Trip report: Costa Rica; The Introtour (Feb 2015) by Tropical Birding

Guided by Cameron Cox. This was a set departure tour.

There are many traits one could ascribe to Costa Rica. Beautiful is certainly one, with both Caribbean and Pacific beaches, towering mountains, and stunning forests. Diverse is a term that encapsulates the country’s birdlife, with over 900 species packed into the 128th largest country in the world. Exciting is another trait that describes Costa Rica, because how could you not feel excitement when visiting this tropical paradise with something new around each corner? To me though, the word that I gravitate to when describing Costa Rica is “easy”. It is easy to get to being only a short flight from most North American cities. The trails are easy, wide, and largely flat. The transportation is easy (barring some traffic around San Jose and the occasional road closure). Costa Ricans are easy-going people, their philosophy encapsulated by their national motto ‘pura vida’ or ‘pure life’. Most importantly, the birding is largely quite easy and many of the endemic or showcase species are easily found and observed. Yes, “easy” is a good way to describe Costa Rica, except when it isn’t! This particular trip we were dogged by rain at the beginning of the trip and by exceptionally high winds at the end leaving only a couple of days unaffected by adverse weather. In some locations such conditions would kill the trip but not in Costa Rica! Despite the difficulties we still had a fantastic trip, found all the major target species including long looks at Resplendent Quetzal, Turquoise-browed Motmot, Great Currassow, Scarlet and Great Green Macaws, and Snowy Cotinga. Our overall species total was affected a bit by the weather but we still managed 335 species. Overall it was a great trip and everyone left with a smile. Pura vida!

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