The Costa Rican Classic Tour

Flame-throated Warbler (Oreothlypis gutturalis)
Golden-browed Chlorophonia (Chlorophonia callophrys)
Orange-collared Manakin (Manacus aurantiacus)
Collared Peccarie (Tayassu tajacu)
Streak-chested Antpitta (Hylopezus perspicillatus)
Pacific Screech-Owl (Megascops cooperi)
Fiery-throated Hummingbird (Panterpe insignis)

The Costa Rican Classic - 10 Nights

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3 different natural areas 

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Locations to be visited:

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1 night - Hotel Bougainvillea or Hotel Buena Vista

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

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

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

1 night - Hotel Bougainvillea or Hotel Buena Vista

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Day 1 

Arrive in Costa Rica at SJO. Transport to Hotel Bougainvillea or Buena Vista.

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Day 2

Begin the day with some early birding on the grounds of the hotel and vicinities, typical resident bird species include White-eared Ground-Sparrow, the endemic Cabani’s Ground-Sparrow, Lesson’s Motmot and Ferruginous Pygmy-Owl. Depart for La Selva Biological Station, traveling across the continental divide. We will explore the Caribbean foothill countryside of Vara Blanca and Cinchona to find endemics; Coppery-headed Emerald, Black-bellied Hummingbird, Prong-billed Barbet, Costa Rican Warbler, Sooty-faced Finch, Silvery-fronted Tapaculo as well as residents; Green Thorntail, Green Hermit, Purple-throated Mountain-gem,  White-bellied Mountain-gem, Violet Sabrewing, Red-headed Barbet and Ochre-breasted Antpitta. Arrive at La Selva in late afternoon.

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Day 3

Early in the morning you will wake up to the song of birds and powerful far carrying sounds of the Howler Monkeys. Get ready for a full day of great birding in La Selva Biological Station, home of the most studied rainforest in the world. Explore the access road and the grounds around the cafeteria. After breakfast, birdwatch the trails and open areas of the reserve. 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, Purple-throated Fruitcrow, 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 Owl, Crested Owl, Black-and-white Owl, Middle American Screech-Owl and Great Potoo. 

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Day 4

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.

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Day 5

A bit of early birding in La Selva, then departure to the highland cloud forest of Talamanca. Once in the mountain, enjoy lunch in Paraíso del Quetzal, excellent location for the Resplendent Quetzal, Fiery-throated Hummingbird, Lesser Violetear, Talamanca Hummingbird, Volcano Hummingbird, Black-and-yellow Silky-Flycatcher, Long-tailed Silky-Flycatcher, Golden-browed Chlorophonia, Large-footed Finch and Black-billed Nightingale-Thrush. Descend to San Gerardo de Dota and stay in Savegre Mountain Lodge or Sueños del Bosque, both owned by the Chacón family, pioneers of these mountains.

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Day 6 and 7

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 Finch, 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.

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Day 8

Depart from Savegre Mountain Lodge or Sueños del Bosque early in the morning, descend into the Valley of El General where we look for Turquoise Cotinga, Fiery-billed Aracari, Fork-tailed Flycatcher, Lesser Elaenia, Pale-breasted Spinetail, Garden Emerald, Snowy-bellied Hummingbird and Streaked Saltator. Drive over the Coastal Range to reach the Pacific coast and continue traveling northwest to reach the Carara and Tarcoles area. Stay in Cerro Lodge or Villa Lapas. Late afternoon birding may produce Ferruginous Pygmy-Owl, Black-headed Trogon, Olive Sparrow, Cinnamon Hummingbird, Rufous-naped Wren, Barred Antshrike, Rufous-and-white Wren, Scarlet Macaw, White-fronted Parrot and Orange-fronted Parakeet.

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Day 9

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.

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Day 10

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, Mangrove Yellow Warbler (ssp), Mangrove Cuckoo, Mangrove Hummingbird, Roseate Spoonbill, Common Black Hawk, Tricolored Heron, Bare-throated Tiger-Heron and Magnificent Frigatebird. Lunch then begin return towards the Central Valley to reach Hotel Bougainvillea or Buena Vista. Or stay at Cerro Lodge one more night in which case we explore more areas near Carara and Tárcoles and depart directly towards the SJO international airport the next morning, a 1hour 15min drive.

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Day 11

Transfer to the airport and return home.

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The above itinerary includes:

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Lodging in all locations based on double occupancy

All meals starting with Breakfast on Day2 and ending with dinner on Day10

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

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* Tips and alcohol are not included within the price.

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Price : $ 3,959USD / per person on double occupancy

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

The Costa Rican Classic Birding Tour - location map
Large-footed Finch (Pezopetes capitalis)
Gray-breasted Wood-Wren (Henicorhina leucophrys)
Highland Cloud Forest, Talamanca
Talamanca
Crimson-collared Tanager (Ramphocelus sanguinolentus)
Northern Emerald Toucanet (Aulacorhynchus prasinus)
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