Birding in Costa Rica Eco-Zones Day by Day Itinerary
If you are ready to spot a Resplendent Quetzal, see keel-billed toucans or catch a glance at a swallow-tailed kite or trogon, visit Costa Rica! Costa Rica’s unique location in Central America means that it offers incredible habitats for a variety of bird species. From mangroves, lowlands and highlands to tropical dry forest, cloud forests and tropical dry forests, Costa Rica has unforgettable birding tours. My Costa Rica has put together some amazing birding vacations, including this one. The Birding in Costa Rica Eco-Zones itinerary will take you to the Caribbean coast, San Gerardo de Dota and the Central Pacific area. Get ready for 12 days of birdwatching in Costa Rica!
You will fly into San José International Airport where a representative from My Costa Rica will pick you up and take you to Hotel Bougainvillea. This hotel has several acres of beautiful gardens, a swimming pool, fitness center, restaurant and a tennis court that you can enjoy before you start your Costa Rica birding tours on day two.
On your second day in Costa Rica, My Costa Rica will transfer you to Rancho Naturalista in Turrialba. The trip takes you through beautiful Costa Rica scenery and takes about 2.5 hours. Rancho Naturalista is located in the Caribbean slope in the Cordillera Talamanca. The hotel gives you access to great trails in diverse sections of the forest where you can spot a variety of birds. It’s a great place for birding tours as well as hiking. Watching out for hummingbirds and the famous Snowcap!
You will meet with other birders on the balcony at dawn for the Morning Birding Tour. This is the perfect opportunity to see insect feeding bird species when they are most active. After breakfast, you will head out to the trails in the tropical rainforest reserve to look for mixed-species flocks in the canopy and understory of the forest. A local guide will help you spot the various birds soaring overhead. After your tour you’ll head back to the lodge for a delicious and traditional lunch.
Day four is another Costa Rica tour that you’ll never forget. On the Rio Tuis Valley Birding Tour, you can hike the trail in the vast forest reserve for a few hours or the entire day. The birding is one of Costa Rica’s birding hotspots. Take your camera and capture a tanager or monklet!
On day five you’ll get to enjoy the drive through Costa Rica’s highlands to the tranquil village of San Gerardo de Dota. The beautiful Trogon Lodge is THE place in Costa Rica to view the beautiful resplendent quetzal and several other amazing birds of Costa Rica. This cloud forest lodge offers a relaxing refuge for those looking for some great nature hiking, birdwatching, and beautiful scenery! Beautiful mountain cabins, home cooked food, a great new spa and remodeled bar complete this charming lodge.
Birdwatching is the main attraction of this region so you will definitely enjoy the Quetzal Bird Tour. The beautiful environment of biological corridors with more than 170 species of birds make this a birder’s paradise. Various migratory species arrive throughout the year and join the native species which creates a colorful view for birdwatchers. In addition to the Resplendent Quetzal, you’ll probably spot the Emerald Toucanet, Black Guan Trogons and hummingbirds!
On day seven you’ll enjoy the Birdwatching Tour in San Gerardo de Dota, which is featured in the classic birding guide “Fifty Places to go Birding Before You Die.” Don’t forget your camera and birding journal, because there are hundreds of bird species in this region.
On day eight of your Costa Rica birding tour, your private driver will pick you up and bring you to Jacó on the Pacific Coast of Costa Rica. You will check in to Cerro Lodge which offers comfortable and luxurious rooms. Enjoy the wonderful views on the ocean or take a swim in the pool after spending the day birding in the Tarcoles River. The Jaco area is famous for Scarlet Macaws so listen closely for their calls!
The Carara National Park is home to approximately 48% of Costa Rica’s aviary species. You will be picked up from your lodge and driven to this National Park in about 20 minutes. This tour will show you the importance of the region which is situated in a transitional region between tropical dry forest and humid Pacific rainforest. You will be able to see the flora and fauna of this varied ecosystem as well as many colorful species of bird, such as the Scarlet Macaw and the Collared Aracari.
On the 10th day of your vacation, you will go on the Tarcoles Mangrove Birding Tour. The Tarcoles River and its mangroves are an extraordinary birding area. Carara and Tarcoles contain a wonderful sample of species of wet tropical pacific habitats and species that are common in the drier areas of the northwest of Costa Rica. Over 400 species of birds have been registered in the area. The best way to explore this is by boat. Enjoy!
Enjoy your private transfer to Costa Rica’s capital San José on your second-to-last-day in Costa Rica. It will take approximately 1 hour and 45 minutes. You will go back to Hotel Bougainvillea where you can enjoy the gardens, swimming pool and restaurant for a second time.
On the last day of your Costa Rica vacation, you will go back to San José Airport to board your flight back home. Have a great journey and we hope you visit Costa Rica again soon!