Costa Rica Birding Expedition

Costa Rica Birding Expedition

About this trip

Join IndiGo Birding on this exciting, 9-day Costa Rica adventure and add a variety of neotropical species to your life list! Accompanied by David Rupp and your local birding guide, you’ll spend time in the Caribbean lowlands as well as tropical montane cloud forest, seeking out avifauna typical of the differing elevations and habitats. During guided hikes, boat rides, and a hanging bridge canopy tour, look for sought-after residents and migrant species and experience the breadth and depth of the country's diverse natural beauty. Plus, discover wildlife like frogs, monkeys, bats, and sloths, and learn about Costa Rica’s rich history and culture.

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.
  • Bird the trails of the world-renowned La Selva Biological Station, where more than half of Costa Rica’s species have been recorded.
  • Enjoy close-up views of the forest canopy and its resident avifauna from a network of trails and suspended bridges near the picturesque Arenal Volcano.
  • Seek out the Three-wattled Bellbird, known for its distinctive call, in the cloud forests of Monteverde.
  • Learn about the importance of sustainable agriculture during visits to a cacao plantation and a coffee farm.

Meet your leader

David Rupp

David Rupp founded IndiGo Birding Nature Tours in 2013 after years spent in environmental education and bird conservation. He loves sharing the joy that comes from immersing oneself in the natural world. Because of that, most IndiGo Birding tours are focused on the collective experience that can be had when working together to find birds and observe their behavior. After 10 international trips to Belize, David is excited to partner with Holbrook Travel for this first IndiGo tour of Costa Rica. As always, David is here to provide personal attention and friendly advice before, during, and after the tour. Please join in the fun!

San Jose

Apr 20, 2024

Upon arrival in San José, transfer to Hotel Bougainvillea, located on 10 acres of botanical gardens overlooking the city. The gardens feature over 600 species of plants, including 22 types of bromeliads, and they are a great place to see hummingbirds, motmots, tanagers and more. This evening, join the group for a welcome dinner.

Dinner included
Overnight at Hotel Bougainvillea

Sarapiqui

Apr 21, 2024

This morning, meet for breakfast and an orientation in the hotel restaurant. Check out and head toward Sarapiquí and Selva Verde Lodge. En route, stop at a café in Cinchona known for its many hummingbird feeders. Upon arrival at Selva Verde Lodge & Rainforest Reserve, check in and have lunch. This afternoon, take a guided hike in Selva Verde's reserve. The 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.

Breakfast-Lunch-Dinner included
Overnight at Selva Verde Lodge

Sarapiqui

Apr 22, 2024

Begin the day with early morning birding. After breakfast, set out to explore the reserve again on a different trail. Selva Verde's reserve is home to one of the largest almond trees in all of Central America, which provides habitat for the endangered Great Green Macaw. In the afternoon, visit Best Chocolate to learn about the history of cacao and how it is processed from fruit to the final product. This is an authentic experience that also helps support a family-owned sustainable tourism initiative in the community.

Breakfast-Lunch-Dinner included
Overnight at Selva Verde Lodge

Arenal

Apr 23, 2024

Depart early this morning 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 Snowy Cotinga, Rufous Motmot, Crested Guan, Great Tinamou, Pied Puffbird, and Spectacled Owl as possible sightings. After lunch, continue to Arenal and Arenal Observatory Lodge. Arenal Observatory is the only eco-lodge situated between Lake Arenal and the massive Arenal stratovolcano, and the only hotel within the boundaries of Arenal National Park. Set on a ridge amid towering pine trees on the south side of the volcano, the lodge offers seven miles of well-maintained trails on more than 800 acres. Elevations range from 1,650 to 2,950 feet. It is a birder's paradise, with more than 400 species being recorded here. Some of the more spectacular local residents include the Three-wattled Bellbird, Fasciated Tiger-Heron, Laughing Falcon, Red-lored Parrot, Great Curassow, Northern Jacana, Steely-vented Hummingbird, and Keel-billed Toucan. There is also plenty of other wildlife in the area, including three species of monkeys. You'll have time after arrival for birding at local feeders and on the trails.

Breakfast-Lunch-Dinner included
Overnight at Arenal Observatory

Arenal

Apr 24, 2024

Begin early with birding on the lodge trails. After breakfast, visit Arenal Hanging Bridges. The site consists of 15 bridges ranging from 16 to 330 feet long, offering a unique view of the forest canopy from below and above. Six of the 15 bridges are suspended in the upper canopy of this mature forest trail system. The elevation is approximately 1,900 feet. The trail system straddles different types of ecosystems, forming a transitional vegetation strip with high biodiversity where both highland and lowland species occur. After lunch in La Fortuna town, bird at Bogarin Trails for an opportunity to see White-throated and Uniform Crakes but also plenty of Montezuma Oropendola, Buff-throated Saltator, Red-legged Honeycreeper, Crimson-collared and Scarlet-rumped Tanagers, Orange-chinned Parakeet, and more. This evening, visit a local hot spring for dinner and to relax in different temperature thermal waters which are derived from the Arenal Volcano.

Breakfast-Lunch-Dinner included
Overnight at Arenal Observatory

Monteverde

Apr 25, 2024

After one last bird walk around Arenal Observatory, depart for Monteverde. The journey starts with a boat ride across Lake Arenal to Tilarán. After crossing the lake, continue the last two hours up the mountain by bus. Upon arrival, check in at Montaña Monteverde Hotel. The hotel is located adjacent to a 37-acre private forest. On a clear day, you can see Nicoya Peninsula. After checking in and enjoying lunch, visit Santa Elena Cloud Forest Reserve for a guided hike. The reserve is managed by the local public high school's Board of Directors. The 765-acre reserve, founded in 1992, is located along the Caribbean slope, which offers a large variety of flora and fauna.

Breakfast-Lunch-Dinner included
Overnight at Montana Monteverde

Monteverde

Apr 26, 2024

After breakfast, visit the Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve. Established in 1972 by the Tropical Science Center and Quakers from the local community, the reserve protects 10,193 acres of cloud forest and encompasses eight life zones. It is estimated that about 50 percent of Costa Rica's biodiversity can be found within the reserve. Monteverde's consistently cool and wet environment receives more than three meters of rain annually and is home to an astounding variety of flora and fauna. Over 2,500 plant species alone have been identified, including 300 individual orchid species and more than 200 species of ferns. Next, visit the Bat Jungle. The site features more than 90 bats, representing 8 different species, housed in a recreated nighttime cloud forest environment. Glass windows give visitors the rare opportunity to look inside the forest enclosure and observe bats feeding, flying, and socializing. Special microphones capture the high-pitched bat vocalizations and broadcast them through speakers in the bat viewing area. Designed by a bat biologist, there are many exhibits teaching the importance of bat conservation.

Breakfast-Lunch-Dinner included
Overnight at Montana Monteverde

San Jose

Apr 27, 2024

Before breakfast this morning, enjoy a bird walk around the hotel. After breakfast, depart for San José with a stop en route at Cafe Monteverde for a coffee plantation tour. The tour covers every state of coffee farming and processing, from seed to cup. There is also a coffee shop for those who would like to take some delicious Costa Rican coffee home. Lunch is en route today. Upon arrival into San José later in the afternoon, check in at the Wyndham Herradura. Gather this evening for a farewell dinner.

Breakfast-Lunch-Dinner included
Overnight at Wyndham Herradura

Departures

Apr 28, 2024

Transfer to the airport for flights home.

Breakfast- included