- Fly from London to San José, arriving this evening, and transfer to our overnight hotel.
- Accommodation: San José, 1-night
- We drive north from the central valley over the active volcanic zone, down into the Caribbean forest lowlands, toward the border of Costa Rica and Nicaragua. On the way we stop to the Waterfall Gardens for lunch, a hummingbird’s haven with some endemic mountain species, not seen anywhere else. We spend the afternoon birdwatching in the mountains and lowland before to head to our lodge.
- The next morning, we go on a hike to La Selva Biological Reserve, La Selva covers an expanse of lowland rainforest and is a fabulous birding destination with over 400 species recorded in the area. La Selva is great for ‘big birds’ and we have the chance of seeing mammals like howler monkeys, pecari, agoutis and sloths. We spend the afternoon on the walking trails around the lodge and in El Tigre marshes.
- Accommodation: Sarapiqui, 2-nights on full board basis.
- We drive south and then west, along the lower slopes of the volcanic range, continuing to the Caribbean–slope forests around Lake Arenal. Towering above the lake is Volcan Arenal, an imposing cone on the horizon surrounded by lake Arenal, the main source of energy to the country.
- In the afternoon we will go on a nature walk searching for birds and wildlife in the surroundings. The next day we visit the Arenal hanging bridges, the most beautiful environmentally-friendly projects in Costa Rica. We spend time walking the trails and crossing the bridges with a stunning view on the canopy of this lowland tropical pristine rainforest.
- Accommodation: Fortuna, Volcan Arenal, 2-nights on full board basis.
- We spend the day driving up to the Cerro de la Muerte highlands, where we stay at a superbly situated lodge in a wonderful sheltered mountain valley. The lodge is set among huge cloud forest oaks, with a mountain stream – complete with American dippers – tumbling over rocks.
- The next day we rise early to find the sought-after resplendent quetzal at its most active – sometimes right by the lodge. We go on to visit an area of mature highland forest with high oak trees.
- Accommodation: San Gerardo de Dota, Cerro de la Muerte, 2-nights on full board basis.
- We head north-west to the Pacific coast with time to watch birds en route. We stay at a lovely property located close to Carara National Park and Tarcoles river. Whilst here we will visit the important Pacific Lowland Forest reserve of Carara National Park, and also a small estuary close by – which can teem with wintering waders from North America, as magnificent frigate birds fly overhead.
- Accommodation: Near Carara, 2-nights on full board basis.
- We drive north-east, inland, to the much drier and more open Guanacaste lowland, before reaching the Tempisque River. We stay at the beautiful 11,000-hectare Solimar estate, a farm dedicated to cattle-rearing and wildlife conservation, where we expect to see a wide variety of wetland birds including the mighty jabiru. This is birders' paradise, especially at this time of the year when there are many migratory species and the breeding season is in full swing. In addition, other types of wildlife can be spotted.
- Accommodation: Tempisque River, Guanacaste, 2-nights on full board basis.
- This morning we return to the Central Valley and San José, and end the day with a farewell dinner.
- Accommodation: San José, 1-night on 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 main meals are included.
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 and amazing diversity of birdlife, from macaws, antbird species, magnificent frigatebirds to the most beautiful bird in tropical America, the resplendent quetzal.
- Resplendent quetzal
- Scarlet macaw
- Fiery-throated hummingbird
- 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 this slowly. Although we travel up to over 3,000 metres, we will not be walking much at the 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.