, Broad-billed, and the rare Keel-billed.

From Arenal, we will head to the Hanging Bridges and on to Caño Negro Region. Some of the local species could include White-fronted Nunbird, White-throated Shrike-Tanager, Spotted Woodcreeper, White-shouldered, Bay-headed, and Speckled Tanagers.  From Hanging Bridges we will depart for the wetlands and shore of Lake Caño Negro in the North Central sector of Costa Rica. We’ll enjoy an excellent boat trip on Lake Caño Negro, the only regular site in Costa Rica for Lesser Yellow-headed Vulture, Black-collared Hawk, and the restricted ranged Nicaraguan Grackle. Later we will continue to Sarapiqui region and La Selva. The entrance road and open areas around the station facilities are alive with birds in the early morning hours. Toucans, parrots, woodpeckers, and antshikes will all be evident, along with oropendolas, caciques, and tanagers. 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 we may even see a roosting Great Potoo or Crested Owl, Little Tinamou, Great Antshrike or Yellow-billed Cacique

The last day of birding will include a visit to the La Paz Waterfall Gardens Here we will enjoy lunch, spectacular waterfall views and some great birds. The hummingbird gardens and feeders are a primary attraction here and we will hope for close views of several species including the endemic Coppery-headed Emerald, Green Thorntail, White-bellied Mountain-Gem, Green Hermit and hopefully the handsome Black-bellied Hummingbird. This itinerary is a great introduction to the wonderful birds and habitats of Costa Rica at a relaxed pace!


In San Jose, we stay at the very nice, conveniently located Hotel Robledal.  In the Savegre Valley, we stay at the well-appointed Savegre Mountain Lodge with great habitat all around.  The family run Talari Mountain Lodge is a bit more rustic but is very comfortable and is also surrounded by great habitat. We spend two nights at fairly large Punta Leona Beach Resort, close to some of the best birding areas in the country. The beautiful Arenal Observatory Lodge has an unrivaled setting with views of the volcano and great birding trails all around. The Natural Lodge Cano Negro is on the simple side but comfortable (and air conditioned!). Hotel La Quinta is a very nice place and close to the La Selva Biological Station. Back in San Jose, we stay at the comfortable and conveniently located (to the airport) Trapp Family Country Inn. All of the places we stay provide warm, pura vida hospitality.

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

Solipaso Costa Rica Sightings from November 2015 trip!

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