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Bird Watching

Boston...
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32 posts
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Bird Watching
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Hi All:

We are thinking of visiting Costa Rica next February and would appreciate any thoughts on bird watching there. Which locations have people particularly enjoyed? We hope to combine bird watching with hiking as well.

Many thanks,

Sam and Julie O.

Tampa, Florida
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62 reviews
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1. Re: Bird Watching
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There are probably too many to list. From the places that I've been, I would say that Monteverde is the best for birds and hiking. The cloud forest is especially rich in bird species and the climate is very comfortable for hiking. If you're interested in more than that, there are other great locations as well.

Boston...
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Thank you! Since we've never been to CR, the whole country is an unknown for us. We appreciate your suggestion.

All best,

Sam and Julie

Ontario, Canada
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18,205 posts
70 reviews
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We stayed at Arenal Observatory Lodge very close to Arenal volcano (about 25 min drive away from La Fortuna) and saw lots of birds. We are not birders, but their site shows an extensive list of birds found on their property - see https://www.arenalobservatorylodge.com/bird-sanctuary . The property has own trails - https://www.arenalobservatorylodge.com/property-map .

We also saw a lot of wildlife, incl. birds, on S. Caribbean coast of CR, incl. in Cahuita NP. Birdwatching tours in the area are described here - https://www.puertoviejosatellite.com/tours-jungle-and-nature.php .

See where to try and see quetzals - https://costa-rica-guide.com/nature/wildlife/resplendent-quetzals/ .

Edited: 3 years ago
Tampa, Florida
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9,298 posts
62 reviews
14 helpful votes
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If you had enough time, the combination of Arenal Observatory Lodge and Monteverde would be excellent for birders.

The trails at AOL do not really constitute hiking, but there are several good parks with trails in Monteverde, including the iconic Monteverde Reserve.

If you had a few weeks, you could add in the southern Caribbean or Pacific. The number of regions you visit obviously depends upon the length or your stay.

Winnipeg, Canada
Destination Expert
for Costa Rica
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9,505 posts
34 reviews
90 helpful votes
5. Re: Bird Watching
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Our birdwatching expert here is Racandee. Maybe he will see this thread.

But in the meantime, you can read one of his trip reports.

https://www.tripadvisor.ca/ShowTopic-g291982-i813-k8182182-February_trip_report_Pacific_highlands_and_coast-Costa_Rica.html

He has also visited other areas and posted about them.

Chicago, Illinois
Destination Expert
for Costa Rica
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12,774 posts
21 reviews
46 helpful votes
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For bird watching and hiking I’d suggest you get away from the more popular tourist destinations including Arenal & Monteverde, & check out some if the spots a little farther afield. A few dpots to consider: Puerto Viejo de Sarapiqui roughly 2 hours from San Jose with Carribean lowland rainforest and great birding & wildlife. Also Bocas Tapada up near the Nicaragua border. Maybe Rancho Naturalista in the Turrialba valley, a birding hotspot. Or the cloudforest at San Gerardo de Dota where a quetzal hike with Marino Chacon is not to be missed. A last great stop might be San Vito up in the mountains near the Panama border with the renowned Wilson Botanical Gardens & grrat birding. But it’s also true that you can enjoy great birding opportunities all over Costa Rica. The above is just a few great birding stops depending on how long you have.

Brooklyn, New York
Destination Expert
for Sarapiqui
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7. Re: Bird Watching
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This sounds kind of backwards, but I would buy the Garrigues and Dean field guide and figure out which species you would really like to see (you won't be able to see all the birds you want to--we're just finishing up our 8th trip and I've only seen 1/2 the species in CR that are found there) and use their range maps as a rough guide.

Also, it helps to have some idea as to how much time, how much money you can spend as well as what kind of weather you're willing to put up with (hot, dry, cold, wet), what aspects of travel (creature comforts, service, restaurants/food, swimming pool/beach) matter to you and especially any non-birding companions.

One general piece of advice regardless of the above is to stay at hotels set in good birding habitat, I.e. not in city centers or on the beach but rather in the forest. Some of my best CR bird sightings (e.g King Vulture, Ornate Hawk-Eagle, Emerald Tanager, Tody Motmot, Turquoise Cotinga, Great Green Macaw, White-tipped Sicklebill, Black Crested and White Crestec Coquettes ) have been on the grounds of lodges we've been staying at. There are a lot of lodges that cater specifically to birders but there many others that have equally good habitat.

Edited: 3 years ago
Slovenia
Destination Expert
for Costa Rica
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61 reviews
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8. Re: Bird Watching
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It all depends on how much time you will have. There are several specialised birding lodges across Costa Rica, as well as specialised tours/guides. The good part of Costa Rica is one will see birds almost everywhere.

Some ideas from my upcoming birding-related trip: Arenal Observatory Lodge, Puerto Viejo de Sarapiqui, Puerto Viejo de Talamanca, Rancho Naturalista, San Gerardo de Dota, Cabo Matapalo, Bijagua (Tenorio & Miravalles + Cano Negro). And there are much more to chose from.

9. Re: Bird Watching

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