Tour Dates: Thursday 27th February – Thursday 12th March 2020 (San Jose to San Jose)
Tour Price: £3,995pp plus flight
Estimated Flight Price: London to Juan Santa Maria approx. £600 return
Deposit: £600 per person
Conservation Donation from Wise Birding: £240 – £300
Minimum Number: 6 people
Maximum Group Size: 8 people
Birds: Resplendent Quetzal, Blue-crowned Motmot, Prevost’s Ground Sparrow, Long-tailed Silky Flycatcher and Fiery-throated Hummingbird, Sooty Robin, Black-thighed Grosbeak, Spectacled Owl, Fiery-billed Aracari, Coppery-headed Emerald Hummingbird as well as numerous other Hummingbirds and so the list goes on!
Mammals: Howler Monkey, Spider Monkey, White-faced Capuchin, Agouti, Tree Porcupine, Brown-throated Three-toed Sloth and Hoffman’s Two-toed Sloth
Other: Incredible diversity of Tree Frogs and amazing insects too!
Costa Rica is well known for its stunning scenery dominated by spectacular mountains and active volcanoes rising to over 3,500m which divide the country into separate ecological zones, making it one of the most biologically diverse countries in the world and therefore a must visit destination!
If you are a birder or wildlife enthusiast, then you will not be disappointed with Costa Rica! A list of over 850 species of bird have been recorded in this wonderful country and it is smaller than England! Around 600 of these are permanent residents and we would hope to see over 400 species on this tour.
Of course the birds are just part of this incredibly wildlife rich country and we will certainly see numerous mammals, tree frogs, Iguanas, Caimans and a mind blowing mix of stunning butterflies, moths and other insects.
ACCOMMODATION: 14 nights in Costa Rica
Good quality hotels and lodges throughout the tour
1 night San Jose, 2 nights La Selva, 3 nights Rancho Naturalista, 2 nights Los Quetzales Highlands, 3 nights Uvita Pacific Lowlands, and 3 nights Tarcoles at comfortable guest house
Inclusive Meals: Full board
DAY 1: Arrival at San Jose
After arriving at Juan Santa Maria International airport we take a very short transfer to our hotel north of the city. Here the beautiful garden will keep us busy with numerous birds and a relaxed start to the tour. Overnight Hotel Bougainvillea
DAY 2: Bougainvillea – La Selva
We will take the Vara Blanca Route with a stop at Cinchona and also La Virgen del Socorro for Red- headed Barbets and the rare endemic Coppery-headed Emerald, Green Thorntail, Emerald Toucanet, White Hawk and a number of migrant warblers. We will arrive at La Selva by mid afternoon.
Overnight La Selva Biological Station
DAY 3: Full day La Selva field station
Wildlife diversity at La Selva reserve is pretty exceptional with over 400 species of birds having been recorded as well as a number of great mammals. It is not unusual to spend a whole morning birding in a very small area without having walked very far as there is just so much to see!
Bird species that we hope to see are simply too numerous, but examples of species that we will be looking for include, Great Potoo, Crested Owl, Band-tailed Barb-throat, Crowned Woodnymph, Black-throated Trogon, Keel-billed Toucan, Snowy Cotinga, Red-capped Manakin, Montezuma Oropendola and Crimson-collared Tanager are just some of the impressive species that we should find. Mammals we will look for may include Spider Monkeys, White-faced Capuchins, as well as Tree Porcupine and two species of Sloth. Overnight La Selva Biological Station
DAY 4: La Selva – Rancho Naturalista
Stopping en Route at Copes feeding Station we hope to find the impressive Black-and-white Owl and Spectacled Owl at day roost as well as other lowland specialities. We should arrive at Rancho Naturalista in time for Lunch where we can explore the excellent lodge grounds and trails and enjoy the Hummingbird feeders where we will be looking for the superb Snowcap, various Coquettes and Tawny-chested Flycatcher. Overnight Rancho Naturalista
DAY 5: Full day Birding at Rancho Naturalista
A full day birding the trails will no doubt boost our bird list with some excellent species that occur here. Specialities of the area include Purplish-backed Quail-Dove, White-crowned Manakin, Dull-mantled Antbird, Grey-headed Piprites, Tawny-throated Leaf-Tosser and Thicket Antpitta! Overnight Rancho Naturalista
DAY 6: Rio Tuis
Another full day exploring the Rancho Naturalista area with excursions to Rio Tuis to see Sunbittern, a visit to CATIE Lagoon and La Angostura at Casa Turire. Overnight Rancho Naturalista
DAY 7: Rancho Naturalista – Paraiso Quetzal
This morning we depart Rancho Naturalista in the morning and make a stop at the Orosi Valley. We will then have lunch at Casa Tangara Dowii where we can try for Buff-fronted Quail-Dove and the elusive Buffy-crowned Wood-Partridge. Overnight Paraiso Quetzal
DAY 8: Full day exploring Paraiso Quetzal area
Before breakfast we will head out to see what is probably Costa Rica’s most iconic bird, the fabulous Resplendent Quetzal! Later in the morning we will explore the trails and gardens of the lodge for hummers and numerous other species. Lunch will be at Miriam’s Restaurant where we are sure to see many different species compared to Paraiso. We then explore the Providencia Route to Los Quetzales National Park where we will search in particular for Black-capped Flycatcher, Costa Rican Pygmy Owl and Silvery-throated Jays. Overnight Paraiso Quetzal
DAY 9: Paraiso Quetzal – Cristal Ballena
This morning we head off again on our journey, this time stopping at a well known viewpoint for Volcano Junco and Timberline Wren. We then continue to the Bosque del Tolomuco feeding stations where we should find Speckled Tanagers, Snowy Bellied Hummingbird, White-crested Coquette and with luck, Spangle-cheeked Tanagers too! We will have lunch en route and by late afternoon we should arrive at Cristal Ballena where we will head out after dinner for some Owling! Overnight Cristal Ballena
DAY 10: Cristal Ballena – Sierpe River
The grounds of Cristal Ballena will certainly keep us busy during the morning and then we will take an excursion to the Sierpe River where birds will appear thick and fast! Species may include Common Potoo, Mangrove Hummingbird, day roosting Crested Owl, Fiery-billed Aracari, Black-mandibled Toucan and with luck, Agami Heron.
The afternoon will be free to explore the gardens or for those that want more birding on the trails we will search for Black-hooded Antshrike, Riverside Wren, Long-billed Starthroat and Baird’s Trogon. Overnight Cristal Ballena
DAY 11: Cristal Ballena – Rincon River
This morning we will take an early morning river trip on the Rincon River where we hope to find the Yellow-billed Cotinga amongst many other new species. After lunch we will visit Las Esquinas Lodge where we will search for Great Curassow and the endemic Black-cheeked Ant-Tanager. Overnight Cristal Ballena
DAY 12: Cristal Ballena – Macaw Lodge
We move on this morning and visit the Oro Verde Reserve where we will be looking for Streak-chested Antpitta, Curassows, Guans and Manakins.
A stop en Route at the mouth of the Barú River will no doubt reveal numerous waders and we will have lunch en route before arriving at the wonderful Macaw Lodge. Here, we will explore the gardens for the rest of the day. Overnight Macaw Lodge
DAY 13: Full day birding at Macaw Lodge
The speciality of Macaw Lodge, as the name suggests, are the impressive numbers of Macaws and in particular, the beautiful Scarlet Macaws!
We will also visit a waterfall and explore the forest for a Manakin fest! We hope to see Orange-collared-Manakin, Red-capped Manakin and Blue-crowned Manakin as well as Tinamous and much more! Overnight Macaw Lodge
DAY 14: Carara National Park
After breakfast we will explore the Carara NP and enjoy lunch at the Eco Jungle where we will take another boat trip on the Tarcoles River Overnight Macaw Lodge
DAY 15: Macaw Lodge – San Jose
Dependent on flight times, we should have time for some last birding in the lodge grounds before heading to San Jose. We will take lunch en route and then transfer to Jose and Juan Santa Maria airport where the tour concludes.
Please note this is a flexible itinerary which may need to be adjusted slightly dependent on arrival / departure times, weather conditions and the most recent information from our local guides
Leaders: Stu Elsom and local bird guide
Included in cost: Accommodation in twin en-suite rooms, all meals, bottled water, tea & coffee, all entrance fees and services of the leaders
Not included in cost: International airfare, travel insurance, drinks other than those above and any airport/visa fees
Single Supplement: £499
Transport: A/C Minibus
Difficulty: Easy – Moderate
The walking throughout the tour is moderately strenuous with leisurely walks on open trails and some uphill trails. Walks of up to 5 – 6Km on some days, but at a slow relaxed birding pace.
Climate: March through April is the hottest weather of the year on the Pacific side of Costa Rica. Temperatures between 25 – 35 degrees celsius
Tour Start Point: Juan Santa Maria airport, Costa Rica
Tour End Point: Juan Santa Maria airport, Costa Rica
Suggested Airlines: British Airways