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Costa Rica Birding: Off-the-Beaten Path — Trogons to Quetzals

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Road Scholar
Program #20616RJ
12 Days | 11 Nights
ACTIVITY LEVEL: Moderately Challenging
While all of our learning adventures offer extraordinary value, our "Best Value" programs were rated by our participants themselves who thought their dollar went particularly far.
Love to learn in a small-group setting? This collection of programs has at most 10-24 participants.
See our Small Group programs.
EasyFor people looking to exercise their minds more than their bodies. There’s minimal walking and not too many stairs.
ModerateThese programs get you on your feet and include activities such as walking up to a mile in a day through a city and standing in a museum for a few hours.
ActiveFor people who enjoy walking as much as two miles a day, perhaps to explore historic neighborhoods or a nature trail.
Moderately ChallengingFor hardy explorers who enjoy a good physical challenge, spending most of their days on the go.
ChallengingGet ready to keep up with our highest-energy group. These demanding — and rewarding — programs are for seasoned outdoor enthusiasts.
Discussion Board

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Stephen Greenfield Jul 17, 2014 at 12:04 AM

There's a good chance I'll go on the November program, and would want to stay in CR a little longer and go to some places (and habitats) not included on this itinerary. Anyone else enrolled, let me know if you're interested in joining in and sharing travel costs, etc.
Stephen Greenfield Jul 29, 2014 at 11:04 AM

I've switched to the second January trip, and will stay for a week after (1/23-30), so am still looking to see if anyone would like to join me to go to additional sites.

Lucille Luxenburg Mar 14, 2014 at 02:21 PM

Is anyone going on the November 5th Costa Rica Birding Off the Beaten Track? Anyone a photographer? I have questions about camera equipment and care of the camera considering the climate.
Stephen Greenfield Jul 16, 2014 at 04:50 PM

I am thinking of going on the November or December '14 trip. I'm no expert and have never had a camera I've been really satisfied with (currently a digital "super-zoom", Canon SX50)... but I've taken several cameras to the tropics and have never had problem with the heat or humidity. (However, I have had binoculars fog up.) I just have plastic bags along to be sure I can keep it dry. As for equipment, aside from the normal challenges of photographing birds, the light level in forest is low. Aside from cameras with fast image-stabilized lenses, which are very expensive, I haven't found a solution...
Lucille Luxenburg Jul 16, 2014 at 04:58 PM

Thank you! I have the same camera. I don't want to bring a lot of equipment along and this camera does an amazing job. I always carry baggies too. I appreciate your feedback. I hope the trip materializes!
Stephen Greenfield Jul 16, 2014 at 11:59 PM

You must know more about the camera than I do. I talked to RS today and it sounded promising (but not official) for the trip to go. If you want to chat more about the camera or the trip, you could email me at
Lucille Luxenburg Jul 17, 2014 at 08:11 AM

Thank you.

Randolph and Sarah Gerrish Mar 12, 2014 at 03:00 PM

Randolph (Randi) Gerrish
Is anyone going on the March 19th program 20616 Costa Rica Birding Off the Beaten Path? Do you have any suggestions?

Kenneth Bergman Dec 10, 2013 at 03:07 PM

My wife and I, in our mid-sixties, will be on the Jan. 2 - 13 "Off the Beaten Track" birding trip in Costa Rica. I'm curious about the security of binoculars and cameras. Does anyone have enough experience in Costa Rica, or especially in the lodgings included in this birding tour, to offer advice about bringing an expensive camera and lens?

I'd appreciate any insights. Commentators on other travel websites have offered mixed advice - mostly that one should bring a good camera to capture great scenery and animal images, but to keep it out of sight in public locations and never to go anywhere without it except if locked in a hotel/lodge safe.
Betty MacDonald Dec 10, 2013 at 04:04 PM

Did trip a year ago. Had no security problems--never felt at danger. I had expensive binocs and others had expensive cameras.
Kenneth Bergman Dec 26, 2013 at 11:23 PM

Thanks for your reassuring feedback. Apologies for the late reply,

Connie G Nov 04, 2013 at 03:53 PM

I've signed up for the January 2-13 trip. Anyone else going? This was the only trip that goes to the Wilson Botanical Garden in January, which I am very interested in visiting.
sharon rempel Nov 15, 2013 at 11:48 AM

Hi: Connie, I love your idea of a tour for botanical hotspots! There are several gardens in the Central Valley and CATIE the agriculture station. I'm a solo traveller. I'm starting my trip at the Hotel Bouganvillea 2 nights before our trip starts Jan. 2. I have 11 days after our tour. I'm open to travelling together if there's another person or people interested. My contact details are on Sharon Rempel from Victoria B.C. Canada

Connie G Feb 28, 2013 at 01:39 PM

I like the sound of *off the beaten path*! I am a casual birder, but a serious nature lover, especially trees, plants, herbs - and orchids. Will I have some time away from my binoculars? The more rustic lodges hold far more appeal for me than the ones with spas and discos. I'm 60-ish, but up for canopy walks, hiking and rafting. Also, as a first-timer, are these tours geared to an older crowd, or do 20- and 30-somethings go also?
Betty MacDonald Mar 03, 2013 at 11:30 PM

This was an active birding trip, 6am birding before breakfast, lots of hiking up and down and binocular time. If you are a casual birder, I would suggest one of the nature trips. Birding trips are intense birding, and as this is tropical forest birding, the birds are sometimes hard to see. If you enjoy canopy walks, hiking, and rafting, I think one of the other trips might be more to your liking. Road Scholar specifically targets people over 55--no 20 or 30 somethings. Have a good trip, whatever you decide.
Connie G Mar 05, 2013 at 07:53 PM

Hi Betty-- Thanks so much for responding. I wish there were similar trips for intensive plant observation! Some of the other "active" trips sounded like they might be too close to the more well-traveled desinations. I may have to up my birding skills.
Molly Russell Apr 13, 2013 at 02:43 PM

I did the Natual Wonders of Costa Rica trip last fall 11586. It was wonderful and may be more to your interests. We did some hiking, birding, wildlife, canopy, volcano, history and geology. Edwin was our guide and was fabulous and very knowledgable.
Connie G Apr 13, 2013 at 03:01 PM

Thanks, Molly. I did consider that trip -- but right now I'm leaning toward Birding the Hotspots (12848) now -- it looks a little more exciting, and a little less of just going to lectures. There was a link to a blog with a very helpful review of that trip on the discussion board. If there were a "botanical hotspots" trip, that would be perfect!
Bill Oberjohn Dec 19, 2013 at 11:40 PM

Since we are staying two days at Las Cruces you could probably skip one of the birding sessions and explore the gardens on your own.

Betty MacDonald Jan 07, 2013 at 04:18 PM

I'm going on this trip February 6th. Just wondering if any of my traveling companions are out there!
Sally Sanderson Jan 28, 2013 at 03:49 PM

Sally Sanderson Jan 28, 2013 at 03:50 PM

My husband and I will be on this trip. We are avid birders and this will be our second birding trip to Costa Rica. We are adding a second program after this. We live in San Diego County.
Betty MacDonald Jan 28, 2013 at 04:09 PM

Terrific! This is my second trip to Costa Rica as well. I am from the Bay Area. Will be nice to meet you--next week. Getting close.
Jackie Jenkins Aug 16, 2014 at 12:04 PM

Couple just signed up for Jan.12, off the beaten trail. Feb. '14 did the Guyana birding. It was terrific. From Toronto.

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Our Value Promise To You

You won't find a better value.

at no additional cost on this date ...
11 nights of accommodations
30 meals: 11 breakfasts, 10 lunches, 9 dinners
5 Expert-led lectures
23 Field trips


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