• Bare-throated Tiger Heron

Costa Rica

Trogons, Hummers and Quetzals

  • Duration

    23 August 2022 – 4 September 2022

  • Location

    Costa Rica

  • Led by

    David Lindo – The Urban Birder

  • For assistance with booking flights

    call Sacha Barbato at Travel Counsellors
    +44 (0)1603 360 099

  • Please contact us if you have any other queries

    Email: tours@theurbanbirderworld.com

  • Price

    £3,500 per person plus flights

  • Single supplement


  • Deposit

    £700 per person

  • Group size

    up to 12 participants

  • Remaining balance due 60 days before travel start date

    Second Payment: 23/06/2022

Free loan of Leica Ultravid binoculars is available for the duration of the tour – subject to availability.

Please ask for details.

About Costa Rica

Costa Rica is the destination that most birders dream about visiting as the country’s hospitality, food, habitats and wildlife are second to none. It is a rugged, rainforested Central American country with coastlines on the Caribbean and Pacific. Roughly a quarter of its area is made up of protected jungle, teeming with wildlife including spider monkeys and countless birds.

Despite the country’s small size (a tad bigger than Belgium) Costa Rica is home to one to the highest levels of biodiversity in the world. More than 900 bird species can be found in the country many of which can be easily seen in the various habitats that region supports: cloud forest mangroves, mountains, humid lowlands, wetlands and coastal areas. Over 27% of the land have been officially designated as protected areas.

Great birding experiences are possible throughout the year but amongst the best times for seeing some amazing species is during August – November when 200+ are traversing south from North America to spend their winter in Central and South America.

Being so close to the Equator, Costa Rica has 12 hours of sunlight every single day.

About this tour

Some highlights:

  • A night in Heredia in a beautiful hotel with lush gardens
  • A visit to Cinchona area to look for highland species in the central volcanic range
  • A visit at La Paz Waterfall gardens
  • A night in Turrialba area to find Caribbean species in a beautiful reserve
  • A visit to CATIE Botanical Gardens
  • A visit to the historical Orosi Valley
  • A visit to Tapanti National Park
  • A night in Los Santos area the location of Quetzales National Park looking for those true endemics of the highlands and the very beautiful Resplendent Quetzal
  • A visit at Nacarcosta looking for the very rare and endemic Mangrove Hummingbird
  • A night at Macaw Lodge, an amazing reserve and engaging conservation program
  • A boat visit at Tarcoles river; birds, monkeys, lizards and crocodiles to fill your eyes
  • A visit at Carara National Park

We will start our journey on the edge of San Jose, Costa Rica’s capital, generally traveling eastward through cloud forest and wetland areas through to the Pacific coast circling back to San Jose. It will be migration time so we will be bumping into a host of migrant New World warblers, tyrant flycatchers and raptors during our travels alongside the fabulous resident birds.

Characteristic of TUBW Tours, the pace will be leisurely with no time dedicated to racing around searching for rarities. Nor will it be a case of standing around watching the local guide excessively summoning shadows from the undergrowth with tape lures. We will see and hear what we see and hear and will not worry about anything else.

The tour dates are during the rainy season, and, as the title suggests, it may rain at times. Do not see this as a negative because firstly, it will not rain for days on end (famous last words!). Moreover, it will usually be the case of occasional downpours. Additionally, the birds will be perhaps easier to see during this part of the year than at any other as many will not be breeding plus there will be in an influx of migrants to enjoy.

Our local guide is a recognised expert birder in the region, a great laugh who speaks good English and relates to clients very well.

Expected birds

  • Amazon Kingfisher
  • American Black Vulture
  • American Dipper
  • Bare-throated Tiger Heron
  • Barred Antshrike
  • Bat Falcon
  • Black Phoebe
  • Black-and-white Warbler
  • Black-bellied Whistling Duck
  • Blackburnian Warbler
  • Blue-and-white Swallow
  • Blue-headed Parrot
  • Brown Pelican
  • Common Black Hawk
  • Common Potoo
  • Coppery-headed Emerald
  • Costa Rican Swift
  • Flame-coloured Tanager
  • Golden-naped Woodpecker
  • Great Kiskadee
  • Grey-headed Chachalaca
  • Groove-billed Ani
  • Lesson’s Motmot
  • Magnificent Frigatebird
  • Mangrove Hummingbird
  • Muscovy Duck
  • Neotropic Cormorant
  • Northern Emerald Toucan
  • Northern Tufted Flycatcher
  • Palm Tanager
  • Purple Gallinule
  • Red-crowned Woodpecker
  • Resplendent Quetzal
  • Rose-throated Becard
  • Roseate Spoonbill
  • Royal Tern
  • Ruddy-capped Nightingale Thrush
  • Snowcap
  • Southern & Northern Roughwings
  • Spotted Sandpiper
  • Stripe-breasted Wren
  • Sunbittern
  • Talamanca Hummingbird
  • Torrent Tyrannulet
  • Tropical Mockingbird
  • Variable Seedeater
  • Wedge-billed Woodcreeper
  • Western Willet
  • White Hawk
  • White-collared Swift
  • White-tipped Dove
  • Wilson’s Plover
  • Yellow-crowned Night Heron
  • Yellow-green Vireo
  • Yellow-headed Caracara
  • Yellow-naped Parrot
  • Yellow-throated Euphonia

Other animals may include Crab-eating Racoon, howler monkey, crocodiles, fabulous lizards, snakes, butterflies and grasshoppers. Plus, some amazing plants and trees.


August 23 — Arrival into Juan Santamaria International Airport

You will arrive into Juan Santamaria International Airport. You will be transported to the hotel in the Heredia District which is over 3,000 feet above sea level in northern San Jose. We will take a rest to ready ourselves for the day ahead.

Get ready to experience the immense biodiversity of Costa Rica!

*Please note that all food and drink on the day of arrival will be at your expense.

August 24 — Cinchona area & La Paz Waterfall Gardens

As jetlag will probably have you on your feet pretty early in the morning it would a good opportunity to explore the beautiful hotel gardens.

After breakfast we will visit the nearby Cinchona area. Situated next to Poas Volcano, this in an area that is really interesting for birding. We will be seeing Pacific as well as Caribbean species gathering. We will search for birds like White-eared Ground Sparrow and Slaty-backed Nightingale Thrush.

We will enjoy lunch at the picturesque La Paz Waterfall Gardens. They have a well-kept zoological collection here as well, of course, being home to wild birds like hummingbirds such as the Copper-headed Emerald plus Prong-billed Barbet and Northern Emerald Toucanet.

August 25 — CATIE Botanical Gardens

After breakfast we will transfer to the Turrialba area. Known for its high biodiversity, this magnificent private biological reserve will be our home for the next two days.

We will lunch in a local restaurant. Incidentally, the diversity of Costa Rican gastronomy will also delight you. Food produced from fresh products that are not in a freezer for weeks!

Later, we will pay a visit to CATIE Botanical Gardens, a 45 hectare farm nestled in a mountainous landscape surrounded by abundant tropical vegetation, coffee plantations, farms and sugar cane fields. Here, we will learn about a breathtaking variety of tropical fruits, medicinal, oil-producing and ornamental plants, roots, tubers and timber trees being cultivated.

The sorts of birds that we will try to encounter will include the Snowcap (a gorgeous hummingbird), Keel-billed Toucan and Stripe-breasted Wren and many more species.

  • Lunch on a local restaurant.
  • Dinner at Rancho Naturalista.
  • Overnight stay at Rancho Naturalista.

August 26 — a day at Rancho Naturalista

Today we will spend the whole day exploring the Rancho Naturalista – an amazing birding lodge. We will encounter multiple hummingbird species as well as being able to distantly observe the smoking Turrialba Volcano.

We will be looking for Sunbittern, Grey-chested Dove, Tawny-chested Flycatcher, White-collared Manakin, White-lined Tanager and hummers like the Crowned Woodnymph, White-necked Jacobin and Black-crested Coquette.

  • Lunch at Rancho Naturalista.
  • Dinner at Rancho Naturalista.
  • Overnight stay at Rancho Naturalista.

August 27 — Tapanti National Park and Orosi Valley

After a hearty breakfast we will move to higher ground to the rainiest part of Costa Rica, Tapanti National Park in the Orosi Valley. Remaining under the Caribbean influence of the Northeastern Tradewinds this area will delight you with its weather, rich diversity of orchids (the highest in the country) and of course, its wildlife.

The birds we will be looking for will include Tropical Screech Owl, Collared Trogon and Black-bellied Hummingbird.

  • Lunch on a local restaurant.
  • Dinner at Hotel Quelitales.
  • Overnight stay at Hotel Quelitales.

August 28 — Tapanti National Park

Today we will take a closer look at Tapanti National Park. Covering 583 sq km (225 sq miles) this area of moorland, peat bog, swamps, savannahs and cloud forest provides a home for some 45 species of mammal including Baird’s Tapir, Kinkajou, White-faced Capuchin, Agouti, Ocelot and Jaguarundi.

There are also tons of birds – over 400 species. We will be looking for Elegant Chlorophonia, Speckled Tanager and Resplendent Quetzal.

  • Lunch on a local restaurant.
  • Dinner at Hotel Quelitales.
  • Overnight stay at Hotel Quelitales.

August 29 — travel to Paraiso Quetzal Lodge

After breakfast we will start our journey to our next destination, Paraiso Quetzal Lodge, where we will spend the next couple of nights.

We will be really hitting the highlands of Costa Rica, home to some of the truly amazing birds. We will be making frequent stops to observe beauties like Fiery-throated Thrush, Long-tailed Silky-Flycatcher and Sooty Thrush.

August 30 — Quetzal Tour and exploring the general area

Today will be all about searching for perhaps Costa Rica’s most famous avian resident – the Resplendent Quetzal. This stunning member of the trogon family is much sought after by birders visiting Costa Rica. The species plays an important role in a variety of Mesoamerican mythology.

We will also hopefully be watching Flame-throated Warbler, Yellow-thighed Brushfinch, Volcano Hummingbird and Volcano Junco.

August 31 — travel to the Central Pacific Region and Nacarcosta

Today, after breakfast, we will move to a completely different environment transitioning from humid forest to dry forest.

After lunch at a local restaurant we will visit Nacarcosta, a sustainable palm oil plantation. They have a very interesting conservation story plus, their mangroves are home to the ultra-rare Mangrove Hummingbird!

  • Lunch on a local restaurant.
  • Dinner at Macaw Lodge.
  • Overnight stay at Macaw Lodge.

September 1 — a day at Macaw Lodge

We will spend a full day around the grounds of Macaw Lodge enjoying the sights and sounds.

We will be looking for White-throated Crake, Common Tody-Flycatcher, Scarlet Macaw, Yellow-throated Toucan, Golden-naped Woodpecker amongst many other species.

  • Lunch at Macaw Lodge.
  • Dinner at Macaw Lodge.
  • Overnight stay at Macaw Lodge.

September 2 — Tarcoles River and general area

After breakfast we will travel on north along the Pacific coast to the Tarcoles area. We will be exploring some tropical dry forest – one of the most endangered ecosystems in the world with only 2% remaining.

We will be searching for Black-headed Trogon, Fiery-billed Araçari and hoffmann’s woodpecker.

After lunch we embark on a boat trip starting at Hacienda Nosavar along the River Tarcoles. We will find Bare-throated Tiger Heron, Spotted Sandpiper, Semi-palmated Plover, Ringed Kingfisher, Common Black Hawk, Boat-billed Heron, Little Blue Heron, Blue-and White Swallow, Tree Swallow and many other species. Look down into the water and you may spot enormous American Crocodiles drifting ominously.

  • Lunch at Hacienda Nosavart.
  • Dinner at Villa Lapas.
  • Overnight stay at Villa Lapas.

September 3 — Carara National Park

After breakfast we will visit the world famous Carara National Park where we will hopefully discover Spectacled Owl, Rufous-tailed Jacamar, Turquoise-browed Motmot, Black-hooded Antshrike, Orange-billed Sparrow amongst many other species.

  • Lunch on a local restaurant.
  • Dinner at Villa Lapas.
  • Overnight stay at Villa Lapas.

September 4 — sad farewell then transfer to Juan Santamaria Intenational Airport

We will indulge in breakfast together for the final time before our transfer to the airport for our flights home.

Pura vida!

Travel notes

Currently flights are leaving London Heathrow at 10am on Tuesday 23 August arriving at Juan Santamaria International Airport – via a connecting flight from Newark Airport, USA – at 8.19pm on Tuesday 23 August.

The return flight leaves Juan Santamaria International Airport at 1.25pm on Monday 5 September arriving at London Heathrow – via a connecting flight from George Bush Intercontinental, Houston, USA – 11.35am on Tuesday 6 September.

If you are talking alternative flights please note that you need to arrive at Juan Santamaria International Airport by 8pm on Tuesday 23 August.

For any flight queries plus contact our flight agent, Sacha Barbato.

Special trip notes

This trip is suitable for all ages and abilities.

The pace of this tour will be gentle. We will let the wildlife come to us.

Recommended literature

The Birds of Costa Rica (Richard Garrigues and Robert Dean)

Book now

  • Duration: 23 August 2022 – 4 September 2022
  • Price: £3,500 per person plus flights
  • Single supplement: £340
  • Deposit: £700 per person
  • Group size: up to 12 participants
  • Remaining balance due 60 days before travel start date

    Second Payment: 23/06/2022

  • For assistance with booking flights

    call Sacha Barbato at Travel Counsellors
    +44 (0)1603 360 099

  • Please contact us if you have any other queries

    Email: tours@theurbanbirderworld.com

  • Passenger details

    Once you have booked your tour with us, please complete this form:
    Client Travel Form

Trogons, Hummers and Quetzals

— 23 August 2022 to 4 September 2022 —

Led by David Lindo – The Urban Birder


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Price includes

  • Full board accommodation
  • The services of your guide David Lindo (The Urban Birder)
  • All transportation in Costa Rica
  • The optional loan of a pair of sexy Leica binoculars for the duration of the tour – subject to availability

Price does not include

  • Airline tickets and airport taxes
  • Personal travel insurance
  • Ferry fees unless you are travelling in the minibuses where the ferry fees are included
  • Entry fees to monuments and museums (if desired)
  • Incidental refreshments at cafes and bars, plus all additional drinks


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Guest and guide safety are paramount, so please always adhere to appropriate social distancing and anti-covid measures where possible.