8 days

Days Exotic Birding

Tour description:

Day 1:  Arrival to Costa Rica – Juan Santamaria’s International Airport

Day 2 &  3: San Gerardo de Dota

Day 4 & 5: Central Pacific

Day 6 & 7: Sarapiqui

Day 8. International departure – Juan Santamaria International Airport

A journey in search of some of the most enigmatic birds for conservation in Costa Rica; 7 nights 8 days exploring 3 amazing destinations from the Central Pacific to the Caribbean lowlands. A photography tour capturing Macaws, Quetzals, Toucans and many other iconic birds with long tails.

All daily activities would be based on light or natural opportunities such as nesting sites, feeding locations. During the down times or complicated light; garden explorations of visits to other parts of the chosen destinations. Since we will be focused on natural environments most of the avifauna would be captured as found yet we will visit some bird feeding stations to enrich the quantity and quality. All destinations have been carefully chosen to reach a high level of success.


Talamanca’s Highland there is not destination in Costa Rica more fulfilling for endemic birds, although the number of species in the highlands in the country are far less than rainforest lowlands, the exceptional number of endemics far exceeds those ones in areas as Corcovado National Park or Sarapiqui. Hummingbirds, flycatchers, vireos, trogons, wrens, are some of the families that had been isolated for millions of years, creating specialization of species, therefore endemic. Among some of the most beautiful birds are the Resplendent Quetzal and perhaps the only place in which it can be found all year long. Giant oaks, misty mornings and crispy air are among many of the wonderful things that make this destination a favorite among us.

Day 1. Arrival in Costa Rica. Pick up by NGCR staff, transfer to San Jose’s overnight hotel. Briefing about the tour. Overnight at the most convenient hotel according to the flight’s arrival time.. Dinner not included. 

Day 2. San Gerardo de Dota. Drive after breakfast to the heights of Talamanca’s Mountain Forest. Exploring gardens, forests, and river edges. Wild bird photography. Carry your super-telephoto lens and tripod. Today we will let mother nature show us the way. Recently opened trails show an incredible number of endemic bird species found nowhere else. Many of them occur in small patches of land near the river edges, some others walking around the lovely gardens and deep forest trails.

  • Lunch (between 11:30 – 13:00)
  • Hummingbird garden 2:30 – 3:30 followed by forest edges exploring
  • Dinner at 18:30

Photography workshop Subject: Editing tools Camera Raw, Capture One, DXOLab3, Topaz and questions (19:30 – 21:30) 

Day 3. San Gerardo de Dota. We will concentrate on capturing hummingbirds in the air. Many hotels had for a long time built very attractive gardens filled with hummers fighting for the best perches and nectars. 

  • Early departure 5:30 – 9:30 am is search for Resplendent Quetzal
  • Oak Forest bird exploration
  • Batsu Bird Garden
  • Dinner at 18:30


Central Pacific

Carara National Park is by far one the best birding places all year long in Costa Rica and perhaps in all of Central America. Within the national park protects the second largest population of Scarlet Macaws, easy access to all trails, mangrove swamps, pasture fields and forest edges. There are very few places in the country where more than hundred species can be found in one trail. Meandrica’s trail has become an icon for quality birding, tinamous, trogons, wrens, antpittas, manakins, cotingas, bellbirds, Antshrikes are among the most common birds in the forest. The nearby forested edges give as a good number of open field birds, jays, blackbirds, greenlets, rails, ground doves, motmots, hawks, parakeets, owls are among many of the avifauna found in these habitats. The mangroves at Rio Grande de Tarcoles are very rewarding on a good day along the river edges 5 species of kingfishers can be spotted, more than a couple dozens of shorebirds, herons, egrets are also easy to find but the most remarkable species are the ones with a restricted range or to the mangroves such as vireos, warblers, cuckoos, flycatchers, the elusive Rufous necked wood-rail and the only true Costa Rican endemic Mangrove Hummingbird.

Day 4. Central Pacific. Drive after breakfast to the valley down into the heart of the Central Pacific of Costa Rica. Exploring gardens, forests, and river edges. Wild bird photography. There are so many different locations to explore during this destination. Agricultural fields, forest patches, river edges, primary, secondary & mangrove forests. 

  • Lunch (between 11:30 – 13:00)
  • Mangrove Boat tour 2:30 pm
  • Dinner at 18:30

Photography workshop Subject: Macaws in flight

Day 5. Central Pacific. Full day at Carara National Park, two different trail systems with endless possibilities to capture Manakins, trogons, antbirds, motmots, raptors, woodcreepers, toucans and so much more. 

  • Mangrove Boat tour 5:30 am
  • Lunch (between 11:30 – 13:00)
  • Dinner at 18:30



Sarapiqui is a real rainforest experience with vast areas to cover, primary rainforest, active and no active pasture fields, river edges, canopy bridges, thick understory, etc. Cotingas, macaws, oropendolas, guans, eagles, toucans are some of the many species to find. At La Selva Biological Station daily birds to spot are Green Ibis, Sunbittern, Jacamars, Tanagers, Orioles,Woodpeckers, Tityras, etc. Botanical gardens nearby offer great opportunities to spot a dozen or more species of hummingbirds and its adjacent forest always brings good surprises as Little Tinamou, Lattice tailed Trogon, Cinnamon Woodpecker, and much more. Beside that,  Braulio Carrillo National Park is a real rainforest experience with the largest mixed flocks ever including favorites such as Sharpbills and Umbrellabirds. 

Day 6. Sarapiqui. Drive after breakfast into the heart of the most well studied rainforest on earth in to explore more possibilities out the of the lodge on nearby back roads and forest edges

  • Lunch (between 11:30 – 13:00) out of the lodge, continue seeking for larger birds such as Eagles, Hawks, Falcons, etc.
  • Return time at 17:30
  • Dinner at 18:00 

Photography workshop Subject: White spots, odd angles, lowlight and black backgrounds

Day 7. Sarapiqui. Early breakfast and trail exploration until lunch. Visit to Dave & Dave’s Photography Garden.

  • Morning at Sarapiqui
  • Dave & Dave’s Photography Garden 15:00
  • Dinner 6:30 pm

Day 8. International flight departure. Itinerary would depend on flight schedules.


Costa Rica