Five Destinations, Five Hotspots Tour

Five Destinations, Five Hot Spots - 14 Nights

5 different natural areas

Locations to be visited:

1 night - Hotel Bougainvillea or Hotel Buena Vista

2 nights - Cerro Lodge or Villa Lapas (lowland Pacific rainforest)

2 nights - Esquinas Rainforest Lodge (Osa Peninsula

lowland rainforest - Piedras Blancas National Park)

2 nights - La Cruces Biological Station (San Vito de Coto Brus)

3 nights - Savegre Lodge or Sueños del Bosque (highland cloud forest of Talamanca)

3 nights - La Selva Biological Station (Caribbean lowland rainforest)

1 night - Hotel Bougainvillea or Hotel Buena Vista

Day 1

Arrive to Costa Rica at SJO. Transport to Hotel Bougainvillea or Hotel Buena Vista. If your flight arrives early in the day we can reach Cerro Lodge or Villa Lapas same day which is only an hour and 15 minutes from the airport.

Day 2

Begin the day with some early birding on the grounds of Hotel Bougainvillea or Hotel Buena Vista. Drive to Carara and Tarcoles area where you will stay in Cerro Lodge or Villa Lapas. Afternoon birding can produce Ferruginous Pygmy-Owl, Black-headed Trogon, Olive Sparrow, Cinnamon Hummingbird, Barred Antshrike, Rufous-naped Wren, Rufous-and-white Wren, Scarlet Macaw, White-fronted Parrot, Orange-fronted Parakeet, White-winged Becard, Long-tailed Manakin, Striped Cuckoo, Collared Forest-Falcon, Lineated and Hoffmann’s Woodpeckers.

Day 3

A full day to explore Carara National Park and vicinities. The forest trails within the park are fantastic and offer a good surface. Birds include Great Tinamou, Streak-chested Antpitta, Golden-naped Woodpecker, Red-capped Manakin, Blue-crowned Manakin, Orange-collared Manakin, Black-hooded Antshrike, Rufous-breasted Wren, Chestnut-backed Antbird, Black-faced Antthrush, Marbled Wood-Quail, Long-billed Gnatwren, Dot-winged Antwren, Tawny-crowned Greenlet, White-shouldered Tanager, Plain Xenops, Golden-crowned Spadebill, Tawny-winged Woodcreeper, Northern-barred Woodcreeper, Gray-headed Tanager, Baird’s Trogon and Royal Flycatcher. In the afternoon, explore the road below Cerro Lodge and neighboring areas for Lesser Ground-Cuckoo, Crane Hawk, Yellow-billed Cotinga, White-throated Magpie-Jay, Streak-backed Oriole, Striped Cuckoo and Little Tinamou. Striped Owl, Pacific Screech-Owl, Barn Owl and Black-and-white Owl are the typical species in the area.

Day 4

Early morning Tárcoles River Boat Trip, ideal to see the large American Crocodiles, this two hour boat ride can produce American Pygmy Kingfisher, Yellow-billed Cotinga, Osprey, Plumbeous Kite, Mangrove Vireo, Panama Flycatcher, Mangrove Yellow Warbler (ssp), Mangrove Cuckoo, Mangrove Hummingbird, Roseate Spoonbill, Common Black Hawk, Tricolored Heron, Bare-throated Tiger-Heron, and Magnificent Frigatebird. Begin traveling towards Esquinas Rainforest Lodge in La Gamba, by Piedras Blancas National Park. Birding en route. Arrive at Esquinas Rainforest Lodge mid to late afternoon. Some species along the way are Pearl Kite, Crested Oropendola, Blue-headed Parrot, Brown-throated Parakeet, Yellow-bellied Seedeater, Morelet’s Seedeater, Gray-cowled Wood-Rail, Purple Gallinule and Red-breasted Meadowlark.

Day 5

Spend a full day enjoying the lush habitats of Esquinas Rainforest Lodge and Piedras Blancas National Park. The bird sounds are amazing at five in the morning, an early start can help us find the endemic Black-cheeked Ant-Tanager. Semi-open areas and trails in the forest can be very productive, often producing sightings of Striped Woodhaunter, Charming Hummingbird, White-crested Coquette, Gray-headed Tanager, Marbled Wood-Quail, Black-bellied Wren, Riverside Wren, Black-striped Woodcreeper, Tawny-winged Woodcreeper, Orange-collared Manakin, Red-capped Manakin, White-throated Shrike-Tanager, Red-rumped Woodpecker, Golden-naped Woodpecker, Baird’s Trogon, Band-tailed Barbthroat, Bronzy Hermit, White-tipped Sicklebill, Black-faced Antthrush, Chestnut-backed Antbird, Little Tinamou, Great Tinamou, Great Curassow, Uniform Crake, Gray-cowled Wood-Rail, Agami Heron, Green-breasted Mango and sometimes Sapphire-throated Hummingbird. A one hour drive to Rincón de Osa or a good lucky day around the lodge, can produce Yellow-billed Cotinga and Turquoise Cotinga. Birding the road just outside the lodge regularly produces Striped Owl, Common Potoo and Common Pauraque. Spectacled Owl and Crested Owl are regulars at the edges of forest bordering the lodge grounds.

Day 6

Early birding at Esquinas Rainforest Lodge. Today we will move to Las Cruces Biological Station in San Vito de Coto Brus. Birding en route. Arrive at Las Cruces in time for lunch. Afternoon birding the grounds of the station and gardens. Common bird species are Red-faced Spinetail, Thick-billed Euphonia, Spot-crowned Euphonia, Speckled Tanager, Silver-throated Tanager, Scarlet-thighed Dacnis, Streaked Saltator, Tropical Parula, Lesson’s Motmot, Scarlet-rumped Tanager, White-tailed Emerald, Snowy-bellied Hummingbird, Golden-olive Woodpecker, Crested Guan and Bay-headed Tanager. Mottled Owl and Black-and-white Owl are the regular night birds at the station.

Day 7

Early morning birding is fantastic at Las Cruces, quite a few birds attend the feeder. The gardens and forest edges become very active. Regular inhabitants of Las Cruces are White-throated Thrush, Collared Trogon, Brown-billed Scythebill, Spotted Woodcreeper, Spotted Barbtail, Slaty-capped Flycatcher, Rufous-tailed Jacamar, Ruddy Foliage-gleaner, Buff-throated Foliage-gleaner, Marbled Wood-Quail, Slate-throated Redstart, Green Hermit, Slaty Antwren, Russet Antshrike, Black-faced Antthrush, White-throated Spadebill, Blackburnian Warbler, Scarlet-thighed Dacnis, Plain Antvireo and Barred Forest-Falcon.

A late afternoon visit to San Joaquín Marsh may add some interesting sightings of Crested Oropendola, Blue-headed Parrot, Scaled Pigeon, Olive-crowned Yellowthroat (formerly a subspecies of the Masked Yellowthroat), Bran-colored Flycatcher and occasionally Wattled Jacana and Ring-necked Duck. Exploring the Río Negro area can produce Lance-tailed Manakin and Black-chested Jay.

Day 8

An early departure for San Gerardo de Dota, where you will stay in Savegre Mountain Lodge or Sueños del Bosque in the highlands of Talamanca. Stop briefly in the Valley of El General where we can look for the Turquoise Cotinga. On the way up the mountains a couple of stops might produce White-winged Tanager, Red-headed Barbet, Golden-crowned Warbler, Black-breasted Wood-Quail and Common Chlorospingus. The paramo at the highest point of our drive can provide us with sightings of Volcano Junco, Volcano Hummingbird, Timberline Wren, Peg-billed Finch, Sooty Thrush, Large-footed Finch and Black-billed Nightingale-Thrush. Arrive at Savegre Mountain Lodge or Sueños del Bosque  late in the day.

Day 9 and 10

These two full days will be devoted to exploring the highland tropical cloud forest and sub-alpine rain paramo within and adjacent areas around Los Quetzales National Park. Wonderful trails in the forest of Savegre Mountain Lodge and dirt roads will provide access to these pristine life zones. The elusive Resplendent Quetzal is one of our spectacular targets, we will also look for the diurnal Costa Rican Pygmy-Owl, Northern Emerald-Toucanet, Black Guan, Spotted Wood-Quail, Sulphur-winged Parakeet, Ochraceous Pewee, Collared Trogon, Ochraceous Wren, Yellow-thighed Brushfinch, Black-cheeked Warbler, Collared Redstart, Golden-bellied Flycatcher, Spangle-cheeked Tanager, Streak-breasted Treehunter, Buffy Tuftedcheek, Silvery-fronted Tapaculo, Wrenthrush, Scintillant Hummingbird, Flame-throated Warbler, Slaty Flowerpiercer, Peg-billed Finch, Sooty Thrush, Timberline Wren, Volcano Junco, Sooty-capped Chlorospingus, Red-fronted Parrotlet, Buff-fronted Quail-Dove, Maroon-chested Ground-Dove and Silvery-throated Jay. If you wish, night birding, which we take seriously, might produce Bare-shanked Screech-Owl, Unspotted Saw-whet Owl and Dusky Nightjar, as well as occasional sightings of the interesting Central American Cacomistle, Mexican Hairy Porcupine, Baird’s Tapir and even Puma.

Day 11

Leave the mountains and travel to La Selva Biological Station. Arrive at La Selva in the afternoon. Some of the numerous bird species at La Selva are Snowy Cotinga, White-collared Manakin, Dusky-faced Tanager, Red-throated Ant-Tanager, Rufous Motmot, Great Tinamou, Little Tinamou, Slaty-breasted Tinamou, Black-headed Tody-Flycatcher, Black-capped Pygmy-Tyrant, Plain-colored Tanager, Black-throated Wren, Blue-chested Hummingbird, White-whiskered Puffbird, Pied Puffbird, Tiny Hawk, Semiplumbeous Hawk, Great Curassow, Cinnamon Woodpecker, Mealy Parrot and Red-lored Parrot. Great Green Macaws regularly fly over the station. At night the station offers great access to look for owls and other wildlife, night birds include Spectacled, Crested Owl, Black-and-white Owl, Middle American Screech-Owl and Great Potoo.

Day 12

A full day to explore La Selva, open areas and forest trails should continue to add new bird sightings. Black-crowned Antshrike, Purple-throated Fruitcrow, Bare-necked Umbrellabird, Olive-backed Quail-Dove, King Vulture, Black Hawk-Eagle, Olive-crowned Yellowthroat, Great Antshrike, Central American Pygmy-Owl, Bay Wren, Stripe-breasted Wren, White-fronted Nunbird, Green Ibis, Olive-throated Parakeet, Sungrebe, Chestnut-colored Woodpecker, Stripe-throated Hermit and Bronze-tailed Plumeleteer.

Day 13

Early departure for a day trip to Braulio Carrillo National Park and Cope’s Feeders. An early walk in the wet foothill forest of Braulio Carrillo can produce excellent birds like Black-and-yellow Tanager, Tawny-crested Tanager, Blue-and-gold Tanager, Tawny-capped Euphonia, Lattice-tailed Trogon, Black-eared Wood-Quail, Black-crowned Antpitta, Pale-vented Thrush, Lanceolated Monklet, Ochre-breasted Antpitta, White-crowned Manakin, Sharpbill and Emerald Tanager. In the afternoon we will visit Cope’s Feeders, this is a wonderful site for photography and ideal to observe quite a few species in detail. Cope always walks us around in the woods nearby looking for owl roosts and other interesting wildlife, possible birds include Spectacled Owl, Crested Owl, Bronzed-tailed Plumeleteer, Crimson-collared Tanager, Russet-naped Wood-Rail, White-necked Jacobin and Blue-chested Hummingbird. Cope also offers interesting wildlife sightings. He typically stakes out the nice looking Honduran White Bats, Helmeted Basilisks, vine snakes and sloths. Return to La Selva at the end of the day.

Day 14

Even with a the return trip to San José, you will get a full day of birding. Traveling over the Central Volcanic Range explore the area of Vara Blanca and Cinchona, late check in in Hotel Bougainvillea or Hotel Buena Vista.

Day 15

Transportation to the airport and return home.

The above itinerary includes:

Lodging in all locations based on double occupancy

All meals starting with breakfast on Day2 and ending with dinner on Day14

Professional birding guide

Private transportation

Entrance fees to parks and reserves

Boat tour

Your list of the birds of Costa Rica

Bottled drinking water for the drives

* Tips and alcohol are not included within the price.

Price per person: US$ 6,946 / per person in double occupancy

The price of the trip can be adjusted according to the number of people in the group. Single occupancy rates can be supplied.

Five Destinations, Five Hotspots Tour Map
Spangle-cheeked Tanager (Tangara dowii)
Garden Emerald (Chlorostilbon assimilis)
Volcano Junco (Junco vulcani)
Turquoise Cotinga (Cotinga ridgwayi)
Volcano Hummingbird (Selasphorus flammula)
Agami Heron (Agamia agami)
Esquinas Rainforest Lodge