Birding Tour Costa Rica: Complete Costa Rica, Parts I and II 2018

Duration: 24 days

As one of the most prosperous countries in Central America, Costa Rica, with its good infrastructure, stable democratic government, high literacy rate, and extensive network of parks and preserves has long been an important ecotourism destination for travelers from all over the world. This verdant paradise has also long been a classic, premier destination for birdwatchers, and with good reason. The literal translation of Costa Rica means ‘rich coast’, and it is truly rich in birds, with over 850 species recorded in a country only the size of West Virginia. Ideally positioned at the meeting point where the avifaunas of Central and South America intermingle, this small country hosts the highest avian diversity in an area of its size anywhere on Earth. However, Costa Rica hosts more than just an astonishingly rich diversity of birds. Along with neighboring Panama, this small country is one of the great centers of avian endemism in the world, with over 70 regional endemics that occur nowhere else! Our carefully designed two-part itinerary targets all of these regional endemics as well as numerous must-see, charismatic species, such as Resplendent Quetzal and Three-wattled Bellbird.

Part I covers the northern half of the country. We begin our journey in the wet, sultry foothills and lowlands of the Caribbean slope, where a host of high-profile specialties await: Great Green Macaw, Snowy Cotinga, Snowcap, Semiplumbeous Hawk, Ocellated Antbird, and many others. We then cross over into the seasonally dry forests of the Guanacaste region, an area that features a decidedly Central American avian community, including White-throated Magpie-Jay, Double-striped Thick-knee, and Lesser Ground Cuckoo. We finish this segment of the tour in the cloud forests of Monteverde, seeking out the magnificent Resplendent Quetzal, the unusual Three-wattled Bellbird, and the increasingly rare Bare-necked Umbrellabird.

Part II covers the southern half of the country. This segment starts in the Pacific lowlands, covering the tropical rainforests and grasslands from Carara National Park south to the Golfo Dulce region near the Panama border. Targets, many of which occur nowhere else, will include a myriad of regionally endemic hummingbirds, Black-cheeked Ant Tanager, Turquoise Cotinga, Baird’s Trogon, Golden-naped Woodpecker, and many more. We then ascend up into the chilly montane oak forests of Cerro de la Muerte, where a wide assortment of Costa Rica’s most sought-after species dwell, such as Buff-fronted Quail-Dove, Resplendent Quetzal, Silvery-throated Jay, Wrenthrush, Fiery-throated Hummingbird, and Black-and-yellow Phainoptila. We wrap up this exciting tour in the Caribbean foothill forest of Rancho Naturalista and mid-elevation cloud forest around Tapantí National Park, looking for any remaining specialties such as Tawny-chested Flycatcher, Green-fronted Lancebill – and maybe even Unspotted Saw-whet Owl. We schedule this tour in early spring, when bird activity is high and the weather generally dry.

This ‘Birding Tour Costa Rica’ adventure can be combined with our 15-day Honduras: Rare Motmots, Ocellated Quail, and Pico Bonito 2018 (25 February – 11 March 2018) tour for a Central American mega tour.

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