Costa Rica

Birding in Southern Costa Rica: Motmots to Quetzals

Program No. 20616RJ
Go where the birds are, not where the birders are, as you spot Scarlet Macaws at Carara, the Resplendent Quetzal in San Gerardo de Dota, Motmots in San Vito and much more.

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At a Glance

In this small-group adventure, go off-the-beaten path to explore some of the less-visited birding hot spots in Costa Rica. In a range of habitats — Pacific lowland rainforest, dry deciduous forest, primary premontane forest, oak woodlands, cloud forests and more — spot myriad 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.
Activity Level
Outdoor: Spirited
Daily early morning birding activities. Walking up to three miles daily over varied terrain in tropical conditions and long periods standing. Elevations up to 11,000 feet.
Micro Group
Micro Group
These adventures feature our smallest group size, with 12 participants or fewer.

What You'll Learn

  • Observe brilliantly colored Resplendent Quetzals while they feed on the fruit of the aguacatillo tree.
  • Spot nocturnal birds and mammals, including owls, on nighttime hikes.
  • Look for water birds and shore birds during a boat ride along the mangrove-lined banks of the Tarcoles River.

General Notes

This is a Micro Group program, with 12 or fewer participants. All Road Scholar birding programs have a maximum participant-to-instructor ratio of 14:1 in the field. We adhere to the American Birding Association’s Code of Ethics. Learn more at www.aba.org/ethics.
Featured Expert
All trip experts
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Erick Guzman
Costa Rica’s tropical rainforest with its glorious biodiversity was the childhood playground of Erick Guzman, who grew up in the country’s Caribbean lowlands. He enjoyed accompanying travelers on boat excursions during his post-high school years, assisting his father, and went on to work in the field of adventure travel, leading rafting, kayaking, horseback riding and hiking trips. Erick then worked at the La Selva field station of the Organization for Tropical Studies, interacting with scientists and deepening his knowledge of Costa Rica’s natural habitats.

Please note: This expert may not be available for every date of this program.

Profile Image of Erick Guzman
Erick Guzman View biography
Costa Rica’s tropical rainforest with its glorious biodiversity was the childhood playground of Erick Guzman, who grew up in the country’s Caribbean lowlands. He enjoyed accompanying travelers on boat excursions during his post-high school years, assisting his father, and went on to work in the field of adventure travel, leading rafting, kayaking, horseback riding and hiking trips. Erick then worked at the La Selva field station of the Organization for Tropical Studies, interacting with scientists and deepening his knowledge of Costa Rica’s natural habitats.
Profile Image of Roger Melendez
Roger Melendez View biography
In the late 1980s, Costa Rican native Roger Melendez received both practical and theoretical training on the flora and fauna of his country at the La Selva field station of the Organization for Tropical Studies. He is a talented and experienced birder with an all-encompassing knowledge of tropical wildlife. Road Scholar participants have found Roger to be a charismatic leader who gives everyone personalized attention. He is a father of three and loves spending time outdoors with his family.
Profile Image of Lenin Duarte
Lenin Duarte View biography
Lenin Duarte is a certified Costa Rican naturalist guide. He worked for many years as a resident naturalist at the Organization for Tropical Studies (OTS) La Selva Biological Field Station. One of the most exciting parts of that job included the opportunity to interact with biologists and participating in important research being conducted on site. Even after many years of leading groups, Lenin never tires of watching the excitement and wonder on visitors’s faces as they fall in love with the rainforest and its inhabitants.
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