Hike up to an active volcano. Zipline across a lush forest canopy. Raft through rushing rapids.
The adventures in Costa Rica are endless.
Small in size, but blessed with two coasts—Pacific and Caribbean—the country is packed with
rainforests, beaches and parks. Add in the warm climate and friendly locals, it is not surprising
that Costa Rica is a leading travel destination.
A birder’s paradise. A photographer’s dream.
What might surprise some is that this ecologically diverse paradise is also packed with birds—over 850 species, in fact. Most are year-round residents, but many are visiting migrants
from North America. With a focus on ecotourism, Costa Rica has many eco lodges serving various education and research projects. These lodges also provide world-class bird-watching
facilities that make for some of the most incredible birding adventures.
Whether it’s a few nights stay at an eco lodge, or taking a tour with a knowledgeable, bilingual guide, birders will delight in checking another species or two—or more!—off their life list while visiting Costa Rica.
Planning your bird-watching and photography adventure
To guide you in your planning, here are some tips for the best bird-watching and photography
spots in Costa Rica, as well as popular local species that you won’t want to miss.
With 250 bird species living in its humid forests, the Santa Rosa National Park in Guanacaste is a
“must-stop” on your trip. Highlights include the Long-tailed Manakin, the Blue-crowned
Motmot, the Keel-billed Toucan (with its unique croak and rainbow-colored bill), and the
Laughing Falcon (or “Guaco,” as the locals call it).
The Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve, southeast of Santa Elena, is home to 400 species of birds, including the Resplendent Quetzal, Three-wattled Bellbird and Montezuma Oropendola, as well as thrushes, hummingbirds, and other migratory fowls.
Parque del Este Park in San Jose provides critical habitat to various bird species, including the Oropendola, Blue-crowned Motmot, herons, jacanas, limpkins, gallinules and kingfishers. The Caño Negro Wildlife Reserve is another fine place for bird watching, containing a major nesting and gathering site for rare aquatic birds.
Tortuguero National Park in the Limon province is known for its great green macaws and the park’s boat trip offers some particularly great bird watching. Other ideal areas to hear the popular Resplendent Quetzal sing are the Barva volcano area, Los
Quetzales National Park and/or Cerro de la Muerte.
At the Palo Verde National Park, migratory birds are a big attraction during the wet season, but many of these birds also come to the marshes during the dry season as well. The lowland rain forests of Osa Peninsula, Corcovado National Park, Manuel Antonio National Park, and the Carara Biological Reserve, offer protection to the endangered, yet fascinating,
Whether you are a serious birder or a budding novice, these stops will provide incredible bird-watching and photography opportunities set in spectacular settings that only Costa Rica can offer. Plan your unforgettable birding adventure today.
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