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COSTA RICA – Quetzals and much more!

8th – 24th November 2014

We are running a small group tour to this amazing wildlife packed, small, friendly country, we should see over 300 species! Come and join us!

Resplendant Quetzal CR

Why Costa Rica? Well, the outrageously beautiful quetzals, great lodges, and friendly people are just some of the reasons why people come back to Costa Rica again and again. This tiny Central American country has more than its share of beautiful scenery, not to mention a rich assortment of birds unequaled by any other country of its size. Our tour visits Rainforest, Cloud Forest, Humid Forest, Pre-montane Forest, Dry Forest and Mangrove Forest giving a wide range of exciting species. We hope to enjoy over 300 species of bird on this amazing tour.

We will visit the Caribbean Lowlands, Highlands, Central & Southern Pacific Lowlands, Dry Northwest Lowlands.

To book your place on this small group tour, maximum six participants, or for more details simply email us at....

Resplendent Quetzal back view

The superb Resplendent Quetzal, just of the many mind-blowing birds we look for on this tour.

Sat 8th November, Day 1 We depart Manchester on our flight to San José, Costa Rica.

Upon arrival in San José, the capital of Costa Rica, late evening, we will be met and we transfer to our hotel. Overnight at Hotel Bougainvillea.

Sun 9th Day 2 Tortuguero , Caribbean Coast

This morning, after breakfast we start the tour with a transfer by minibus and boat to Tortuguero National Park, located on the northern Caribbean coast. Tortuguero consists of a series of natural interconnecting canals, and provides a unique opportunity to observe birdlife by boat. Along the inland waterways we may see spider monkeys, crocodiles, three-toed sloths, herons, kingfishers, waders, manatees, and caiman. Upon arrival at the lodge, we relax with a cocktail and lunch, after all we don’t want to be exhausted on day one! This afternoon we explore the area around the town of Tortuguero looking for birds. Overnight in our comfortable lodge.

Mon 10th Day 3 Tortuguero Caribbean Coast

Early morning we begin with an optional birding tour of the canals at dawn, followed by breakfast at the lodge. Then we walk the forest trails or take a boat ride along the canals before lunch at the lodge. This afternoon we explore the trails and canals looking for kingfishers and herons. This evening we may take an optional night tour to search for nesting sea turtles. Overnight in our comfortable lodge.

Bare throated Tiger Heron

Tue 11th Day 4 Selva Verde Reserve. Caribbean Lowlands

After breakfast at the lodge, we depart by boat for Guapiles. We have lunch in Guapiles, then transfer to Selva Verde Lodge & Rainforest Reserve in the Sarapiquí region. We settle in and explore the lush grounds, botanical garden, river, and hanging bridge. After dinner tonight we take an exciting guided night walk to look for owls and other nocturnal wildlife. Overnight at Selva Verde Lodge & Rainforest Reserve.

Wed 12th Day 5 Sarapiquí Rainforest, Selva Verde Reserve, Caribbean Lowlands

After early breakfast, we discover the secrets of the ocelot trail on a bird walk. Protecting 500 acres of primary and secondary rainforest and home to a huge number of species of birds, Selva Verde provides opportunities to see species such as the Keel-billed Toucan, White-winged Becard, Sunbittern, Acadian Flycatcher, Wood Thrush, and the endangered Great Green Macaw. After lunch in the lodge’s Costa Rican restaurant, we enjoy a chance to see birds and wildlife during a two hour boat safari on the Sarapiquí River. We return to the lodge where we gather for an evening lecture on natural history and conservation presented by one of Selva Verde’s resident naturalist guides. Overnight at Selva Verde Lodge & Rainforest Reserve.

Blue crowned Motmot CR

Thur 13th Day 6 Selva Verde Reserve | Caribbean Lowlands

We start with an optional early morning guided birding walk in the Selva Verde Reserve. The reserve is home to one of the largest almond trees in all of Central America, which provides habitat for the endangered Great Green Macaw. White crowned Parrots, Keel-billed and Chestnut-mandibled Toucans, Tanagers including such jewels as Passerini’s, Crimson-collared and Golden-hooded Tanager are all possible. Also here to dazzle the visiting birder are Blue Dacnis, euphonias and the kingfisher-like Roufous-tailed Jacama. We return to the lodge for a delicious breakfast, and then continue looking for birds at Selva Verde’s on-site botanical garden. We continue birding along the banks of the Sarapiquí River, looking for Montezuma’s Oropendola, Tiger Herons, and several varieties of kingfishers. After lunch, we discover the secrets of the primary forest of Selva Verde on an exciting birding walk. Deep in the forest we will search for Semiplumbeous Hawk, Ocellated Antbird, Chestnut-coloured Woodpecker and Nightingale Wren. Overnight at Selva Verde Lodge & Rainforest Reserve.

Fri 14th Day 7 La Selva, Cinco Ceibas, Caribbean Lowland

This morning we depart the lodge for early morning birding at the nearby Organization for Tropical Studies La Selva Biological Field Station. We transfer to Cinco Ceibas Reserve in Finca Pangola for lunch and birding. Cinco Ceibas is one of the most famous members of the Costa Rican Bird Route and the only site in Central America where the jungle is accessible by means of an elevated boardwalk. The name Cinco Ceibas was derived from five giant kapok trees that can be observed during your trip. The walk is through a lowland flood zone tropical rainforest that hosts tremendous biodiversity. Overnight at Selva Verde Lodge & Rainforest Reserve.

Emerald Toucanet CR

Sat 15th Day 8 Braulio Carrillo National Park, Savegre Nature Reserve, Highlands

After an early breakfast, we depart for San Gerardo de Dota. During the journey is an opportunity to stop for birding at the Quebrada Gonzalez Ranger Station at Braulio Carrillo National Park. This is a good location for possible sightings of hawk-eagles and other raptors. We arrive at the lodge in time for lunch. This afternoon, we enjoy a guided walk along trails in the cloud forest. The National Park is home to an amazing array of birds, Lattice-tailed Trogon, Blue and gold Tanager and Streaked-crowned Antvireo are among the many possible stars. Hummingbirds include the lovely Snowcap and the elusive Black-crested Coquette. If we find an ant swarm we might be lucky to catch a glimpse of a Black-crowned Antpitta following the ants. Overnight at a nearby hotel.

Sun 16th Day 9 Savegre Nature Reserve, Highlands

After breakfast, we go birding along the upper trails of a local oak forest in the Savegre Reserve. The San Gerardo Valley is situated approximately 7,000 ft. above sea level, and combines highland oak and cloud forests with open grasslands and forest edges. A diverse mix of birds inhabits the area, including large numbers of the strikingly beautiful Resplendent Quetzal. In addition to quetzals, the region is home to a number of birds that are only found at this elevation, such as the Collared Trogon, Emerald Toucanet, Flame-coloured Tanager, Marbled Wood-Quail, Long-tailed Silky-flycatcher, Buffy Tuftedcheek, Golden-browed Chlorophonia, Elegant Euphonia, and Tufted Flycatcher. We return to the lodge for lunch. In the afternoon we enjoy birding along the lodge’s scenic waterfall trail, looking for Talamanca regional endemics like the White-throated Mountain Gem, Collared Redstart, Volcano Hummingbird, and Black-cheeked Warbler. Overnight at a nearby hotel.

Spectacled Owl CR

Mon 17th Day 10 Macaw Reserve, Central & Southern Pacific Lowlands

The day begins with another optional early morning guided bird walk before breakfast. We check out of the lodge and begin the journey to the Central Pacific canton of Turrubares, with lunch en route. The journey follows the Pan-American Highway, the highest road in Central America, passing over 3000 m (9840 ft) above sea level. Our Lodge is located between two life zones, the humid tropical forest and the high humidity pre-montane forest, and is surrounded by expanses of rural roads, pastures, mature and secondary forests, and organic farming plots. These bioclimatic, ecological, and landscape conditions make it possible for an abundance of birds to live in the Central Pacific, the potential species list of migratory and resident birds is huge! Overnight at a comfortable lodge.

Tue 18th Day 11 Macaw Reserve, Carara National Park, Central & Southern Pacific Lowlands

The Carara NP park and its surroundings provide arguably the best birding in the country. The forest can be full of birds throughout the day, and shy birds seem easier to see here than elsewhere. There are a number of specialties shared only between southwestern Costa Rica and nearby Panama, including Black-hooded Antshrike, Fiery-billed Aracari, Beryl-crowned Hummingbird, Riverside Wren, and Orange-collared Manakin. We begin with an early morning bird walk around the lodge followed by breakfast. After breakfast, we journey to Carara National Park for the day, one of the top birding spots of Costa Rica. The park consists of transitional forest and is home to many humid forest bird species that are only found in south-western Costa Rica. We keep our eyes peeled for the Golden-naped Woodpecker, Baird’s Trogon, and the colourful Scarlet Macaw. Overnight at a comfortable lodge.

Keel billed Toucan CR

Wed 19th Day 12 Macaw Reserve La Ensenada Wildlife Refuge, Dry Northwest Lowlands

After breakfast we take a birding walk to discover the secret birds hiding in the gardens of our lodge including a visit to a waterfall. We transfer to the Tempisque River, Gulf of Nicoya in the Province of Puntarenas. The area along the river is known for its dry forest system, attracting a variety of birds such as herons, bellbirds, ibis, pelicans, and others. After lunch we take a tractor ride to the lagoons and salt ponds for more birding. Overnight at a comfortable lodge.

Thur 20th Day 13 Tempisque River, La Ensenada Wildlife Refuge, Hacienda Solimar, Dry Northwest Lowlands.

This morning we take an early birding walk followed by breakfast and our departure to Hacienda Solimar. At Hacienda Solimar, we look for dry scrub specialities including the Lesser Ground Cuckoo, Spot-breasted Bobwhite, and the rare endangered Jabiru Stork.

After lunch return to the lodge for afternoon birding on a boat ride on the Tempisque River. The river passes through Palo Verde National Park and encompasses mangroves, swamp, and both freshwater and saltwater lagoons, providing a crucial habitat for various species of crocodiles, monkeys, and birds. The area attracts millions of birds, including species such as the Roseate Spoonbill, White Ibis, Little Blue Heron, Bare-throated Tiger Heron, Boat-billed Heron, and Tropical Kingbird. Overnight at a comfortable lodge.

White whiskered Puffbird CR

Fri 21st Day 14 La Ensenada Wildlife Refuge, San José

We begin with an early morning pre-breakfast guided birding walk. Then we check out of the lodge and return to San José stopping for lunch en route. Overnight at Hotel Bougainvillea.

Sat 22nd Day 15 Day in San Jose.

We have the option of birding around the hotel and its excellent bird-filled gardens, exploring the city or just chilling out and catching up on our bird notes. The gardens of the hotel have an impressive bird including Crimson-fronted Parakeet, Hoffmann's Woodpecker, Blue-crowned Motmot, Green-breasted Mango hummingbird, both Prevost's and White-eared Ground-sparrows. Costa Rica's national bird can also be easliy seen here in the gardens of the hotel, no not the famous Quetzal, but the rather sombre looking Clay-coloured Robin! The birding here is wonderful and all in the grounds of our hotel.

Sun 23rd Day 16 Departure

After breakfast, we transfer to the international airport in San José for our flight home.

Mon 24th Day 17 Arrive UK early morning.

To book your place on this small group tour, maximum six participants, or for more details simply email us at....

Or telephone us on 01492 872407 we have an answer phone so do leave a message and we will call back as soon as we can!

We look forward to sharing the amazing birds and wildlife of Costa Rica with you.


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