Costa Rica | Introduction to Neotropical Birding

Costa Rica | Introduction to Neotropical Birding

About this trip 

If you’ve always wanted to go birding in Costa Rica— or never taken a birding trip abroad at all —this program is a great introduction to the neotropical birds of Central America. You’ll spend time in the Caribbean lowlands and the mountainous southern highlands, seeking out species typical of the differing elevations and habitats. Our local birding guides are experts at identification by both sight and sound, and they’ll help ensure your group spots as many of the country’s 900-plus species as possible. Combine that with its accessibility and friendly people, and Costa Rica is a perfect destination for beginners and more advanced birders alike. Plus, you’ll discover wildlife like frogs, monkeys, bats, and sloths.

Highlights

  • Take guided hikes in the private, 500-acre rainforest reserve at Selva Verde Lodge, which provides habitat to more than 350 bird species, including the endangered Great Green Macaw.
  • Ascend the 328-foot suspended walkway at Tirimbina Biological Reserve for the chance to see species that spend their time high within the forest canopy layer.
  • Visit Nectar & Pollen Reserve, a private reserve adjacent to Braulio Carrillo National Park, where some interesting possibilities include the Snowcap, Long-tailed Tyrant, Cinnamon Woodpecker, and White Hawk.
  • Search for the Resplendent Quetzal, Slaty Flowerpiercer, Ruddy Treerunner, and other high-elevation species in the cloud forests of the Talamanca Mountains.
PLEASE NOTE: As safety and security are our highest priority, we have adopted extensive protocols to address COVID-19. Our field leaders are vaccinated and we require our travelers to be vaccinated. We follow strict field hygiene practices which are outlined on our website. If required, we arrange for Covid testing at the end of your program.

Reserve Risk-free - Registrations made for travel departing between now and December 31, 2022 are fully refundable with no cancellation penalties until the final payment deadline (95 days before departure). We strongly recommend purchasing travel protection.

Meet your leader

Chris Eberly

Chris Eberly attended to grad school to study GIS. While there, he discovered birds and never looked back. He served as president of the local Audubon chapter while in grad school and is currently president of the Anne Arundel Bird Club in Maryland. He was the first person to manage the bird conservation program for the Department of Defense and did that for 17 years. Chris then served as Executive Director of the Gulf Coast Bird Observatory, and has been Executive Director of the Maryland Bird Conservation Partnership since 2016. His passion for birds has taken him to Cuba, Puerto Rico, Mexico, Belize, Guatemala, Panama, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Colombia, and 49 of the U.S. states (missing ND). He loves connecting people with nature through birds and advancing conservation for birds throughout their breeding, migration, and nonbreeding cycles.

San José

Dec 11, 2022

Arrive individually in San José and travel to the hotel. Check-in is available beginning at 3 p.m.

Overnight at Hotel Bougainvillea

Sarapiqui

Dec 12, 2022

This morning, meet for breakfast and an orientation in the hotel restaurant, followed by an introduction to tropical birding from a local expert. Check out of the hotel and travel by bus to La Paz Waterfall Gardens, where you will have lunch and then visit the hummingbird gardens and butterfly farm. Continue on, stopping en route at a café in Cinchona known for its many hummingbird feeders. This afternoon, arrive to Selva Verde Lodge & Rainforest Reserve and take a hike in the reserve with your guide. Selva Verde's reserve protects 500 acres of rainforest, and the lodge offers many covered walks, birding trails, and lookout points, with opportunities to see species such as the Keel billed Toucan, Great Green Macaw, White winged Becard, Sunbittern, Acadian Flycatcher, and Wood Thrush. Boots are available for use if the trails are muddy. Take an optional walk this evening to discover nocturnal frogs and insects. Elevation change: From 3,000 feet above sea level in San José to approximately 225 feet in Sarapiquí, with the highest point visited today at 6,200 feet at La Paz Waterfall Gardens.

Breakfast-Lunch-Dinner included
Overnight at Selva Verde Lodge

Sarapiqui

Dec 13, 2022

Early morning birding before breakfast. Then set out to explore the reserve again on a different trail. The Selva Verde Reserve is home to one of the largest almond trees in all of Central America, which provides habitat for the endangered Great Green Macaw. Return in time for lunch, then later this afternoon visit Tirimbina Biological Reserve for a guided hike. The trails at Tirimbina are designed to approach areas of high interest for viewing highlights of rainforest wildlife and biodiversity. As a greater proportion of life in the rainforest thrives in the forest canopy, Tirimbina visitors can experience the richness of treetop flora and fauna from a 328-foot suspended canopy walkway spanning one of the many stream valleys in the reserve. After dinner at Tirimbina, enjoy an informative talk on the lives of bats.

Breakfast-Lunch-Dinner included
Overnight at Selva Verde Lodge

Sarapiqui

Dec 14, 2022

This morning depart early for the Organization for Tropical Studies La Selva Biological Station. Established in 1968, La Selva is world-renowned for scientific research on rainforest ecosystems. Be on the lookout for the Ornate Hawk-Eagle, Crested Guan, Great Tinamou, Pied Puffbird and Spectacled Owl as possible sightings. Return to the lodge for lunch. Your afternoon is free to participate in optional activities such as a Sarapiquí River boat ride, whitewater rafting or horseback riding (arranged at reception after your arrival and paid onsite), spending time by the pool, or looking for avian visitors in Selva Verde’s botanical garden area. Later this afternoon, enjoy a guided birdwatching hike or take in the river views from the patio overlooking the Sarapiquí River.

Breakfast-Lunch-Dinner included
Overnight at Selva Verde Lodge

San Gerardo de Dota

Dec 15, 2022

Early this morning, check out of the lodge and depart for San Gerardo de Dota. En route, stop at Nectar and Pollen Reserve where some interesting possibilities are the Snowcap, Long-tailed Tyrant, Cinnamon Woodpecker, White Hawk and others. Have lunch en route, and then check in at Savegre. Located in San Gerardo de Dota, a small community in the Talamanca Mountains, Savegre sits at an elevation of 7,220 feet. The forest surrounding the hotel is home to massive oaks, colorful plants and an incredible variety of animal life: birds, insects, mammals, and amphibians alike. The pristine valley is a paradise for birdwatchers, with more than 170 species of birds. The crown jewel is the magnificent Resplendent Quetzal, which lives in the region year round. After settling in at the lodge, spend some time walking around the extensive gardens where you may find resident Talamanca Hummingbird, Lesser Violetear, White-throated Mountain-gem, Volcano Hummingbird, and the tiny Scintillant Hummingbird. Fiery-throated Hummingbird and Violet Sabrewing are seasonally present, and even Flame-colored Tanager and Slaty Flowerpiercer come in for up-close views, offering excellent photo opportunities.

Breakfast-Lunch-Dinner included
Overnight at Savegre Hotel Natural Reserve & Spa

San Gerardo de Dota

Dec 16, 2022

Spend the morning exploring the upper trails at Savegre in search of Resplendent Quetzal and some of the other species present here. Take 4x4 vehicles about one mile uphill to the beginning of the trail. The large centennial oaks of the forest are laden with lichens and mosses that contrast with the colorful bromeliads, adding to the striking atmosphere of this forest. Explore the trails in search of such specialties as Spotted Wood-Quail, Long-tailed Silky Flycatcher, Costa Rican Pygmy-Owl, Resplendent Quetzal, Collared Trogon, Buffy Tuftedcheek, Ruddy Treerunner, Ochraceous Pewee, Barred Becard, Wrenthrush, and Golden-browed Chlorophonia, just to name a few. After lunch, journey to Cerro Buena Vista in Los Quetzales National Park to look for Volcano Junco, among other high elevation (10,400 ft) species. Dinner at the lodge this evening.

Breakfast-Lunch-Dinner included
Overnight at Savegre Hotel Natural Reserve & Spa

Farewell!

Dec 17, 2022

Transfer to the airport in time to catch your afternoon flight home. Please schedule flights after 2 pm.

Breakfast- included