Costa Rica is a perennial favorite among birders and photographers alike. The reason is simple; the country is equipped with a series of excellent lodges, some of which come with a busy set of feeders, and boasts the highest percentage of protected land area of any country in the world. On top of that it also has a huge bird list relative to the size of the country, with over 800 species on offer. While tropical birding can seem intimidating and difficult, Costa Rica offers some of the best available, with many places set up with not only great accommodations but great forest facilities too, making Costa Rica much more accessible than some other more adventurous destinations. If you are looking for a first foray into the tropics, to experience its legendary diversity, you need to look no further than Costa Rica, as the ideal choice in this regard. It offers superb wetlands, mangroves, highland forests and humid tropical wet and dry forests, and often easy birding in comfort and style. It also offers one of the world’s must see birds, in the form of the spectacular Resplendent Quetzal, which is usually readily seen. While we offer three very different tours to this idyllic tropical country, they all offer a very high chance of the quetzal, while differing in many other respects. Tropical Birding have been operating tours in Costa Rica now for well over ten years, and regularly operate multiple tours within the country each year, whether these be photo tour, introductory tours to the country, or hard core birding trips focused on maximising the bird list.
Which tour should I pick?
Tropical Birding offers three tours to this fascinating country, all of which are markedly different form one another. Tropical Birding operates two Birding Tours in Costa Rica and one Photo Tour, designed specifically with photographers in mind. We also intend to offer a Birding with a Camera® (BwC) tour in the future.
Costa Rica: The Introtour is our most popular Costa Rica tour, as it offers a short (11 days), introductory tour, and is perfect for birders looking for their first trip in the Neotropics (Central and South America). This tour is run at a relaxed pace, and is designed as an introduction to the area, while still visiting some of the most exciting birding venues in the country; covering everything from the lowlands of the Pacific and Caribbean slopes at Carara and La Selva respectively, to the highlands, with visits to both the world famous Monteverde cloudforest, and the most reliable site in the world for Resplendent Quetzal, Savegre. For this looking for a comfortable paced tour, and with limited time available this is the perfect option.
While Costa Rica: The Introtour visits the must-see birding sites in the country, so too does our longer Comprehensive Costa Rica: From Border to Border, but this tour also offers some other, less visited birding sites, as it seeks to cover much more of Costa Rica, visiting sites all the way from the border with Nicaragua, to the border with Panama. This is an intense, fast-paced, tour targeting the usual birds seen on our shorter Introtour, but also a whole host of much more rarely seen species in Costa Rica like Jabiru, Cabanis’s Ground-Sparrow, Spot-crowned Euphonia, Charming Hummingbird, White-crested Coquette, Tody and Keel-billed Motmots, Turquoise and Yellow-billed Cotingas, and Black-cheeked Ant-Tanager. It is also timed to give the best chance of two of Costa Rica’s most wanted birds: Three-wattled Bellbird and Bare-necked Umbrellabird. If you have plenty of time and wish to kickstart your world bird list with a large percentage of what Costa Rica has to offer this is the best option for you, so that you only have to visit Costa Rica the one time.
Costa Rica has long been established as not only a quality birding destination, but an excellent choice for bird and wildlife photographers too. Costa Rica: Birding with a Camera® (BwC) is one of our new line of Birding with a Camera® tours. It has a different itinerary from the Introtour designed to give better chances to photograph birds, while still allowing you to see tons of birds. More hardcore photographers who are less concerned about the number of birds seen, we also offer Costa Rica Photo Tour, which covers the very best photographic sites in the country in an 11-day tour. Just because this is a Photo Tour, you need not worry that you will miss out on the Resplendent Quetzal, as this tour also offers the Savegre Valley as one of the sites, where quetzals are not only seen regularly, but frequently offer the best chances to shoot them in the country. Aside from the highlands a specially set up site in the Caribbean lowlands offers arguably the best photo shoots in the country, with plenty of blooming flowers to attract hummingbirds, and offer the perfect natural shots of them feeding; while the same site also offers a 360 degree feeding area for fruit eating birds, with tanagers and toucans being the most photogenic species on offer there, where there is usually always something on offer for your lens. The tour visits wetland sites too to photograph large waterbirds, as well as the forest birds offered elsewhere; which could include tiger-herons, spoonbills, egrets, and even Jabiru. If you wan to experience the very best of Costa Rica through your lens this is the best option out there.
What about a custom tour?
Each year Tropical Birding runs multiple tours to Costa Rica, many of which are custom tours doctored to the individual needs of particular groups. Sometimes, this is simply the same itinerary as our set departure tours offered at a time that suits, or it is a modified itinerary including specific sites or birds that people wish to see. In this way we can offer longer/shorter tours to offer your vacation needs, or add specific areas or birds that have been on tour wish list. If you wish to discuss a custom tour, please contact our office and we can help build an itinerary which suits you. We have multiple guides with plenty of experience in Costa Rica that are available to advise you.