Birding Tour Costa Rica Escape

Dates and Costs


11 – 19 January 2025

Spaces Available: 5

Price: US$5,224 / £4,305 / €5,056 per person sharing

Single Supplement: US$948 / £781 / €918



* Please note that currency conversion is calculated in real-time, therefore is subject to slight change. Please refer back to the base price when making final payments.

Recommended Field Guide

(Please also read our blogs about recommended field guides for the seven continents here)

Tour Details

Duration: 9 days
Group Size: 4 – 8
Tour Start: San José
Tour End: San José

Price includes:

All accommodation
All meals
Entrance fees
Private transportation
Private tour leader
Transfers from/to the airport


Price excludes:

Personal expenses such as laundry, drinks and alcoholic drinks, personal items, phone calls, internet access, etc.
Gratuities (please see our tipping guidelines blog)
Medical and trip cancellation insurance
Any activity not described in the itinerary

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Costa Rica Escape Tour
January 2025


We believe this expertly tailored Costa Rica birding tour is the perfect excuse to leave behind the daily stress of modern-day living to do some great birding in one of the most fantastic birdwatching destinations in all of the neotropics.

Costa Rica Escape birding tourResplendent Quetzal is one of the main targets on this trip (photo Kevin Easley).


Costa Rica offers perhaps the best birding in Central America, not only in terms of birds (the country holds 933 species) but also in terms of accommodation and tourist infrastructure. During this short tour we are staying at some of the most comfortable hotels available, perfect for birders and nature-lovers alike. If you do not have time to join our more comprehensive Complete Costa Rica Tour but still want to see beautiful and charismatic neotropical bird species, then this Costa Rica Escape Tour could be perfect for you. The tour is suited for both first-time birders to the neotropics and those more experienced birders trying to get a high number of species in the shortest amount of time. Not only does this tour offer an impressive species list but it also offers you the opportunity to see a number of neotropical dream birds such as Keel-billed Toucan, Resplendent Quetzal and a plethora of gorgeous hummingbird species.

Costa Rica Birding EscapeThe large and brightly colored Keel-billed Toucan is always a popular sight.


Itinerary (9 days/8 nights) 


Day 1. Arrival at San José and transfer to Hotel Bougainvillea

You will arrive at the San José Airport to be met by your tour leader, and be transferred to the hotel. If time permits, we may do some birding around the beautiful grounds of the hotel, looking for Rufous-backed Wren, Hoffmann’s Woodpecker, Finsch’s Parakeet, Squirrel Cuckoo, Baltimore Oriole, Cinnamon-bellied Saltator, American Yellow Warbler, Lesson’s Motmot, White-winged Dove, Rufous-tailed Hummingbird, Clay-colored Thrush, Yellow-bellied Sapsucker, Melodious Blackbird, Great-tailed Grackle, and with some luck, White-eared Ground Sparrow.

Overnight: Hotel Bougainvillea, San José


Day 2. La Paz Waterfalls, Cinchona Feeders, and transfer to La Quinta

We will spend some time birding the hotel grounds before breakfast to add any additional species to yesterday afternoon’s birding. After breakfast, we will leave the hotel and head to La Paz Waterfalls. Here we should get species such as Mountain Wren, Slaty Antwren, Slaty-backed Nightingale-Thrush, Large-footed Finch, and a number of hummingbirds such as Violet Sabrewing, Green Hermit, Green-crowned Brilliant, the endemic Coppery-headed Emerald and with some luck Purple-crowned Fairy. We will of course spend some time admiring the impressive waterfalls of the area too!

Costa Rica Birding EscapeWe may find Violet Sabrewing at La Paz Waterfalls.


After lunch, we will visit the Cinchona feeders, where we can spend time watching and photographing birds such as Red-headed Barbet, Prong-billed Barbet, Blue-throated Toucanet, Silver-throated, Scarlet-rumped, Crimson-collared, Blue-grey, and Palm Tanagers, and with luck Black Guan and Buff-fronted Quail-Dove. After some great time at the feeders, we will transfer to Sarapiquí where we will look for iconic Caribbean foothills species such as Yellow-throated Toucan, Montezuma Oropendola, White-crowned Parrot, and Grey-headed Chachalaca.

Overnight: La Quinta Sarapiquí Country Inn, Sarapiquí

Coast Rica birding escapeBlack Guan can be seen at the Cinchona feeders.


Day 3. La Selva Biological Station

We will have an early start to explore the famous La Selva Biological Station, where we have the chance to find Short-billed and Scaled Pigeons, Brown-hooded Parrot, Great Green Macaw, Snowy Cotinga, White-ringed Flycatcher, Fasciated Antshrike, White-collared Manakin, Crested Guan, Great Antshrike, Red-lored Amazon, and Chestnut-headed and Montezuma Oropendola. In addition, we’ll look for Semiplumbeous Hawk, Chestnut-sided and Buff-rumped Warblers, Great Tinamou, Vermiculated Screech Owl, Great Curassow, Northern Barred Woodcreeper, Rufous-winged, Pale-billed, Chestnut-colored, and Black-cheeked Woodpeckers, Keel-billed Toucan, and perhaps even the secretive Slaty-breasted Tinamou.

Overnight: La Quinta Sarapiquí Country Inn, Sarapiquí


Day 4. Cope Wildlife Reserve and Puerto Viejo

We will have a full morning visiting the famous Cope Wildlife Reserve where we will have excellent opportunities to photograph birds visiting its amazing feeders. Some of the species regularly visiting the feeders might include Bronze-tailed Plumeleteer, Crowned Woodnymph, White-necked Jacobin, Stripe-throated Hermit, White-tipped Sicklebill, Green Hermit, Montezuma and Chestnut-headed Oropendolas, Orange-chinned Parakeet, Black-cheeked Woodpecker, Red-legged, Shining and Green Honeycreepers, and Crimson-collared Tanager. We will also explore some nocturnal bird territories near the reserve to look for potential roosting trees for Crested Owl, Spectacled Owl, and Black-and-white Owl, as well as Great Potoo. The open fields are good for Tropical Mockingbird and Yellow Tyrannulet. We will also have good chances to enjoy some other iconic Costa Rican wildlife including frogs, lizards, and mammals.

Late in the afternoon, we will explore some areas around Puerto Viejo where Great Green Macaw is reliable and other birds such as Slaty Spinetail, Long-tailed Tyrant, Yellow Tyrannulet, Olive-throated Parakeet, Morelet’s and Variable Seedeaters, and Thick-billed Seed Finch may be seen.

Overnight: La Quinta Sarapiquí Country Inn, Sarapiquí

Costa Rica Birding EscapeCrested Owl is one of a number of owl species we hope to encounter on this tour.


Day 5. Puerto Viejo and transfer to San Gerardo de Dota

Today we will leave Sarapiquí and make our way to San Gerardo de Dota and will break the long drive with a pleasant birding stop along the Sarapiquí River where, with luck, we might find Scarlet Macaw and King Vulture. We also have chances for Mangrove and Southern Rough-winged Swallows, Grey-breasted Martin, Prothonotary Warbler, Wedge-billed Woodcreeper, and Bare-throated Tiger Heron. We will then continue our drive to San Gerardo de Dota and, if time permits, enjoy some birding around Cerro de la Muerte, before reaching the lovely Savegre Lodge.

Overnight: San Gerardo de Dota valley


Day 6. Los Quetzales National Park and Paraiso Los Quetzales Lodge

Today we will drive to the high elevations of Los Quetzales National Park. Once on the high grounds of the park we will focus on the range-restricted Volcano Junco and Timberline Wren. Other species are likely to include Large-footed Finch, Volcano Hummingbird, Black-capped Flycatcher and Red-tailed Hawk. We will then explore the lower areas in search of Black-eared Warbler, the shy Peg-billed Finch, and with luck, Barred Parakeet.

After birding the national park we will visit Paraiso Los Quetzales Lodge where we will enjoy the hummingbird feeders, likely getting views of Fiery-throated, Talamanca, and Volcano Hummingbirds, Grey-tailed Mountaingem and Lesser Violetear. The lodge is also a good place to look for the Mountain Thrush, Ruddy-capped Nightingale-Thrush, Black-billed Nightingale-Thrush, Black-and-yellow Phainoptila, and with luck, Golden-browed Chlorophonia.

Costa Rica birding escapeLesser Violetear is one of the many hummingbird species we hope to see at the feeders at Paraiso Los Quetzales Lodge.


After lunch, we will explore the surroundings of the Cerro de La Muerte and spend the afternoon enjoying some coffee and hummingbirds at Miriam’s Restaurant where we should find Acorn and Hairy Woodpeckers, Sooty-capped Bush Tanager, Golden-browed Chlorophonia, Flame-colored Tanager, Large-footed Finch, Sooty Thrush and perhaps Blue-throated Toucanet. We will leave for our lodge before dusk and try for Dusky Nightjar en route.

Overnight: San Gerardo de Dota valley


Day 7. Savegre Lodge birding

Today we will have an early start to look for Resplendent Quetzal, perhaps the most-wanted bird in Central America. We will visit the most reliable spot in the valley to secure this special sighting. After breakfast, we will spend the morning exploring the lush mountain forest above the lodge, looking for Spotted Wood Quail, Ruddy Treerunner, Spangle-cheeked Tanager, Collared Whitestart, Black-capped Flycatcher, Buffy Tuftedcheek, Ruddy-capped Nightingale-Thrush, Silvery-fronted Tapaculo, and Flame-throated Warbler. Mixed flocks might hold North American migratory warblers such as Chestnut-sided, Black-throated Green, Black-and-white, and Wilson’s Warblers. In addition, we could find Sooty-capped Bush Tanager, Yellowish Flycatcher, Yellow-winged Vireo, Rufous-browed Peppershrike, and Black-faced Solitaire. We will spend the afternoon enjoying some easy birding around the lodge where we will keep an eye out for Finsch’s Parakeet, Long-tailed Silky-flycatcher, Slaty Flowerpiercer, Flame-colored Tanager, Acorn Woodpecker, Red-tailed Hawk, and Stripe-tailed and Scintillant Hummingbirds.

Overnight: San Gerardo de Dota valley

Costa Rica birding escapeThe fierce Ferruginous Pygmy Owl may be seen in San Jose.


Day 8. Birding Savegre and transfer back to San Jose

We will spend an extra morning around Savegre in case we need another chance to look for the Resplendent Quetzal, if we missed it on the previous day. We can explore the waterfalls road to look for Yellowish Flycatcher, Dark and Ochraceous Pewees, Black-faced Solitaire, and with some luck, American Dipper. After lunch we will be transferred to San Jose’s Hotel Robledal where it is possible to find Ferruginous Pygmy Owl and Jamaican Fruit-eating Bats in the hotel grounds.

Overnight Hotel Robledal, San Jose


Day 9. Transfer to the airport and departure

You will be transferred to San Jose Airport at a convenient time to connect with your international flight



Please note that the itinerary cannot be guaranteed as it is only a rough guide and can be changed (usually slightly) due to factors such as availability of accommodation, updated information on the state of accommodation, roads, or birding sites, the discretion of the guides and other factors. In addition, we sometimes have to use a different international guide from the one advertised due to tour scheduling.

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Costa Rica Escape Trip Report, January 2023

11- 19 JANUARY 2023

By Sarah Preston


A rapt bunch of birders watched this male Resplendent Quetzal eat its avocado breakfast.




This Costa Rica Escape 2023 trip was an incredible trip, which allowed us to see the best of the country in just a week. Costa Rica is perhaps the easiest country to bird in the tropical Americas, and most of the Neotropical families are well represented. With great roads, comfortable tourist and service facilities, and modern infrastructure, the country, and this trip in particular, is the best choice for those who come to the tropics for the first time.

Our adventure started in San José, the capital of Costa Rica, and we managed to explore different habitats and ecosystems, ranging from the cloudforest mountains of Savegre in central Costa Rica to the Caribbean foothills.  Of the 931 species of birds that occur in Costa Rica we managed to record more than a quarter in a week only! We saw 270 species as well as an additional 18 species that were heard only.

Our trip list included sightings of  amazing species such as Resplendent Quetzal, Violet Sabrewing, Black and Crested Guans, Yellow-throated and Keel-billed ToucansSpectacled and Crested Owls, Flame-throated and Black-cheeked Warblers, Long-tailed Silky-flycatcher, Prong-billed and Red-headed Barbets, American DipperBlack-breasted Wood Quail, and Golden-Browed Chlorophonia. In addition, we managed to see one of two country endemics that occur on the mainland, Coppery-headed Emerald, and we saw 28 birds that are shared only by Costa Rica and Panama. A nice selection of North American migratory warblers was also found, such as Chestnut-sided, Tennessee, Black-and-white, Golden-winged, Black-throated GreenTownsend’s,and Wilson’s Warblers, 7 species of owls, and 26 species of hummingbirds.

It was a memorable trip, with most participants visiting the tropics for the first time. This fun group of clients was able to experience the excellent food, amazing wildlife, and friendly people that make Costa Rica a popular vacation destination. We hope that you can join us on our Costa Rica Escape 2024 tour!


Detailed Report


Day 1, 11th January 2023. Hotel Bougainvillea

Half the group had arrived at Hotel Bougainvillea by the afternoon, so after lunch we birded the lush gardens behind the hotel. A resident Ferruginous Pygmy-Owl was perched in out in the open and one Mottled Owl was seen roosting in a large stand of bamboo. Several Lesson’s Motmots were seen, and a pair of Red-billed Pigeons were observed in courtship and copulation. Two White-fronted Amazons and a flock of Finsch’s Parakeets flew overhead. That evening a Common Pauraque called loudly in the parking lot and could be heard from inside our rooms.


Lesson’s Motmots were actively hunting in the Hotel Bougainvillea garden.


Day 2, 12th January 2023. Irazu Volcano National Park to Savegre Lodge

The group spent the first hour of our first full day birding the gardens behind Hotel Bougainvillea before breakfast. The Ferruginous Pygmy-Owl was again perched in full view and two Mottled Owls were roosting in the bamboo. We tried for White-eared Ground-Sparrow and Chestnut-capped Warbler, which were heard calling and the warbler gave brief views, but neither species cooperated well. Several species perched in the large, leafless tree in the center of the garden: a Masked Tityra, six Brown Jays, and a Tennessee Warbler. A couple Rufous-naped Wrens, a Cabanis’s Wren, and a Rufous-collared Sparrow were observed singing. Just before breakfast a male Montezuma Oropendola flew in and displayed. The female flew in, and they copulated.

After breakfast we drove up into the highlands to Irazu Volcano National Park. At the crater, there were Volcano Juncos in the parking lot. The entire group watched a male Volcano Hummingbird display several times – singing and flying high into the air and coming back to perch. We had our first looks at Slaty FlowerpiercerSooty ThrushFiery-throated Hummingbird, and Sooty-capped Bush Tanager. When stopped for lunch on the way down the mountain, a Short-tailed Hawk was observed soaring over the valley below.

On the way to Savegre Lodge, we stopped at Miriam’s Quetzals Restaurant where there are feeders in the back and a view of the Savegre Valley. Several species of hummingbirds were coming to the feeder and flowers: TalamancaFiery-throated, and Volcano HummingbirdsLesser Violetear, and Grey-tailed Mountaingem. The fruit feeder hosted Yellow-thighed Brush-finchMountain ThrushLarge-footed Finch, Flame-colored Tanagers, and Acorn Woodpeckers. One of the restaurant staff alerted us to the presence of a male Golden-browed Chlorophonia feeding on crabapples in the side garden and we watched it at length. First looks were had of Ruddy Treerunner and Yellow-winged Vireo, both seen briefly. A male and female pair of Yellow-bellied Siskins were seen perching high behind the feeders.


The Volcano Junco’s piercing yellow eyes made it look angry.


We arrived at Savegre Lodge just before dusk and noticed a woman photographing something in a tree at the entrance. When we found out it was an immature male Resplendent Quetzal, we pulled over and everyone eagerly bailed out of the vehicle to see it. Number one species acquired!


Day 3, 13th January 2023. Savegre Lodge to Los Quetzales National Park

We left before dawn to go a few miles down the road to join the vigil for the male Resplendent Quetzal that had been frequenting an avocado tree at dawn. The spectacular bird arrived as if on cue, fed from the avocado tree, and sat still for a long time for excellent scope views. After digesting for at least an hour, it went briefly to the tree again then flew down into the valley and disappeared. Everyone enjoyed seeing its tail stream behind it while it flew. After our breakfast, we took a two-mile walk up the hillside behind the hotel. The variety of species there was impressive! We had close looks at Collared Whitestart and Grey-breasted Wood-Wrens singing, several cooperative Flame-throated Warblers, great looks at two Black-faced Solitaire and Yellowish Flycatcher and encountered a mixed migrant warbler flock that included Wilson’sBlack-throated Green, and Townsend’s Warblers. At least ten White-collared Swifts soared overhead. We enjoyed scope views of Sulphur-winged Parakeets and Barred Becard. We had brief views of an Olive-streaked Flycatcher feeding on berries with a Mountain Elainea and a Philadelphia Vireo until a Spot-crowned Woodcreeper stole our attention. Once back down near the rooms we observed a Scintillant Hummingbird, Long-tailed Silky-Flycatchers, and Slaty Flowerpiercer feeding.


Resplendent Quetzal, the first of two of this most-wanted species seen on the trip.


After lunch we drove to Villa Mills, which is above 9,000 feet elevation. At the beginning of the trail, a keen tour participant found an endemic Black-cheeked Warbler and there turned out to be three of them. A Timberline Wren was singing but didn’t come out. We did get views of several Black-billed Nightingale-Thrush, which were also singing. We saw the hilarious looking Buffy Tuftedcheek and got better views of Ruddy Treerunner.

We moved on from there a short distance down the mountain to a gravel road within Los Quetzales National Park. We found a perched Talamanca Hummingbird and a Grey-tailed Mountaingem preparing to roost for the night, offering fantastic looks. Just at dusk, the Dusky Nightjar began calling. It flew up to a branch right above the road and perched for several minutes, offering phenomenal  views, until a car flushed it. As it flew, the buffy corners of the tail could be seen. After this, we tried for the endemic Bare-shanked Screech-Owl, which was quite cooperative, and everyone got amazing looks of the owl perched in the open.


Day 4, 14th January 2023. Parque Nacional Los Quetzals and San Gerardo de Dota Sendero Catarata

We took our customary morning walk, this time along Río Savegre, and saw several Torrent Tyrranulets, including a pair possibly setting up nesting territory. The small black, gray, and white flycatchers were fun to watch moving around the rocks on the river, occasionally flying up for an insect. A Stripe-tailed Hummingbird was feeding on flowers alongside the road allowing for good looks at its namesake and a silent Belted Kingfisher rocketed down the river. We got our first looks at Common Bush Tanager and compared them to nearby Sooty-capped Bush Tanager. On the way back, we admired a flock of Long-tailed Silky-Flycatchers.

After breakfast, we visited Parque Nacional Los Quetzals and encountered a mixed flock of species previously seen that included Barred BecardTimberline Wren was seen at last, three individuals together. We watched a pair of Black-capped Flycatchers actively foraging and had scope views of Mistletoe Tyrannulet and of a pair of Black-and-yellow Phainoptila. A Wrenthrush was calling and did get very near the group, but didn’t come out, only its movement was seen. We had a fantastically close look at a male Volcano Hummingbird (heliotrope-throated subspecies). A Ruddy Pigeon called “mashed potatoes” in the distance, but never came close.

We stopped for lunch and hummingbird photos at Paraíso Quetzal Lodge. There we had ridiculously close encounters with VolcanoFiery-throatedTalamanca HummingbirdsLesser Violetear, and Grey-tailed Mountaingem. A male Volcano Hummingbird was displaying nearby. We had a second look at Golden-browed Chlorophonia when a pair perched in a treetop eye-level to the platform.

In the late afternoon, we hiked the San Gerardo de Dota Sendero Catarata (Waterfall Trail). It was exciting to see two pairs of American Dippers foraging underwater for insects in the river as well as Dark Pewee, endemic to Costa Rica and western Panama, and two Tufted Flycatchers hawking insects. We had brief encounters with Ochraceous WrenRed-faced SpinetailBlack-thighed Grosbeak, and Spotted Barbtail and a long look at a singing Ruddy-capped Nightingale-Thrush at dusk and spotted another one as we exited the trail.


Collared Aracari were common, but attractive, guests at several fruit feeders we visited.


Day 5, 15th January 2023.Rio San José and Comandancia de Sarapiquí Road

We took one last pre-breakfast walk around Savegre before heading to La Quinta Sarapiquí Lodge where we would stay the next three nights. We got our first view of Slate-throated Whitestart, albeit brief. The highlight of the walk was the discovery of a Lesser Violetear nest with two young, especially when a parent came and fed them.

Since the weather wasn’t favorable the day before, we returned to Parque Nacional Los Quetzals. A White-fronted Tyrannulet was seen several times moving about. The main target, missed yesterday, was the Costa Rican Pygmy-Owl, endemic to the Costa Rican and western Panamanian highlands, which we ended up seeing in full view for several minutes to our amazement.


Viewing this endemic Costa Rican Pygmy-Owl was a truly unforgettable experience.


We made a stop after lunch to bird Calle Israel along Rio San José. We eventually got fantastic views of the main target, Fasciated Tiger-Heron, which flushed at first, but then two were viewed well from the vehicle. A Spotted Sandpiper, a juvenile Little Blue Heron, a Northern Waterthrush and Buff-rumped Warblers were also feeding along the river. We had first looks at Collared Aracari feeding in a fruiting tree. An Amazon Kingfisher that flew down the river was viewed by some as it perched briefly. Scope views of White-crowned Parrots were also had.

A few new species were added on the drive. A small pond along the road yielded some waders on the way to Sarapiquí: Great-Blue HeronNorthern Jacana, and Great EgretCattle Egrets and Groove-billed Ani were seen as we drove by fields and scrub habitat.

Our last stop of the day was Comandancia de Sarapiquí Road, an open area with a few very large trees. The big draw here was the Great Green and Scarlet Macaws and both species were seen in flight. One Scarlet Macaw perched high, but in the open. A pair of Bat Falcons were also perched high, at the top of a tree. A soaring Short-tailed Hawk gave distant views. A pair of Slaty Spinetails were observed nest building. Common Tody-Flycatcher came in close for a great photographic opportunity. Two Black-striped Sparrows were calling and occasionally came into view. Several other flycatcher species were observed: Grey-capped FlycatcherTropical KingbirdGreat KiskadeeNorthern Tropical Pewee, and Mistletoe Tyrannulet. Many Montezuma and three Chestnut-headed Oropendolas flew overhead. Variable Seedeaters were mimicking a variety of other birds’ songs and flocking with a Morelet’s Seedeater.


It was awe-inspiring to see wild Scarlet Macaws.


Day 6, 16th January 2023. La Quinta Sarapiquí Lodge, Cope’s Place and La Quinta

Excited to bird a new location, we took our usual walk before breakfast around La Quinta Sarapiquí Lodge and immediately encountered a new species, a cooperative Stripe-breasted Wren. Near the Caiman lake, we found a couple Orange-billed Sparrows, a Northern Waterthrush, a Buff-rumped Warbler, and a Green Kingfisher. In the woods, a Slate-colored Grosbeak called from high in the trees. We had brief looks at a female Blue-black Grosbeak and would later also get glimpses of the male. The two feeders on the property hosted a variety of species including Clay-colored ThrushGreen and Red-legged HoneycreeperBlack-cheeked Woodpecker, Rufous-tailed HummingbirdGrey-headed ChachalacaRed-throated Ant Tanager,and Palm,  Scarlet-rumped, and Golden-Hooded Tanagers.

After breakfast, we headed to Cope’s Place. On the way we paused for great looks at a Grey Hawk on a pole. As soon as we arrived, we were treated to a perched Band-tailed Barbthroat. We spent an hour at Cope’s feeders watching and photographing Long-billed and Striped-throated HermitsShiningGreen, and Red-legged Honeycreepers, a Bronze-tailed Plumeleteer, a Green-breasted Mango, many White-necked Jacobins, and Chestnut-headed and Montezuma Oropendolas. We got our first close looks at Pale-vented Pigeons and Orange-chinned Parakeets, previously fly overs, and saw our first Keel-billed Toucan, which came to the bananas. A Russet-naped Wood-Rail came out and ate the rice. We also enjoyed talking with Cope and looking at his amazing photographs and artwork.

We took a walk in Cope’s farm with one of the guides who showed us a colony of Honduran White Bats roosting under a huge leaf. Early in the walk we had brief looks at a pair of Cinnamon Woodpecker and good looks at two Scarlet-rumpled Caciques. We were amazingly fortunate to see and photograph two Crested Owls perched together and an immature Spectacled Owl. We also viewed two Green Ibis. On the way out, we marveled over a huge Bullet Ant on a log.


We counted ourselves lucky to see this pair of Crested Owls right out in the open.


After lunch and a break, we had planned to drive to an open area close to La Quinta. We stopped for five Southern Lapwings in a field and also saw a pair of Lineated Woodpeckers there. We never got to the intended location because next we stopped for a probable Motmot and ended up finding 46 species at the “Crazy Corner” and never did get a motmot. Highlights included three species of Antshrike, all seen very well: Great (singing male), Fasciated (male and female), and Barred Antshrike (male and female). We had spectacular views of Squirrel CuckooBlack-crowned Tityra,a singing Rufous-tailed Jacamar, and Canebrake Wren. We watched a Long-tailed Tyrant sally for insects. Three Giant Cowbirds flew over and one perched briefly.

In the evening we went searching for nocturnal creatures and found a Common Rain Frog, a Slender Anole, a Cane Toad, a Long-nosed Proboscis Bat, and several Spectacled Caiman.


Day 7, 17th January 2023. La Selva Biological Station

A big day with 92 species recorded!

We birded around La Quinta before breakfast and picked up Purple-crowned Fairy and Black-cowled Orioles, new for the trip.

We spent the rest of the morning at La Selva Biological Station. The variety of birds just at the headquarters was amazing and included several Short-billed Pigeons, nesting Olive-backed Euphonia and Crested Guans, a soaring Double-toothed Kite, a female White-ruffed Manakin, and a male White-collared Manakin. Once in the jungle, woodpeckers were a highlight with a nest-building Chestnut-colored Woodpecker and Pale-billed Woodpeckers feeding young. Some in the group enjoyed their lifer look at a Kentucky Warbler while others worked to identify a Streak-headed Woodcreeper. The morning included notable mammal sightings: a troop of Golden-mantled Howler Monkeys and two Brown-throated Three-toed Sloths. Just before a pre-lunch snack of fresh watermelon and pineapple, we added Black-headed Tody-Flycatcher and Cinnamon Becard to our list of birds seen well.


Watching woodpecker nesting activities, including Chestnut-colored Woodpeckers, was a treat.


After lunch and a break, we returned to La Selva Biological Station until dusk. Upon arrival, we had brief views of a Bay-headed Tanager and a male Snowy Cotinga and a Scarlet-thighed Dacnis were perched in the open for excellent scope views. Then several Yellow-throated and Keel-billed Toucans and a group of Red-lored Amazons flew in. From the bridge, we viewed our first White-ringed Flycatcher,a Rufous Mourner,and a Slaty-tailed Trogon giving fantastic views perched in the open, eye-level to the bridge. Just after crossing the bridge, the only Blue-chested Hummingbird of the trip was seen foraging in a large flowering tree. The same area also hosted Social, Grey-capped,and Boat-billed Flycatchers.While walking the trail, a male Great Tinamou and three chicks walked across the trail in front of us. At dusk, a pair of Middle American Screech-Owls were calling, and one was cooperative, allowing for excellent views.


Day 8, 18th January 2023. La Selva to San Jose

We had a goal to break 100 species for our last birding day and we did it!

We started early to begin birding the road near the main entrance to La Selva before dawn. While it was still dark, we saw several Common Pauraque foraging for insects in the streetlight and heard a Little Tinamou calling. At dawn, we observed a Short-tailed Nighthawk flying around.

After dawn, we observed many birds from a spot just outside the main entrance including a close, perched Semiplumbeous Hawk, an Ochre-bellied Flycatcher, a Southern Rough-winged Swallow, many Collared Aracaris and Yellow-throated Toucans, a Keel-billed Toucan, a Brown-hooded and several Red-lored Amazons, and a flock of Orange-chinned Parakeets.  At one point, we heard a Slaty-breasted Tinamou that sounded like a mini train and very close by, so we investigated, but it was like a ghost. Our foray into the forest wasn’t for naught, though, because we saw several Wedge-billed Woodcreepers and a Cocoa Woodcreeper at that time. The trail led us to an open area where we added two new species: a Bronzy Hermit and a pair of Olive-crowned Yellowthroats. 

It was time to return to the lodge for breakfast, but two spontaneous birding stops were a necessity. First, we stopped for seven Scarlet Macaws in a single tree by the road. Then just before the lodge, we saw a Broad-billed Motmot on a wire and got two noisy Bright-rumped Attilas as a bonus.

After breakfast we bid goodbye to La Quinta and headed to San Jose, but not before watching a Strawberry Poison-dart Frog sing right outside our rooms.

Nightingale Wren, a shy, plain bird that put on a show.


We made several birding stops at different elevations, the most productive of those was Virgin del Socorro and we hated to leave. On the drive down into the valley we spotted a Slaty-backed Nightingale-Thrush and a Lesser Greenlet was the first bird we spied at the bottom. We saw many flycatcher species and added these new ones to our list: Slaty-capped FlycatcherScale-crested Pygmy-Tyrant, and Eye-ringed Flatbill. Warblers were actively feeding, and we added Tropical Parula, Blackburnian and Golden-crowned Warblers to our list and got a second look at Golden-winged Warbler and Slated-throated Whitestart here. A large flock of vultures soaring over the valley included all three species: King, Black, and Turkey Vulture. One keen-eyed participant got a long look at a Chestnut-backed Antbird, which played hide and seek with the rest of the group. More cooperative birds included an Olivaceous Woodcreeper, three Black-thighed Grosbeaks, a Collared Trogon perched in the open, and a Nightingale Wren that showed itself and put on quite the concert within a few feet of the entire group.

On the way up to the Cinchona Feeders we stopped for a much better view of a pair of Bat Falcons than before and a brief look at a large group of White-nosed Coati being fed by gullible tourists.

The Cinchona Feeders were an obligatory stop for both the waterfall overlook view and the amazing birds. We picked up our three main targets for this location almost immediately: Red-headed and Prong-billed Barbets, and two Blue-throated Toucanets. We also got first looks at Green Hermit and Green-Crowned Brilliant, a second sighting of Crimson-collared Tanager, our sole sighting of Black-headed Saltator, and our only rare bird of the trip, Yellow-winged Tanager, which has somewhat recently expanded its range southward into Costa Rica.

A beautiful pair of Blue-throated Toucanets were the stars of the Cinchona Feeders.


We stopped at La Paz Waterfall Gardens for both birds and lunch. One of two major targets was obtained while eating, the Sooty-faced Finch, an individual known to beg rice from diners and a species otherwise very difficult to see. The group was practically bum rushed by a flock of eight of the other target, Black-breasted Wood-Quail, when they noisily crossed the set of stairs where we were standing. Several new-for-the-trip hummingbirds were viewed at the many feeders: Green Thorntail, White-bellied and Purple-throated MountaingemsBlack-bellied Hummingbird,and Coppery-headed Emerald. On the way out, a participant that was lagging behind the group snagged the only Tawny-capped Euphonia and last new species of the trip.


Day 9, 19th January 2023. Departure

Our international flights left from Juan Santamaría International Airport.

This Semiplumbeous Hawk perched nearby, undetected until the birds gave it away.


Bird List – Following IOC (12.2)

Birds ‘heard only’ are marked with (H) after the common name, all other species were seen.

The following notation after species names is used to show conservation status following
BirdLife International: CE = Critically Endangered, EN = Endangered, VU = Vulnerable, NT
= Near Threatened.

Common Name Scientific Name
Tinamous (Tinamidae)
Great Tinamou Tinamus major
Little Tinamou (H) Crypturellus soui
Slaty-breasted Tinamou – VU (H) Crypturellus boucardi
Chachalacas, Curassows, Guans (Cracidae)
Grey-headed Chachalaca Ortalis cinereiceps
Crested Guan Penelope purpurascens
Black Guan Chamaepetes unicolor
New World Quail (Odontophoridae)
Black-breasted Wood Quail Odontophorus leucolaemus
Spotted Wood Quail (H) Odontophorus guttatus
Nightjars (Caprimulgidae)
Short-tailed Nighthawk Lurocalis semitorquatus
Pauraque Nyctidromus albicollis
Dusky Nightjar Antrostomus saturatus
Swifts (Apodidae)
White-collared Swift Streptoprocne zonaris
Grey-rumped Swift Chaetura cinereiventris
Vaux’s Swift Chaetura vauxi
Lesser Swallow-tailed Swift Panyptila cayennensis
Hummingbirds (Trochilidae)
White-necked Jacobin Florisuga mellivora
Bronzy Hermit Glaucis aeneus
Band-tailed Barbthroat Threnetes ruckeri
Stripe-throated Hermit Phaethornis striigularis
Green Hermit Phaethornis guy
Long-billed Hermit Phaethornis longirostris
Lesser Violetear Colibri cyanotus
Purple-crowned Fairy Heliothryx barroti
Green-breasted Mango Anthracothorax prevostii
Green Thorntail Discosura conversii
Green-crowned Brilliant Heliodoxa jacula
Talamanca Hummingbird Eugenes spectabilis
Fiery-throated Hummingbird Panterpe insignis
White-bellied Mountaingem Lampornis hemileucus
Purple-throated Mountaingem Lampornis calolaemus
Grey-tailed Mountaingem (Endemic) Lampornis cinereicauda
Ruby-throated Hummingbird Archilochus colubris
Volcano Hummingbird Selasphorus flammula
Scintillant Hummingbird Selasphorus scintilla
Violet Sabrewing Campylopterus hemileucurus
Bronze-tailed Plumeleteer Chalybura urochrysia
Coppery-headed Emerald (Endemic) Microchera cupreiceps
Stripe-tailed Hummingbird Eupherusa eximia
Black-bellied Hummingbird Eupherusa nigriventris
Rufous-tailed Hummingbird Amazilia tzacatl
Blue-chested Hummingbird Polyerata amabilis
Cuckoos (Cuculidae)
Groove-billed Ani Crotophaga sulcirostris
Squirrel Cuckoo Piaya cayana
Pigeons, Doves (Columbidae)
Rock Dove (Introduced) Columba livia
Scaled Pigeon Patagioenas speciosa
Band-tailed Pigeon Patagioenas fasciata
Pale-vented Pigeon Patagioenas cayennensis
Red-billed Pigeon Patagioenas flavirostris
Ruddy Pigeon (H) Patagioenas subvinacea
Short-billed Pigeon Patagioenas nigrirostris
Inca Dove Columbina inca
Ruddy Ground Dove Columbina talpacoti
Blue Ground Dove (H) Claravis pretiosa
White-tipped Dove Leptotila verreauxi
Grey-chested Dove Leptotila cassinii
White-winged Dove Zenaida asiatica
Rails, Crakes & Coots (Rallidae)
Russet-naped Wood Rail Aramides albiventris
Plovers (Charadriidae)
Southern Lapwing Vanellus chilensis
Jacanas (Jacanidae)
Northern Jacana Jacana spinosa
Sandpipers, Snipes (Scolopacidae)
Spotted Sandpiper Actitis macularius
Anhingas, Darters (Anhingidae)
Anhinga Anhinga anhinga
Ibises, Spoonbills (Threskiornithidae)
Green Ibis Mesembrinibis cayennensis
Herons, Bitterns (Ardeidae)
Fasciated Tiger Heron Tigrisoma fasciatum
Green Heron Butorides virescens
Western Cattle Egret Bubulcus ibis
Great Blue Heron Ardea herodias
Great Egret Ardea alba
Little Blue Heron Egretta caerulea
New World Vultures (Cathartidae)
King Vulture Sarcoramphus papa
Black Vulture Coragyps atratus
Turkey Vulture Cathartes aura
Kites, Hawks, Eagles (Accipitridae)
Double-toothed Kite Harpagus bidentatus
Roadside Hawk (H) Rupornis magnirostris
Semiplumbeous Hawk Leucopternis semiplumbeus
Grey Hawk Buteo plagiatus
Broad-winged Hawk Buteo platypterus
Short-tailed Hawk Buteo brachyurus
Red-tailed Hawk Buteo jamaicensis
Owls (Strigidae)
Costa Rican Pygmy Owl Glaucidium costaricanum
Ferruginous Pygmy Owl Glaucidium brasilianum
Bare-shanked Screech Owl Megascops clarkii
Vermiculated Screech Owl Megascops vermiculatus
Spectacled Owl Pulsatrix perspicillata
Crested Owl Lophostrix cristata
Mottled Owl Strix virgata
Trogons (Trogonidae)
Resplendent Quetzal Pharomachrus mocinno
Slaty-tailed Trogon Trogon massena
Collared Trogon Trogon collaris
Kingfishers (Alcedinidae)
Amazon Kingfisher Chloroceryle amazona
Green Kingfisher Chloroceryle americana
Belted Kingfisher Megaceryle alcyon
Motmots (Momotidae)
Lesson’s Motmot Momotus lessonii
Broad-billed Motmot Electron platyrhynchum
Jacamars (Galbulidae)
Rufous-tailed Jacamar Galbula ruficauda
New World Barbets (Capitonidae)
Red-headed Barbet Eubucco bourcierii
Toucan Barbets (Semnornithidae)
Prong-billed Barbet Semnornis frantzii
Toucans (Ramphastidae)
Blue-throated Toucanet Aulacorhynchus caeruleogularis
Collared Aracari Pteroglossus torquatus
Keel-billed Toucan Ramphastos sulfuratus
Yellow-throated Toucan Ramphastos ambiguus
Woodpeckers (Picidae)
Acorn Woodpecker Melanerpes formicivorus
Black-cheeked Woodpecker Melanerpes pucherani
Hoffmann’s Woodpecker Melanerpes hoffmannii
Cinnamon Woodpecker Celeus loricatus
Chestnut-colored Woodpecker Celeus castaneus
Lineated Woodpecker Dryocopus lineatus
Pale-billed Woodpecker Campephilus guatemalensis
Caracaras, Falcons (Falconidae)
Crested Caracara Caracara plancus
Collared Forest Falcon (H) Micrastur semitorquatus
Bat Falcon Falco rufigularis
African & New World Parrots (Psittacidae)
Orange-chinned Parakeet Brotogeris jugularis
Brown-hooded Parrot Pyrilia haematotis
White-crowned Parrot Pionus senilis
White-fronted Amazon Amazona albifrons
Red-lored Amazon Amazona autumnalis
Sulphur-winged Parakeet Pyrrhura hoffmanni
Olive-throated Parakeet Eupsittula nana
Great Green Macaw – CR Ara ambiguus
Scarlet Macaw Ara macao
Finsch’s Parakeet Psittacara finschi
Ovenbirds (Furnariidae)
Olivaceous Woodcreeper Sittasomus griseicapillus
Wedge-billed Woodcreeper Glyphorynchus spirurus
Cocoa Woodcreeper Xiphorhynchus susurrans
Streak-headed Woodcreeper Lepidocolaptes souleyetii
Spot-crowned Woodcreeper Lepidocolaptes affinis
Buffy Tuftedcheek Pseudocolaptes lawrencii
Spotted Barbtail Premnoplex brunnescens
Ruddy Treerunner Margarornis rubiginosus
Red-faced Spinetail Cranioleuca erythrops
Slaty Spinetail Synallaxis brachyura
Antbirds (Thamnophilidae)
Barred Antshrike Thamnophilus doliatus
Black-crowned Antshrike (H) Thamnophilus atrinucha
Fasciated Antshrike Cymbilaimus lineatus
Great Antshrike Taraba major
Spotted Antbird (H) Hylophylax naevioides
Chestnut-backed Antbird Poliocrania exsul
Tyrant Flycatchers, Calyptura (Tyrannidae)
White-fronted Tyrannulet Phyllomyias zeledoni
Mountain Elaenia Elaenia frantzii
Torrent Tyrannulet Serpophaga cinerea
Mistletoe Tyrannulet Zimmerius parvus
Olive-striped Flycatcher Mionectes olivaceus
Ochre-bellied Flycatcher Mionectes oleagineus
Slaty-capped Flycatcher Leptopogon superciliaris
Scale-crested Pygmy Tyrant Lophotriccus pileatus
Common Tody-Flycatcher Todirostrum cinereum
Black-headed Tody-Flycatcher Todirostrum nigriceps
Eye-ringed Flatbill Rhynchocyclus brevirostris
Black Phoebe Sayornis nigricans
Northern Tufted Flycatcher Mitrephanes phaeocercus
Dark Pewee Contopus lugubris
Ochraceous Pewee (H) Contopus ochraceus
Tropical Pewee Contopus cinereus
Yellow-bellied Flycatcher (H) Empidonax flaviventris
Yellowish Flycatcher Empidonax flavescens
Black-capped Flycatcher Empidonax atriceps
Long-tailed Tyrant Colonia colonus
Piratic Flycatcher Legatus leucophaius
Social Flycatcher Myiozetetes similis
Grey-capped Flycatcher Myiozetetes granadensis
Great Kiskadee Pitangus sulphuratus
White-ringed Flycatcher Conopias albovittatus
Boat-billed Flycatcher Megarynchus pitangua
Tropical Kingbird Tyrannus melancholicus
Rufous Mourner Rhytipterna holerythra
Great Crested Flycatcher (H) Myiarchus crinitus
Bright-rumped Attila Attila spadiceus
Cotingas (Cotingidae)
Snowy Cotinga Carpodectes nitidus
Manakins (Pipridae)
White-ruffed Manakin Corapipo altera
White-collared Manakin Manacus candei
Red-capped Manakin Ceratopipra mentalis
Tityras, Becards, Sharpbill (Tityridae)
Black-crowned Tityra Tityra inquisitor
Masked Tityra Tityra semifasciata
Barred Becard Pachyramphus versicolor
Cinnamon Becard Pachyramphus cinnamomeus
Vireos, Greenlets, Shrike-babblers (Vireonidae)
Rufous-browed Peppershrike (H) Cyclarhis gujanensis
Lesser Greenlet Pachysylvia decurtata
Philadelphia Vireo Vireo philadelphicus
Yellow-winged Vireo Vireo carmioli
Crows, Jays (Corvidae)
Brown Jay Psilorhinus morio
Silky-flycatchers (Ptiliogonatidae)
Black-and-yellow Phainoptila Phainoptila melanoxantha
Long-tailed Silky-flycatcher Ptiliogonys caudatus
Swallows, Martins (Hirundinidae)
Mangrove Swallow Tachycineta albilinea
Blue-and-white Swallow Pygochelidon cyanoleuca
Northern Rough-winged Swallow Stelgidopteryx serripennis
Southern Rough-winged Swallow Stelgidopteryx ruficollis
Grey-breasted Martin Progne chalybea
Barn Swallow Hirundo rustica
Wrens (Troglodytidae)
Rufous-backed Wren Campylorhynchus capistratus
Black-throated Wren Pheugopedius atrogularis
Cabanis’s Wren Cantorchilus modestus
Canebrake Wren Cantorchilus zeledoni
Bay Wren Cantorchilus nigricapillus
Stripe-breasted Wren Cantorchilus thoracicus
House Wren Troglodytes aedon
Ochraceous Wren Troglodytes ochraceus
Timberline Wren Thryorchilus browni
White-breasted Wood Wren Henicorhina leucosticta
Grey-breasted Wood Wren Henicorhina leucophrys
Northern Nightingale-Wren Microcerculus philomela
Mockingbirds, Thrashers (Mimidae)
Tropical Mockingbird Mimus gilvus
Thrushes (Turdidae)
Black-faced Solitaire Myadestes melanops
Wood Thrush Hylocichla mustelina
Slaty-backed Nightingale-Thrush Catharus fuscater
Swainson’s Thrush (H) Catharus ustulatus
Black-billed Nightingale-Thrush Catharus gracilirostris
Ruddy-capped Nightingale-Thrush Catharus frantzii
Sooty Thrush Turdus nigrescens
Mountain Thrush Turdus plebejus
Clay-colored Thrush Turdus grayi
Dippers (Cinclidae)
American Dipper Cinclus mexicanus
Old World Sparrows, Snowfinches (Passeridae)
House Sparrow (Introduced) Passer domesticus
Finches, Euphonias (Fringillidae)
Yellow-bellied Siskin Spinus xanthogastrus
Golden-browed Chlorophonia Chlorophonia callophrys
Yellow-crowned Euphonia Euphonia luteicapilla
Yellow-throated Euphonia Euphonia hirundinacea
Olive-backed Euphonia Euphonia gouldi
Tawny-capped Euphonia Euphonia anneae
New World Sparrows (Passerellidae)
Sooty-capped Bush Tanager Chlorospingus pileatus
Common Bush Tanager Chlorospingus flavopectus
Black-striped Sparrow Arremonops conirostris
Orange-billed Sparrow Arremon aurantiirostris
Chestnut-capped Brushfinch Arremon brunneinucha
Sooty-faced Finch Arremon crassirostris
Volcano Junco Junco vulcani
Rufous-collared Sparrow Zonotrichia capensis
Large-footed Finch Pezopetes capitalis
White-eared Ground Sparrow (H) Melozone leucotis
Yellow-thighed Brushfinch Atlapetes tibialis
Wrenthrush (Zeledoniidae)
Wrenthrush (H) Zeledonia coronata
Oropendolas, New World Orioles, Blackbirds (Icteridae)
Eastern Meadowlark Sturnella magna
Chestnut-headed Oropendola Psarocolius wagleri
Montezuma Oropendola Psarocolius montezuma
Scarlet-rumped Cacique Cacicus microrhynchus
Baltimore Oriole Icterus galbula
Black-cowled Oriole Icterus prosthemelas
Red-winged Blackbird Agelaius phoeniceus
Giant Cowbird Molothrus oryzivorus
Melodious Blackbird Dives dives
Great-tailed Grackle Quiscalus mexicanus
New World Warblers (Parulidae)
Northern Waterthrush Parkesia noveboracensis
Golden-winged Warbler Vermivora chrysoptera
Black-and-white Warbler Mniotilta varia
Flame-throated Warbler Oreothlypis gutturalis
Tennessee Warbler Leiothlypis peregrina
Mourning Warbler Geothlypis philadelphia
Kentucky Warbler Geothlypis formosa
Olive-crowned Yellowthroat Geothlypis semiflava
Tropical Parula Setophaga pitiayumi
Blackburnian Warbler Setophaga fusca
American Yellow Warbler Setophaga aestiva
Chestnut-sided Warbler Setophaga pensylvanica
Townsend’s Warbler Setophaga townsendi
Black-throated Green Warbler Setophaga virens
Buff-rumped Warbler Myiothlypis fulvicauda
Chestnut-capped Warbler Basileuterus delattrii
Black-cheeked Warbler Basileuterus melanogenys
Golden-crowned Warbler Basileuterus culicivorus
Wilson’s Warbler Cardellina pusilla
Slate-throated Whitestart Myioborus miniatus
Collared Whitestart Myioborus torquatus
Cardinals & Allies (Cardinalidae)
Flame-colored Tanager Piranga bidentata
Summer Tanager Piranga rubra
Red-throated Ant Tanager Habia fuscicauda
Black-thighed Grosbeak Pheucticus tibialis
Rose-breasted Grosbeak Pheucticus ludovicianus
Black-faced Grosbeak (H) Caryothraustes poliogaster
Blue-black Grosbeak Cyanoloxia cyanoides
Tanagers & Allies (Thraupidae)
Green Honeycreeper Chlorophanes spiza
Red-legged Honeycreeper Cyanerpes cyaneus
Shining Honeycreeper Cyanerpes lucidus
Scarlet-thighed Dacnis Dacnis venusta
Cinnamon-bellied Saltator Saltator grandis
Buff-throated Saltator Saltator maximus
Black-headed Saltator Saltator atriceps
Slate-colored Grosbeak (H) Saltator grossus
Bananaquit Coereba flaveola
Yellow-faced Grassquit Tiaris olivaceus
Crimson-collared Tanager Ramphocelus sanguinolentus
Scarlet-rumped Tanager Ramphocelus passerinii
Morelet’s Seedeater Sporophila morelleti
Variable Seedeater Sporophila corvina
Slaty Flowerpiercer Diglossa plumbea
Blue-grey Tanager Thraupis episcopus
Yellow-winged Tanager Thraupis abbas
Palm Tanager Thraupis palmarum
Golden-hooded Tanager Stilpnia larvata
Bay-headed Tanager Tangara gyrola
Silver-throated Tanager Tangara icterocephala
Total Seen 270
Total Heard 18
Total Recorded 288


Insect List

Common Name Scientific Name
Brush-footed Butterflies (Nymphalidae)
White Peacock Anartia jarophae
Blue Morpho Morpho menelaus
Gossamer-winged Butterflies (Lycaenidae)
Togarna Hairstreak Arawacus togarna
Ants (Formicidae)
Bullet Ant Paraponera clavata
Total Seen 4


Mammal List

Common Name Scientific Name
Three-toed Sloths (Bradypodidae)
Brown-throated Three-toed Sloth Bradypus variegatus
New World Monkeys (Atelidea)
Central American Spider Monkey EN Ateles geoffroyi
Golden-mantled Howler Monkey Alouatta palliata palliata
Squirrels (Sciuridae)
Red-tailed Squirrel Sciurus granatensis
Variegated Squirrel Sciurus variegatoides
Bats (Chiroptera)
Orange Nectar Bat Lonchophylla robusta
Honduran White Bat NT Ectophylla alba
Long-nosed Proboscis Bat Rhynchonycteris naso
  Armadillos (Dasypodidae)
Nine-banded Armadillo Dasypus novemcinctus
Raccoons (Procyonidae)
White-nosed Coati Nasua narica
Rodents (Cricetidae)
Rat sp.  
Total Seen 11


Reptiles and Amphibians List

Common Name Scientific Name
Geckos (Gekkonidae)
Common House Gecko Hemidactylus sp.
Iguanas (Iguanidae)
Green Iguana Iguana iguana
Anoles (Polychrotidae)
Pug-nosed Anole Anolis capito
Slender Anole Anolis fuscoauratus
Alligators (Alligatoridae)
Spectacled Caimen Caiman crocodilus chiapasius
Turtles (Geoemydidae)
Black River Turtle Rhinoclemmys funerea
Poison Dart Frogs (Dendrobatidae)
Strawberry Poison-dart Frog Oophaga pumilio
Fleshbelly Frogs (Craugastoridae)
Common Rain Frog Craugastor fitzingeri
True Toads (Bufonidae)
Cane Toad Rhinella marina
Leaf Litter Toad Rhaebo haematiticus
Total Seen 10



Please see the downloadable PDF above with the full species lists included. This is a sample trip report. Please email us ([email protected]) for more trip reports from this destination.





Our Costa Rica Escape tour is a great, nine-day trip across one of the most exciting destinations in the neotropics. Our tour will start in San José and will take you to explore the Caribbean foothills in the north where we will have the chance to explore La Selva Biological Station and other famous birding sites. Here we hope to see iconic species such as Snowy Cotinga, Montezuma Oropendola, Keel-billed Toucan, Collared Aracari and Great Green Macaw. There are excellent chances for other wildlife sightings too, with Brown-throated Sloth, Honduran White Bat and Strawberry Poison-dart Frog, all possible. The birding is generally easy-going with ample opportunities to relax and enjoy bird feeding stations. We will spend quality time walking along exciting forest trails. Another part of our tour will take us to the San Gerardo de Dota to explore the cloudforest mountains looking for the incredible Resplendent Quetzal and other specials such as Wrenthrush, Dark Pewee, Spotted Wood Quail, Long-tailed Silky-flycatcher, and Blue-throated Toucanet, while staying at the comfortable Savegre Lodge as our base for three nights.



Please e-mail us ([email protected], or contact us in a different way, if preferred) before you book any flights, as the information shown here is just an initial guide. Our tour will start in the city of San José, at San José’s de Costa Rica Juan Santa María International Airport (SJO) which can be reached by flights from most major airports from the US, Europe and Panama City (Panama). You may wish to consult your travel agent to book your most convenient flight, although please contact us if you need any guidance. Your tour leader will be waiting for you at San José Airport with the Birding Ecotours logo displayed and will then transfer you to your nearby hotel. Please be aware that most international flights arrive in San José around midday. We don’t have any birding activities planned for the first afternoon but we can enjoy birding around the hotel grounds where we can get a nice set of birds. In case you arrive on an early flight, you will be transferred to the hotel but may have to wait until check-in is available (normally in the early afternoon, although you can easily pass the time wandering around the hotel grounds). For an early check-in, you might be charged extra directly by the hotel; this cost is not included in the Birding Ecotours tour price.

Please remember to keep your luggage tags, as they are required to exit the terminal at the San José Airport.

When filling out the customs declaration form, please use the hotel address below:

Hotel Bounganvillea Santo Tomás, Heredia, Santo Domingo, 40302, Costa Rica



Our tour will end in the city of San José after a wonderful nine days in Costa Rica. On the final morning you will be transferred to the San José Airport (SJO) from where you can catch your connecting flight.



There are not domestic flights needed on this birding tour.



We grade this trip as easy, with most of the birding consisting of walking along roads, although some of them lead up and down hills. We will explore some forest trails in the cloudforest and Caribbean slope which have gentle undulations, and there may be muddy sections after rain. Nevertheless, Costa Rica does not require long, hard mountain walks as do some other Birding Ecotours destinations like Peru, Guatemala, or Ecuador. We will spend quality time sitting and enjoying hummingbird feeders and birding the lodge grounds at a number of destinations on this tour.

Keep in mind that (as is usual on most birding trips) we need to be awake very early in the mornings, and pre-dawn starts are required each day. We normally spend the whole morning birding in the field, before returning to the lodge for lunch, after which we often enjoy some downtime and then continue our birding in the late afternoon. Your guide will sometimes invite you to look for owls at night, however this is an optional activity that you can skip if you feel tired. Some people prefer to rest, skipping birding in the afternoon; this can be done at those lodges where we are staying more than one night. When we make birding stops while traveling from location to location, those who feel tired do not have to follow the group and can remain and rest in the vehicle.

We think this trip may be difficult for people with back, walking, and balance problems or for those who are not used to a birding trip with early morning starts.



ATM machines are only available at San José Airport and we suggest drawing US dollars here (for personal expenses such as bar bills, laundry, phone calls, etc). We recommend drawing all the cash (US dollars) you expect to need on the tour at the airport, as ATM machines are not easily accessible elsewhere on the tour itinerary. Please note that although most destinations will accept credit cards, some of the more remote locations may not offer these facilities.



We will reach the highest elevation of the tour at Los Quetzales National Park at 10,170 feet (3,190 meters) above sea level. Please ask your doctor if you have any medical conditions that might be aggravated by high elevations. However, we will likely only spend 1-2 hours at this elevation, as we are only looking for two special targets here; Volcano Junco and Timberline Wren. Normally we find these birds fairly quickly and we have not had any problems with altitude sickness in the past.



We ask you to be ready for all kinds of weather during this trip. Areas such as Sarapiqui, El Tapir, Cope Wildlife Reserve and La Selva Biological Station in the Caribbean foothills are hot and humid with temperatures reaching 30°C (86°F). We suggest packing clothes in which you feel most comfortable for this kind of weather. We highly recommend using sunscreen and a light-colored hat or cap. We might also get some rain during our visit in the Caribbean tropical forest!

The weather in the cloudforest of San Gerardo de Dora, Savegre Lodge, Irazú Volcano and the Quetzales National Park can be sunny and humid around midday but cold in the early morning and night, with temperatures dropping to 8°C (46°F).

Please check here for a list of what we recommend bringing.



Laundry services are available at Hotel Boungavillea, Savegre Lodge and La Quinta Sarapiquí Country Inn. Laundry fees are not included in the tour price.



Accommodation is of a very good standard during the tour with rooms including en suite bathrooms, hot showers and air conditioning (in warmer areas only).



We will have a private van for the whole tour with plenty of room for everybody. We will require 4×4 vehicle transfers to reach a couple of birding spots above Savegre Lodge. The drive should only take a few minutes but participants should be fit enough to climb in and out of the 4×4 vehicles.

Birding Ecotours

Costa Rica General Information

Download Costa Rica Escape Tour Information

‘The Costa Rica Escape tour was my second trip with Birding Ecotours, after Brazil. It was a great winter break and also a teaser trip to the country, leaving us wanting to see more. Any trip with a Resplendent Quetzal has to be a good one, but the variety of birds we saw at the various stops was amazing. One of the highlight memories for me was when Eduardo and the local guide were off the trail, listening for an owl, and a Great Tinamou walked right up to their feet without them realizing it. As a guide, Eduardo is professional, knowledgeable and personable. I’m already planning my third trip with the company!’


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