Costa Rica 11 Day Guided Bird Tour: November 5-15, 2023
Costa Rica 11 Day Guided Bird Tour: November 5-15, 2023
Welcome to Big Year Birders! On this exciting excursion to the lush jungles of Costa Rica, we will delve into the world of fall bird migration. This trip is planned by birding experts with years of combined experience birding in and around Costa Rica. We will take care of the logistics so you can thoroughly enjoy the best part of birding, seeing the birds!
What you can expect from this trip:
- An intensely bird-focused itinerary, we will be birding most days from sunrise to sundown (and even some evenings for owls).
- The best local Tico guides for the entirety of our trip to help with bird identification and logistics.
- Stunning accommodations that embrace the biodiversity of Costa Rica.
- Group bonding and shared experiences with other outdoorsy, bird-loving individuals.
- We are planning to see a minimum of 150 bird species, but we could top 200 species easily. Some of the many birds we are hoping to see include Resplendent Quetzal, Royal Flycatcher, Sunbittern, & Blue-crowned Motmot.
- Daily hikes and walks through gorgeous scenery through some of the most stunning habitats in Costa Rica.
Purchase of this trip includes:
- 10 nights accommodation in Costa Rica, single or shared occupancy available.
- 11 days of guided and fully-coordinated birding.
- Daily transportation from hotels to birding locations.
- Pick-up and drop-off in San Jose (Alajuela) on the first and last day of the tour.
- Local, expert guides each day.
- Three meals a day (snacks and alcoholic beverages not included)
Flights, alcoholic beverages, and airport transfers are not included.
Rooming Options, Costs & Payment Schedule:
Single occupancy - $3950 per person
With the purchase of a single occupancy trip, you will always have your own private room. Occasionally you may have to share a cabin or bathroom, but you will always have your own private sleeping space. Extremely limited to just 3 spaces for this trip.
Shared Occupancy - $2950 per person
With the purchase of shared occupancy, you'll share a cabin and/or a room with one or more other guests on the trip. You will never share a bed (unless requested). Ideal for couples, friends, or budget-conscious travelers.
We will pair those without a roommate with others on the trip based on their preferences. We will never pair you with someone you do not want to share a room with.
With your initial purchase, you are making a 10% deposit to the final booking. the remaining 90% will be due 100 days prior to the trip departure. For this trip that will be Friday, July 28th, 2023.
Please read our cancellation and refund policy here.
We require a minimum of 6 guests for this trip. If we don't reach the minimum number of guests 60 days before the trip we will refund all guests the entirety of their deposits minus the $20 transaction fee.
Quick Itinerary: Click here for the full itinerary or see the bottom of the page
November 5-7: San Jose to Mastatal
We will travel from Alajuela at 10 am on November 5th to Marcos' hometown of Mastatal for excellent birding in a rural Tico village.
November 7-8: Coastal
From Mastatal we will head down to the coast for shorebirds and a mangrove tour.
November 8-10: Cloud Forest
Next we will travel up into the mountains to explore the cloud forest, home to the resplendent quetzal.
November 10-12: Sarapiqui
We will head north to the lush forests of the Sarapiqui region, home to hundreds of species of unique birds.
November 12-14: Cano Negro
The unique dry forests of Cano Negro offer more unique birding experiences. Here we will rent a boat for multiple excursions into the waterways around our accommodation.
November 14-15: La Fortuna (Arenal)
We will relax, celebrate, and bird a little more in our luxurious accommodations near the Arenal Volcano before heading back to San Jose. This is the last day of the trip which will end after dinner around 7 pm in Alajuela.
For questions please email us firstname.lastname@example.org
This purchase is a 10% deposit towards your final booking.
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.
When is the full amount due?
Full payment for this trip is due on Friday, July 28th, 2023.
Do I need to bring binoculars?
Yes, you should bring your own binoculars. A pair may be provided if you discuss with us before the trip, but supplies are limited and they may not be for your birding style. Please email us for recommendations or if you'd like to try one of our pairs.
We also will have 1-2 scopes for the entirety of the trip for better views.
What books/apps should I buy for Costa Rica?
We recommend The Birds of Costa Rica: A Field Guide.
Merlin also works, but is not the best quality images, whereas the field guide has great illustrations.
What level of fitness is required for this trip?
To enjoy this trip in its entirety we require guests to be able to walk between 2-5 miles (3-8km) per day. Because we have two guides we can split groups if necessary based on hiking ability. There will be some rough terrain and uneven footings. Good quality hiking/walking shoes or boots are a must.
Do I have to be a birder?
We are targeting this trip for birders, but if you are just a casual birder or really into other wildlife, insects or plants, we encourage you to join us. The itinerary is bird focused, but we will be traveling to beautiful places throughout Costa RIca nonetheless. If you would like to take time off from the group to do your own thing that is fully acceptable, we just hope you enjoy the trip and can be a positive person to travel with. We will go out of our way for birds at times, so being open minded to our goals is best to fully enjoy your trip and be a team player.