San José - Sarapiquí - Caño Negro - Bajos del Toro - Carara - Alajuela

Selfdrive Birdwatching Tour

11 Days and 10 Nights

Do you call yourself a birder, a bird watching enthusiast, a nature and bird photographer, or just curiosity seeker hoping to see the resplendent Quetzal on a cloud forest hiking trail? Do you do your bird watching alone, with friends, like to take a tour, or just keep your eyes and ears open while you enjoy nature, looking for monkeys or other wildlife?

In Costa Rica, it really doesn’t matter how you do your birding, because if you want to see and photograph birds, you are in one of the best bird watching locations in the world. Costa Rica boasts having over 870 bird species, according to the Costa Rican Ornithological Association Scientific Committee. The benefit to coming to Costa Rica for your bird watching experiences and tours is the fact that there is such a wide variety of species, as Costa Rica’s altitude varies between sea level and 3,800 meters (12,540 feet). Within that wide zone of temperature and climate conditions, you will find everything from the tropical Toucans and Scarlet Macaws to Quetzals and Trogons.


Arrival Juan Santamaria airport, private transfer to Hotel Bougainvillea.

Hotel Boungavillea is 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.


Sarapiquí Selfdrive to Selva Verde Lodge


Your next destination is the biodivers area of Puerto Viejo de Sarapiqui, where you will stay in Selva Verde Lodge. Birds, Monkeys, Sloth, Crocodile, and Caimans have their natural habitat close to the river. Puerto Viejo de Sarapiqui has a lot to offer, but the amount of tourists is still limited in this beautiful town. One of the reasons for that is that travelers won’t pass Puerto Viejo de Sarapiqui on the average travel route. A good amount of the visitors are bird watchers. This is one of the places where the Scarlet Macaw can be observed. The surrounding rainforest and the Sarapiqui rivier attract a lot of interesting birds like the Sunbittern, Broad-billed Motmot and Black-throated Trogon among others. Selva Verde Lodge & Rainforest Reserve is a well-established Eco-Lodge and is already participating in the Ranforest Alliance / Costa Rican Tourism Board sponsored Sustainable Tourism Program.  The Lodge has a large forest preserve, as well as an adjoining environmental center, the Sarapiqui Conservation Learning Center.


Early Morning Bird Walks at Selva Verde


Grab your binoculars and join our naturalist guide for an early morning bird walk on the grounds of Selva Verde. The morning is a very active time for the birds which is why you can count on sighting several of the stunning tropical species that inhabit Selva Verde. Every morning is different but they are all exciting! Your guide has a keen eye and a high-powered scope, so you can get close up views of birds you might not have noticed otherwise a beautiful virgin rainforest where you can see typical forest birds like Keel-billed Toucans, Wood Thrushes, Grey-necked Wood Rails, Sun bitterns and Violet Crowned Woodnymphs. A local naturalist will accompany you on your search of the endangered Great Green Macaw. La Selva is one of the most famous tropical biological stations in the world. The San Juan – La Selva Biological Corridor is named for its connection to the large amount of habitat La Selva protects. As one of the premier bird watching locations in Costa Rica it had to be included in the Bird Route.

Selva Verde Lodge: This well-established Eco-Lodge is already participating in the Rainforest Alliance / Costa Rican Tourism Board sponsored Sustainable Tourism Program.  The Lodge has a large forest preserve, as well as an adjoining environmental center, the Sarapiqui Conservation Learning Center.


Self Drive to Caño Negro Lodge


The amazing wetlands of Caño Negro are located in the northern zone of Costa Rica, close to the small village of Los Chiles in the Province of Alajuela. Caño Negro is mainly conformed by the Caño Negro Lagoon and the Rio Frio. It has an extension of 9960 Hs., and it is one of the most important biological areas of the country and the four most important wetlands area in the world. Caño Negro Wild Life Refuge was declared “Wildlife Area of International Importance” in 1991.  This Costa Rica ecological treasure is the natural habitat of more than 350 species of birds like the Gray-necked Wood-Rail or the Olivaceous Piculet, as well as the emerald basilisk, iguanas, river turtles, caimans and jaguars and many other animals.


Canoeing at Caño Negro


Explore by canoe the beauty of the Caño Negro Wetlands.  One of the most outstanding Mesoamerican areas on the Ramsar List of Wetlands of International Importance. To the rhythm of the paddles you will glide through lowlands, seasonal floodplains, lakes and swamps.   We will guide you on an amazing adventure to a sanctuary that houses 350 species of birds and around 78 species of mammals as well as 96 different types of reptiles. On this tour we will also head downstream into smaller channels that lead to remote lakes and visit spots that can´t be reached even by motor boat.

The key species of this area is the extremely localized Nicaraguan Grackle which we should have no trouble in locating as they nest in the reeds alongside this beautiful stretch of river. We will also watch for Jabiru, the rare Pinnated Bittern among the many species of herons, Gray-necked Wood-Rail which are common here, Mangrove Cuckoo and no less than five species of kingfisher including Ringed, Belted, Amazon, American Pygmy and Green.

We may also have the chance to find one of the country’s rarer crakes that inhabit the marshes in this area. After our boat trip, we will do some birding around the forest patches near the lodge which can yield Olive-throated Parakeets, Barred Antshrike, Spot-breasted Wren, Green-breasted Mango plus up to 6 species of woodpecker including Olivaceous Piculet and Chestnut-colored Woodpecker as well as the wing-snapping White-collared Manakin. Surrounding trees can play host too many species and we may well be in for a surprise or two.


Self Drive to Bosque de Paz Bajos del Toro


Bajos del Toro is still very much an undiscovered area among rainforests and dairy farms. The area has awe-inspiring waterfalls with chilly swimming holes great for trout fishing.  Hiking, horseback riding, mountain biking and canopy tours are popular activities to enjoy here! Perhaps the most spectacular waterfall in Costa Rica, Cataratas del Toro, is located within Bajos del Toro and should be a top priority if you want to appreciate the country’s terrific natural landscape.

Bosque de Paz Lodge  a lush jungle paradise, surrounded by magnificent cloud and rainy forests, which constitute the richness of the tropics, in the middle of Costa Rica, at barely 1 ½ hours from the capital, San José.

Visiting  Bosque de Paz Reserve will be an important personal contribution as well as an extra ecological support against the environmental damage affecting the world.

The Bosque de Paz Biological Reserve, is a natural biological corridor, located in the Continental Divide, between the National Poas Volcano Park and the National Juan Castro Blanco Water Park, and therefore, some of the best birdwatching spots in Costa Rica. Birds that can be seen: Limpkin, Great Blue Heron, Tricolored Heron,Cattle Egret, Sora, Northern Jacana to mention a few.


Morning Bird walk in Bosque de Paz Lodge


Walking  along our various natural trails, you will be able to admire the fabulous biodiversity up in the centenarian trees loaded with orchids, bromeliads, moss and ferns, set in an unforgettable landscape and surrounded by impressive mountains, valleys, rivers and imposing waterfalls. An orchid and bird watching paradise in the mountains, unparalleled just about anywhere in the world – a haven for photographers – orchid, nature, animal and bird photography, especially hummingbirds.

The specialize guide of the Lodge Will take you by the trails of the property  to  enjoy the variety of Birds that can be seen: Limpkin, Great Blue Heron, Tricolored Heron,Cattle Egret, Sora, Northern Jacana, Sunbittern, Blue-winged Teal, Black-bellied Whistling-duck, Solitary Sandpiper and many more.


Self Drive to Villa Lapas Eco Resort – Carara


Only a short drive from one of Costa Rica’s most popular and developed beach towns is an oasis of nature. Carara National Park, just north of Jaco, not only has impressive jungle and easy trails, but this park is considered one of the country’s best birding destinations. Even if you aren’t a serious birder, it’s hard not to appreciate that over 400 species have been identified here.

Today 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 visit 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. Overnight at Hotel Villa Lapas.




As capital of Alajuela province, this city lies just a few minutes away from the Juan Santamaria International Airport. With easy access and plenty of bus routes, getting in and out of Alajuela is not a problem. A leading trade center for cattle and the sugar industries of the neighboring areas, Alajuela is also a fantastic summer getaway. This is in part due to the fabulous weather this city experiences throughout the year with its temperate climate. In the center of the city is a huge impressive red dome church that is a few minutes away from the Parque Central. This park is lush and green, and is the ideal place to hang out and mingle with the locals, who often come here in the afternoons. West of the park is Alajuela’s central market, which takes up an entire city block and is a great place to shop. Another tourist attraction in this city is the Juan Santamaria Cultural Historical Museum nearby Central Park. This museum houses many historical maps, artifacts and portraits from the battle of 1856. To sample authentic Costa Rican cuisine, visit the Mercado Municipal or any of the local restaurants in the city.


Departure from Alajuela to the International Airport


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!


  • RATE

    Rate per person from: US $1,285.00

    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.
    • 10 Nights lodging at hotels indicated in the above itinerary. Breakfast and local taxes.
    • 09 days Daihatsu Bego Auto CDW and GPS included. Free mileage 1st additional driver free of charges.


    Excursions Included: (Shared tours)

    • Morning Bird Walks at Selva Verde Included: Bilingual Guide.
    • Canoeing Caño Negro (3hrs) Included: Bilingual guide.
    • Bosque de Paz Birdwatching Tour  Included: Bilingual guide.

    • National Park Entrance fees.
    • Airport taxes (US$ 29.00 per person not included)

Our Hotel Selection

San José – Heredia
Bougainvillea Hotel
Garden View Room

Breakfast included

Selva Verde
Standard Room

Breakfast included

Caño Negro
Caño Negro Lodge
Standard Room

Breakfast included

Bajos del Toro
Bosque de Paz Lodge
Standard Room

Breakfast included

Villa Lapas Eco resort
Standard Room

Breakfast included

San José – Alajuela
Buena Vista Hotel
Deluxe Room

Breakfast included

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