Spice Mix - Birding by Locals


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Spice Mix

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    12 Days / 11 Nights
    Availability : All Year Round
    International Airport Juan Santamaría
    Costa Rica
    Tour Details

    Is an all inclusive tour!!

    Spice Mix covers the most important ecosystems in Costa Rica for birding and photography. Caribbean lowlands, northern Pacific dry forest, caribbean foothills, central Pacific rain forest, highlands and paramo forest.

    Full time bi-lingual bird/naturalist guide throughout your tour, extra local birding guides, air-conditioned 4×4, shuttle service for airport arrival and airport departure, fine standard accommodations en-suite on a twin/double basis, 32 meals, alcoholic drinks, water, one Costa Rica Deluxe birdchecklist per person, boat trip and Quetzal tour, Waterfall Gardens-hummingbirds observatory, Cope’s Garden-owls quest, all taxes on meals, lodging, and transport.

    You can see from 300 to 350 bird species.

    Departure & Return Location

    San José (Google Map)

    Operated By

    Wildbird Tours
    What to Expect
    • Highlights:Resplendent Quetzal, not less than 30 species of hummingbirds, tucans, motmots and trogons. Best chance for country endemics.
    • Activities: Birding, wildlife and photography
    • Difficulty:Low
    • Holiday Type: Tailor-made and Set Departures
    • You will visit:Selva Research Station - Hummingbird Gallery - Carara National Park - Quetzal Tour - Tarcoles River Boat Tour
    • Trip style:Couples and Small Groups
    • Comfort level: Standard to Luxury
    • Transportation: 4×4 - Mini Van - Boat Trips - All of Our Vehicles Have A/C
    • Physical demand: Hikes are Not Difficult. Trails are Never too far from Car or Main Facilities.
    • Group size: Minimum 2 People
    • Price:US $2,420.00

    Day 1Arrival

    Arrive in Juan Santamaria International Airport where you will be welcomed by your guide and
    escorted back to your hotel.

    Depending on arrival time, you may also be able to do some birding on the hotel grounds.


    Day 2Caribbean Foothills - Waterfall Gardens

    You will drive north from the central valley over the active volcanic zone, down into the Caribbean forest lowlands, towards on of the best spots for hummingbirds and middle elevation birds.

    Waterfall Gardens is well known as hummingbird’s heaven with some endemic mountain species, not seen anywhere else in the world. Ochraceous Wren, Crimson-collared Tanager, Coppery headed Emerald, American Dippers and Torrent Tyrannulets. The best place for Northern Emerald Toucanet.


    Day 3King Vulture Hide and Toucans

    First thing in the morning is waiting for the birds to visit the feeders. After breakfast the group will visit a hide especially built to observe King Vulture, the most beautiful of all vultures.

    Then you will visit a private property which is fantastic for photography and bird observation. Very close views of Red-legged Honeycreeper, Shiny Honeycreeper, Blue Dacnis, Chestnut-headed Oropendola, White-necked Jacobin, Bronze-tailed Plumeleteer, Crowned Woodnymph.


    Day 4Sarapiqui Plains - Central Caribbean Lowlands

    Sarapiqui area is located in the Caribbean lowlands of Costa Rica, renowned for the high bird diversity, the number of National Parks, private protected forests and bird sanctuaries, and the huge raptor and hawk migration that passes the region every year.

    The target birds in Sarapiqui are the highly endangered Great Green Macaw and Sunbittern. Along the Sarapiqui River birders can find Great Egret, Little Blue Heron, Snowy Egret, Bare-throated Tiger-Heron, Fasciated Tiger-Heron, Green Ibis, Keel-billed and Yellow-throated Toucans.


    Day 5La Selva Biological Reserve

    Early morning guided hike to La Selva Biological Reserve, owned and managed by the Organization for Tropical Studies, a consortium of universities dedicated to rain forest research. La Selva covers an expanse of lowland rainforest on the Caribbean slope of northwestern Costa Rica.

    La Selva is great for “big birds”, and we have the chance of seeing species such as Great Currasow, Gray-headed Chachalaca, Semiplumbeous Hawk, Tiny Hawk, White-crowned, Red-lored, and Mealy Parrots, Rufous winged Woodpecker.


    Day 6San Gerardo Valley - Central Highlands

    A  pristine mountain valley located high in the Talamanca Mountains at 2200 meters of altitude (7220 ft) nestled in a steeply walled river valley where the cloud forest is filled with massive oaks and other highland native species. More than 50 endemic birds are found in the central highlands of Savegre.

    Before reaching our lodging you’ll bird along the road at about 9000 feet elevation, and have our first chance at a number of the regional endemics found in these mountains, including fancy species such as Volcano Hummingbird, Long-tailed Silky- Flycatcher, Black-billed Nightingale-Thrush, and both Yellow thighed and Large-footed Finch.


    Day 7Quetzal Quest

    You will start the day looking for one of the most attractive birds in the world: The Resplendent Quetzal. While seeing a quetzal will be our main goal, the valley is also an excellent place for all the specialty birds of the region.

    Some of the regional higland endemics we are likely to see include Highland Tinamou, Red-tailed Hawk, Black Guan, Sulphur-winged Parakeet, Ruddy Treerunner, Silvery-fronted Tapaculo, Sooty Robin, Ruddy Pigeon, and many hummingbirds like White throated Mountain-gem, Scintillant Hummingbird, and Purple throated Mountain-gem.


    Day 8Northern Pacific Dry Forest

    Northwest Pacific contains some of the last remnants of the endangered life zone know as tropical lowland dry forest. Its large salt pans offer birding opportunities for shore birds, locals and migrants.

    Best chance for rare endemics and local dry forest specialties including birds that are not readily seen farther south such as Spot-bellied Bobwhite, Lesser Ground-Cuckoo, Spotted-breasted Oriole, Streak-backed Oriole, Snail Kite, Roseate Spoonbill, Double-striped Thick-Knee, Yellow-naped Parrot, Mangrove Hummingbird, Banded Wren, White-lored Gnatcatcher


    Day 9Ensenada Lodge

    We spend the day birding the property, trails, lake and salt pan. Its large salt pans offer birding opportunities for shore birds, locals and migrants.

    The open areas are good for Snail Kite, Yellow Crowned night Heron, Marbled Godwit, Short Billed Dowitcher, Yellow Naped Parrot.


    Day 10Central Pacific Lowlands - Tarcoles River Estuary

    The Central Pacific area consists of transitional lowland forest where the more humid forests of the southern Pacific coast blend and overlap with the Drier forests of the northern Pacific coast. The result is a unique zone of overlap where both northern and southern species can be seen in the same place.

    In the afternoon, after lunch, the group takes a tour along the Tarcoles River and Guacalillo mangrove estuary. Here is the largest population of American Crocodiles in Central America. You will see many of the  biggest ones on the sand banks. Great opportunity for fresh water birds, waders and shorebirds.


    Day 11Carara National Park

    Carara National Park is considered by many to be one of the best birding locations in Costa Rica. The national park is famous for its population of Scarlet Macaws, and we are certain to see many, particularly at dusk.  

    The excellent birdlife includes up to five different species of Trogons, Rufous-tailed Jacamar, Royal Flycatcher, King Vulture, Grey-necked Wood-rail, Elegant Tern, Tawny-winged Woodcreeper, Smooth-billed Ani, Scaled Pigeon, Costa  Rican  Swift, Panama Flycatcher and some rarities like Mangove Hummingbird (one of the country’s endemic).


    Day 12Tarcoles Grounds and Departure Day

    First activity in the morning is a birding walk in the lodge trails for the last birds of the trip. After breakfast you leave to International airport, short trip of approx 1.5 hours.         


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