A few guest comments
“Our trip to Costa Rica organized according to my personal wish list by Tropical Feathers by Noel and Carlos Ureña was just outstanding. Carlos was able to pick up minute sounds in the rainforest and cloud forest, so we could spot and identify birds. Moreover, his knowledge of the behavior of the birds was beyond expectation, which is of course fantastic for a photographer. Many spectacular moments with birds and mammals outside my wish list occurred too, Costa Rica is amazing.
To get me in the deep forests in my wheelchair requires skills combined with enormous enthusiasm, great persistence and passion (in summary: Carlos) A strong wish was to observe and photograph manakin display behavior, which was very successful, and to see the Resplendent Quetzal, one of the most mystical and beautiful birds on our planet. Twenty years ago I had the first encounter with this vibrantly colored bird and my desire to observe it again was fulfilled and I could even study it over several days. One moment it came even very close and looked at me with its mesmerizing beauty. The story of this encounter is the heart of Chapter 17 in my recently published storybook ‘Limitless life, the power of passion and imagination’. Another image ‘Solitude’ in black and white will be highlighted in my book to be published in October 2019:‘Beyond Oneness’. Thank you Noel and Carlos for sharing your expertise and friendship!!”
Jan van der Greef,
Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2018, Winner Black and White.
Dear Beatriz and Carlos,
A big thank you for everything you did to make our 18-day birding trip around Costa Rica with Carlos such a success! It was the best organized, most productive and enjoyable trip we have made in many years of travelling.
We asked you for an itinerary that allowed us to explore a variety of habitats and to spend enough time in each location to get to know the birds (and take photos), rather than rushing from place to place to build up a big list. The plan you devised suited us perfectly (mostly we stayed at each location for 2-3 nights). But – thanks to Carlos’s fantastic bird-finding skills – we still managed a huge bird list of 454 species!
Not only did we greatly appreciate Carlos’s birding skills, but we found him a delightful companion; kind and considerate; modest and friendly; always cheerful; a great sense of humour; and fun to be with. On one hilarious occasion, we drove along a disused railway track accompanied by Carlos playing audio of a steam train!
All the logistics of the trip worked well; there was never a hitch; the accommodations were comfortable and attractive and well-situated for birding (in fact a large proportion of the birds recorded were seen in the grounds of the various hotels). Everywhere the food was really enjoyable and accommodating our largely vegetarian diets was never a problem.
The trip’s ornithological highlights will stay with us forever: the toucans, the motmots, the glorious arrays of hummingbirds, trogons and woodpeckers, the party of antbirds (three species) by a dark forest path at Arernal, the Streak-chested Antpitta singing its heart out while it allowed us to approach so closely at Carara. They all figure among the 10,500 photos we took!
The worst part of the whole trip was having to go home at the end! We didn’t want to leave. We would have been very happy to have carried on much longer birding around Costa Rica with Carlos.
Humphrey and Jackie Sitters
Dear Ureña family,
Our trip to Costa Rica was the birding trip of a life time. We enjoyed the countryside and accommodations. All aspects of the trip went smoothly. Hotels improved with each move. Carlos Urena is the best guide we have ever had- knowledgeable about all aspects of Costa Rican birds, can identify a bird by a single call or a brief glimpse, and knows the plants, animals and insects. He has a positive and enthusiastic attitude and is entertaining and kind. He was very professional and we enjoyed his company. We think we saw 350 different species in nine days. We highly recommend Carlos to all serious birders. May he and his family have a wonderful and happy life.
Doug and Kathy Dorr
Just a short note to say a big THANK YOU for all of Tropical Feathers contribution to our wonderful birding trip. It really was marvelous. We thoroughly enjoyed our time with Carlos — he is extraordinarily skilled at hearing, spotting and identifying the birds. He was EXTREMELY patient in making sure everyone got a good sighting even when one of us was struggling. He is also VERY personable, funny, able to engage in banter and teasing — giving and getting — to a remarkable degree. We loved him.
I have already recommended you to several of my birding friends.
Jerry and I want to thank you once more for the delightful and successful birding tour last month. We thoroughly appreciated your capable and perseverant work in guiding us to many rare finds. Your sense of humor, your dexterity with the scope and willingness to allow each of us (mainly me) to observe any given bird, and your voluminous knowledge of the birding possibilities on our tour all were notable. Also, your abilities to vocalize and/or to call in a bird with a tape were really unbelievable. We are still shaking our heads.
With your command of English, your professional approach and birding prowess, your business is sure to continue to flourish.
Our Costa Rica trip was truly outstanding and special! We will long treasure our memories of our time there with you, Johnny, Louise, Colin and Helmut.
Anytime we can recommend your services, we will. All our best to you
Jan and Jerry Fedrizzi
Eagle, Colorado, USA
I want to thank you for the wonderfully enjoyable and productive birding trip we did together in December.
Your birding and guiding skills are uncanny—hearing, seeing and most important, getting me on the birds we discover so effectively. You are also very enjoyable company to bird with and Tropical Feathers and Carlos’ logistical support were flawless. I have birded with a number of the very best guides in Costa Rica and you are a serious candidate for top of that list.
Cerro de la Muerte, Buenos Aires, and the Skutch farm near San Isidro was a great itinerary choice for my primary targets, and for “crippling” views of a long-list of non-targetted birds (old friends) as well.
My wife and I are experienced neotropical birders having significant field time in Mexico, Guatemala, Belize, Ecuador and Panama and have birded with a good number of professional guides. In mid-September we were guided by Noel Urena of Tropical Feathers, visiting five distinct habitats in Costa Rica. I can say unequivocally that he is the most accomplished birder with whom I've had the pleasure of being in the field and the most professional and best equipped guide of whom I'm aware. His ability to locate and immediately identify even the most difficult species in the bush is remarkable. Additionally, his optics, cameras, recording/playback, recording collection and other gear are top notch and up to date. His enthusiasm is contagious often getting more excited than I on nailing a species. While he is also very intelligent and well informed, his sense of humor was unparalleled. He was constantly successfully pranking us with considerable imagination.
In short, I can't wait to schedule our next trip with Noel.
Just a quick note, Noel, to tell you how much we enjoyed our trip to Costa Rica. We loved all three birding locations you took us to and were impressed with your knowledge of birds -- and everything else! Your warm and humorous personality and your enthusiasm for birding convinced us we picked the best guide in Costa Rica. We never expected to see so many birds! A couple of highlights for me were the hike down through the cloud forest to Savegre Lodge and the mangrove boat trip at Tarcoles. But there was so much more -- the bridge at La Selva, the Great Potoo, the butterflies, Carara and Braulio Carillo national parks, the road by Cerro Lodge. If we ever travel to Costa Rica again, we'll be in touch.
It has been 6 weeks since we returned from our wonderful Costa Rica trip and I still cannot stop thinking about the great time we had. I can't think of single thing that I would want to do differently. (Except that I would have gone with you to see the Sungrebe's striped feet!) Everything went off without a hitch and we are left with so many pleasant memories of special places and special birds. (I have to laugh every time I think of the "Flying Pillow"!) Not only your superb expertise, but also your friendliness and sense of humor were very much appreciated. I had so much fun with you! You're the best! I cherish every one of the 333 spectacular birds that I saw! Bill got some excellent pictures from the trip and he writes short trip reports for his photographer friends he knows from Yellowstone.
Hopefully we will see you again in Costa Rica soon!
Our best to you and your family...
Peggy and Bill Gussman
Noel and Carlos.
I just want to say thank you for the outstanding pictures, excellent guiding services, sharing of your knowledge and experiences, your warm hospitality, a chance to meet your wonderful family, and last, but not least, providing Joyce and I with many, many wonderful memories. I don’t know when, but I know in my heart we will be back for a return engagement.
Hasta la vista good friends!
Charlie and Joyce Ault
My husband Rod MacIvor and I birded with Noel in Costa Rica two years ago. We could not have asked for more from a guide.
He is a gentleman, smart, personable, and knows about his country. He knows flora, fauna, history, politics, whatever you want-which gives an added dimension to your tour. His knowledge of the birds of Costa Rica is exceptional, and his English is fluent and idiomatic. He can imitate practically any bird call and attract the birds. Most importantly, he is a very nice man whom you will enjoy spending time with.
The beauty of birding with Noel is that he accommodates all members of the party and what they want. Everyone is happy. At the beginning of our four days with him, my husband did not have much interest in birding. He went along to accommodate me, the birder. At the end of the four days, he had turned into something of a birder because of Noel's ability to recognize exactly what Rod needed to enjoy the trip.
If you want to bird from ten to noon, Noel would make that happen for you. If you want to go from 6:00 a.m. to dinner time, then go out owling, I'm sure he would be more than happy to do that. Just tell him what you want. Accommodations will be determined by where the best birding is, and we found them to be absolutely fine. He was well known to people where we went, and well respected.
I can't recommend him highly enough. At the end of your trip, you will feel that you have made a friend for life. We were delighted with him. I think he is one of Costa Rica 's treasures.
Hope you like these photos. We have wonderful memories of our birding trip with you.
you are a master at your work - you are a wealth of knowledge about the birds and Costa Rican natural wildlife, but most of all, you are a really special person. You have a wonderful attitude, you are kind, helpful, generous and a pleasure to be around. Although I didn’t have much conversation with Juan Carlos, I got very warm feelings. If he is a friend of yours, he must be a good guy!
Keep enjoying what you do.
Until our paths cross again.
Our very best,
Susan and Edward Rubin
Dear Beatriz and Carlos
We arrived home safely and I wish that I was still in Costa Rica. A huge thank you for your organization with the trip. It far exceeded our expectations- it really was a trip of a lifetime.
Carlos was tremendous; he has the ears of a bat and the vision of an eagle. He was so friendly and knowledgeable. We know that we would not have seen 1/3rd of the birds without him.
So enjoyable, it was hard work and long hours but so worthwhile. We will unreservedly recommend you to anyone we can.
With all best wishes