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 (5)
Program No. 22443RJ
11 days
Starts at
Flights start at
21 Reviews
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5 Average

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.


If you are interested in finding new birds for your "life list", this is the trip for you! Not to mention the beautiful scenery, the abundant wild life beyond the birds, and the small group dynamics.


Birding in Costa Rica - North was a great trip. We saw 299 different species of birds as well as howler and spider monkeys, frogs, bats, caimans and even some fast-moving sloths. The food was plentiful and tasty with very fresh pineapple, watermelon and papaya to had daily.


This is a great trip for Birders of all abilities. You will have the opportunity to visit a wide range of habitats and areas where many of Costa Rica's birds reside. You will be led by a guide who is friendly and an expert in bird identification with amazing vision.


Well organized; Luis Vargas was knowledgable of birds, animals and flora. On the northern Costa Rican bird tour, we saw 274 species of birds, including a rare jabiru.


Our group saw almost 300 birds, a variety of mammals, as well as several snakes and frogs! Each location of the itinerary had a unique habitat. The trip had opportunities to hike, walk, and ride boats in areas filled with fascinating birds. The guide was outstanding. Fabulous trip.


We had a wonderful trip with a fantastic leader and will do more road scholar trips after this experience.


Birding in Northern Costa Rica was fantastic. The introduction lecture started things off with some great information. The La Paz waterfall area hike was beautiful and filled with a tremendous number of birds including many hummingbirds. The La Selva Biological station was one of my favorite hiking areas,the diversity of birds found there was tremendous! Cano Negro boat rides were fantastic between our guide and the boat captain we saw a tremendous number of different species including many kingfishers. Arenal Volcano area was very picturesque with a wonderful view of the volcano from the lodge and many diverse bird species along the hanging bridges trails. Ensenada was a dry and hot area that had totally new bird species including the double stripe thick-knee and magpie jays to keep you company at each of your meals. I saw a total of 275 different bird species on this trip. If your a birder it is a must! Be prepared to walk like they say in the trip description 3 miles a day along with lots of standing as you look for birds.


An active and well-thought out nine days of birding. Accommodations and food were excellent for the most part. Trip leader was a skilled and enthusiastic birder who helped us see over 250 species. Group had some people with no birding experience, as is often the case on Road Scholar birding trips. This trip is pretty much all birding, so might not be the best trip for someone not sure whether they like birding. We met most mornings at 5:45 a.m. Never more than a few hours on the bus. I learned a lot and saw many new bird species.


A very enjoyable trip with great guide and driver. I would recommend this trip.


Our guide was knowledgeable, enthusiastic, passionate and warm. Our locations were terrific, accommodations fine, fellow travelers great. Mostly good weather too.


A truly outstanding experience! If you are a birder, you MUST take this trip. Our guide, Luis Vargas, was THE BEST! I highly recommend this trip. My bird checklist totalled 230 species including nesting Jabirus, White-throated Crake and Reddish Egret.


A great way to spend ten days away from the Northeast weather, traveling around Costa Rica and getting to see the fabulous bird life with knowledgeable nature guide...planning to do the southern program in the future,,, Will Sigle


I highly recommend "Birding in Northern Costa Rica" to any birder who wants an expert guide to the amazing birds of this beautiful country. We saw 298 species including the Turquoise-browed Motmot, the Great Green Macaw, and the Three-wattled Bellbird. 242 were life birds for us. The trip was exceptionally well-organized from the moment we stepped off the plane to our farewell dinner. We plan to return for "Birding in Southern Costa Rica" in the future.


As much birding as you want in beautiful surroundings. I saw more than 320 species, including tinamou, bellbird, puffbirds, and great raptors. The guide Erick was great. Something for everyone, as often part of the group would go for a swim or even a siesta, while others birded. The boat rides, all three of them, really added to the program. Expect lots of walking.


We can't say enough good things about our trip! Our guide, Gilberth Molina ("Chito"), is not only a fantastic birder but has virtually every personality trait that makes a perfect trip leader. The trip was very well organized and virtually stress-free, with many small details designed to make the trip enjoyable. If you love birding, and seeing some coffee-table birds in glorious color, then you'll love this trip! Thanks to Chito, we saw some amazing birds that everybody would have missed if he hadn't caught them. Ornate Hawk-Eagle, Sunbittern, toucans galore, antbirds, Snowy Cotinga, tinamous, and on and on. We also saw lots of other animals including several species each of reptiles, monkeys, bats, and larger mammals. Expect hot and humid weather, which is made bearable by the fact that this is why all these fabulous wildlife species live there!


This was a wonderful program! I enjoyed visiting different areas of Costa Rica and experiencing different climatic zones. The group leader, Chito, was an exceptionally good leader.


This was an incredibly joyful experience with a great guide and a diversity of environments. There was much new learning about Costa Rica and amazing birds were found by Guito who was able to hear birds from afar and locate them! There was no hiking, only easy walking, the only more active activity was climbing the stairs to our various lodges, but level floor rooms were also available if needed. Each of the lodges was outstanding in accommodations and food, really great food!


This trip is fun, full of delightful experiences and more birds than I dreamed of.

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