With 921 species, Costa Rica is one of the best places in the world to go on a bird watching holiday. We travel through several habitat zones from the beaches of the Atlantic coast, across the highland rain and cloud forest to the dry tropical oak forests and mangroves of the Pacific coast to place you in prime bird watching spots.
We have timed this trip to coincide with the annual million strong raptor migration. By going on this trip you will be supporting the Bribri indigenous community and their scientific research station monitoring this natural spectacular.
16 days £3,200pp
includes all accommodation, ground transport, dedicated local guide, better than half board
12-27 September 2020
Maximum group size 14
7 Sept: Arrive San Jose
We will pick you up from the airport ready to start the adventure.
8-9 Sept: Tortuguero National Park
Cruise peacefully through the jungle lined canals looking for the mottled owl, agami heron, montezuma oropendola, and keel-billed toucan to name a few.
10-11 Sept: Kèköldi Raptor Migration Watch
Visit the Bribri Indigenous community and their project to monitor this important migration point - one of only 4 places in the world to attract more than 1 million raptors each migration.
12-14 Sept: Cahuita National Park and La Marta Reserve Well known for good snorkeling over coral reefs close to the beach, Cahuita also has great birding along the Kelly Creek.
La Marta is one of Cosra Rica's best kept secrets. 40% primary rainforest, great trails for spotting birds and unique flora...and maybe even a jaguar!
15-17 Sept: Dota, Los Quetzales National Park
Time to look for one of the most exotic birds, the extraordinary Resplendent Quetzal (right) in the world-renowned San Gerardo de Dota cloud forest.
18-19 Sept: Tarcoles
We visit several birding hotspots around this Central Pacific region including bird conservation pioneer Alexander Skutch's private reserve at Los Cusingos, Barú wildlife refuge and the unique ecological transition zone Carara National Park.
20-21 Sept: Ensenada Wildlife Refuge
Explore the mangroves, coastal areas and tropical dry forests or rest on the beach.
22 Sept: Depart San Jose
Travel back to San Jose and time to say goodbye.
Accommodation - 15 nights. All our hotels are excellent rated, clean and restful after a good day birding. Most have access to beautiful trails and miles of sandy beaches. Accommodation at Kèköldi is a little more rustic but still comfortable and well worth the unique experience this destination offers. We only work with accommodation that shares our philosophy of sustainable tourism.
All Ground Transportation - is provided by private, air conditioned, comfortable minibuses and the occasional private boat.
Dining - 15 breakfasts, 14 dinners and 7 lunches. When transferring we will stop en route for lunch.
Full time bi-lingual guide and birding specialist
Tours and entrance fees - for all national parks and programmed activities.
Some of the 921 bird species you are likely to see include: green ibis, mottled owl, black hawk-eagle, agami heron, montezuma oropendola, white hawk, keel-billed toucan, barred hawk, bicolored hawk, crested owl, short-tailed nighthawk, snowcap, brown violetear, dull-mantled, ocellated antbirds, tawny-chested flycatcher, sunbittern, crested caracara, king vulture, tiny hawk, highland tinamou, spotted wood quail, sulfur-winged parakeets, long tail silky flycather, ornate hawk-eagle, flame-colored tanager, golden-crowned warbler, spotted barbtail, black thighed grosbeak, collared trogon, scarlet macaw, fiery-billed aracari, black-mandibled toucan, orange-collared manaquin, purple gallinule, northern jacana, amazon kingfisher, muscovy duck, great tinamou, roseate spoonbills, black-bellied whistling ducks and egrets.
Other interesting flora and fauna include: howler monkeys, three-toed sloth, crocodiles, green turtle, tamandua, paca, coati, raccoon bioluminescent mushrooms, butterflies.
Alonso Madrigal says that 'after more than 20 years taking tourists to every corner of the country, what still thrills me is to watch the face of my passenger’s astonishment at a magical moment of the tour: when they see the first monkey jumping through the trees, a sea turtle coming out of the ocean to lay their eggs, a toucan eating, a quetzal flying, the concentrated look at the conical shape of the Arenal Volcano or just when they are running in the sand to touch the ocean. The fact that tourists leave Costa Rica with a big smile on their faces, hundreds of beautiful memories and a desire to return, makes us strive every day'.
At the base of the Talamanca Mountains is the Kèköldi Indigenous Territory, home to the Kèköldi tirbe of Costa Rica's indigenous Bribri people. The 'vulture king' is central to Bribri culture, as the only being that can fly high enough to connect their god Sibu with other worlds. Not surprisingly, the million strong raptor migration that funnels through this area each September is very important to them. In 2000 they started standardized, full-season counts to monitor the health and well-being of these birds of prey. Building a watch tower with amazing 360 degree views above the trees, researchers come here from all around the world to witness this natural spectacle. Not only will you too be able to see these unique sights, but you will also be supporting the continuation of the Kèköldi tribe’s important research by going on this tour.
The weather in September varies across Costa Rica. The Caribbean coast is sunny and warm with temperatures just over 30 degrees. The North West Pacific coast is likely to be a bit cooler at around 28 degrees and we are likely to see a few showers in the late afternoon. We are visiting rainforests in Central Costa Rica, so as the name suggests, it is best to prepare for a bit of rain just in case. Temperatures will again be a bit cooler - especially at night - as we get to higher ground.
Flight tickets - Flights are not included in this package.
Visas - British nationals do not need a visa.
Currency - There are around 790 Costa Rican Colons to the £.
Travel Insurance - Please make sure you have suitable insurance. This is part of our booking terms.
Rain - Costa Rica is a lush tropical country, please be prepared for some wet weather.
Difficulty - Although walks/hikes can be tailored to individual needs there will be some rougher ground to cover. You should have at least a moderate level of fitness and be able to walk comfortably for an hour or so.
Prices - Are per person based on two sharing (double / twin). They include all currently applicable taxes currently. Any additional taxes levied by the government will be extra.