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

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Program #20616RJ

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12 Days | 11 Nights
ACTIVITY LEVEL: Moderately Challenging
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. 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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Champa Bilwakesh Nov 11, 2015 at 05:30 PM

i am booked on the March 10 to 21, 2016 trip. anyone else travelling from boston? I also would like to know if you need to carry a back pack for water and stuff. I am looking a for a very light backpack, if anyone has recommendations.
Stephen Greenfield Nov 14, 2015 at 09:23 PM

With respect to a backpack, there are some days where you will be away from the lodge or vehicle for several hours, so it wouldn't be a bad idea to have a small backpack with water, an umbrella, maybe a field guide. But I don't recall that many people did.

Champa Bilwakesh Oct 22, 2015 at 11:38 AM

I have a very minimal cell phone with minimal service but will bring an ipad so counting on wifi. how difficult was it to be in touch with family back home?
Stephen Greenfield Oct 22, 2015 at 12:35 PM

As I recall, there was wifi at most of the lodges, and I was able to exchange emails, go to Websites, etc. I don't recall that I tried Skype, and the connections might have been slow: one of the group downloaded an app to her iPad and that took a long time. Speaking of which, that was the birding field guide for CR from birdingfieldguides.com. She got very devoted to it, kept notes in it, etc. It doesn't have all the species, though. There's also an app of calls from BirdSounds.nl
Stephen Greenfield Oct 22, 2015 at 12:39 PM

Of course you don't want to use your cell phone, presumably the roaming charges would be awful. It's probably not necessary in CR, but on a trip to Indonesia, I realized that US iPads are not "locked" anymore, so I got a SIM card there and for about $20 for the month was able to do email (including sending photos), go on the Web, etc.

Connie G Oct 21, 2015 at 09:12 PM

I didn't find the trails that difficult, although the trail up to look for quetzals was steep, but short. We weren't really hiking, as much as cruising for bird sightings. For me, moderately challenging meant packing up every couple of days, then settling into a new place. The early morning calls were optional. Some did fine in sneakers. I liked having a little more tread in my Merrells, but I didn't feel the need for boots when I went in January. Keep in mind, the ratings are for the over-55 set.
Champa Bilwakesh Oct 22, 2015 at 11:36 AM

Yes, picking up and settling into a new place can be moderately challenging :-) I am really looking forward to the trip, thank you.
Kenneth Bergman Oct 22, 2015 at 12:08 PM

The only difficulty I encountered during our January, 2014, trip occurred during the Day 4 hike at Las Esquinas. It had rained recently and the trail had puddles and was very muddy. The resort provides tall rubber boots, but I wear size 12 shoes and had to wear my ligt-weight Merrils during the walk, which took me through muddy puddles and shallow, temporary streams. I had to tie my Merrils to the top of the bus for the next day's drive up to the Las Cruces station (they dried completely!). I agree with Connie's remarks and would add that it was a really great trip for avid birders. The locations were great, the guide was phenomenal, and the birds were wonderful. The entire trip was brilliantly organized and managed, with great attention to the needs of the travelers. ( I wouldn't go on this trip, however, if I were indifferent to birds.)
Connie G Oct 22, 2015 at 05:43 PM

I agree with Ken about the quality of the trip; it was excellent on all counts. (Hi Ken! I had forgotten about your Merrells on the roof!)

Champa Bilwakesh Oct 20, 2015 at 06:23 PM

I would like to know how "moderately challenging" is this program? Is it just the getting up early for the birding and going all day by bus and whatever? or are the trails hard, rocky, steep, slippery, etc that may be difficult? what kinds of shoes should i bring?
Stephen Greenfield Oct 20, 2015 at 11:12 PM

I don't recall it as being physically challenging. (I was 67 on the tour last January but fairly fit. You're right, the group was usually up at 5:30, and there are some long drives.) At Cerro de la Muerte (don't panic at the name, it refers to some historical incident!) is at high altitude, but there's not much walking required. Las Esquinas has some steep trails that could be slippery, but the tour didn't go on them. I wonder if they meant the BIRDING was challenging, as it's mostly in heavy forest... that was hard on at least one of us, an 82-year old with poor vision. As for shoes, I'm thinking even sneakers were enough in January, which is in a dry season, but other months could be muddy. By the way, note that Barret Lawson's bird-finding guide describes all the sites.
Champa Bilwakesh Oct 22, 2015 at 11:33 AM

Thank you, Stephen. Very helpful.

Judy Filner Mar 09, 2015 at 12:05 PM

Thanks, Stephen. Very helpful info. Judy Filner

Judy Filner Mar 09, 2015 at 07:22 AM

Just writing to say hi to those of you going on the March 11-22 trip. Anyone know if I should bring one outfit dressier than hiking clothes?! Judy Filner, Bethesda, MD
Stephen Greenfield Mar 09, 2015 at 11:06 AM

You will have a couple of dinners at hotels but, from having been on a January trip, I would say "no", as long as you have clothes you've kept clean of course. Eco-tourism is so embedded in CR, no one will look twice. Speaking of keeping clothes clean, most places could do laundry, many overnight, some for a great deal of $10 a bag. I usually washed some clothes in the sink, but in a couple there was not a good stopper, so I was glad I brought one of those univeral stoppers, a flat, circular rubbery disk, that you can get in hardware stores.
Stephen Greenfield Mar 09, 2015 at 11:11 AM

"at hotels in cities", I meant

Jeanne Blumberg Feb 01, 2015 at 08:27 PM

I have heard that tap water in Costa Rica can be used to brush teeth, etc. Comments please. Also can you drink water out of the tap?
Jeanne Blumberg
Stephen Greenfield Feb 01, 2015 at 11:19 PM

I drank tap water everywhere on the tour and was fine. Not sure if everyone did - it's not hard to get bottled water - but I heard of no intestinal problems in any case.
Connie G Feb 02, 2015 at 09:22 AM

I went on this wonderful tour last year, and the tap water in most, if not all, places we stayed was potable. Our guide made it a point to inform us about the water whenever we went to a new place.

Jeanne Blumberg Jan 19, 2015 at 12:56 PM

Can someone who has been on this trip tell me if insect repellent is necessary. If so, can you recommend a brand and type. Thank you.
Stephen Greenfield Jan 19, 2015 at 10:16 PM

I'm on day 8 of the tour, so past the most hot & humid spot, and I really haven't had to use insect repellent.. But I do have some with me, a 34% DEET cream from 3M, ,brand Ultrathon, and it's better to be safe...

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Our Value Promise To You

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


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