The Best of Costa Rica: Mar 20—Apr 01, 2018

Register NowTour Details

Price: $5,495
Departs: San Jose
Tour Limit: 14
Operations Manager: Greg Lopez
Download Itinerary: PDF (265.7 KB)

Route Map


Tour Leaders


David Wolf

David Wolf is a senior member of the VENT staff and one of our most experienced tour leaders...


Mimi Wolf

Mimi Wolf is an accomplished birder, artist, horse breeder, and mother who lives in Nacogdoc...

More Information

Register for this Tour

Register for this tour by phone (800/328-VENT or 512/328-5221), or by downloading a tour registration form. Signed and completed forms can be faxed, mailed, or scanned and emailed to the VENT office.

Green-crowned Brilliant

Green-crowned Brilliant— Photo: Brian Gibbons


Visits some of the best areas of Costa Rica, with a remarkable cross-section of tropical birds and habitats; comfortable accommodations and good food throughout; good birding right around each lodge; excellent introduction to Neotropical birding, plus many regional endemics.

Small, friendly, and close to home, Costa Rica is one of the world’s premier birding destinations. With habitats ranging from lowland rainforest and misty subtropical forest to semiarid ranchland and treeless páramo, and over 850 species of birds in a country the size of West Virginia, there is much to see and do here. A chain of public and private reserves protects key habitats, access to them is easy, and facilities for the ecotourist are well-developed. The visiting birder’s biggest problem may be choosing which areas to visit in a limited time! We have done this for you by picking four sites that we feel offer the best combination of birds, habitats, and lodging for a productive stay in this beautiful little country. The diversity is simply amazing!

Each region visited is distinctive and offers birds that won’t be seen elsewhere on the trip. Bosque de Paz, a large private reserve in the subtropical zone, is the lushest area that we visit. Some of the most exciting birds of Central America inhabit this enchanting cloud forest, including Black Guan, hummingbirds in abundance, Prong-billed Barbet, Emerald Toucanet, Spangle-cheeked Tanager, and more. Carara National Park, in the transition zone between the dry and moist forests of the Pacific lowlands, is best known for its remnant population of Scarlet Macaws. It is also home to most of the specialties of southwestern Costa Rica, including Baird’s Trogon, Fiery-billed Aracari, Orange-collared Manakin, Black-hooded Antshrike, and Riverside Wren, and is generally a very “birdy” area.

The tour highlight may well be our visit to the Caribbean lowlands and the world-famous La Selva OTS Field Station. Here, amidst the tall lowland rainforest, second-growth, and open country, nearly 400 species of birds have been found—remarkable for such a small area. Brilliant parrots, trogons, jacamars, toucans, and tanagers grab one’s attention at first, but we will also come to appreciate the more somberly-clad woodcreepers, antbirds, flycatchers, and wrens. The sounds of these lowlands are spectacular in their own right. The distant hoot of a motmot, the quavering and eerie calls of the tinamous, the liquid gurgling of the oropendolas—all combine to produce a beautiful natural chorus.

To round out our survey of Costa Rica’s riches, we visit the temperate forests on Cerro de la Muerte, in the heart of the highlands. This environment is home to more regional endemics than any other part of the country, and distinctive species like the Sulphur-winged Parakeet, Ruddy Treerunner, Long-tailed Silky-flycatcher, Flame-throated Warbler, Collared Redstart, and Large-footed Finch are typical. The fabulous Resplendent Quetzal is found throughout these forests, and it is hard to imagine a better place to seek them. The lovely lodge, in a flower-filled garden above a rushing trout stream, is peaceful and relaxing—the perfect place to end our Best of Costa Rica tour.

Good accommodations and food throughout; travel by bus but no lengthy drives; moderate walking, mostly in easy terrain; midday breaks on many days; swimming pools at two locations; one afternoon at high elevations; pleasantly cool to hot and humid temperatures.