Take a journey to one of the top Neotropical birding destinations in the world – Costa Rica. With Rudy Zamora, one of the premier naturalist birder guides in Costa Rica by your side, you will explore habitats that range from semi-arid ranchland, to misty cloud forest, lowland rainforest and treeless paramo to see the truly incredible birdlife and amphibians that call Costa Rica home. A true Renaissance man, Rudy is a farmer, who has studied chemistry and worked as a professional musician, plus led numerous nature groups since 1987.
Very Active. May involve strenuous hikes, severe stair climbing, arduous activities, in some cases in extreme weather conditions, heat, high elevation and humidity.
Costa Rica is tropical and enjoys warm weather year round. January through March is the hottest period, but is also the driest. Moderate rain can be experienced June through August, but the heaviest rains are reserved for September and October. Turtles come ashore to nest in Tortuguero between July and October, and in Guanacaste October through February.
Board your flight in Miami. Upon arrival in San Jose, you will be escorted to your beautiful hotel set amidst lush gardens. HOTEL BOUGAINVILLEA.
Begin with a drive to La Ensenada National Wildlife Refuge located on the Pacific coast on the Gulf of Nicoya, an excellent wildlife spot for many species of monkeys and birds, such as Green and American Pygmy Kingfishers. The next morning, you will boat along the canals of the Abangares River to the mangrove forest. Catch a glimpse of Roseate Spoonbills, egrets, shorebirds, gulls and terns. After lunch, hike around the lodge’s dry forest habitat, home to Thicket Tinamou, Blackheaded Trogon and the Scrub Euphoria. LA ENSENADA LODGE. (B,L,D Daily)
Drive to Monteverde, one of the most beautiful cloud forests in the world. Walk through the clouds on a series of bridges, trails and platforms on The Skywalk. The next day visit the Monteverde community and the thick tropical vegetation of the private Cloud Forest Reserve. See some of the more than 320 species of resident birds including the seasonal Resplendent Quetzal, the Three-wattled Bellbird, Umbrellabird and Emerald Toucanet. HOTEL FONDA VELA. (B Daily)
Stop along the Tarcoles River to see its legendary crocodile population. Enjoy the great diversity of birds, including Roseate Spoonbills, Pelicans and Scarlet Macaws. Your hotel’s location in the transition zone between Mesoamerican dry forest and the Pacific Coast tropical rainforest provides an astounding array of biological diversity. Experience the raucous flight of Scarlet Macaws and the foraging of whitefaced capuchins. Search for brightly colored harlequin poison dart frogs or large blue morpho butterflies. This afternoon, bird in nearby Carara Biological Reserve or take a hike on one of your resort’s beautiful trails. VILLA LAPAS HOTEL. (B)
A full day to explore Carara Biological Reserve, home to several ecosystems, such as marshland, a lagoon and gallery, secondary and primary forests. Crocodiles and caimans are usually spotted along with plenty of wading birds – Anhingas, Jacanas and Bare-throated Tiger-Heron. Carara is one of the few nesting areas remaining for the Scarlet macaw. Throughout the day, the macaws can always be heard and often seen in flight. VILLA LAPAS. (B)
Drive to Costa Rica’s southern region to the Cerro de la Muerte Mountains. See the spectacular variety of flora and fauna in this northernmost extent of the paramo habitat. Your lodge is located 7,200 feet above sea level, on a family farm with a clear trout stream running through it. Enter the surrounding cloud forest into a cathedral-like setting with columns of hundred-year old tress, multi-colored plants and mushrooms, celestial choirs of birds and multitudes of insects, amphibians and mammals. Savegre Private Forest is noted for the more than 170 species of birds, in particular the Resplendent Quetzal. SAVEGRE MOUNTAIN LODGE. (B,L,D Daily)
You now drive to the lush lowlands of northeastern Costa Rica. On a large private tract of tropical rain forest and rich second-growth habitats awaits the Selva Verde Lodge, adjacent to Braulio Carrillo National Park and the Organization for Tropical Studies (OTS) field station, La Selva. The OTS is a syndicate of universities from the United States and Costa Rica that operate as an ecological education and research center. While at Selva Verde, canoe on the Sarapiqui, hike Selva Verde’s rain forest trails with a resident naturalist or just relax in a hammock while absorbing the wonder of the forest. SELVA VERDE LODGE. (B,L,D)
Enjoy a full day tour of La Selva Biological Station, one of the premier Neotropical sites for biological studies in the world for tropical rainforest. Located on the northern plains near the convergence of the Rivers Sarapiqui and Puerto Viejo, La Selva contains close to 4,000 acres of primary forests, swamps and abandoned farmland. There are over 100 species of mammals, thousands of insects, 2,000 plant species including 800 species of trees. Over 500 species of birds have been recorded here. SELVA VERDE LODGE. (B,L,D)
Explore La Virgen Del Socorro, a middle elevation forest on the Caribbean slope of the Central Volcanic Mountain Range that runs along the canyon of the Sarapiqui River. The humidity carried by the trade winds coming from the Caribbean ocean created the perfect habitat for a great variety of epiphytes which provide food for over 400 species of birds. Some hummingbirds and tanagers are all indigenous to the area. Continue to San Jose, where the remainder of the day is at leisure. HOTEL BOUGAINVILLEA. (B,L)
Today you will be transferred to the airport for your return flight home. Sadly it is now time to say “adios” to Costa Rica. (B)
Extend your adventure to Tortuguero National Park. As you boat along this system of rivers and man-made channels watch nature’s circus as spider and howler monkeys frolic in the tree-tops overhead. Spanish for turtle, ‘tortuguero’ is the most important nesting site in the entire western half of the Caribbean for the green turtle – which gathers in large numbers to nest between July and October.
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