Everything about this experience happens through the birding lens. The excursions are led by a Birding Master Guide, supported by birding experts in each of four distinctive bioregions, four distinctive tropical forests, and four distinctive topographies. Private transportation runs to a birder’s schedule, not a hotel transfer schedule.
You’ll enjoy four world-acclaimed Greentique Hotels, renown for exquisite, locally sourced food, relaxing, first-class accommodations, exceptional service, plus additional tours available at each hotel, and an array of on-property facilities and amenities that will make this trip one of life’s most memorable vacations.
So if you’re keen to immerse yourself in a world of exotic birds, verdant jungle habitats, and the warmth and graciousness of the Costa Rican people … then Costa Rica Birding Adventure should be on your list.
Arrive Los Angeles Cloud Forest, Costa Rica
Upon arrival in San Jose, Costa Rica you will transfer by ground approximately 1 1/2 hours to Villa Blanca Cloud Forest Hotel in the Los Angeles Cloud Forest. Villa Blanca is a charming and quaint eco-centric boutique hotel situated on a 75-acre private biological reserve with hiking trails available for exploration throughout the property. At check-in and hotel orientation, meet your Birding Specialist. This evening, enjoy dinner at El Sendero Restaurant on the edge of the cloud forest.
Bird Watching Highlands & Quetzal Tour; Cloud Forest Night Walk
During Quetzal season from mid-February through May, Villa Blanca offers the Quetzal Tour. Depart the hotel at 7:15 am for a 45-minute drive to Azahar Peak near La Paz de San Ramon. Arrive at a private, family-owned farm where Quetzals come to nest. Explore the property along a well-maintained trail looking for footprints of mountain cats and wild boars. You can also find the elusive Quetzal bird, considered a mystical creature to indigenous populations throughout the region.
Early this evening, experience the wonders of the cloud forest on a night walk. This precious private reserve is part of only 2% of the remaining cloud forests. At night, the cloud forest is filled with the sweet fragrances of nocturnals flowers and plants and filled with the music of nature's symphony. Your Greentique guide will unveil a hidden world of exotic tropical wildlife along carefully designed trails showcasing unique segments of this remarkably diverse biosphere. Overnight Villa Blanca Cloud Forest Hotel.
Quetzal Tour; Transfer to Santa Juana Mountain, Southern Mountains
This morning, you will be met and driven approximately 4 hours to Santa Juana Lodge in the Southern Mountains - with stops along the way. Enjoy the views along the road and be amazed by the Poor Man's Umbrella plants, giant tree ferns, and mosses of Cerro de la Muerte. Then, enjoy a delicious lunch at Paraiso del Quetzal restaurant. This authentic family business is operated by the Serrano family and affords you the opportunity to taste spectacular local cuisine and spot some more birds on your list.
Paraiso del Quetzal hosts a variety of hummingbirds like the Fiery-throated Hummingbird, the Magnificient Hummingbird, Lesser Violetear, Volcano Hummingbird, and the Scintillant Humminbird. Also, the Resplendent Quetzal, Long-tailed Skily flycatcher, Ruddy-capped Nightingale-Thrush, Sooty Thrush, the elusive Wrenthrush and Collared Redstart can be found here.
Continue on through the picturesque coffee plantations of Santa Maria de Dota and San Marcos de Terrazu for a coffee break with world-renowned coffee. Continue on over the Talamanca Mountain Range to Santa Juana Lodge in time to catch the sunset over the Manuel Antonio National Park coastline. During your stay, discover the rural heritage of Costa Rica in this little farming town. Santa Juana Lodge is a remote mountain lodge located on the slopes of the Fila Chonta Mountains. Each private tree-house style casita is situated on a natural hillside terrace with panoramic mountain and coastal views.
Carara National Park Tour
This morning, enjoy breakfast before an early departure to Carara National Park on the coast. This lush, protected region of Pacific Coastal Wet Forest covers roughly 11,613 acres and is home to approximately 48% of Costa Rica's avian species. The park is set at the convergent point of two essential ecosystems between the dry North Pacific Coast and the wet South Pacific coast. It, therefore, showcases wildlife from both areas and is celebrated as one of the best wildlife watching habitats on earth. Be on the lookout for the exotic Scarlet Macaw, the Black-throated Trogon, the Green Honeycreeper, the Mealy Parrot, the Pale-billed Woodpecker, and more. The mangroves and mudflats of the region have a large population of seabirds, shorebirds, and mangrove species - including the largest crocodiles in Central America! The mangroves are home to species such as the Mangrove Hummingbird, White Ibis, Mangrove Cuckoo, Common Black-Hawk, Roseate Spoonbill, Boat-billed Heron, and more. Enjoy lunch at a local restaurant in Tarcoles before returning to Santa Juana to catch the sunset over the Pacific coastline. A traditional campesino dinner will be prepared by the ladies of the village, followed by an overview with your guide of the day's inventory of birds and program for the next day. Overnight Santa Juana Lodge.
Transfer to Drake Bay, Osa Peninsula
Today, you will be met and driven approximately 2 hours to the boat dock in Sierpe where you will transfer by boat down the Sierpe River to Drake Bay on the remote Osa Peninsula. The road to Sierpe brings you down the coast, the terrain and vegetation changing along the way you travel into the coastal wetlands. You'll meet Aguila de Osa's Master Guide and regional birding specialist, Carlos Gonzales, before boarding a river launch down the Sierpe River. Explore segments of the Terraba-Sierpe National Wetlands, the largest untouched mangrove forest on Central America's Pacific Coast. The are is teeming with bird species like the rare Agami Heron. Carlos will point out as many as possible and share their detailed descriptions. You may encounter the Red-footed Booby, White Ibis, Little Blue Heron, Scarlet Macaw, Mangrove Hawk, Mangrove Warbler, Tricolored Heron and more.
At the mouth of the Sierpe River, ou will head to the Pacific Ocean then across Drake Bay to the Aguila de Osa boat dock to check into the lodge. The eco-lodge is located between the Pacific Ocean and the tropical rainforest high above the water's edge. The rooms are spacious and breezy with mesh windows. Your afternoon is free. At sunset, you'll review the day's bird sightings and discuss tomorrow's trip to Corcovado National Park. Happy hour begins at 5 pm. Then, enjoy one of the most memorable dining experiences of your trip!
Full Day Guided Hike of Corcovado National Park - Sirena Station
After breakfast, travel by boat approximately 1 hour to the Sirena Station at Corcovado National Park. The boat trip showcases 25 miles of the most beautiful coastline in the country. You're headed to the heart of one of the most intensely bio-diverse places in the country, featuring birds and wildlife of the primary coastal lowland rainforest. Some of the most famous wildlife in Costa Rica can be found here including peccaries, Baird's Tapir, iguanas, three-toed sloths, lizards, and a wide range of amphibians, plants, and insects. Corcovado is the only national park where all four species of monkeys can be seen. Bird species include the Black-cheeked Ant-Tanger, Chestnut-backed Ant Bird, Gartered Trogon, Red-lored Parrot, Red-crowned Woodpecker, Golden-naped Woodpecker, and more. You'll also ee an impressive variety of tanagers, warblers, and sea birds including the Black Term, Least Storm-Petrel, Sandwich Tern, and Royal Tern. Then, enjoy sunset cocktails and review the birds and other species spotted in Corcovado. Dinner will be in the Great Room and feature chef Dixon's special fresh seafood menu.
Half Day Birding Explore Tour
The area surrounding Aguila de Osa Inn is a paradise for birding enthusiasts. The professional naturalist guides have extensive knowledge of the region and the birds that live there. Common bird sightings include macaws, hummingbirds, hawks, woodpeckers, manikins, and flycatchers. This 2-hour tour departs directly from the hotel and is offered two times each day, once before breakfast and once just before dinner. It is possible to modify this tour based on your preferences. Overnight Aguila de Osa Inn.
Depart San Jose, Costa Rica
Today you will be met and driven approximately 4 hours from Drake Bay back to San Jose international airport for your return flight home.
Pricing is valid through the date listed for each itinerary (all pricing is subject to change until booked and confirmed). Holiday season supplements apply for Christmas, New Years, Presidents Day, and Easter travel dates. Green season specials and/or lower rates may apply for May to November travel dates.
All itineraries are land only and international airfare is quoted separately. Itinerary adjustments may be necessary depending on your international flight schedule. For example a late arrival will usually require a night near the airport in San Jose.
Please call one of our experts at 800-827-9046 to discuss your travel details.