Home to cool, misty cloud forests, and deep green foliage almost everywhere you look, there’s no mistaking that you’ve stepped away from everyday life on this tour. If spending time in nature is at the top of your travel to-do list, this guided birding tour in Costa Rica is for you!
Costa Rica is home to a striking variety of bird species, over 850 have been identified – more than the United States and Canada combined! Keep in mind, this is all in an area roughly the size of West Virginia.
You will visit the Monteverde Cloud Forest which is one of the seven natural wonders of this country. The incredible Resplendent Quetzal calls this place home. In addition to the possibility of spotting a Bare-throated Tiger Heron, the Mangrove Warbler, or the American Pygmy Kingfisher, you will probably see an American Crocodile or two which are abundant on the Tárcoles River.
Moving along to the Carara National Park, you will hopefully spot the colorful Scarlet Macaw, which is the largest member of the parrot family. The park contains one of the largest remaining wild populations of this delightful bird. You are guaranteed to add some great finds to your birding journal!
The Arenal Volcano, with lovely geothermal hot springs
Lake Arenal where you may spot Royal Flycatchers, White-fronted Nunbird, and Cinnamon Woodpeckers
The forested Tilaran Mountain Range
Monteverde, home to some 400 species of birds
The Curi-Cancha Reserve, where you may be able to see the Orange-bellied Trogon, Keel-billed Toucan, Blue-crowned Motmot, Resplendent Quetzal, and Blue-throated Golden Tail
Tons of other toucans, parrots, oropendolas, colorful tanagers, and parakeets
Day 1: Arrival in San Jose and transfer to La Fortuna
Day 2: Arenal Recreation Area, transfer to Monteverde Lake Crossing
Day 3: Monteverde
Day 4: Monteverde - Tárcoles area
Day 5: Carara National Park
Day 6: Transfer from Jacó to Juan Santamaria Airport
Day 1: Arrival in San Jose, transfer to La Fortuna
A representative will meet you at the Juan Santamaria International Airport in San Jose and transfer you to your first hotel in La Fortuna. The hotel for tonight is close to Arenal Volcano. During the drive, you will receive a brief introduction to Costa Rica and some recommendations for your trip.
La Fortuna is home to the greater Arenal Recreation Area, the entire region is paradise on Earth for outdoor adventurers. Volcanic views grace the landscape and heat several geothermal hot springs. A lake and rivers beckon you toward aquatic adventure. Refreshing waterfalls reward you after hikes, offering crisp pools and spectacular views.
Accommodation: Arenal Oasis Eco Lodge & Wildlife Refuge/Bungalow room
This rustic and charming family-owned rural property is nestled away at a convenient distance of just 2 miles (3 kilometers) from the center of La Fortuna, allowing guests to witness the diverse Costa Rican flora and fauna in its natural form. Arenal Oasis Eco Lodge is an eco-friendly Lodge with sustainable tourism practices.
Transfer time: 3 hours, 15 minutes
Day 2: Arenal Recreation Area, transfer to Monteverde, Lake Crossing (elevation 258 m / 845 f)
The Arenal Volcano is one of Costa Rica’s most notable natural features. Standing at 5,437 feet (1,657 meters), this volcano has been resting (i.e., not active) since 2010. However, it is no less majestic to behold, as it’s practically a behemoth against the region’s perfect skies. Rising above the rainforest that surrounds its base, Arenal Volcano frames the skyline with near-perfect symmetry.
The Arenal Volcano area is the habitat of a variety of birds that make their permanent or temporary home near Lake Arenal. Enjoy a half-day birdwatching tour with a naturalist guide. Expect to see toucans, parrots, oropendolas, colorful tanagers, and parakeets. With more experienced birdwatchers, the naturalist guide will focus on spotting Royal Flycatchers, White-fronted Nunbird, Cinnamon Woodpeckers, and other less commonly seen species.
In the afternoon, you will take a shared transfer from Arenal to Monteverde. The trip combines comfortable door-to-door minivan transfers with a fun and scenic cruise across the tranquil Lake Arenal, where you will experience beautiful views of the majestic volcano and the forested Tilaran Mountain Range. You will also have the chance to see a variety of wetland birds such as kingfishers, flycatchers, waders, and other exotic species that abound on the lakeshore.
You will be picked up from your hotel in Arenal and be driven to the Lake Arenal dam, where you will board a covered boat. This is where the scenic 45-minute cruise across the lake begins. Next, you will begin the impressive 1.5-hour journey up the mountainside on a steep road offering stunning views of the lush, green valley. You will be driven directly to your Monteverde area hotel.
Important: Passengers should expect to carry their bags/luggage to and from the boat. Drivers will do their best to help if you have any problems with carrying heavy bags. Just let them know in advance.
Accommodation: Cala Lodge/Standard room
Cala Lodge is a unique small family-owned hotel, surrounded by nature and stunning mountain views. Enjoy the peacefulness, the cloud forest, and the personalized service.
Transfer Time: 2 hours 15 minutes
Day 3: Birding in Monteverde (elevation 1,543 m / 5,060 f)
Monteverde is translated as “green mountain”, and once you’ve reached the mountaintop, you’ll first come upon the quaint town of Santa Elena. Here you’ll find gift stores, accommodations, a bus stop, restaurants, cafes, a supermarket, banks, and much more. Though Monteverde proper does not have a town center, it is comprised of a dirt road that leads to the Cloud Forest Reserve. Along this walkable road are hotels, cafes, restaurants, galleries, and excellent views!
From start to finish, today's goal is to identify as many birds as possible. Monteverde is home to some 400 species of birds, which are scattered among the forests and mountains of the region. During this guided birding tour, you will spend the morning hiking the Curi-Cancha trails and searching for our feathered friends. The tour lasts 5 to 6 hours depending on the endurance of the group.
The Curi-Cancha Reserve extends across 237 acres (96 ha) and protects both primary and secondary forests. It is one of the area’s best birding sites, allowing visitors to see birds like the Orange-bellied Trogon, Keel-billed Toucan, Blue-crowned Motmot, Resplendent Quetzal, and Blue-throated Golden Tail. The trails are well maintained (although sometimes a bit muddy) and extend for several kilometers.
Accommodation: Cala Lodge
Day 4: Monteverde - Tárcoles area (elevation 97 m / 318 f)
Tárcoles River is located in the Central Pacific on the way to Jacó beach and Manuel Antonio National Park. The river is 111 kilometers long and its watershed covers an area of 2,121 square kilometers, which encompasses around 50% of the country’s population. The river’s upper reaches form the northern border of the Carara Biological Reserve. It is a habitat for American crocodiles, while the marshes located at the river’s mouth have many waterfowl and wading birds. Among the many herons and egrets are the Boatbill and Bare-throated tiger heron, and other birds found here include Double-striped Thick-knee, Mangrove Warbler, and American Pygmy Kingfisher. Reptiles, such as the American crocodile, common basilisk, and large iguanas, are also easily seen.
Accommodation: Hotel Villa Lapas/Standard room
Hotel Villa Lapas is an eco-resort, located in the Pacific rainforest of Costa Rica near the bustling town of Jaco. Located near Carara National Reserve and the Tárcoles River, the hotel has a private reserve that allows you the singular luxury of the unique comparison of two different ecosystems and two different climates. Villa Lapas offers some unique on-grounds amenities surrounded by lush tropical gardens sitting in the midst of a private 500-acre jungle reserve.
Day 5: Birding in Carara National Park
Carara National Park, just north of Jacó, not only has an impressive jungle and easy trails, but this park is considered one of the country’s best birding destinations. Even if you aren’t a serious birder, it’s hard not to appreciate that over 400 species have been identified here.
From the ranger station, one main trail, the Universal Loop (1.2 km/0.75 miles), circles through shaded forest with shrubby undergrowth. This short trail is flat, paved with concrete, and has resting benches. About halfway through the Universal Loop, the Quebrada Bonita Trail (1.5 km/1 mile) branches off. This trail is much more rustic and what you would typically think of as a hiking trail. A third trail, the Araceas, branches off the Quebrada Bonita and makes another 1.2 km (0.75 mile) loop. This trail is even more rustic and has lots of steps.
A separate trail, the Meandrica or Riverside Trail, is located about 2 km (1.2 miles) north of the main ranger station. This is the place to go if you’re serious about birding.
Accommodation: Hotel Villa Lapas, standard double room
Day 6: Transfer from Jacó to Juan Santamaria Airport
All the good things come to an end. Say good-bye to beautiful Costa Rica and its people! One driver will pick you up at the hotel and take you straight to the International Airport, the travel time is 1 hour and 45 minutes. In Costa Rica, you must be at the airport 3 hours before the departure time.
On each day’s details, you will find the name of the preferred hotel. The hotels included are a mix of 3 and 4-star hotels in standard rooms. Please note that the final hotel list is based on availability.
- Accommodations for 5 nights with breakfast
- Private airport transfers from San Jose to Arenal Volcano and from Tarcoles back to San Jose
- Shuttle transfer from Monteverde to Tarcoles Area
- Van-Boat-Van Shared Transfer from Arenal Volcano to Monteverde, Lake Crossing Shuttle Transfer from Monteverde to Tárcoles
- Birdwatching near Arenal Volcano, Carara National Park, & Monteverde
- Local tour guides
- Entrance fees into the parks
- VAT (taxes)
- 24/7 professional logistics support
What’s Not Included
- Optional tours/excursions
- Departure taxes ($29 per person)
- Meals not mentioned in the itinerary
- Travel Insurance
Dates & Pricing
Daily departures are possible all year round.
A minimum number of 2 people is required. Solo travelers, please contact us.
- Rates are per person, based on double occupancy
- Tour prices are based on the fuel costs at time prices are set, often months or years in advance. In rare cases, additional fees may apply for fuel cost increases.
- Information to read before you book
- We recommend purchasing trip insurance
- Please see our FAQ
Number of participants
3 4 6 8 Twin/double
$ 1958 £ 1026 $ 1,750 € 1197 kr 179576 ₪ 4774 ¥ 186782 Mex$ 22353 NZ$ 2104 NOK 14047 kr 13482 $ 1,263
$ 1919 £ 1006 $ 1,715 € 1173 kr 176021 ₪ 4680 ¥ 183085 Mex$ 21911 NZ$ 2062 NOK 13769 kr 13215 $ 1,238
$ 1712 £ 897 $ 1,529 € 1046 kr 156969 ₪ 4173 ¥ 163268 Mex$ 19539 NZ$ 1839 NOK 12279 kr 11785 $ 1,104
$ 1651 £ 865 $ 1,475 € 1009 kr 151424 ₪ 4026 ¥ 157501 Mex$ 18849 NZ$ 1774 NOK 11845 kr 11369 $ 1,065
$ 1605 £ 841 $ 1,434 € 981 kr 147158 ₪ 3912 ¥ 153064 Mex$ 18318 NZ$ 1724 NOK 11511 kr 11048 $ 1,035
$ 1854 £ 972 $ 1,657 € 1133 kr 170050 ₪ 4521 ¥ 176874 Mex$ 21167 NZ$ 1992 NOK 13302 kr 12767 $ 1,196
$ 1645 £ 862 $ 1,470 € 1005 kr 150855 ₪ 4010 ¥ 156909 Mex$ 18778 NZ$ 1767 NOK 11800 kr 11326 $ 1,061
$ 1586 £ 831 $ 1,417 € 969 kr 145452 ₪ 3867 ¥ 151289 Mex$ 18105 NZ$ 1704 NOK 11378 kr 10920 $ 1,023
$ 1539 £ 807 $ 1,376 € 941 kr 141187 ₪ 3753 ¥ 146853 Mex$ 17575 NZ$ 1654 NOK 11044 kr 10600 $ 993
Quad** - -
$ 1636 £ 857 $ 1,462 € 1000 kr 150002 ₪ 3988 ¥ 156022 Mex$ 18672 NZ$ 1757 NOK 11734 kr 11262 $ 1,055
$ 1575 £ 825 $ 1,407 € 963 kr 144457 ₪ 3840 ¥ 150254 Mex$ 17982 NZ$ 1692 NOK 11300 kr 10846 $ 1,016
$ 1529 £ 801 $ 1,366 € 934 kr 140191 ₪ 3727 ¥ 145817 Mex$ 17451 NZ$ 1642 NOK 10966 kr 10525 $ 986
Single supplement $ 589 £ 309 $ 526 € 360 kr 54029 ₪ 1436 ¥ 56197 Mex$ 6725 NZ$ 633 NOK 4226 kr 4056 $ 380 Solo traveler*** $ 3623 £ 1899 $ 3,238 € 2214 kr 332279 ₪ 8834 ¥ 345614 Mex$ 41361 NZ$ 3892 NOK 25992 kr 24947 $ 2,337
* Triple room has 2 beds, 1 double and 1 single.
**A quad room typically consists of 2 queen beds.
***A solo traveler supplement is incurred if the reservation is made for just one person (with zero travel companions). Many of the excursions offered require a minimum of 2 people and a supplement will be incurred for a single participant.
Skill Level — Easy
Birding in Costa Rica involves visits to private reserves and national and regional parks. Although transport is provided to and from the main birding sites, participants of this tour should be prepared for walking on paved/well-maintained trails, as well as uneven and sometimes steep terrain. At the end of the day, birdwatching can entail as little or as much walking as you want.
Fly into and out of the capital of Costa Rica: San José (Juan Santamaria International Airport).
From the Juan Santamaria International Airport, you will be transferred to and from your hotel by our local driver.
Costa Rica is a year-round destination. It is a tropical country where you will find many different climates and microclimates despite the rather small size of the country. It is usually said that there are two seasons in Costa Rica, the dry season from November/December to the end of April and the green season that starts in May and usually ends in November/December. But the weather depends on the regions of the country you are looking to visit. Although Costa Rica is a small country, there are microclimates, which cause different types of climate within a short distance. The Central Valley may have temperatures around 24°C or 75.2°F throughout the year. In the summer temperatures can reach 30°C or 86°F. Usually, it has a lower temperature during the night, and you might need a layer and a jacket with long pants. Monteverde Cloud Forest can get a little cold, especially at night. Expect rain! In the area of the Northern Plains, you can find the popular Arenal volcano. It is an area with warm weather and where rain can be expected. Please check local conditions before your arrival.
While birding and bird watching does not require a huge investment or much equipment, we absolutely recommend a good pair of binoculars and comfortable boots or walking shoes. A field guide and note book are also a helpful addition, although your English-speaking guide would be happy to identify the birds you see along the way.
An extensive packing list will be sent to you approx. 1 month before your departure.
Important to know
Please check the entry requirements prior to your arrival!
US nationals do not require an entry visa to Costa Rica. However, they must have a current valid passport and a return ticket to exit Costa Rica within 90 days. US passports must be valid for a minimum of one day from the day you enter Costa Rica. As a tourist, US nationals cannot stay more than 90 days. For a stay longer than 90 days a residence permit must be established.
Other nationals might not require an entry visa to Costa Rica. To verify all entry requirements according to your nationality, please see the following link nationalities.
25% of Costa Rica surface is protected land. The numerous private reserves and national parks of Costa Rica help to conserve its incredibly rich biodiversity Tourism contributes significantly to the conservation of these natural areas. The entrance fees of the national parks and private reserves and the government grants help pay the protection costs of this green paradise. Remember that when you pay an entrance fee to visit a private reserve or a national park, your money helps pay park rangers, reforestation programs, community and tourist facilities, scientific research and many more small things needed to save the very diverse biodiversity of the country.
The prestigious Certificate for Sustainable Tourism is a program created by the Costa Rican Tourism Board to categorize and differentiate tourism companies according to the degree to which their operations approach a model of sustainability in the management of natural, cultural, and social resources. This local company and tour have earned the second highest level of certification with the goal to achieve the very highest level soon.
This tour is run by Green World Adventures.
We value the strong relationship we have with our local partners and the services we provide.
We are not a broker.
We do not inflate tour prices.
We are simply travelers helping travelers.
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