CLASSIC HOTSPOTS BIRDING TOUR
|Duration:||9 days, 8 nights|
|* This tour is available for any dates of your choosing provided guide services and accommodations are available.|
The below information is provided to inform people of what to expect if they participate in this tour and to advise participants on how to prepare for the tour. We try to provide accurate information but conditions and travel requirements can change over time.
Entering Costa Rica
Persons entering Costa Rica require a valid passport with an expiration date more than 6 months after their planned departure from the country. Immigration officials may deny a person entry if their passport is not in good condition. US citizens do not require a visa to enter Costa Rica. Non-US citizens should check with the Costa Rica embassy to find out about entry requirements.
Leaving Costa Rica
A departure tax of $29 is assessed when leaving Costa Rica. This tax is typically included in international air fares. If not, you must pay it in the departure area of the airport.
Costa Rica is on Central Standard Time.
Immunizations & Health
Please contact the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention regarding health issues and immunization requirements when traveling in Costa Rica. Malaria does not pose a significant risk in Costa Rica. There are venomous insects and snakes, though the latter are rarely encountered in areas we visit. The best prevention is to use insect repellent, wear long-sleeved shirts and trousers instead of shorts, avoid touching vegetation with bare skin, and staying on established trails. See your travel doctor for specific recommendations at least 4-6 weeks prior to departure.
Good medical care is available in major cities but not necessarily in smaller towns. Pharmacies are available in most towns as well as cities.
We recommend purchasing trip cancellation insurance, which will reimburse you for any non-refundable payments you would otherwise lose if you must cancel your participation in the tour for some unforeseen reason. Trip cancellation insurance must normally be purchased within a short time after you register for the tour. Travel medical insurance is advisable, especially for those with chronic or known medical conditions.
Our Costa Rica tours cover several altitudinal zones from sea level to approximately 10,000 ft. The lodge we stay at in the Talamanca Mountains is at an elevation of about 7000 ft.
The dry season in Costa Rica begins in December and normally lasts to the end of April. Rainy season is May-June and September-November with a mini-dry season during July-August. Rain is possible during dry season, and when it occurs it tends to be for short periods in the afternoon. During rainy season it can rain all day on the Caribbean slope. On the Pacific slope rain tends to occur in afternoons. Temperature varies more with time of day and altitude than with seasons. It's somewhat warmer during dry season than during rainy season, with mid-day temperatures in the lowlands typically reaching mid to high 80's. In the Talamanca Mountains nights can be quite cold, with temperatures down to the low-40's. Many bird species begin breeding in January or February. July-December is non-breeding season for many species.
Birding tours are conducted at an easy to moderate pace. Photo tours are conducted at a slower pace than birding tours to allow ample time for photography. Birding and photography are best in early morning and late afternoon, so days begin shortly after first light around 6:00 am. Breakfasts may be earlier around 5:00-5:30 am or after morning birding ends around 9:30 am depending on locale. We often take a break during mid-day to rest, except on travel days when we are using that time to drive to the next destination instead. Because we awake early, participants typically retire to their rooms immediately after we complete dinner and checklists for the day.
The trails we walk during the tour are for the most part level, wide, and easy walking. The exception is in the Talamanca Mountains, where we may walk up a somewhat steep trail or road, depending on where the Replendent Quetzals are found that season. Please refer to the description pages of specific tours for more information.
We stay in eco-lodges except the first and last night of the tour. We stay in a moderately priced hotel near the airport on those 2 nights. Electricity for re-charging batteries is always available. Further details can be found on the ACCOMMODATIONS page of each tour.
The quality and variety of food in the lodges is generally good, with fruits and vegetables readily available. We sometimes eat dinner in area restaurants where the seafood can be excellent.
Depending on the size of the group, the tour will utilize either a 6-passenger 4x4 vehicle or a comfortable, air-conditioned mini-bus with ample room for participants and gear. If the tour is by mini-bus, it is driven by a professional Costa Rican driver who knows all the birding locales we visit and how to reach them. Bottled water will always be available. Bathroom stops will be made as soon as possible upon request during transfers.
Registration & Payment
Please refer to the REGISTRATION menu for registration procedure. Trip cancellation insurance is highly recommended as payments may be partially or wholly non-refundable. See the GENERAL -> Policies menu for our refund policy.
General information about the tour, including where to meet the group and contact information, will be sent by email or US mail prior to departure. Checklists will be provided before the tour. Please feel free to call us at 206-650-3425 or email us with any questions you may have.
Information last updated December, 2023.