Costa Rica

Birding in Northern Costa Rica: Tanagers to Toucans

If Spotted Woodcreepers and manakins are on your birding life list, join us for an exploration of northern Costa Rica! An estimated 894 avian species call this country home.
Rating (4.96)
Program No. 22443RJ
11 days
Starts at
Flights start at
25 Reviews
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4.96 Average

This was an excellent birding experience. We saw 254 species of birds in 10 days. The ability of the guide to spot birds and get them in the scope was outstanding. I especially enjoyed his ability to mimic many bird songs,


A lifetime trip that delights; filled with new information about birds, economy and geography of northern Costa Rica. Our guide, Ivan and his love, enthusiasm and knowledge of birds, their habitats and songs was infectious! My birding interests have increased! Ivan was always prompt, prepared, knowledgeable, patient and kind. Our transportation and accommodations were top notch. We made new friends! So glad we took the tour!


Every element of the program was at least excellent, many simply outstanding. The trip itinerary, locations, lectures, transportation and accommodations were well planned and executed. Food was good and plentiful; the fruit fantastic. Our guide, Ivan's expert qualifications, knowledge and passion for birds and nature, and all of us, was the greatest part of the tour. He is a wonderful person who knew local birders and special, almost secret, locations at every stop and in between. Ivan (I can't praise him enough) made the tour a very meaningful trip for all of us. Xavier, bus driver and great bird spotter, kept the bus clean and drove well. The bus was not full so seating was comfortable. Tour members were great colleagues. This was our (my wife and me) first RS trip and I can highly recommend it and will be on many more to come. Oh, and we saw 312 species including all the kingfishers, Jabirus on the nest, king vulture, great & common potoo, mangrove swallow, warbler & vireo, great green & scarlet macaws, pied puffbird, Nicaraguan grackle, black-collared hawk flying with a snake, white-necked puffbird eating a giant red-winged grasshopper,and more. Bird heaven.


Excellent. Upgrade individual program goals and primary intentions Thank you. My first road scholar event. Learned much about CR,birds, and self.


This program exceeded my expectations. Our guide was EXCELLENT- a good birder and very good at getting information across. The locations we birded allowed us to see a great variety of birds, and our guide made sure we got to some additional areas along our route. I also loved the variety of lodging we had at the sites, often giving us great views of the area.


We were looking for a nicely paced, affordable birding tour and found this one (plus the South tour - we did a back-to-back) worked perfectly for us. Our tour leader/guide was excellent, the accommodations varied and interesting (all good), the food good and the overall experience great! You should definitely bring insect repellent (bugs weren't that bad) and rain gear (not much rain but be prepared). We consider ourselves middle of the road birders and were happy with the itinerary and the great birds we saw. We rarely walked more than 1 1/2 miles a day but did spend a lot of our time standing (more standing than walking) so you should be in reasonably good shape to handle the activity level. We loved the variety of the locations - saw a volcano, rain forests, mangrove wetlands and more. The experience was outstanding - but you need to be a birder (beginner to advanced) to really appreciate the tour.


Jorge Monge is the BEST GUIDE ever! And this trip was spectacular! I am only a casual birder and I could not have enjoyed the trip more. Seeing 265 species of birds over a few short days was nothing less than miraculous. I loved all the non-feathered critters too. I can not recommend this program highly enough.


This trip was great, a perfect pace and good companions. We visited a nice selection of locations. Good birding, around 260+ species including 13 endemics. We were so pleased that we decided to do the southern trip next year.


We just finished the Birding in Northern COsta Rica 11 day trip and it was perfect. Our guide , Gilbert Molina was the best of the best. If you're looking for quiet, out of the way lodges in a natural setting away from the touristy spots, this trip is a must. We had 261 total bird species for the 11 days.


We saw 300 species of birds. Birding guide (Roger) was amazing. Early morning bird excursions every day. Be prepared for a lot of rain in the wetlands and very hot weather on the west coast.


This was a great trip. We saw lots of beautiful scenery and over 250 species of birds, including 110 new life birds.


The Birding in Northern Costa Rica program provides a nice opportunity to see various geographical areas of Costa Rica and therefore to view a great many species of birds. We thoroughly enjoyed this program and all the exceptionally kind and knowledgeable Costa Ricans we met especially our leader.


Birds of Northern Costa Rica is a great birding experience. The diverse locales offer bird specialties from the Caribbean slope, Central Valley, mountain forests and the Pacific coast. A great trip.


I would highly recommend Road Scholar to anyone that is willing to go on an adventure and step out of his/her comfort zone.


Great birding in a beautiful locale with an extremely knowledgeable guide who was fun, patient, and made sure we all had a maximum birding experience. I would go again, and am probably going to go on the southern Costa Rica trip based on this experience. The downside is accommodations were somewhat rustic and less comfortable than they might have been, given the heat and humidity.


Our tour had birders and those who were beginners.We still were able to see about 270 species including Jacanas,Toucanets and The Jabiru Stork.We also saw numerous animals like The Tamandua Three Toed Sloth and The coatis.


This program was focussed on bird-watching, and thanks to our outstanding guides, we saw an amazing 273 species. But equally enjoyable for me were the visits to diverse ecosystems. We ate most of our meals on outdoor verandas with views of the rainforest. We enjoyed boat rides into a mangrove swamp at dawn and along a tropical river at dusk. We walked on the slopes of a volcano, across two hanging bridges 23 stories above the forest floor. We saw 3-toed sloths, growler monkeys, caiman and crocodiles. Lodgings included fancy hotels but also modest accommodations in small rural area. I liked that diversity as well. This trip exceeded my expectations.


Birding experience in Costa Rica was outstanding -- our group saw 277 different species while we were there. We were all amazed and charmed every day by the beauty of the country and how kind, welcoming and helpful everyone was. Thanks, Road Scholar!

This reviewer did not give a star rating.

Everything about this trip was wonderful. We would highly recommend it. The country was beautiful, the people were friendly and our guide was incredible. We saw over 200 bird species and other wildlife. We loved the uncrowded locations and accommodations. We are going back next year.


This program was my introduction to birding. I was with seasoned birders who were helpful and patient with me. I felt relaxed and safe and enjoyed the countryside and coach travel. Our guide and leader was very interesting and Knowledgeable. The small group got along very well.


As a novice birdwatcher going into this program, I felt welcome, included, and I learned so very much from our outstanding guide Luis as well as our driver Ronaldo and the Copearte guide. I benefitted from the knowledge of other more experienced participants. Fun!!!


Wonderful program with exposure to four world-class birding site. Expert guiding and mentoring made for a seamless and extraordinary experience. I recommend this program to serious birders.


This birding program is designed to maximize the number of species to add to the serious birder's life list. Chito is a fantastic guide who is able to locate the rare birds by calls, then the birders help spot them for the rest of us to see. Chito is expert at using the spotting scope for each of us to see the bird details. All members of our group were seriously interested in finding birds, so there was a lot of walking, standing, getting on-and-off the bus whenever a new species was spotted from the road, and very successful boating expeditions. Each evening we checked off the birds seen that day, and discussed the more interesting species. By the end of the trip we had communally identified 298 different species, many recorded as rare. Accommodation locations were selected to maximize the number of bird sightings: beautiful trails, wooded areas, river banks, lovely park settings, and a bay of the Gulf. Food was very healthy and plentiful. This was a very good program; Chito was always available, friendly, and his knowledge of birds is tremendous.


We had been on previous Road Scholar birding trips in Costa Rica where a good percentage of the participants weren't really into birding, but just wanted to see pretty birds - and there is a difference! This time, everyone was truly interested in seeing all birds, so it was a very positive experience. Our guide, Chito, was excellent! Not only is he a very knowledgeable birder, he also is well versed about plants and animals, and goes out of his way to make sure everyone is well cared for. We would highly recommend this program, but suggest that there are other programs in Costa Rica that would be better for those who are interested in an overview of the flora and fauna and not wanting to concentrate on birding. That would make a better experience for everyone!


This was a fantastic tour. The guide, Gilberth Molanis, was very knowledgeable about the birds, and knew where to find them. He has a great ability to spot them, and to enable you to see them using his skills with the spotting scope. He is enthusiastic, and willingly shares his knowledge about the birds, other animals, and the various areas we visited. He loves Costa Rica, and talked about the history and culture of the country too. The hotels selected were wonderful, and mostly family-owned enterprises. The food was great, and the accommodations comfortable. I highly recommend this trip. I did this tour back-to-back with the Southern Costa Rica trip, which I enjoyed equally. These two tours enabled me to see more of the country at one time, and see more of the beautiful birds.

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