Costa Rica Birds of the Neotropics

Available to Club Members Only.

Calling all ornithologists! Birding in Costa Rica is something you won't be able to stop talking about. Our Costa Rica birding tours will take you through several incredible birding hot spots in Rancho Naturalista Turrialba, La Selva Biological Station, Cano Negro Refuge and Arenal Volcano. Pack your binoculars and do NOT forget to pack an extra memory card!

Day 1 Arrive San Jose

On arrival in San Jose, clear customs and be met by your guide and be transferred to the Hilton Garden Inn Santa Ana. Located in the heart of the Santa Ana district in San Jose, Hilton Garden Inn Santa Ana is an ideal option for leisure travellers looking for a comfortable and convenient accommodation option. The hotel offers a selection of rooms and suites, all of which feature large desks, complimentary Wi-Fi, and HDTVs. Other facilities include a business centre, indoor and outdoor swimming pools, and a fitness centre. Some of the nearby attractions include La Sabana Metropolitan Park, and the National Theatre of Costa Rica.

Day 2 San Jose - Rancho Naturalista (B,L,D)

This morning meet your private bilingual naturalist guide, who will be with you for the next six days, they carry their own equipment for use (binoculars, spotting scope, books and other materials). Birding stops enroute, and before arrive to your next hotel in Turrialba area, your guide will stop at CATIE where you can observe around the pond, some birds like Anhingas, Egrets, Boat-billed Herons, Tinamous and more.

Rancho Naturalista is a premier bird watching lodge located in a private reserve thirty minutes from Turrialba in Costa Rica. The ranch contains a large number of bird species and is popular with bird spotters and photographers. Accommodation is available in a large selection of guest rooms which are all uniquely designed with vibrant colours and modern decor. The in-house restaurant serves a wide range of authentic local and international dishes made from local produce. Guests may partake in many non-birding activities at the ranch including Spanish lessons, dancing lessons, painting classes, and cooking classes. 2 nights.

Day 3 Rancho Naturalista (B,L,D)

Birding at the world famous Rancho Naturalista starts early in the morning at sunrise right at the balcony with a good cup of coffee! Then you wait to see what comes to the feeders, off to the insect light or around the lodge magnificent grounds. After breakfast you will head out on the trails in the private forest reserve to look for mixed species flocks foraging together in the canopy and understory of the forest. Other hot spots for birding walking distance from the rooms are the famous Hummingbird Pools where hummingbirds arrive to dip in the fresh spring water of the stream each evening. A short drive from Rancho can take you to some really good birding places, such as: Cerro Silencio, La Mina, and Rio Tuis Valley.

Day 4 Rancho Naturalista - Sarapique (B,L)

Today en route to Sarapiqui area your guide will stop at Nectar & Pollen Garden, a tropical oasis. Nectar Pollen Reserve is a bird and butterfly lover’s delight! Conveniently located adjacent to the Quebrada González entrance of Braulio Carrillo National Park, the reserve is just under an hour from San José. This unique property is designed to recreate a pollinator’s natural habitat and covers over ten hectares (25 acres). We could argue that the most popular inhabitants are the numerous hummingbirds including Snowcap, Black-crested coquette, White-tipped sicklebill, Green Thorntail, Violet-headed and other vibrant varieties. You’ll also see beautiful butterflies, bees, and other pollinators flitting about. At the edge of the pollinator garden is an old growth forest that’s home to mixed flocks of birds. Fruit feeders are set up and attract the tanagers along with toucans, oropendolas, motmots, honeycreepers and more. The feeders provide great opportunities for close-up photography!

This evening your guide will take you to explore the gardens of the hotel to look for some night creatures and maybe spot some birds sleeping or maybe an owl waiting for dinner.

2 nights at Ara Ambigua Lodge. Located in the town of Puerto Viejo de Sarapiquí, the lodge is surrounded by tropical gardens with lagoons, butterfly grounds, a frog garden and two swimming pools. Superior and standard rooms with air conditioning, and a private porch to enjoy your natural surroundings. Wireless internet connection is provided and the restaurant offers delicious local and international cuisine. Three hectares of protected secondary growth rainforest and private forest trails offer opportunity for nature hikes and birdwatching at the property. General Services: 40 Bedrooms, Restaurant, Adult and Children Swimming Pool, A/C, Wireless Internet.

Day 5 La Selva Biological Station (B,L)

Early start. After breakfast drive to La Selva Biological Station for a day visit. At the confluence of two major rivers in the Caribbean lowlands of Northern Costa Rica, La Selva comprises 1,600 hectares (3,900 acres) of tropical and premontane wet forests and secondary forest. Visit the Biological Station run by the Organization for Tropical Studies. Hike its well-maintained forest trails and look for oropendolas, parrots, tanagers, woodcreepers, antbirds, manakins and so many other species of neotropical birds. This one of the most important sites in the world for research on tropical rainforests. La Selva connects to the northern base of Braulio Carrillo National Park.The species diversity here is spectacular as La Selva is home to more than the half of the 886 species of birds in Costa Rica! Some of the more fantastic species of La Selva include the Bare-necked Umbrella Bird, Red-capped Manakin, Great Antshrike, and the Rufous-tailed Jacamar and many more.

Highlights: Learn about tropical butterflies, and look for colorful birds, and sloths. Enjoy a delicious home-cooked lunch.

In the afternoon visit Pierella Ecological Garden. This special location offers great diversity of habitats supporting, abundant wildlife, sloth watching, birdfeeders, a butterfly garden, tropical crops like cocoa, and tasty traditional cuisine!

Day 6 Sarapique - Cano Negro Wildlife Reserve - Arenal Volcano (B,L)

Depart Sarapique and enjoy a full day safari at Caño Negro National Wildlife Refuge in a covered river boat. These wetlands and riparian forests are host for endless wildlife opportunities! Look out for water birds, iguanas, caimans, monkeys, sloths, river turtles and many forest bird species. We then travel to the town of Fortuna, the gate to one of the most active volcanoes in the world, Arenal Volcano, which started this last period of activity 30 years ago and still releases rocks and lava on its slopes. With any luck we may be able to observe the red lava flowing down from the pointy top of the volcano summit. .

2 nights at Arenal Observatory Lodge, which has 30 rooms, most with a view of the volcano. The lodge sits on 870 acres of land adjacent to the Arenal Volcano National Park. Up to 300 species of birds have been spotted in the area around the lodge. In the evening you might wish to visit the hot springs for a relaxing end of the day, always keeping an eye on the Giant -- a flow of incandescent red lava can run down its slopes at any time. Situated only 1.7 miles from the majestic Arenal Volcano and with a spectacular view of Lake Arenal, the Arenal Observatory Lodge (AOL) offers guests the opportunity to discover, explore and relax.

The 7 miles of well-maintained trails for walking, biking running through the property provide good opportunities to observe a variety of flora and fauna. Approximately 500 species of birds live in the area making AOL a preferred destination for bird watchers. Activities at the hotel include hikes, bicycling through the trails, enjoying a refreshing swim in our pool, or simply relaxing with a massage in our SPA.

The hotel is well located to serve as a base for a variety of excursions such as: Caño Negro Nature Refuge, hot springs, Venado Caves, Canopy Tours, Arenal Hanging Bridges, Fishing, White Water Rafting, Canyoning, Biking etc. Optional extensions are available.

Day 7 Arenal Volcano (B, L)

Enjoy a half day walk at the Arenal Observatory Lodge trail system and hanging bridges, considered by our guides one of the best places for wildlife viewing in la Fortuna. Walk the trails, climb the 28-meter observatory tower, and explore the new volcano visitor center. This offers an amazing lookout to the volcano.

Arenal Hanging Bridges offers a 5 km/3 mile rainforest tour leading visitors across 10 hanging bridges in the canopy of the rainforest and boasts an incredible up-close-and-personal interaction with the flora and fauna found here. Meander the trails and bridges with a keen eye on the lookout for monkeys, butterflies, and colorful birds.

Day 8 Departure (B))

Today you will be transferred from the hotel on a private land transfer to San Jose Intl. Airport, approximately 3.5 hours drive, plus any stops on the way for bathrooms or grab something to eat. Airlines recommend to check in 3 hours before departure time.