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

Program Number: 20616RJ
Start and End Dates:
1/30/2014 - 2/10/2014; 11/5/2014 - 11/16/2014; 12/10/2014 - 12/21/2014; 1/4/2015 - 1/15/2015; 1/12/2015 - 1/23/2015; 1/31/2015 - 2/11/2015; 2/10/2015 - 2/21/2015; 3/11/2015 - 3/22/2015; 11/1/2015 - 11/12/2015; 12/1/2015 - 12/12/2015;
Duration: 11 nights
Location: Costa Rica
Price starting at: $2,235.00 - Price may vary based on date, departure city
Program Type: Birding Activity Level: t (see description)
Meals: 31; 11 Breakfasts, 10 Lunches, 10 Dinners    
Meal Options: Low Fat; Gluten Free    

In this small-group adventure, go off-the-beaten path to explore some of less-visited birding hotspots in Costa Rica. In a range of habitats — primary premontane forest, oak woodlands, cloud forests and more — spot a myriad of rare and vibrant species. Each unique and beautiful location offers the chance to identify numerous intriguing endemic and migratory birds in one of the world’s great birding destinations.




Highlights

• In Los Lagos, observe the famed and captivating Resplendent Quetzal.
• Spot nocturnal birds and mammals, including owls, on nighttime hikes.
• Journey to Rancho Naturalista and search the trails for the vibrant birds that flock around the exotic fauna, including several rare and elusive species.



Activity Particulars

Walking up to three miles a day over uneven terrain in tropical conditions.



So you can get the most out of your experience, all of our birding programs have a maximum participant-to-instructor ratio of 14:1.




Date Specific Information

1-30-2014

Can be taken in conjunction with 12848-01/18/2014



1-4-2015

Can be taken in conjunction with #12848-01/15/2015



1-12-2015

Can be taken in conjunction with #12848-01/23/2015 or #11588-01/24/2015.



1-31-2015

Can be taken in conjunction with #12848-01/19/2015



2-10-2015

Can be taken in conjunction with #11588-02/21/2015



Itinerary Summary

Arrival San Jose, 1 night; coach to San Isidro, 1 night; coach to Golfito, 2 nights; coach to San Vito, 2 nights; coach to San Gerardo, 2 nights; coach to Turrialba, 2 nights; coach to San Jose, 1 night; departure.



Arrival San Jose
1 night
Coach to San Isidro 1 night
Coach to Golfito 2 nights

Look for Turquoise Cotingas, Speckled Tanagers, Slay Pinetail and more at Los Cusingos Bird Refuge, part of the Don Alexander Biological Corridor. In Piedras Blancas National Park, join expert birders as you search among the 362 local species, including many “specialties” such as the Great Curasaw, Spectacled Owl, Rufous-Winged Woodpecker, Olivaceous Piculet, Black-Cheeked Ant-Tanager and Ruddy-breasted Seedeater. The grass fields and marshes are the ideal habitat for many species of water and shorebirds, like herons, egrets, woodstorks, ducks and spoonbills. Meet scientists at La Gamba Field Station, an internationally acclaimed research facility for tropical biology.



Coach to San Vito
2 nights
Coach to San Gerardo 2 nights

Meet the staff of Las Cruces Station — a protected property of premontane wet forest habitat and primary forest, and home to an amazing bird diversity: the Speckled Tanager, Scarlet-Thighed Dacnis, Blue-Crowned Motmot, Violaceous Trogon and Turquoise Cotinga. The station is also the site of the Wilson Botanical Garden, the most famous botanical garden in Central America. Venture to a deep high-mountain valley and cloud forest to search for the famous Resplendent Quetzal, as well as other birds that are only found at this elevation, like Marbled Wood Quail, Long-tailed Silky Flycatcher, Buffy-Tuftedcheek, and Fiery-colored Tanager, Golden-browed Clorophonia and many more, including some Talamanca-region endemics.



Coach to Turrialba
2 nights
Coach to San Jose
1 night
Departure

Get stunning, close-up views of the Snowcap, and a plethora of other hummingbirds found in the protected primary slope rainforest of Rancho Naturalista. This area is a great magnet to many resident and migratory birds, as more than 430 species have been recorded including many species that are high on the “wanted” list of many visiting birders: the Green-breasted Mango, Violet-crowned Woodnimph, White-necked Jacobin and Long-billed Hermit among others.




Costa Rica

Hugged by two bodies of water and sandwiched between Nicaragua and Panama, Costa Rica’s topography, climate and geographical position are more than mere facts: they define this tiny country. Cloud rainforests, valleys of coffee and volcanic mountain peaks fill the land between Caribbean and Pacific beaches. This ecological Eden protects its natural treasures in acres of preserved land, and is the only country in the world without a standing army.



Accommodations
San Jose: Four-star resort. San Isidro: Mountain lodge. Golfito: Rainforest lodge. San Vito: Lodge and research station. San Gerardo: Lodge in private cloud forest reserve. Turrialba: Rainforest lodge.
Meals and Lodgings
   Radisson Hotel San José - Costa Rica (formerly Radisson Europa Hotel)
  San Jose, Costa Rica 1 night
   Talari Mountain Lodge
  San Isidro el General, Costa Rica 1 night
   Esquinas Rainforest Lodge
  Golfito, Costa Rica 2 nights
   Las Cruces Biological Station
  San Vito, Costa Rica 2 nights
   Savegre Hotel Nature Reserve & Spa (formerly Savegre Mountain Hotel)
  San Gerardo de Dota, Costa Rica 2 nights
   Rancho Naturalista
  Turrialba, Costa Rica 2 nights
   Wyndham San José Herradura Hotel & Convention Center (previously a Ramada property)
  San Jose, Costa Rica 1 night
 Radisson Hotel San José - Costa Rica (formerly Radisson Europa Hotel)
Type: Full Service Hotel
  Description: The Radisson Hotel San José is conveniently situated in the commercial district near San José's historic center.
  Contact info: Calle Central y Tercera Av. 15, P.O. Box 538-2120, Calle Blancos
San José,   Costa Rica
phone: +506-20106000
web: www.radisson.com
  Room amenities: Air conditioning, alarm lock radio, Sleep Number® beds, hair dryer, Wi-Fi, in-room safe, iPod dock, mini bar/refrigerator, flat screen TV and cable channels, and two telephone lines.
  Facility amenities: Business center, Wi-Fi, fitness center, whirlpool and pool, executive lounge, on-site casino, spacious meeting rooms and two on-site restaurants. The hotel is able to offer airport shuttle services for an additional charge. This service must be booked in advance directly through the hotel.
  Smoking allowed: No
  Elevators available: Yes
  Additional nights prior: Subject to availability. Please contact your program provider at 1-800-866-7111 or roadscholarprograms@holbrooktravel.com for questions about room availability and prices. Room types and rates are subject to availability.

 Talari Mountain Lodge
Type: Lodge
  Description: The Talari Mountain Lodge is a birder's paradise, located a few miles northeast of San Isidro el General, in El General Valley. The lodge's secondary forest, river access, and extensive gardens help to attract hundreds of bird species as well as colorful butterflies and a variety of mammals.
  Contact info: 200m Sur de cruce Miravalles, Rivas
San Isidro el General,   Costa Rica
phone: +506-2771-0341
web: http://www.talari.co.cr
  Room amenities: Private bathroom with solar heated shower, fan, mosquito net, small fridge, and terrace.
  Facility amenities: Restaurant, landscaped gardens, secondary forest with trails, outdoor pool, Jacuzzi, and laundry service.
  Smoking allowed: Yes

 Esquinas Rainforest Lodge
Type: Lodge
  Description: Rainforest lodge located near La Gamba Village and Piedras Blancas National Park and only 30 minutes by car from the Golfito airport. Its important contributions to the local community and good environmental practices have earned it a "three-leaf" Certificate for Sustainable Tourism from the Costa Rican Tourism Board (ITC). Accommodations are provided in attractive tiled roofed bungalows, surrounded by lush tropical vegetation and accessed by well-maintained gravel paths. The Esquinas Rainforest Lodge's efforts to minimize its environmental impact include: composting organic waste and using it as fertilizer for their organic vegetable and fruit garden, using energy saving light bulbs, collecting and filtering rain water, using a waste water treatment plant for kitchen waste, using a pressure pump rather than harsh chemicals to treat their pool, using biodegradable detergents, and participating in a carbon offsetting program.
  Contact info: Piedras Blancas National Park
La Gamba,   Costa Rica
phone: +506-27418001
web: www.esquinaslodge.com
  Room amenities: Private bathroom with hot water, ceiling fan, tiled floors, covered porch, and screened windows.
  Facility amenities: A stream fed pool, 2-acre tropical garden with trails, library, gift shop, restaurant, and bar.
  Smoking allowed: Yes

 Las Cruces Biological Station
Type: Lodge
  Description: Organization for Tropical Studies' research station located in the Pacific highlands of southern Costa Rica, near the Panamanian border.
  Contact info: San Vito
San Vito,  00000 Costa Rica
phone: +506-25240628
web: www.esintro.co.cr
  Room amenities: Balconies with garden views.
  Facility amenities: Restaurant, gardens, research facilities, and laundry service.
  Smoking allowed: No

 Savegre Hotel Nature Reserve & Spa (formerly Savegre Mountain Hotel)
Type: Lodge
  Description: The Savegre Hotel Nature Reserve and Spa is located in the Talamanca Mountains of Costa Rica. The hotel is at an elevation of approximately 7,220 ft and is situated in a private cloud forest reserve that borders the Los Quetzales National Park. Its private reserve has earned a reputation for being one of the best places to spot the elusive Resplendent Quetzal--one of the country's most colorful birds. To reach this attractive highland property it is necessary to travel on switchbacks and narrow mountain roads reaching elevations of up to 11,000 ft at Cerro de la Muerte.
  Contact info: San Gerardo de Dota.
San Gerardo de Dota,  00000 Costa Rica
phone: +506-27401028
web: www.savegre.com
  Room amenities: Rooms have private baths and heating system or fireplace. No air conditioning is necessary since the hotel is located in a mountainous region (approximately 7,220 ft above sea level) known for its clean and crisp air.
  Facility amenities: Restaurant, bar, meeting rooms, spa services, gardens, nature reserve, trails, and laundry service.
  Smoking allowed: Yes

 Rancho Naturalista
Type: Lodge
  Description: The Rancho Naturalista is located within a private 125-acre reserve a short distance from Tuis de Turrialba in the Talamanca Mountains. The reserve's pre-montane Caribbean slope rainforest, streams, and semi-wooded pastures attract numerous specialty bird species, making this a prime birding site. A network of well-maintained forest trails gives visitors access to the property's different natural habitats. The stunning Snowcap hummingbird is the lodge's signature bird and is a common visitor at the hummingbird feeders and pools. Although the main building's long veranda was primarily designed for bird watching, its comfortable seating areas and scenic views have wide appeal among all guests. Target bird species for this property include: Bicolored Hawk, Sunbittern, Purplish-backed Quail-Dove, Mottled Owl, White-necked Jacobin, Green–breasted Mango, Black-crested Coquette, Green Throntail, Snowcap, Bronze-tailed Plumeleteer, Lanceolated Monklet, Rufous-winged Tanager, Golden-olive Woodpecker, Black-banded woodcreeper, Strong-billed Woodcreeper, Tawny-throated Leaftosser, Brown-billed Scythebill, Checker-throated Antwren, Dull-mantled Antbird, Immaculate Antbird, Black-headed Tody-Flycatcher, Tawny-chested Flycatcher, White-ruffed Manakin, White-crowned Manakin, Black-throated Wren,Scaly-breasted Wren,Black-headed Nightingale,Ashy-throated Bush-Tanager, and White-lined Tanager
  Contact info: 1 km este de Tuis de Turrialba
Cordillera de Talamanca,   Costa Rica
phone: +506-25548100
web: www.ranchonaturalista.net
  Room amenities: Spacious rooms with wood floors and private bathrooms with hot water.
  Facility amenities: Restaurant, laundry services, covered porches, landscaped gardens, nature trails, birding balcony, internet access, birding litterature available for guests, and resident naturalist guides.
  Smoking allowed: Yes

 Wyndham San José Herradura Hotel & Convention Center (previously a Ramada property)
Type: Resort
  Description: The Wyndham San José Herradura Hotel and Convention Center has 229 spacious rooms with modern conveniences and a long list of amenities that are meant to accommodate business travelers as well as vacationing families. It is conveniently located a short distance from San José's Juan Santamaria International Airport. The hotel has earned a Level 3 Certification for Sustainable Tourism by the Costa Rican Tourism Institute.
  Contact info: General Cañas Highway
5 km south from International Airport
San José,   Costa Rica
phone: +506-22099800
web: http://www.wyndham.com/hotels/costa-rica/san-jose/wyndham-san-jose-herradura-hotel-convention-center/hotel-overview
  Room amenities: The spacious, air conditioned rooms have private baths, hair dryers, satellite TVs, direct-dial phones, mini refrigerators, coffee makers, safety deposit boxes, and internet access.
  Facility amenities: Complimentary Wi-Fi, three restaurants, three swimming pools, a wet bar, Jacuzzis, casino, fitness center, spa services, laundry service, souvenir shop, beauty salon, business center, conference center, money exchange, Internet access, travel agency, and a souvenir shop. Wheelchair acessible elevators and public areas. Free airport shuttle service from 5:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. Free hotel shuttle service to San José attractions.
  Smoking allowed: No
  Elevators available: Yes
  Additional nights after: Prices subject to availability Rates and room types are subject to availability. Please contact your program provider at 1-800-866-7111 or roadscholarprograms@holbrooktravel.com if you need assistance with booking additional hotel nights.
  Check out time: 11:00 AM


Travel Details
  Start of Program:
Arrivals at the Juan Santamaria International Airport in San José, Costa Rica. Hotel check-in begins at 3 p.m. You will be staying at Radisson Hotel San José - Costa Rica (formerly Radisson Europa Hotel) that night.
  End of Program:
Departures from the Juan Santamaria International Airport in San José. Participants must check-out by 11 a.m. You will be staying at Wyndham San José Herradura Hotel & Convention Center (previously a Ramada property) the night before.
  Required documents:
The Road Scholar Health & Safety Form is required. Proof of vaccination is required from travelers arriving from a country where yellow fever is endemic. Costa Rica entry requirements have fluctuated between requiring US passports to be valid for 3 or 6 months. It is always best to renew your passport before it reaches the six month validity date—especially if you plan on doing future travel. For more information about entry requirements please contact the Embassy of Costa Rica in Washington, DC at tel: (202) 234-2945/46 or visit www.costarica-embassy.org.
  Parking availability:
Not applicable.
Transportation (For Independent Travelers)
To Start of Program
  Location:  San Jose
  Nearest airport:  Jose Santa Maria International Airport
  Transportation to site: Travelers should use only licensed taxis, which are typically red with medallions (yellow triangles containing numbers) painted on the side. Fares can be paid in dollars or colones.
  From End of Program
  Location: San Jose
  Transportation from site: Taxi services are available for hire at the hotel. Participants should ask for assistance at the hotel front desk.
    (Additional transportation information same as above)
Elevation Note: San Gerardo Valley 8,000 ft/Driving through elevations up to 11,000 ft in Talamanca Mountains.

Equipment Requirements: Participants should bring a good pair of binoculars. If you purchase new binoculars, please read the manual and familiarize yourself with its features prior to travel.
The prices listed for commercial services and facilities that are not included in the program cost, such as airport shuttles or extra nights lodging, are subject to change without notice. Since Road Scholar cannot guarantee the accuracy of these prices, we strongly suggest contacting the companies directly for the most up-to-date information.


Daily Schedule

Day 1: Departures from the U.S./Arrivals in San José, Costa Rica.
(Thursday, January 30)
   
 Arrive To: Arrive in San José's Juan Santamaria International Airport.

Proceed through Immigrations, Baggage Claim and Customs before exiting the secured area of the airport. Please use the exit door on the right. The Road Scholar representative will be waiting outside the exit door with a Road Scholar sign (only applies to Road Scholar group flights).

Transfer to the hotel and check-in, followed by time at leisure.

Please note that this is an international travel day; no meals or program activities are scheduled on this day. Hotel check-in usually begins at 3 p.m.
   
Accommodations: Radisson Hotel San José - Costa Rica (formerly Radisson Europa Hotel)

Day 2: Transfer to San Isidro/Bird Watching on Forest Trails.
(Friday, January 31)
   
 Breakfast: At the hotel.
 Morning: Orientation to the program.

Lecture: Introduction to Birding in Costa Rica.

Transfer to San Isidro el General.
 Lunch: At local restaurant en route.
 Afternoon: Arrive at the lodge and check-in.

Afternoon bird watching from lodge trails. This is a great place for spotting Buff-throated Saltators, Yellow-crowned Euphonias, Slaty Spinetails, Red-legged Honeycreepers, Rufous-tailed Hummingbirds, and Scaly-breasted Hummingbirds.
 Dinner: At the lodge.
   
Accommodations: Talari Mountain Lodge
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 3: Bird Watching at Los Cusingos Wildlife Refuge/Transfer to Golfito/Bird Watching at Esquinas Rainforest Reserve.
(Saturday, February 1)
   
 Breakfast: Early breakfast at the lodge.
 Morning: Transfer to Los Cusingos Wildlife Refuge for a full morning of birdwatching activities. Target species include Turquoise Cotinga, Speckled Tanager, Slaty Spinetail, Red-legged Honeycreeper, Rufous-browed Peppershrike, and Fork-tailed Flycatcher.

Los Cusingos Bird Refuge is part of the Don Alexander Biological Corridor which reaches as far as the Chirripo National Park and has elevation ranges of 2,624 ft – 12,532 ft. The 192 acres of protected lands were once part of the farm owned by Dr. Alexander Skutch, a respected naturalist and prolific writer (co-author of “A Guide to the Birds of Costa Rica”). The small and simple house where Dr. Skutch lived and worked for more than 60 years is now kept as a museum—the Skutch-Lankester House Museum. Nature lovers can observe and admire local flora and fauna through a system of trails that weave through the reserve’s pre-montane wet forest. Tanagers, honey creepers, parrots, falcons, hummingbirds, and woodpeckers are often seen here as well as a number of mammals including: agoutis, sloths, tayras, and monkeys.

Transfer to Golfito.
 Lunch: At a local restaurant en route.
 Afternoon: Arrive at the lodge and check-in.

Join your leader for an afternoon bird watching walk on local trails.

Lecture: History of the Esquinas Rainforest Reserve.
 Dinner: At the lodge.
   
Accommodations: Esquinas Rainforest Lodge
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 4: Birding in Esquinas Rainforest Reserve.
(Sunday, February 2)
   
 Breakfast: Early morning birding.

Breakfast at the lodge.
 Morning: Enjoy a guided walk on lodge trails. Elevations for this day average from between 100 to 300 ft.

The local bird checklist includes 362 species, many of them considered as specialties that are either endemics or easily found here, for example the Great Curasaw, Spectacled Owl, Rufous-winged Wodpecker, Olivaceous Piculet, Black-cheeked Ant-Tanager and Rudy-breasted Seedeater, amongst others. The grass fields and marshes around the lodge are the habitat for many species of water birds and shorebirds like herons, egrets, wood storks, ducks and spoonbills.

Return to the lodge.
 Lunch: At the lodge.
 Afternoon: After lunch, search for birds during a walking exploration of open pastures and rice fields located in the vicinity of the lodge.

Return to the lodge.

Time at leisure to rest and freshen-up before dinner.
 Dinner: At the lodge.
   
Accommodations: Esquinas Rainforest Lodge
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 5: Birding at Las Cruces Biological Station.
(Monday, February 3)
   
 Breakfast: Early morning birding.

Breakfast at the lodge.
 Morning: Transfer to San Vito area with birding en route.

Arrive at Las Cruces Biological Station and check-in.

Las Cruces Biological Station is an important tropical research facility and a center for teaching and environmental education run by the Organization for Tropical Studies (OTS). Station facilities include classrooms, a laboratory, an auditorium, and a library with an herbarium. This mid-elevation site is responsible for protecting more than 300 hectares of premontane wet forest habitat and was declared part of the La Amistad Biosphere Reserve by UNESCO in 1983. Variations in elevation, ranging from 3,280 ft - 4,592 ft, contribute to the station's rich diversity of flora and fauna, including more than 400 birds, 113 mammals, and 2,000 plant species.
 Lunch: At the biological station.
 Afternoon: Guided birding in the gardens and feeder stations at Las Cruces.

Lecture: The Wilson Botanical Gardens and Las Cruces Tropical Field Station.

Las Cruces Biological Station is also home to the world-famous Wilson Botanical Gardens. In addition to educating the public about tropical ecology and conservation, the garden is used as a training ground for scientists in the fields of tropical botany, horticulture, and sustainable development. The botanical garden displays a mix of tropical and subtropical ornamentals including a number of rare and endangered plants from Costa Rica and other parts of the world. Paths are clearly marked and color-coded, leading guests around plantings of bromeliads, ferns, heliconias, orchids, palms and others.
 Dinner: At the station.
   
Accommodations: Las Cruces Biological Station
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 6: Birding Activities at Las Cruces.
(Tuesday, February 4)
   
 Breakfast: Early morning birding.

Breakfast at the station.
 Morning: Birding along the Java River Trail. Elevations for this day are at approximately 2,500 ft.

While birding at Las Cruces, we hope to spot some of the mid elevation birds of the Pacific side of the Talamanca Mountains such as Speckled Tanagers, Scarlet-Thiged Dacnis, Blue-Crowned Motmots, Violaceous Trogons, and Turquoise Cotingas. Stay vigilant for Coto Brus Valley species such as the Streaked Saltator and Charming Hummingbird.

Return to the lodge and freshen-up before lunch.
 Lunch: At the station.
 Afternoon: Afternoon guided bird walk along the botanical garden's trails.

With the Panamanian border located just a stone throw away, it is not surprising that a few species have begun to make an appearance into the area including the Pearl Kite, Crested Oropendola, and Veraguan Mango.
 Dinner: At the station.
   
Accommodations: Las Cruces Biological Station
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 7: Birding Introduction to Cerro de la Muerte Area and San Gerardo de Dota.
(Wednesday, February 5)
   
 Breakfast: Early morning birding.

Breakfast at the station.
 Morning: Depart for Cerro de la Muerte area with birding en route. Elevations for this day range from 2,500 ft up to 11,000 ft, ending at appoximately 7,000 ft in the San Gerardo Valley.

Stop at the highland oak forest habitat near La Georgina and the Cerro de la Muerte areas in search of the endemic Fiery-throated Hummingbird and other interesting species such as Black and Yellow Silky Flycatcher, Volcano Junco, Timberline Wren, and the Zeledonia.
 Lunch: At a local restaurant.
 Afternoon: Arrive at the lodge and check-in.

Short guided walk along local trails.

Lecture: History of the San Gerardo Valley and the Resplendent Quetzal.
 Dinner: At the lodge.
   
Accommodations: Savegre Hotel Nature Reserve & Spa (formerly Savegre Mountain Hotel)
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 8: Birding on Forest Trails.
(Thursday, February 6)
   
 Breakfast: Early morning birding.

Breakfast at the lodge.
 Morning: Bird along the upper trails of a local oak forest.

The San Gerardo Valley, approximately 7,000 ft, combines highland oak and cloud forests with open grasslands and forest edges, attracting a variety of birds including large numbers of Resplendent Quetzals. In addition to quetzals, the region is also home to a number of birds only found at this elevation range like Collared Trogons, Emerald Toucanets, Fiery-colored Tanagers, Marbled Wood Quails, Long-tailed Silky Flycatchers, Buffy-Tuftedcheeks, Golden-browed Clorophonias, Elegant Euphonias and Tufted Flycatchers. Return to the lodge.
 Lunch: At the lodge.
 Afternoon: After lunch, enjoy birding along the lodge's scenic waterfall trail. Look for Talamanca region endemics like the White-throated Mountain Gem, Collared Redstart, Volcano Humingbird, and Black-checked Warbler.
 Dinner: At the lodge.
   
Accommodations: Savegre Hotel Nature Reserve & Spa (formerly Savegre Mountain Hotel)
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 9: Introduction to Birding in Turrialba.
(Friday, February 7)
   
 Breakfast: Early morning birding.

Breakfast at the lodge.
 Morning: Depart for Turrialba area with birding en route.
 Lunch: At local restaurant.
 Afternoon: Arrive the lodge and check-in.

Birding at the lodge feeders and surroundings. Elevations for this day range from 7,000 ft up to 10,000 ft, descending into the Guarco Valley down to Tuis de Turrialba at approximately 3,000 ft.

The Rancho Naturalista encompasses 125-acres of protected pre-montane Caribbean slope rainforest in the Talamanca Mountain Range. A network of trails traverse the forest, providing access to the hummingbird feeders and hummingbird pools which attract the rancho's signature bird, the Snowcap.

Lecture: History of Rancho Naturalista: A Family Dream.
 Dinner: At the lodge.
   
Accommodations: Rancho Naturalista
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 10: Birding on Forest Trails.
(Saturday, February 8)
   
 Breakfast: Early morning birding.

Breakfast at the lodge.
 Morning: Birding on lodge trails. Elevations for this day are at approximately 3,000 ft.

Look for some of the lodge's listed species such as Montezuma Oropendola, Crimson-collared Tanager, Golden-hooded Tanager, Sunbittern, Gray-headed Chachalaca, White-crowned Parrot and Collared Aracari.
 Lunch: At the lodge.
 Afternoon: Birding in the woodland feeders and hummingbird pools.

Some species regularly spotted at the feeders include the Green-breasted Mango, Snowcap, Violet-crowned Woodnymph, Long-billed Hermit, and White-necked Jacobin.
 Dinner: At the lodge.
   
Accommodations: Rancho Naturalista
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 11: Morning Birding/Transfer to San José/Checklist Review.
(Sunday, February 9)
   
 Breakfast: Early morning birding.

Breakfast at the lodge.
 Morning: Depart to San José with birding en route. Elevations start at approximately 3,000 ft, rising to 4,500 ft.
 Lunch: At a local restaurant en route.
 Afternoon: Arrive at the hotel and check-in.

Before dinner, take part in a final checklist review and program briefing.
 Dinner: Farewell dinner at the hotel.
   
Accommodations: Wyndham San José Herradura Hotel & Convention Center (previously a Ramada property)
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 12: Departures from Costa Rica/Arrivals to the U.S.
(Monday, February 10)
   
 Depart From: Transfer to the Juan Santamaria International Airport for flight to U.S.

Note: Participants with independent travel arrangements and/or scheduled on later flights can keep their hotel rooms until check-out time on this day. Except for breakfast, all other meals are on your own on this day.
 Breakfast: At hotel restaurant (dependent on flight times).
   
Meals Included: Breakfast
Important information about your itinerary: Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and completeness of the information featured on this website. Itineraries are based on our best information at this time. Circumstances beyond our control may require us to adjust itineraries or other details. We regret any inconvenience this may cause and appreciate your understanding. Information will be sent to you from your Program Provider approximately three weeks prior to the program start date. The prices listed for commercial services and facilities that are not included in the program cost, such as airport shuttles or extra nights lodging, are subject to change without notice. Since Road Scholar cannot guarantee the accuracy of these prices, we strongly suggest contacting the companies directly for the most up-to-date information.

Suggested Reading List


Neotropical Rainforest Mammals: A Field Guide


Author: Louise H. Emmons & François Feer


Description: This beautifully illustrated field guide contains all you need to know about rainforest mammals in Central and South America. It has color plates, range maps and detailed descriptions of each animal, including information about their biology, behavior and natural habitats.



A Photographic Guide to the Birds of Costa Rica


Author: Susan Fogdon, Michael Fogdon (Photographer)


Description: Arranged by family groups, this pocket field guide to 250 common birds in-cludes color photos, identification notes and range maps.



A Guide to the Birds of Costa Rica


Author: Gary Stiles and Alexander Skutch


Description: Illustrated descriptions of the major habitats, color plates and maps, help to identify more than 850 species of birds in Costa Rica.



A Neotropical Companion


Author: J.C. Kricher, Mark Plotkin


Description: From plants and animals to birds and bugs, it's all here in this wonderfully written overview of the ecology, habitats, plants and animals of Central and South America.



Costa Rica Adventure Map


Author: National Geographic


Description: A double-sided map at a scale of 1:500,000.



Costa Rica Birds


Author: James Kavanagh


Description: A handy, laminated fold-up card with full-color illustrations of birds commonly found in Costa Rica. Great for kids, too.



Costa Rican Wildlife


Author: Pocket Naturalist


Description: Put it in your pocket! This handy, fold-up card includes color illustrations of dozens of typical birds, mammals and reptiles.



Culture Smart! Costa Rica


Author: Jane Koutnik


Description: A guide to local customs, etiquette and culture.



Lonely Planet Costa Rican Spanish


Author: Lonely Planet


Description: A pocket guide to understanding idioms, slang and Spanish as it is spoken by the Ticos.



National Geographic Costa Rica


Author: Christopher P. Baker


Description: This stylish, informative and up-to-date travel resource features 200 photographs, many maps and good information on the country's history, nature and culture.



The Birds of Costa Rica


Author: Richard Garrigues, Robert Dean (Illustrator)


Description: Built for the field, this great guide includes multiple illustrations for 820 species of birds.



The Ticos


Author: Richard Biesanz


Description: This insightful, fact-filled portrait of the Costa Rican people accessibly explores their culture, history and society.



Tropical Nature


Author: Adrian Forsyth, Ken Miyata


Description: A lively, lucid portrait of the tropics as seen by two uncommonly observant and thoughtful field biologists. Its 17 marvelous essays introduce the habitats, ecology, plants and animals of the Central and South American rainforest



Tropical Plants of Costa Rica


Author: Willow Zuchowski


Description: Organized by habitat, this photo guide to 400 species has chapters on popular destinations, including Monteverde and Tortuguero.





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