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Grand Costa Rica Circle with Tenorio, 16 days
 
Birds at Rainforests, Volcanoes and Beaches & Toucan EcoLodge and Wildlife Reserve
 
Put together your own group and receive significant discounts!
 
Our tour takes you to the best birding areas of Costa Rica visiting various habitats. Breathtaking lush forests, wetlands, beaches and incredibly rich flora and fauna await you including a long list of birds, the country boasts of well over 900 species! We have a good chance to find a long list of birds, mammals & butterflies during the tour.
 

Fact File

- 16 days in Costa Rica visiting world-famous National Parks, reserves
- start and finish in San Jose
- using most of the accommodations for 2nights (except upon arrival and departure), most of them offer great on-site birding
 

Highlights

- Savegre Reserve, high mountain cloud forests, Paramo
- visits to Pacific Coast sanctuaries, National Parks and reserves
- Wilson Botanical Garden
- optional boat trip on Tarcoles River, Carara NP
- birding at several different habitats
- birding at Volcan Tenorio area, one of the richest areas for birds
- La Virgen de Sarapiqui and La Selva Region, Caribbean Slope
- wide variety of birds, mammals, reptiles, butterflies, habitats
 

Accommodation

1 night SJ
2 nights at a Lodge in Bijagua, Volcan Tenorio, close to Nicaragua
3 nights La Selva or Gavilan,Sarapiqui, Cordillera Central, Carib slope
2 nights at San Gerardo de Dota at Savegre Mountain,
2 nights at Wilson’s Botanical Garden, South Pacific, close to Panama
3 nights at Toucan EcoLodge at Southern Central Pacific
2 nights at Carara NP, Villas Lapas, Northern Central Pacific
(1overnight flight home if you came from Europe)
 

Prices

Our price includes
- all travel within the country as noted in the itinerary;
- all accommodation based on shared rooms, single rooms for extra charge;
- 3 meals per day, generally breakfast, box lunch, dinner
- services of the leader(s);
- trip materials
 
Price does not include
-drinks, but you can fill your water bottle during the day;
-any personal expenses;
-tips
-entrance fees to places not included in the itinerary
-price of optional programmes such as Boat Tours: Mangrove; Whale/Dolphin; Turtle Tours
 

Activity level

Easy to moderate walks; some areas are hot and humid; up in the cloud forest can be cool, rain is possible however it is dry season
 

Itinerary with highlight species

Day 1 Arrival to San Jose and transfer to our hotel, birding on site if possible.
 
Days 2-3 Bijagua at Volcan Tenorio, close to Nicaraguan border
The Volcan Tenorio National park covers 12,000 hectares and it is part of the Tenorio-Miravalles Biological Corridor. The area has a special micro-climate and has a special geographical location as well partly because it is at the dividing line between the Atlantic and Pacific regions and partly because it is between 300 and 2000 meters. We will stay at around 600 or 800 meters. Volcan Tenorio and Celeste Mountain was just recently discovered by birding companies, most of them still do not visit this excellent area despite the fact that more than half of the bird species of Costa Rica can be found here. What is more, not just the variety amazing, but the quality of species as well. Imagine if we could concentrate just on owls theoretically we would have a chance for 10 species! Can’t recall any other area either in CR or outside with that potential. Add to this such sought after species like Tody Motmot, Keel-billed Motmot, Bare-necked Umbrella Bird, Brown-hooded Parrot, Coppery-headed Emerald, White-collared and Whiteruffed Manakin, Green Shrike Vireo, Rufous-winged Tanager, Yellow-eared Toucanet, Three-wattled Bellbird, Dullmantled Ant-bird, Lattice-tailed Trogon, Violaceous and Purplish-backed Quail-Dove or even Rufous-vented Ground-Cuckoo – well, any of these would be highlights of the tour. We will surely bird around the road going from Bijagua up towards the National Park. There are always some mix species flocks and sometimes you can find further excellent species such as Lovely Cotinga, White-fronted Nunbird, Lattice-tailed Toucan or Northern Schiffornis. we should always keep an eye on the sky as well and we might be rewarded by an Ornate Hawk-Eagle, White Hawk or Black Hawk-Eagle. Apart from the common Hummingbird species we have a chance for such specialities as Snowcap and Black-crested Coquette, especially if lot of shrubs in flower. The area of the accommodation offers very good birding as well with a long list of species, so we mention just a few such as Barred Antshrike, Bay Wren, several Tanagers like Passerini’s, Silver-throated, Blue-Grey and Hepatic Tanager, Yellow-throated Euphonia, Baltimore Oriole and Black-cheeked Woodpecker. If we can find a good ant-swarm then loads of otherwise hard to see birds can be seen relatively easy as well, including a long list of Antbirds, such as Dull-mantled, Ocellated, Spotted, Bicolored and Zeledon’s Antbird. Also in this way it would be easier to see Streak-crowned Antvireo, Buffthroated Foliage-Gleaner, Spotted Woodcreeper, Spotted Barbtail, Golden-crowned Warbler, Rufous-winged Tanager, Song Wren, Tawnyfaced Gnatwren, Nightingale Wren or Whitethroated Spadebill. Motmot here would be represented by Keel-billed, Rufous and Broadbilled Motmot. If we will have time we might visit the trails of Heliconias as well where Long-billed Starthroat is the most commonly seen hummingbird species around the lodge. This would give a second chance for Great Curassow, Crested Guan, Tody Motmot, Black-crested Coquette, Yellow-eared Toucanet, Spotted Antbird, Ocellated Antbird, Streak-crowned Antvireo, Sharpbill, Song Wren, Rufous-vented Ground-Cuckoo. Sometimes Black-and-White Owl hunts at the lights near the lodge entrance, Mottled and Crested Owls are also possible. Pacific Screech Owl can be at the more open fields below the lodge, while further down Tropical Screech Owl replaces it in the town. Barn and Striped Owls are also quite common at deforested areas. If you like Moths you will feel in paradise, there are hundreds of species around every night from tiny one to huge ones, even without a proper moth trap the variety is amazing. 
 
Days 4-6 During our tour La Selva Biological Station will be the first property which belongs to the Organization of Tropical Sciences. It is actually the main centre and the crown jewel of it! Why? Because over 400 species recorded in the area, most of them different from what we had seen before, since this area is on the Caribbean lowlands. Interestingly it is just about 2 hours drive from San Jose. This is one of the best places to see different Tinamu species such as Great, Little & Slaty-breasted. Another highlight is Great Green Macaw which we regularly find, sometimes flying over at our accommodation. A wide variety of different bird families can be found here with species such as Crested Guan, Great Curassow, Zone-tailed Hawk, Collared Forest Falcon, Orange-chinned Parakeet, Brown-hooded Parrot, Whitecrowned Parrot, Red-lored and Mealy Amazon, Vermiculated Screech Owl, Pauraque, Short-tailed Nighthawk, Chimney & Grey-rumped Swift, Purple-crowned Fairy, Cinnamon Hummingbird, Collared Trogon, Slaty-tailed Trogon, Broad-billed Motmot, Whitewishkered Puffbird, Rufous-tailed Jacamar, Collared Aracari, Rufous-winged Woodpecker, Chestnut-colored Woodpecker, Lineated & Pale-billed Woodpecker, Streak-headed Woodcreeper, Ochre-bellied Flycatcher, Rufous Mourner, Long-tailed Tyrant, White-ringed Flycatcher, Snowy Cotinga, White-collared Manakin, Rufous-browed Peppershrike, Band-backed Wren, Bay Wren, Golden-winged Warbler, Hooded Warbler, Bayheaded Tanager, Plain-colored Tanager, Blue Dacnis, Black-faced Grosbeak, Scarlet-rumped Cacique, Chestnut-headed & Montezuma Oropendula.
 
Days 7-8 After our last morning at Sarapiqui we travel South and cross the cities of San Jose and Carthago. Later on we start to climb on the curvy but good quality road up the Cordillera de Talamanca & Cerro de la Muerte to the Savegre Area crossing farmlands, tropical forests, cloud forests and paramo with species endemic to Costa Rican and Panamian hills: Copperyheaded Emerald, Volcano Hummingbird, Long-tailed Silky-FlyCatcher and Peg-billed Finch. As we descend into the valley we will brake the journey to find Large-footed & Yellow-tighted Finch, Golden-browed Chlorophonia, Whitethroated & Grey-tailed Mountain Gem, Silvery-throated Jay, Black-billed Nightingale Thrush, Sooty-capped Bush Tanager, Flame-coloured Tanager, Slaty Flowerpiercer and some more. Next day we will concentrate on different trogon species, Resplendent Quetzal & Bluethroated Toucanet. There is a good chance that we find Black Guan, Spotted Wood Quail, Sulphur-winged Parakeet & Barred Parakeet as well. A wide variety of hummingbirds will be around our accommodation & restaurant such as Magnificent Hummingbird, Green Violetear, Snowy-bellied Hummingbird, Volcano & Scintillant Hummingbird. On our last tour beside all the previous ones we added some other local specialities as well, such as Ruddy Treerunner, Spotted Barbtail, Spot-crowned Woodcreeper, Torrent Tyrannulet, Ruddy-capped Nightingale Thrush, Flame-throated Warbler, Collared Whitestart, Blackcheeked Warbler & Spangle-cheeked Tanager, not to mention the common species.
 
Days 9-10 We drive down from the hills and gradually approach the Eastern edge of the country, close to the Panamanian border. On the way we will stop from time to time for some birding before we arrive to San Vito area. Here we stay at the famous Wilson Botanical Garden which has great trails in primary and secondary forests, beside the amazing variety of trees and wildflowers in the garden itself. It is a perfect place to look for a wide variety of Tanagers, Flycatchers, Tinamus, Parrots, Parakeets, Woodpeckers and Woodcreepers, plus several Hummingbird species and some endemics as well. The fruit feeder and the surrounding flowering and fruiting trees are always busy with several species. We can observe raptors such as Bicolored Hawk, Barred Hawk, White Hawk & more, plus find some birds in the surrounding canopy of the forest from a lookout tower.
On one of the days we might make an excursion to the Golfito area to look for Brownchested Martin, Baird’s Trogon, Blue-crowned Manakin, Ruddy-breasted Seedeater, Scrub Greenlet and Thick-billed Euphonia. Fork-tailed Flycatcher should be easy if it is around. We will have a chance for Red-breasted Blackbird and with some luck even the endemic Black-cheeked Ant-Tanager.
 
Days 11-13 - 3 nights at Toucan EcoLodge at Southern Central Pacific Before breakfast we have a last walk, we may add some new species to our already long list, such as Sulphurrumped Flycatcher. After breakfast we have to say goodbye to this lovely place and all the birds at the feeders. We pack again and continue our journey. From the Botanical garden we travel West partly nearby the coast to our next destination close to the slopes of the Baru Volcano. During the way we broke our journey a bit to have lunch close to Park Nacional Marino Ballena. From the sea-side we can see Isla Ballena, which has nesting seabird colonies, such as Brown Pelicans, Neotropical Cormorants, Magnificent Frigate Birds, Great, Snowy and Cattle Egret. We can find Barethroated Tiger Heron and Little Blue Heron as well. From here we continue towards the slopes of the Baru Hill to our Toucan EcoLodge which is surrounded by 23 hectares of primary and secondary tropical rainforests and a bit of garden with fruits and flowers. This is home for abundant wildlife from tiny insects through colourful poison-arrow frogs, some mammals, but the most active and numerous vertebrates are the birds. We have about 5 kilometres or 3 miles excellent trails through the garden and mainly in the forest where it is possible to observe more than 200 species of birds throughout the year. Yellowthroated Toucan, Riverside Wren and Crested Guan usually greeting you first in the garden. Various other species can be around such as Crimson-fronted Parakeet, Whitecrowned Parrot, Gray-cowled Wood-rail and sometimes even Great Currassow. There are always many flowers and a few feeders as well for Hummingbirds, including Violet-crowned Woodnymph, Long-tailed and Stripe-throated Hermits, Rufous-tailed Hummingbird and Purple-crowned Fairy. Other new species can be here Golden-naped Woodpecker, Plain Xenops, Wedge-billed, Black-striped, Cocoa and Northern Barred Woodcreeper.
We have 3 Manakin species around, the most common one here is the Blue-crowned, then the Red-capped but seasonally we have Whiteruffed as well. Black-hooded-Antshrike and Chestnut-backed Antbird should be common as well. Much harder to find Rufous Mourner, Great Tinamu or one of the several Trogon species which possible alongside the trails. In the mean-time we can here Mantled Howler Monkeys or spot a 3-toed Sloth. From here we can venture out to lower elevations where alongside a river bank we can look for Tricolored Heron and American White Ibis, Willet, Greater Yellowleg and Spotted Sandpiper. Royal Tern, Common Black Hawk, Inca Dove and even Scarlet Macaw all possible here. Garthered Trogon, Ringed and Green Kingfisher, Blue-and-White Swallow and Mangrove Swallow can color the day further here! On another day we also can go a bit higher to middle elevations or foothills where with some luck we can bump into a mixed flock of White-lined, Speckled and Silvery-throated Tanagers, Buff-fronted Foliage-gleaner, Plain Antvireo and many more. Collared Trogon can be a highlight here and there is a long list of further species possible at this elevation.
 
Days 14-15 From the Southern Central Pacific we travel West partly nearby the coast to our final destination at the edge of Carara National Park. During the way we pass Marina Ballena NP, Volcano Baru and Manuel Antonio National Park, stopping at suitable places for some birding. Possible species include Fiery-billed Araçari, White-necked Jacobin, Baird's Trogon, Blue-throated Goldentail, Blue-black Grosbeak and many more. Most of the time will be spent at Carara National Park which boasts of pristine lowland tropical forests and some secondary forest, scrub, wetlands, mudflats and mangrove thickets, each of which has its own range of species including Great Curassow, Laughing Falcon, Yellow-headed Caracara, Collared Forest-falcon, Grey and Roadside Hawks, Sulphur-bellied Flycatcher and Streak-backed Oriole. Our optional boat Safari on the Tarcoles river visits the estuary which is one of the best locations to see endangered birds such as the Mangrove Cuckoo, Mangrove Hummingbird, Mangrove Vireo and Panama Flycatcher, and more common ones such as Pelicans, Boat-billed Heron, Roseate Spoonbill, Wood Stork, White Ibis, Bare-throated Tiger-heron, American Purple Gallinule, Black Skimmer, Magnificent Frigatebird, Mangrove Warbler, Mangrove Black-hawk and American Pygmy Kingfisher. At and around our accommodation we will find Grey-headed Dove, Crimson-fronted Parakeet, Scarlet Macaw, White-collared Swift, Long-billed Hermit, Scaly-breasted Hummingbird, Blue-crowned/Diademed Motmot, White-wiskered Puffbird, Hoffman’s Woodpecker, Plain Xenops, Cocoa Woodcreeper, Chestnut-backed Antbird, Brightrumped Attila, Northern Royal Flycatcher, Brown-crested Flycatcher, Streaked Flycatcher, Cinnamon & Rose-throated Becard, Blue-crowned Manakin, Yellow-green Vireo, Rufous-naped Wren, Buff-rumped Warbler, Grey-headed Tanager, Red-legged Honeycreeper, Orange-billed Sparrow.
 
Day 16 After a morning birding finally we return to San Jose airport for our flight back home.
 
Day 17 After an overnight flight arrive back home if you came from Europe. 
Put together your own group and receive significant discounts!