Costa Rica 2023 Itinerary
Costa Rica 2023 Full Itinerary
Below you will find information for our Costa Rica Big Year Birders trip planned for 2023. Specific hotels and stops are subject to change, but we are pretty locked in with this itinerary at this point. We can't wait to welcome you and hope you enjoy the trip.
November 5th: Hop on board the Tanager Express at 10 am in Alajuela (near the San Jose Airport). On day 1 we will travel out to Mastatal to explore La Cangreja National Park, near Marcos'(one of our trip guides) home village. We will stop for lunch along the way and bird periodically when given the opportunity. In the evening we will debrief and go over logistics for the remainder of the trip and possibly go out for owling if they have been detected recently.
November 6th: Up bright and early we will bird the nearby La Cangreja National Park which is home to 400 bird species. We will have breakfast at Marcos' residence, waking up to scarlet macaws, blue dacnis, and tinamous, with lunch in the field. We will stop by the lush waters of Rio Cheres for an afternoon dip before continuing on birding throughout the village. Those who want to rest can take the afternoon off, while others may continue birding near Marcos' residence.
November 7th: We will bird again near Marcos' house in the morning, then after breakfast, we will head down to Parrita for mangrove and coastal birding. We will visit shrimp farms and a river mouth to get our waterbirds and shorebirds. The evening concludes with a boat tour along the mangroves, home to an array of waterbird like the boat-billed Heron, Anhinga, and neotropical cormorants. We will stay the night near Dominical.
November 8th: We will wake up along the coast, and do some morning birding on a few nature trails nearby with access to some pristine coastal forest. We will depart mid-day and head up to the mountains, stopping through San Isidro. This may be your best chance to stock up on some snacks and local delights. Before arriving in Savegre we will take a brief break to search for the volcano junco at a stop around 10,000 ft. For the next 2 nights we will be in one of our favorite regions, the cloud forests of Savegre.
November 9th: Savegre is best known for the Resplendent Quetzal and its plentiful amount of hummingbirds. Mornings can be brisk here so bring at least one long leave shirt as we will be birding early at nearby houses looking for these gorgeous fruit eaters. After breakfast, we will return for a short hike on some nearby trails with great birding opportunities for other species like the long-tailed silky flycatcher, scintillant hummingbird, and Northern emerald toucanet.
November 10th: On our last morning we will continue birding the Savegre Valley, looking for more cloud forest specialists. We will stop for lunch along the way as we travel toward Tirimbina for 2 nights. This will be primarily a driving day with a few stops along the way for food and birding. We will have the chance to owl one night while in Tirimbina.
November 11th: We will bird extensively using the trail system at the Tirimbina Lodge where we will have river access and a chance to see many species of trogons and motmots. Some unique species here include the checker-throated stipplethroat, streak-chested antpitta, and many migrating North American warblers.
November 12: Our final morning in Tirimbina we will continue to explore the local trails with our guides. We will depart late morning with another driving day to get up to the far north of Cano Negro. When we arrive we will take an evening boat tour of the nearby waterways to search extensively for water and riparian birds.
November 13th: This will be a boat birding heavy day. We will wake up early, and hop on the boat for some more birding. Then after a brief break, we will take another boat ride to a new part of the river for more birding. This will be a great opportunity for photography and close-up birding as the boat will allow us wonderful views of birds. We will finish the evening off with an owling tour.
November 14th: Our final day in Cano negro we will stay on land and bird the nearby Refugio Mixto Cano Negro. With over 400 species of birds this area is teaming with bird life and we are hoping to see as much as possible. We will check out in the morning and head towards our final spot near Arenal for a much-earned relaxation near the hot springs. This day will be a short travel day with birding opportunities in the morning and evening.
November 15th: Our final day of the trip will bird some trails around Fortuna and Arenal. Then in the late afternoon, we will travel back to Alajuela. We plan to return to Alajuela by 6 pm for a final dinner with the group before saying our goodbyes. Afterward, we will drop folks off at the airport or nearby hotels in the Alajuela region. For those who would like to continue their journey departing from La Fortuna may be a good time to peel off to other regions (head to Monteverde to the west or to the northwest coast for more amazing birding and beaches). Otherwise, for those who are all finished we will say goodbye until next time.
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