NORTHERN CIRCUIT BIRDING TOUR
|Duration:||13 days, 12 nights|
|* This tour is available for any dates of your choosing provided guide services and accommodations are available.|
Our Costa Rica North & Central Circuit Tour covers the best birding sites in northern and central Costa Rica. The itinerary is carefully designed to cover middle elevation sites on both sides of the northern Continental Divide, the middle elevation Caribbean slope around La Selva, the central highlands, a portion of the south, and the Pacific lowlands, expanding the diversity of birds possible during the tour. The best time to take this tour is during dry season from December-April or during the mini-dry season of July. Spring is when most birds are in full breeding plumage and summer is an interesting time when non-breeding dispersal occurs and rarities show up at places like La Selva. Accommodations are excellent or superior throughout the tour except at Talari Mountain Lodge where they are comfortable but more basic.
The tour begins with a transfer from Alajuela near the international airport to Arenal Volcano National Park in northern Costa Rica. Afternoon birding in the gardens should produce several species of hummingbirds and tanagers coming to lodge feeders. Next morning bird trails through foothill primary forest looking for a variety of antbirds including the stunning Ocellated Antbird. Then travel south to Sarapiqui on the Caribbean slope for two days of birding. One morning will be spent at La Selva Biological Station where over 450 species have been recorded. That same afternoon visit fabulous Sarapiqui Eco-Observatory for viewing of Caribbean slope hummingbirds, tanagers, and other species from an elevated observation deck. Continue to Tapanti National Park for a morning of birding around the ranger station and along the road to seek out the secretive Silvery-fronted Tapaculo and Wrenthrush in particular along with other rainforest species. After lunch in Cartago transfer continue into the Talamanca Mountains, arriving in the valley of San Gerardo de Dota by late afternoon. This valley is the best place to see the extraordinary Resplendent Quetzal. Next morning will be devoted the seeking out quetzals and other highland specialties found in the valley. After lunch drive to the highlands above treeline to look for higher elevation specialties such as Volcano Junco. After early birding the following morning, transfer south with stops en route, arriving at Talari mid-afternoon. Afternoon birding around lodge grounds after check-in. Next morning bird Los Cusingos, Alexander Skutch's old homestead, looking for more subtropical species. After early lunch transfer west to the Pacific coast and up the coast to the Carara area where the ranges of northern and southern species overlap in a zone of transitional forest. After a day and a half birding that area, continue north to famed Monteverde Cloud Forest Preserve, stopping en route to look for White-throated Magpie-Jay on a side road and Black-and-white Owl in Orotina. At Monteverde bird two forest preserves looking for middle elevation specialties of the north Pacific slopes, most notably Three-wattled Bellbird at Santuario Ecologica. The tour ends back at Alajuela.