Costa Rica has an amazing variety of habitats from lowland humid forests to misty cool cloud forests. This program designed by one of Costa Rica’s top ornithologists, Leo Chavez, covers the top birding sites in Costa Rica, including the Costa Rican Birding Route.
Day 1: San Jose
Meet driver at the airport and then transfer & overnight Don Carlos Hotel in San Jose.
Day 2: Cerro de la Muerte
You will meet your driver this morning for your transfer to Savegre Lodge. Savegre Mountain Lodge’s Private Biological Reserve is located in the environs of the Cerro de la Muerte in the Talamanca Mountain Range. It consists of Cloud Forest with elevations varying between 1,220 and 2,560 metres above sea level. The area is frequently visited by eco-tourists from around the world who come to enjoy the large diversity of plant life, including oak and laurel trees, orchids and bromelias. This animal life includes more than 170 species of birds – including the magnificent Quetzal – as well as numerous mammals, amphibians, and insects. (B)
Day 3: Birding Tour
This morning you’ll meet your guide for a 5 hour birding tour. You then transfer to the Caribbean foothills. Rancho Naturalista is considered to be one of the finest birding lodges in Central America. Rancho is known for its peaceful forest surroundings, comfortable well-kept rooms, excellent meals, family style atmosphere, knowledgeable resident bird guide(s), extensive trail system in pre-montane rainforest, banana and hummingbird feeders for the birds, bird bathing pools, and a bird list for the area of over 400 species. (BD)
Day 4: Full day birdwatching with a local resident guide. Overnight at Rancho Naturalista (BLD)
Day 5: La Selva de Sarapiqui
Free morning and transfer to Sarapiqui area. La Selva was originally established in 1954 by Dr. Leslie Holdridge, as a farm dedicated to experimentation on mixed plantations for the improvement of natural resources management. It was purchased in 1968 by the Organization for Tropical Studies and declared a private biological reserve and station. Since then, it has become one of the most important sites in the world for research on tropical rain forest. Over 240 scientific papers are published yearly from research conducted at the site. La Selva’s juxtaposition of protected ecosystems and state-of-the-art laboratory facilities is unique in the world’s wet tropics. An extensive trail system of more than 50 kilometers provides access to a wide range of terrestrial and aquatic habitats. Thousands of arthropod species are being currently recorded at La Selva, and more than 400 species of resident and migratory birds have been sighted in the reserve, representing almost half of Costa Rica’s bird species.(BLD)
Full day birdwatching at La Selva with resident guide. Overnight OTS La Selva Biological Station (BLD)
Day 7: Transfer to Maquenque Lodge
Located on the Northern Territory of San Carlos near the Nicaraguan border this reserve, along with La Selva, forms part of the Costa Rican Birding Route. The Costa Rican Bird Route is the first of its kind in Central America. Located in the northeastern region of Costa Rica, this eco-tourism project offers a variety of bird watching and nature tourism opportunities. The Bird Route consists nature reserves within 12 official sites, specifically chosen for their high avian diversity. This region also supports the last remaining habitat of the endangered Great Green Macaw (Ara ambigua), and the Costa Rican Bird Route offers the greatest viewing opportunities on the planet of this rare species as well as Scarlet Macaws. Excellent bungalow style accommodations, surrounded by tropical rainforests, and bordering the Majestic San Carlos River, it has become famous for being a unique region for ecology, wildlife observation, unique birding tours. (B)
Day 8: Birdwatching Tour
Morning birdwatching tour. Free afternoon for optional tours: Overnight at Maquenque (B)
Day 9: San Jose
Free morning by the afternoon transfer back to San Jose. Overnight at Hotel Don Carlos. (B)
Departure transfer (B)
This is a full service semi-private tour program using local lodge based guides and drivers . There may be other guests sharing the rides from time to time. Accommodation is in a variety of small, specialised lodges. OTS La Selva is the most basic being a research station, however meals are very good and the chance to meet students and scientists makes the stay well worth it for anyone interested in birds.
Price includes: 9 nights accommodation and taxes, meals as noted (BLD), all transfers, all guided tours as noted.