COSTA RICA MEGA BIRDING TOUR
|21 days, 20 nights
|* This tour is available for any dates of your choosing provided guide services and accommodations are available.
Our Costa Rica Mega Tour visits the most important birding locales on the Pacific and Caribbean slopes from nearly the border with Panama to nearly the border with Nicaragua. This is the ultimate tour for serious birders. Sites covered include Ceiba-Cascajal Road, Carara National Park, Osa Peninsula, Wilson Botanical Gardens near San Vito, San Gerardo de Dota, the Talamanca highlands, Reserva El Copal, Hotel Quelitales grounds, La Selva Biological Station, Caño Negro Wildlife Refuge in the far north, Celeste Mountain Lodge and nearby Tapir Valley Nature Reserve near Bijagua, Arenal National Park area, Monteverde, and La Ensenada. The tour has the potential of recording over 400 species in 21 days. The best time to take this tour is during early dry season from January-March. During this time birds are in full breeding plumage and are most active. Accommodations are good to excellent throughout the tour except on Osa Peninsula where they are more rustic yet comfortable.
The tour begins with a transfer from our hotel near the international airport to the Pacific lowlands with a morning of birding along the productive Ceiba-Cascajal Road through dry forest and open areas. During a two night stop at Cerro Lodge, a full day will be devoted to birding nearby Carara National Park. A transfer south that includes a couple birding stops leads to Osa Peninsula and Danta Corcovado Lodge near the Yellow-billed Cotinga Reserve and Corcovado National Park. Two full days birding these southern lowland forests is followed by a transfer to Wilson Botanical Gardens near San Vito. After an afternoon and next morning birding there, transfer to the Talamanca highlands with a birding stop in wetlands near San Vito and later stops in the mountains including Cerro de la Muerte before arriving in the valley of San Gerardo de Dota. One morning during our stay there will be devoted to seeking Resplendent Quetzals at Paraiso Quetzales followed by an afternoon birding highland areas above our lodge. We then continue on to a productive forest site full of tanager species at Reserva El Copal. We'll spend that night and the following morning at nearby Hotel Quelitales where over 70% of all hummingbird species in Costa Rica occur. From there we move on to the Sarapiqui area for a morning of birding on the Caribbean middle elevation site at La Selva Biological Station. We then drive to the far north to the town of Los Chiles near the Nicaragua border, where we'll enjoy an afternoon boat trip on the lagoons of Caño Negro Wildlife Refuge. After some morning birding to look for Nicaraguan Seed-Finch, we transfer south to Bijagua for a two night stay at Celeste Mountain Lodge. We'll bird several excellent sites looking for 6 species of trogons and some special antbirds as well as the very localized Lovely Cotinga. From there we proceed further south to Arenal Observatory Lodge located adjacent to Arenal National Park. After birding the productive forest there, we move on to the middle elevations of the Pacific slope at Monteverde for birding at Selvatura Reserve, best site for Three-wattled Bellbirds, and Monteverde Cloud Forest Preserve. The tour ends with an afternoon and following morning at the dry lowlands of La Ensenada Reserve before returning to Alajuela and end of the tour.