Birding in Costa Rica’s Eco-Zones

Have the Most Diverse Birding Costa Rica Vacation!

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Birding in Costa Rica Eco-Zones Day by Day Itinerary 

If you are ready to spot a Resplendent Quetzal, see keel-billed toucans or catch a glance at a swallow-tailed kite or trogon, visit Costa Rica! Costa Rica’s unique location in Central America means that it offers incredible habitats for a variety of bird species. From mangroves, lowlands and highlands to tropical dry forest, cloud forests and tropical dry forests, Costa Rica has unforgettable birding tours. My Costa Rica has put together some amazing birding vacations, including this one. The Birding in Costa Rica Eco-Zones itinerary will take you to the Caribbean coast, San Gerardo de Dota and the Central Pacific area. Get ready for 12 days of birdwatching in Costa Rica!

Day 1:

Hotel Bougainvillea GardenYou will fly into San José International Airport where a representative from My Costa Rica will pick you up and take you to Hotel Bougainvillea. This hotel has several acres of beautiful gardens, a swimming pool, fitness center, restaurant and a tennis court that you can enjoy before you start your Costa Rica birding tours on day two. 

Day 2:

Rancho Naturalista BirdOn your second day in Costa Rica, My Costa Rica will  transfer you to Rancho Naturalista in Turrialba. The trip takes you through beautiful Costa Rica scenery and takes about 2.5 hours. Rancho Naturalista is located in the Caribbean slope in the Cordillera Talamanca. The hotel gives you access to great trails in diverse sections of the forest where you can spot a variety of birds. It’s a great place for birding tours as well as hiking. Watching out for hummingbirds and the famous Snowcap!

Day 3:

Nature Rancho NaturalistaYou will meet with other birders on the balcony at dawn for the Morning Birding Tour. This is the perfect opportunity to see insect feeding bird species when they are most active. After breakfast, you will head out to the trails in the tropical rainforest reserve to look for mixed-species flocks in the canopy and understory of the forest. A local guide will help you spot the various birds soaring overhead. After your tour you’ll head back to the lodge for a delicious and traditional lunch. 

Day 4:

Crimson Collared TanagerDay four is another Costa Rica tour that you’ll never forget. On the Rio Tuis Valley Birding Tour, you can hike the trail in the vast forest reserve for a few hours or the entire day. The birding is one of Costa Rica’s birding hotspots. Take your camera and capture a tanager or monklet!

Day 5:

Trogon Lodge GardenOn day five you’ll get to enjoy the drive through Costa Rica’s highlands to the tranquil village of San Gerardo de Dota. The beautiful Trogon Lodge is THE place in Costa Rica to view the beautiful resplendent quetzal and several other amazing birds of Costa Rica. This cloud forest lodge offers a relaxing refuge for those looking for some great nature hiking, birdwatching, and beautiful scenery! Beautiful mountain cabins, home cooked food, a great new spa and remodeled bar complete this charming lodge.

Day 6:

rufus tailed hummingbirdBirdwatching is the main attraction of this region so you will definitely enjoy the Quetzal Bird Tour. The beautiful environment of biological corridors with more than 170 species of birds make this a birder’s paradise. Various migratory species arrive throughout the year and join the native species which creates a colorful view for birdwatchers. In addition to the Resplendent Quetzal, you’ll probably spot the Emerald Toucanet, Black Guan Trogons and hummingbirds!

Day 7:

San Gerardo De Dota MacawOn day seven you’ll enjoy the Birdwatching Tour in San Gerardo de Dota, which is featured in the classic birding guide “Fifty Places to go Birding Before You Die.” Don’t forget your camera and birding journal, because there are hundreds of bird species in this region. 

Day 8:

Jaco Beach Jaco Beach Aerial ViewOn day eight of your Costa Rica birding tour, your private driver will pick you up and bring you to Jacó on the Pacific Coast of Costa Rica. You will check in to Cerro Lodge which offers comfortable and luxurious rooms. Enjoy the wonderful views on the ocean or take a swim in the pool after spending the day birding in the Tarcoles River. The Jaco area is famous for Scarlet Macaws so listen closely for their calls! 

Day 9:

Mot Mot in CararaThe Carara National Park is home to approximately 48% of Costa Rica’s aviary species. You will be picked up from your lodge and driven to this National Park in about 20 minutes. This tour will show you the importance of the region which is situated in a transitional region between tropical dry forest and humid Pacific rainforest. You will be able to see the flora and fauna of this varied ecosystem as well as many colorful species of bird, such as the Scarlet Macaw and the Collared Aracari.

Day 10:

Tarcoles Jungle Safari Boat TourOn the 10th day of your vacation, you will go on the Tarcoles Mangrove Birding Tour. The Tarcoles River and its mangroves are an extraordinary birding area. Carara and Tarcoles contain a wonderful sample of species of wet tropical pacific habitats and species that are common in the drier areas of the northwest of Costa Rica. Over 400 species of birds have been registered in the area. The best way to explore this is by boat. Enjoy!

Day 11:

Tennis Court Hotel BougainvilleaEnjoy your private transfer to Costa Rica’s capital San José on your second-to-last-day in Costa Rica. It will take approximately 1 hour and 45 minutes. You will go back to Hotel Bougainvillea where you can enjoy the gardens, swimming pool and restaurant for a second time. 

Day 12:

On the last day of your Costa Rica vacation, you will go back to San José Airport to board your flight back home. Have a great journey and we hope you visit Costa Rica again soon! 

Costa Rica Vacations Signature Collection

Interests Birding
Ideal for Couples, Seniors

Destinations Visited

Click to Enlarge Costa Rica Map

Vacation At a Glance

Hotel accommodation
Tour packages
  • Morning Birding Tour
  • Rio Tuis Valley Birding Tour
  • Quetzal Bird Tour
  • Bird Watching Tour in San Gerardo de Dota
  • Lowland Bird Watching Tour
  • Carara National Park
  • Tarcoles Mangrove Birding Tour
Domestic transportation
  • Private Transfer from Airport to Hotel
  • Private Transfer from San Jose to Turrialba
  • Private Transfer from Turrialba to San Gerardo de Dota
  • Private Transfer from San Gerardo de Dota to Tarcoles
  • Private Transfer from Tarcoles to San Jose
  • Private Transfer from Hotel to Airport


Click here to Download the Itinerary!

Hotels Included

Hotel Bougainvillea Entrance

Hotel Bougainvillea

Heredia. Favorite. Pool, Fitness Room / Gym, Restaurant, Shop, Tennis. TV, Safe Box, Hair Dryer. Laundry Service, Concierge, Room Service.
From: Under $125
Rancho Naturalista Exterior

Rancho Naturalista

Turrialba. Birding, Boutique, Nature Restaurant. . .
From: Under $125
Trogon Lodge Lake

Trogon Lodge

San Gerardo. Favorite. Birding, Boutique, Nature Restaurant, Shop. Hair Dryer. Concierge.
From: Under $125
Cerro Lodge Exterior and Pool

Cerro Lodge

Jaco, Tarcoles. Favorite. Birding, Nature Pool, Restaurant. . Laundry Service.
From: $125 - $200
Hotel Bougainvillea Entrance

Hotel Bougainvillea

Heredia. Favorite. Pool, Fitness Room / Gym, Restaurant, Shop, Tennis. TV, Safe Box, Hair Dryer. Laundry Service, Concierge, Room Service.
From: Under $125

Tour Options

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* The prices listed are subject to change at any time, you will receive a 100% exact price at the time of the quote. The rates listed here are per person of double occupancy and include taxes, domestic transportation, tours and hotels as described. The price DOES NOT include international air tickets or any other service not mentioned, includes the optional travel insurance.
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