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Indiana Audubon 2022 Costa Rica Tour- FULL

February 28 - March 10

Indiana Audubon 2022 Costa Rica Tour
February 28-March 10, 2022
The Essential Costa Rica: Birds and Birding Photography

In the late winter/early spring of 2022 Indiana Audubon will host the next in a series of great birding adventures, as IAS returns for the extremely popular Pura Vida birding in beautiful Costa Rica.  For sheer diversity of birds in a short trip, it’s hard to beat Costa Rica. Nowhere else is it as easy to experience such a range of habitats and families in a safe country with good infrastructure. This trip is a great introduction to the amazing birding to be found in Central America.

As part of Indiana Audubon’s commitment to conservation in areas we visit, a portion of the trip fees will be donated towards the National Park system in Costa Rica (SINAC), as 25% of the country is protected for sustainable natural resource protection and tourism.

Trip Leaders: Bill Sharkey and John Cassady are long-time Indiana Audubon members and have extensive experience birding in Costa Rica and leading trips for Indiana Audubon.  This tour is being put together in partnership with Lifer Nature Tours, who will be securing transportation and guiding services during the trip.

Day 1. February 28th San José City.
Day 2. March 1st Caribbean Rainforest.
Day 3. March 2nd Caribbean Rainforest.
Day 4. March 3rd Arenal Volcano Area.
Day 5. March 4th Arenal Volcano Area.
Day 6. March 5th Talamanca Highlands.
Day 7. March 6th Talamanca Highlands.
Day 8. March 7th Central Pacific.
Day 9. March 8th Central Pacific.
Day 10. March 9th San José City.
Day 11. March 10th International Flights.

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1. El Robledal Hotel – Welcome to Costa Rica. (Night at Robledal Hotel)

Today we have all day for arrivals at Juan Santa Maria Intl. Airport, Costa Rica, with our first night in San Jose, just a short distance from the airport.  We will be welcomed at the airport by a representative of Lifer Nature Tours.  We’ll have some of our first glimpses at tropical birds in the hotel gardens.  Dinner is included that evening

Day 2-3- Caribbean Rainforest (night at La Selva OTS)

Morning birding on our way northward into the Caribbean slope.  We will arrive at lunch time and spend the rest of the afternoon in the gardens of the station, Keel-billed and Yellow-throated Toucan, Collared Aracari, Orange-chinned Parakeet, Brown-hooded and White-crowned Parrot are quite common. We will have dinner at the station.

Early morning to the next day, we will walk on trails looking for Black-capped Pygmy Tyrant, Great Curassow, Ornate Hawk Eagle, Pied Puffbird, White-fronted Nunbird, Ocellated Antbird, Collared and Barred Forest-Falcons, Cinnamon and Chestnut-colored Woodpeckers and Central American Pygmy Owl. Great Green Macaw is likely to be a common sighting in this location.  Lunch at 12:30pm and then a 2-hour break to let the heat go down. Afternoon we will drive around to a close location for Red-breasted Meadowlark, Snowy Cotinga and Green Shrike Vireo. Back to the station around 5:30pm for a short break and then dinner and some hours of owling looking for Middle American Screech-owl, Black-and-white, Crested and Spectacled owls.

 Day 4-5. Arenal Volcano Area- (night at Arenal Observatory Lodge or similar)

Early morning birding around the station and then breakfast at 7am then drive to Arenal Volcano area. Arenal Volcano Area is not only a breathtaking scenery location is also a great hotspot for tanagers like an Emerald, Bay-headed, Silver-throated, Black-and-yellow and Blue-and-gold tanagers. Not to mention the high chances for some rare cotingas like Barenecked Umbrellabird and Lovely Cotinga. This day we will spend all day in the entrance road looking for birds like Sunbittern and Fasciated Tiger-heron and then around the hotel gardens and feeding station.

Next day, early morning start around the hotel and then after breakfast we will spent the whole morning at La Peninsula road, part of Arenal Volcano National Park looking for Long-tailed Tyrant, White-fronted Nunbird, Keel-billed Motmot, White Hawk, Dullmantled Antbird, Great Antshrike, Rufous-winged Woodpecker among others.

In the afternoon we will come back to town to have lunch and a short break then head to Bogarin Trails close to town, this place usually provides good looks at White-throated Crake and Uniform Crakes but also plenty of Montezuma Oropendola, Buff-thr oated Saltator, Red-legged Honeycreeper, Crimson-collared Tanager, Passerine’s Tanager, Orange-chinned Parakeet among others.  Late afternoon looking for Striped Owl close to the hotel and then dinner in a local restaurant.

 Day 6-7. The mystic highlands of Talamanca (Night at Paraiso del Quetzal Lodge)

Early morning birding around our hotel and then breakfast at 7am and we will drive to Talamanca highlands. Arrive around mid-day at the hotel and then depending on weather spend some time at the hummingbird feeders or give it a try to our main target here, the Resplendent Quetzal in the afternoon.

The second day, we will have a hot coffee or tea with a snack in early morning around 5:15 AM, then we will take a short drive to see one of the most elusive species in the country and maybe the most sought-after bird in Central America, the Resplendent Quetzal. This bird is considered by many to be the most beautiful bird in the Americas. After successful views of this marvelous bird, we will come back to have breakfast in the hotel. Then we will bird along the open roads of Los Quetzales National Park where we might see species such as Golden-browed Chlorophonia, Black-thighed Grosbeak, Large-footed Finch, Yellow-thighed Finch, Slaty Flowerpiercer, Peg-billed Finch, Spangle-cheeked Tanager, Sooty-capped Chlorospingus (Bush-Tanager), Black Guan, Sulfur-winged Parakeet, White-throated Mountain-gem, Black-faced Solitaire, Black-billed Nightingale-Thrush, Sooty Thrush, Costa Rican Pygmy-Owl and Long-tailed Silky-flycatcher.

In the afternoon we will walk one of the hotel’s trails and spend some time in their feeders, giving us additional opportunities to see some of the above-mentioned species and more. A few other new species we hope to find this afternoon include Lesser Violetear, Talamanca Hummingbird, Volcano Hummingbird and Fiery-throated Hummingbird as the most common sights drinking nectar from the hummingbird feeders. Flame-throated Warbler, Ruddy Treerunner, Barred Becard and Silvery-fronted Tapaculo are normally heard and can be potentially call out from the dense vegetation by your guide; and the gorgeous Spotted Wood-Quail and Buff-fronted Quail Dove sometimes come to scratch the compost of the hotel near the parking area. Also, Band-tailed Pigeon and Barred Parakeet tend to fly over constantly right before the sunset starts, that by the way are extremely colorful at this high elevation in February and March.

Day 8-9- Central Pacific (Night at Cerro Lodge or similar)

We can do some easy birding at 6am to get some targets we are still missing from previous day. Breakfast at 7am and then we will start heading to our next location in Central Pacific. Is a long drive of 3 hours so we will start relatively early to stop along the way to look for a few targets in case we still need. One of the main stops will be for the elusive Fiery-billed Aracari and Speckled tanager. We will arrive at the next hotel around mid-day we will have lunch in a restaurant on the seaside. Then we will check in at our hotel and take a short break. When heat goes down we will continue birding around our hotel. This place has a strong dry forest influence so White-throated Magpie Jay, Cinnamon Hummingbird, Hoffmann’s Woodpecker, Rufous-and white Wren, Crane Hawk among others are likely in a close hike from the hotel. At night we will try for Pacific Screech-Owl near the rooms. We will do checklist at 7:00pm at our hotel and then dinner there too.

Next morning, we will start early at 5:30am for a very productive boat tour in the mangroves and hopefully get Roseate Spoonbill, Wood Stork, 3 species of Kingfishers, Mangrove Vireo and the country-endemic Mangrove Hummingbird. Later in the morning (or maybe in the afternoon depending on time and heat) we will invest some time exploring the Carara National Park looking for Fiery-billed Aracari, Royal Flycatcher, Collared Forest Falcon, Red-capped and Blue-crowned Manakins, Slaty-tailed, Baird’s, Black-throated and Gartered Trogons. Rufous-tailed Jacamar and White-whisked Puffbird inhabit this forest too. Scarlet Macaw are very likely to be everywhere all the time we spend in Central Pacific and the photographic opportunities are usually numerous. We will do checklist at 6:30pm at our hotel and then dinner at the hotel. We will look for owls if there are still missing nightbird species in the area.

Day 10. El Robledal Hotel – Getting ready for departure. (Night at Robledal Hotel)

In the morning we will invest some time exploring the entrance road of the hotel looking for and birding along the way. plan to visit an active lek of Long-tailed Manakin on our way back to San Jose and enjoy the great show of watching these birds displaying and dancing to impress female. In the afternoon we will drive to San Jose city with stops along the way if there is any missing target we can get before getting to San Jose.


After breakfast, your guide will drive you to the airport to catch your flights back home on time. If flights are late, we can get some extra birding done right at the hotel in early morning.  Good by Costa Rica.

Included with the Tour:

  • IAS guide coordinating trip logistics before and during the tour.
  • Specialized Lifer Nature Tours guide/driver with Swarovski Spotting Scope, Portable speaker + Ipod with bird calls to play-back calls of a bird if necessary and a laser pointer to help locate birds in the field
  • Spacious bus transportation with fuel included through the trip.
  • All lodging for 11 days, 10 nights.
  • Accommodation in all hotels listed.
  • All meals starting with dinner on day 1 and finish with breakfast on day 11.
  • All entrance fees to reserves and national parks, including Tarcoles boat tour.
  • Standard lunch and dinner tips for restaurant wait staff.

Not included with the Tour:

  • Flights to and from Costa Rica.
  • Tips for hotel staff, bird guides and driver, are not included.
  • Medical expenses, prescription drugs and other items of personal use.
  • Additional tours offered in hotels (Spa, massage, etc.)
  • Alcoholic beverages, cigarettes and anything else not listed on the menus of restaurants.
  • Health and/or trip insurance
  • Laundry service
  • Souvenirs
  • Any other expense or extra tour not listed as included above

Trip limit is 10 participants max.  THIS TRIP IS CURRENTLY FULL. Inquire for the waiting list.  Prices are based on double occupancy.  All IAS international trips require proof of COVID vaccination prior to the trip departure through 2022.  For more information or to register, contact Brad Bumgardner at [email protected]  A $500 deposit/person is required for reservation.

$3,125 per person IAS Member.  $3,245 per person non-IAS Member.
Single Supplement: $450
$75 surcharge for credit card payments


February 28
March 10
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Indiana Audubon Society
Lifer Nature Tours


Costa Rica
San Jose, Costa Rica + Google Map

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