Birdwatching Tour with Private Guide
13 Days and 12 Nights
Costa Rica offers the birder a combination of fantastic birdwatching and introduction to the joys of Neotropical birds, while at the same time staying at very comfortable lodges. You will be traveling with your own specialize guide during the 12 nights.
The scenery is stunning, and the birding even better!, we will visit Turrialba Rancho Naturalista one of the finest birdwatching lodges, San gerardo de Dota and the wet lands of the Tempisque River, visit the Arenal Volcano area, where during an average expedition we can sight different Tanagers, Toucans, Montezuma Oropendolas, Motmots, Trogons, Flycatchers, Square Cuckoos, Mosqueteros and more!
Arrive to San Jose. Private transfer to your Hotel Hotel Boungavillea.
Set among 10 acres of lush gardens, the unique and comfortable Hotel Bougainvillea is a place where guests can truly experience the world famous beauty of Costa Rica. Full of trees, flowers and bushes, the garden is particularly attractive to birds. Hummingbirds, Blue crowned Motmots, Palm Tanagers, Tropical Kingbirds, Boat-Billed Flycatchers among many others are frequently sighted in the backgrounds. The national bird, the yiguirro is one of the most common birds seen in the gardens. Another often sighted species in the Bougainvillea is the rufous-tail. The back gardens area behind the tennis court is the best place to find the blue-crowned motmot. Finally, a further variety of birds easily seen is the tropical kingbird.
Private transfer to Rancho Naturalista – Turrialba
The premier birding lodge in Costa Rica, Rancho Naturalista is one of the finest birdwatching lodges in Central America. Several species of hummingbirds, as well as many other birds, can be seen right from the spacious balcony where you also have a great view of the distant smoking Turrialba volcano. It’s a wonderful getaway for birders, photographers, and naturalists.
On the balcony at Rancho Naturalista the hummingbird feeders are renowned for attracting many species of hummingbirds. Some of the species possible are; Violet-crowned Woodnymph, White-necked Jacobin, Green Hermit, Green Thorntail, Violet Sabrewing, Bronze-tailed Plumeleteer and Green-crowned Brilliant. On the Verbena Hedges at Rancho Naturalista the Snowcap is a frequent visitor along with the Black-crested Coquette, the Violet-headed hummingbird and possibly the Garden Emerald.
Morning Birding with your Guide at Rancho Naturalista
The birding activity starts early in the morning at sunrise when the birds become active. Most mornings you will meet with other birders on the balcony for a quick cup of coffee or tea at dawn. Then it’s birding on the balcony to see what comes to the feeders, off to the insect light to see some of the insect feeding species like the Red-throated Ant Tanager, or birding around the lodge.
You will come back for a full breakfast at 7:00 am. After breakfast you will head out on the trails in the private forest reserve to look for mixed species flocks. Several different species can be seen foraging together in the canopy and understory of the forest.
Birdwatching in the rainforest can be challenging and will take some skill. You will probably spend all morning in the forest moving quietly along a trail to watch and listen for the birds. If you are looking for a certain species, you can talk to a guide who will be happy to give you advice on where to see it, or you can hire a guide to maximize your birding experience. Then it’s back to the lodge for a delicious and healthy lunch.
Some of the species possible are; Violet-crowned Woodnymph, White-necked Jacobin, Green Hermit, Green Thorntail, Violet Sabrewing, Bronze-tailed Plumeleteer and Green-crowned Brilliant. On the Verbena Hedges at Rancho Naturalista the Snowcap is a frequent visitor along with the Black-crested Coquette, the Violet-headed hummingbird and possibly the Garden Emerald.
Private transfer to Savegre Hotel Natural Reserve-San Gerardo de Dota
San Gerardo de Dota is a little known destination in the remote mountains south of Costa Rica’s capital city, San Jose. The village is set deep in a valley, but is surrounded by the towering Talamanca mountains. Among the quiet forests of San Gerardo de Dota live a variety of animals and a wide selection of birds, including the famous Resplendent Quetzal and dozens of hummingbird species.
Though San Gerardo de Dota is slowly becoming known for its superb bird watching, it remains home to just a handful of quaint eco-lodges and restaurants, making it the perfect escape.
In the 1970s a couple of botanists from Harvard University who were studying micro-orchids finalized their research in the San Gerardo de Dota area, locations that had been recently pioneered in (1954).
In their scientific publication the botanists included a note mentioning how incredibly abundant the Quetzal was in this valley. This comment triggered the visit of early birdwatchers who started coming to this area since the 70s to look for the elusive Resplendent Quetzal.
Aside from this magnificent bird, the presence of regional endemic species, which evolved in the highest mountains of Costa Rica and Western Panama, make this location a perfect destination for birdwatchers.
San Gerardo de Dota
We have all day to explore the surrounding forest, gardens and river trails all set in a pristine location in the heart of Resplendent Quetzal country.
The bird life here is spectacular and we will concentrate on finding the more localized species such as Black-and-Yellow Silky-Flycatcher, Black Guan, Flame-throated and Black-cheeked Warblers, Sooty-capped Bush-Tanager, Yellow-thighed Finch, Large-footed Finch, the mouse-like Silvery-fronted Tapaculo, Silvery-throated Jay, Spotted Wood-Quail, Buff-fronted Quail-Dove, Flame-colored Tanager, Ruddy-capped Nightingale-Thrush, Buffy Tuftedcheek, Ochraceous and Dark Pewees, as well as more widespread species such as Slaty Flowerpiercer, Golden-browed Chlorophonia, Black-capped, Tufted and Yellowish Flycatchers, Yellow-winged Vireo, Acorn Woodpecker and Rufous-browed Peppershrike.
We will also look for Costa Rican Pygmy-Owl and in the evening the Dusky Nightjars can often put on a good show.
The real prize bird of this area is the much sought-after and possibly most beautiful bird in the world, the Resplendent Quetzal. With Swallow-tailed Kites, White-throated Swifts, Sulphur-winged Parakeets, Mountain Elaenia, Ochraceous Wren, Yellow-bellied Siskin and Blue-hooded Euphonia this will certainly be a day to remember.
Private transfer to Villa Lapas-Carara.
Carara protects a total of 4,700 hectares of rainforest and river habitats, famous for having the largest population of Scarlet Macaws in Costa Rica; parrots well known for their distinguished plumage. It is of high interest for nature lovers as it protects the river basin of the Tárcoles River, primary and secondary forests as well as lakes and waterfalls which make Carara to the perfect habitat for birds, monkeys and giant crocodiles living in the Tárcoles. Its unique position in the transition zone between Amazonian and Mesoamerican habitats creates a distinguished flora and fauna unique to this place, making it perfect for a hike on its two major trails.
We travel down to the Pacific coast, where our ultimate destination will be Carara National Park. Scarlet Macaws are among the avian highlights of a visit to this area, though we should also observe other wildlife such as White-faced Capuchins, Central American Agoutis, American Crocodiles, Ctenosaurs, and Lineated Basilisks. Overnight at Hotel Villa Lapas.
Beside the Scarlet Macaw Parrots, some of the highlights you can spot are the Orange-collared Manakin, both the Gartered and Black-throated Trogon, the Pale-billed Woodpecker, and Bare-throated Tiger Heron. No doubt this is an experience you have to live for your own.
Guided Tour to Carara National Park.
This is one of the best places to see the spectacular Scarlet Macaws. You will go on a guided hike to Parque Nacional Carara. Your local naturalist guide will help you identify and spot the many birds that can be found here… The entire day will be devoted to exploring Carara and the surrounding areas. Apart from what we already mentioned, here in the warmth of the lowland tropics we’ll have our first encounters with members of several neotropical bird families such as puffbirds, antbirds, and manakins. Also, a number of species endemic to the southern Pacific half of Costa Rica and adjacent western Panama reach their northern limit here, including Costa Rican Swift, Baird’s Trogon, Fiery-billed Araçari, Riverside Wren, and Spot-crowned Euphonia.
Remember to pay attention to everything, maybe you can spot a new bird species and give it a nice name.
Private bus transfer to Rancho Humo Lodge in Tempisque, Guanacaste.
The eco-boutique hotel at Rancho Humo rests in a privileged setting bordering the Palo Verde National Park in the important wetlands and mangroves of the expansive Tempisque River delta in Guanacaste, Costa Rica.RanchoHumo is an authentic, traditional Guanacaste estate ranch – known as an “Estancia” in Latin America – spread over 1,100 hectares (2,718 acres) in a private reserve that safeguards these endangered tropical ecosystems. Surrounded by internationally protected wetlands, Rancho Humo Estancia offers you pure enjoyment of nature, outstanding bird-watching, and adventure at its best.
Rancho Humo was transformed from a cattle farm into an international example of wetland rescue where you can experience numerous ecosystems: mangrove, wetlands, dry tropical rainforest, pastures, a large variety of flora and fauna including herons, black crowned night herons, hawks, ducks, roseate spoonbills, wood storks, and the largest and most exotic aquatic bird in Costa Rica: The Jabirú.
Guided Boat tour at Rancho Humo.
Boat Tour A fascinating 90 minutes boat tour on the mighty Tempisque River taking us along the edges of Rancho Humo’s private reserve and the Palo Verde National Park, where some of the most important wetlands in Costa Rica and the world are located, according to the Ramsar Convention. We will navigate around three different islands, including Isla Pájaros (Bird Island) which is a renowned sanctuary for native and migratory birds, and is one of the marvels of Costa Rica. Formed from river sediments with mangrove trees, Bird Island is approximately 2.5 hectares (6 acres) in size.
Hundreds of aquatic birds flying around and feeding from the richness of these lands. Keep eyes open to spot Roseatte Spoonbills, Wood Storks, Tiger Herons, Anhingas, Neotropical Cormorants, Northern Jacanas, the Jabiru (largest aquatic bird in America and in the verge of extinction
Private transfer to Arenal Observatory Lodge-Arenal.
Arenal Observatory Lodge is a comfortable lodge with a spectaular setting at the edge of the rainforest and right in front (but at safe distance from ) the active Arenal Volcano. The beautiful gardens of the lodge, fruit feeders and forest edge attract some easy to see birds like Crimson-collared Tanager, Passerini’s Tanager, Golden-hooded Tanager and Crested Guan. Besides that the many verbena flowers in the garden attract many Hummingbirds including the spectacular Black-crested Coquette.
Birdwatching Guided tour at Arenal Observatory Lodge.
Nestled in the heart of the Arenal Volcano National Park, Arenal Observatory Lodge & Spa is a gateway to experiencing the birdlife of Costa Rica and the Arenal & La Fortuna Birding Hotspot. Half of the birds of Costa Rica, more than 500 species have been recorded in our forests, such as the lovely cotinga, black-crested coquette, yellow-eared toucanet, bare-necked umbrellabird, emerald tanager, great curassow, thicket antpitta, ornate hawk-eagle and the fasciated tiger-heron. Arenal Observatory Lodge & Spa is one of the best locations for birdwatching in Costa Rica and a proud member of Costa Rica’s Birding Hotspots Project.
The possibilities range from the turkey-sized Crested Guan to the diminutive Black-crested Coquette, and include 26 species of hummingbirds, 29 species of flycatchers, and 19 species of tanagers.
Private transfer to Xandari Alajuela.
Art and architecture are highlights of the Xandari experience in Costa Rica. 24 spacious villas nestled on a 40-acre plantation are surrounded by lush gardens, with terraces facing spectacular views of Costa Rica’s majestic Central Valley day and night. Each is a unique design, with tropical colors and contemporary design.
A private forest reserve with rivers, five natural waterfalls, and 2.5 miles of trails offers excellent hiking, birding, and communion with nature. Three pools, each with a unique view of coffee plantations, provide added incentive for a morning swim. Or, start your day in our Yoga studio and save your swim for later at our sunset pool. Wide range of natural treatments are offered in private jalapas at the Spa Village, each featuring a hot-tub overlooking forest and valley at 3,900 ft.
At Xandari, sustainability underlines our every effort. Guests are invited to plant native trees during their stay at Xandari. We research which trees, bushes and flowers especially attract, feed and provide shelter to the various types of birds and butterflies that inhabit Costa Rica and are constantly adding new varieties to our botanical gardens. Listen to the songbirds as you walk through the orchards or take any of the guided tours to the farms, orchid garden and greenhouse.
An experience that is a perfect testimonial to Nature’s inherent ways, a community’s bond with the earth, and the promises of a responsible way of seeing the world – that is Xandari.
After an amazing time of absolute highlights in our beautiful Costa Rica, it is time to return home. Share your stories and photos with family and friends, make sure to recommend us and make plans to come visit again soon!
Private Transfer to International Airport
Rate per person from: US $3,552.00
Interested in this package? If you inquire we will send you a detailed proposal with a 100% accurate price. The rate listed here is per person, based on our low season rates, with double occupation, transportation, tours, meals, taxes, and service fees included as described, unless otherwise indicated. Not included in the price are travel insurance, personal expenses and international airfare. Remember that all our packages are customizable at no extra cost.
- All services indicated in the above itinerary.
- Personalized information, map of Costa Rica and vouchers list.
- Local Travel Program Support, 24 hours emergency service.
- Airport transfers upon arrival and departure.
- 12 Nights lodging at hotels indicated in the above itinerary. Breakfast and local taxes.
- Private Guide and Transportation during the 13 days.
- Carara National Park Includes Biligual guide, transport and entrance fee.
- Rancho Humo Boat Tour Includes Bilingual Guide.
- National Park Entrance fees.
- Airport taxes (US$ 29.00 per person not included)
Our Hotel Selection
San José – Heredia
Garden View Room
San Gerardo de Dota
Villa Lapas Hotel
Arenal Observatory Lodge
San José – Alajuela
Xandari Resort & Spa
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