- Fly from London to San José, arriving this evening, and transfer to our overnight hotel, just outside the capital.
- Accommodation: Hotel near San José, 1-night including breakfast.
- We have a short drive north to La Paz Waterfall Gardens in the scenic La Virgen del Socorro area, home to some endemic species not seen elsewhere. This privately-owned wildlife sanctuary has five waterfalls, a mix of cloud forest and rainforest, a butterfly observatory and garden, hosting a great variety of middle-elevation bird species. A haven for hummingbirds, it attracts some 26 of the 47 species reported in Costa Rica.
- We drive east from the central valley across the active volcanic zone, and down into the forests of the Caribbean lowlands, where we spend the afternoon birdwatching in the mountains and lowlands before heading to our lodge.
- The next morning we go for a walk in La Selva Biological Reserve. La Selva covers an expanse of lowland rainforest on the Caribbean slope of the northwestern region, and is a fabulous birding destination - over 400 species have been recorded in the area. La Selva also offers a chance to see mammals such as mantled howler monkey, collared peccary, Central American agouti and brown-throated three-toed sloth.
- We spend the afternoon walking trails around the lodge where birds we may see and hear include little and great tinamous, great curassow, collared aracari, keel-billed toucan and bare-necked umbrellabird.
- Accommodation: Hotel in the Sarapiquí region, 2-nights on a full board basis.
- This morning we take a boat trip on the San Carlos River to see its wildlife before continuing west along the lower slopes of the volcanic mountain range, onto the Caribbean-slope forests around Lake Arenal. In the afternoon we enjoy a nature walk in search of birds and wildlife in the surroundings of the lodge.
- The next day we visit Arenal’s Hanging Bridges Park, where we walk the three-kilometre-long trail that crosses 16 fixed and suspension bridges designed to provide a unique perspective of the rainforest at heights of up to 45 metres above the forest floor.
- Accommodation: Hotel near La Fortuna, 2-nights on a full board basis.
- We continue in a westward direction to the Gulf of Nicoya on Costa Rica’s Pacific Coast, where we can enjoy birding around our lodge and on the Tempisque River. Among the array of birds and other wildlife that we may see are roseate spoonbill, little blue heron, bare-throated tiger heron, American crocodile, green and black iguanas, white-faced capuchin and mantled howler monkey.
- The next morning we take a boat trip on the Bebedero River into Palo Verde National Park to look for raptors and other birds including the crested caracara, common black hawk, peregrine falcon, osprey, laughing falcon, and mangrove swallow.
- In the afternoon we visit the 11,000-hectare Hacienda Solimar, a birding paradise, where we can expect to see a wide variety of wetland birds, including the mighty jabirú.
- Accommodation: Hotel in Abangaritos, Gulf of Nicoya, 2-nights on a full board basis.
- We now head south along the Pacific coast, with time to watch birds en route. During our stay we visit the road bridge that crosses the Tarcoles River with the aim of seeing scarlet macaws as they return to their roost in the mangroves just before dusk.
- In the afternoon, we take a boat trip along the Tarcoles River and into the Guacalillo Estuary, whose mangroves host the largest population of American crocodiles in Central America, and offer great opportunities to see freshwater birds, waders and shorebirds. At this time of the year, we are likely to see some wintering waders from North America, as well as terns and black skimmers, while magnificent frigatebirds fly overhead.
- The following day we visit Carara National Park for another opportunity to see the macaws.
- Accommodation: Hotel near Carara National Park, 2-nights on a full board basis.
- Today we drive up into the highlands of the Cerro de la Muerte, to San Gerardo de Dota which nestles in a pristine, steep-walled mountain valley located high in the Talamanca Mountains at 2,200 metres altitude. We stay at a superbly situated lodge set in the cloud forest, where collared redstart, magnificent and fiery-throated hummingbirds are among the gems to be found.
- However, one of the most sought-after bird species on any trip to Costa Rica is the resplendent quetzal, and we rise early to find them at their most active - sometimes right beside the lodge.
- We visit both mature highland forest with tall oak trees and one of the most distinctive ecosystems here - the páramo - with its strange, stunted, high-altitude vegetation.
- Accommodation: Hotel in San Gerardo de Dota, 2-nights on a full board basis.
- This morning we visit Tapanti National Park on our way back to the Central Valley and San José, where we end the day with a farewell dinner.
- Accommodation: Hotel near San José, 1-night on a full board basis.
Day 13 Depart for the UK
Day 14 Arrive UK
All prices are per person and include:
- Services of the naturalist leader
- All meals
- Guided activities
We stay in hotels or lodges with all rooms en suite. Some of the lodges are remote, and have simpler-style rooms, often in cabins.
All meals are included, with the exception of dinner on day of arrival and lunch on our final day.
Costa Rica has more bird species to the square mile than any other country on earth. The varied habitats and National Parks that we visit on this tour yield an amazing diversity of birdlife including scarlet macaw, magnificent frigatebird, diverse antbirds and the most beautiful bird in tropical America, the resplendent quetzal.
- Resplendent quetzal
- Scarlet macaw
- Fiery-throated hummingbird
Though the focus of our tour is birds, Costa Rica is also rich in mammals and we are sure to see numerous species. The country’s mammals include many of Latin America’s most iconic groups, such as New World monkeys, peccaries, agoutis, armadillos, coatis and sloths.
- Northern tamandua
- Hoffman’s two-toed sloth
- Collared peccary
- White-faced capuchin
Our tour takes us through an amazing diversity of landscapes –spectacular mountains and active volcanoes, pristine beaches and lowland rainforest, high cloud forest and tropical wetlands.
Some forest trails can be steep in parts, but we take them slowly. Although we travel up to over 3,000 metres, we will not be walking much at higher altitude.
During out stay on Solimar estate, we take a boat trip amongst the mangroves adjacent to Palo Verde National Park.
On this tour we will travel to over 3,000 metres above sea level.
Price includes return scheduled flights London – San José – London.
Ground transportation is by small coach or minibus, with driver.