Birdwatching in Costa Rica

Scarlet Macaw

Costa Rica is blessed with an incredibly diverse population of birds that can be seen here. Some live in Costa Rica year round, some are migratory birds that travel south to find warmer weather, and a few just pass over and through Costa Rica on their way to further destinations.

While one can see a great diversity of birds in any part of Costa Rica, there are also organized bird-watching tours, bird sanctuaries, eco-resorts specializing in birds, and hotels that specifically attract tourists who are interested in seeing rare birds, such as the respendant quetzal or scarlet macaw, and are frequently seen on the property.

Carara National Park

Carara National Park is an awesome place for birders. This park, marked as the northernmost limit of the Pacific Rainforest, is famous for incredible biodiversity. Carara National Park has 3 beautiful trails. Hundreds of bird species are identified on these trails including Great Tinamou, Golden Crowned Spadebill, Ruddy Quail Dove, Orange Collared, Red Capped Manakins, and Blue Crowned.  If you have limited time,  it couldn’t be a better place for watching some beautiful bird species of Costa Rica.

Curi-Cancha Reserve

Curi-Cancha Reserve is a private reserve located on the banks of the Río Cuecha. This place is considered as a Bird watching heaven for birders with more than 250 species of birds. Though situated within one mile from Monteverde Cloudforest Reserve, it’s not over crowded. Moreover, access is restricted, thus you can expect less crowd. One of the great things about this 237 acre reserve is that all the trails are very well maintained and walk-able. So far 250 species o birds identified including the Long-tailed Manakin, Chestnut headed oropendola, Emerald Toucanet, Piratic flycatcher, Black Guan and Rufous collared sparrow.




Manuel Antonio National Park

Not only birds, thousands of animals including different species of Monkeys and frogs call this park their home. There is a wide variety of fauna with 109 species of mammals & 184 different species of birds. Manuel Antonio has several kilometers of trails that are very well maintained and easy to walk. While walking on these trails you’ll certainly not only see many colorful birds but also can identify where they nest, when they come and go and many more things. If you are fond of marine birds, you will love that park as there are so many marine birds that you can find here. You can expect to see Baird’s Trogon, Charming Hummingbird, Golden-naped Woodpecker and Orange-collared Manakin.

San Gerardo de Dota

The San Gerardo de Dota, a beautiful yet less known place located in the remote mountains south of capital city of Costa Rica, San Jose, is perfect for those seeking to spot the elegant and gorgeous resplendent quetzal. Heralded for its great beauty, the bird has got much attention from birders. But please note that thoughb there is a possibility to find a quetzal year round, but unfortunately there are no guarantees. But don’t worry, though there is no guarantee that you will be able to see a quetzal, there are hundreds of other bird species inhabit within the surrounding area. Emerald toucanettes, trogons, tanagers, bell birds, and hummingbirds are very common. Despite being known for its excellent bird watching, The San Gerardo de Dota is still not over populated and  has just couple of unruffled eco-lodges and restaurants.

Sarapiqui Eco-Observatory

Though Sarapiqui Eco-Observatory is comparatively a new birding destination, it is considered as one of the perfect places for bird photography in that region. This privately owned land encircles a 400-ha rainforest. So far 215 species of birds have been recorded here. You can easily do photography or simply watch them taking one of the many trails available here. If you want to watch Fasciated Tiger-Heron and Sunbittern, you can take the trail to the Sarapiqui River. This Eco-Observatory also includes a botanical garden. There is a air chance that you will be able to see one or more species of beautiful hummingbirds including but not limited to Stripe throated Hermit, Green-breasted Mango and Bronze tailed Plumeleteer.

Tortugero National Park

Tortuguero is a magical place. Though it is famous for turtle nesting, Tortuguero is becoming popular as a bird-watching destination as well because of its huge variety of different bird species. Its main attraction is the migratory birds. More than 300 bird species has been found in Tortuguero. You can expect to see Green-and-Rufous Kingfisher, American Pygmy-Kingfisher, Bronzy hermit hummingbird, Rufescent Tiger-Heron, Scarlet Macaw, Agami Heron, Peregrine Falcon, Sungrebe, Trogons and Great Green Macaw. But don’t forget that these are only some of the more than 300 birds identified here.

Wilson Botanical Gardens

Looking for an opportunity to watch Crested Oropendolas? Right? So Wilson Botanical Gardens is Perfect for you. Most of them are invaded from neighboring country Panama. Apart from Crested Oropendolas, Scarlet thighed dacnis, Violaceous trogons, Silver throated tanagers, Turquoise cotinga, blue-headed parrots, turquoise cotingas and violet sabrewing hummingbirds are common. This Botanical Garden is situated in a breathtakingly beautiful cloud forest near the border of Panama.


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