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Costa Rica (1 Viewer)

West End Birder

Well-known member
Next year I am 60 so as a treat we are looking at possibly going to Costa Rica and including a bit of nature stuff.

I would very much like to see a Resplendent Quetzal and a Jaguar, plus Scarlet Macaw and Sloth.

Any advice would be great thanks, particularly 'cloud hotels' and any other wildlife worth seeing (presumably lots).

Thanks

Rob
 

Pariah

Stealth Birder
Next year I am 60 so as a treat we are looking at possibly going to Costa Rica and including a bit of nature stuff.

I would very much like to see a Resplendent Quetzal and a Jaguar, plus Scarlet Macaw and Sloth.

Any advice would be great thanks, particularly 'cloud hotels' and any other wildlife worth seeing (presumably lots).

Thanks

Rob

Some reading material.

http://helhathnobirdies.blogspot.fi/2017/09/the-hallowed-honeymoon-hummingbird-hunt.html?m=1

Regards

Owen
 

Andy Adcock

Well-known member
England
Next year I am 60 so as a treat we are looking at possibly going to Costa Rica and including a bit of nature stuff.

I would very much like to see a Resplendent Quetzal and a Jaguar, plus Scarlet Macaw and Sloth.

Any advice would be great thanks, particularly 'cloud hotels' and any other wildlife worth seeing (presumably lots).

Thanks

Rob

You'd be very lucky indeed to see Jaguar in CR.

Curi-Cancha is great for the Quetzal but you must get timing right and Scarlet Macaw is very common in the South. With the help of a guide at one site or another, you can probably, almost guarantee seeing both Sloth species.

If you send me an e-mail address, I can send you our report from last year.



A
 
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cafe birder

Well-known member
Supporter
Hi Rob,
Just back from Costa Rica. I went with my wife and sister so no heavy birding. We organised it through Geodyssey and said wildlife was the main interest. Booking late meant we stayed mostly in slightly less famous places including one resort at Tortuguera that I expected to be touristy and poor for wildlife. In fact everywhere was brilliant, saw plenty of sloths, on both coasts, scarlet macaws aplenty near carara on pacific, toucans everywhere except high mountains and quetzel at San Gerado de dota (we stayed at Dantica cloud forest lodge). Without really trying I saw about 200spp birds the 3 common monkeys and even had a jaguarundi cross the road in front of our car. Driving mostly easy but slow, narrow bendy roads full of lorries. We avoided driving in San Hose mind. Bumper bonus was having our economy plus bookings upgraded so flights a joy with Iberia.
I too am sixty and apart from having to go slowly in the mountains (its nearly 11000 feet) everywhere was easy going. You will enjoy it immensely
Regards Howard
 

Leviticus Plews

Well-known member
Going to Monteverde (Cloud Forest Reserve) by any chance? The birds there are incredible, but you really should hire a guide; they're not terribly expensive, but the trick is finding a good one. I was there three years ago and we had an amazing guide. Check out http://threebrotherstours.com/ . Our guide was Mauricio (nickname Nino). I can't vouch for the other two but Nino says there as good or better than him.
 

Nohatch

Mad scientist
Dantica lodge is amazing, I remember falling asleep on the sofa in front of the floor to ceiling windows, watching a thunder storm roll in over the mountains, log fire burning....it's pricey even for CR but a little piece of heaven. The owner is a birder as well so can point out some good local spots. Saw several quetzal the next morning without even trying; the trail at the bottom of the valley (to a pretty waterfall) is very productive. Plus you can add nearby Cerro Muerte for paramo endemics. Another site worth trying for quetzals is 2/3 of the way up Irazu volcano (worth doing anyway) where you go through open oak savanna. Scarlet Macaw is common around the Pacific coast (e.g. Carara NP, Osa peninsula). There's a lovely lodge just west of Piedras Blancas called Suital Lodge; has it's own little reserve full of birds and a nice private beach & kayaks. Another spot nearby that's really nice is the Las Cruces biological station (San Vito) where they do active research on rainforest ecology & restoration - decent accommodation too and a nice reserve at mid-altitude.
If you want sloths, I can highly recommend the sloth sanctuary just north of Cahuita (Caribbean coast). They do a great tour and have baby ones you can see close up. Amazing beaches and good birds a bit further south around Manzanillo.
But the whole country is a tourist playground in the best possible way, so you'll have a great time wherever you go! Bus is doable but car is way better, and not difficult. San Jose can be a bit full-on during rush hour so try and avoid it :)
 
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david kelly

Drive-by Birder
Scotland
Next year I am 60 so as a treat we are looking at possibly going to Costa Rica and including a bit of nature stuff.

I would very much like to see a Resplendent Quetzal and a Jaguar, plus Scarlet Macaw and Sloth.

Any advice would be great thanks, particularly 'cloud hotels' and any other wildlife worth seeing (presumably lots).

Thanks

Rob
Hi Rob

I was in Costa Rica in 2000, sloths are easy to see. Quetzal were relatively easy at Monteverde. I didn’t see Scarlet Macaw, although I have now seen one called Brian on the loose at Musselburgh. Don’t limit you horizons though, loads of other excellent wildlife to see from eyelash vipers to coatis to violet sabrewings.

David
 

Andy Adcock

Well-known member
England
Dantica lodge is amazing, I remember falling asleep on the sofa in front of the floor to ceiling windows, watching a thunder storm roll in over the mountains, log fire burning....it's pricey even for CR but a little piece of heaven. The owner is a birder as well so can point out some good local spots. Saw several quetzal the next morning without even trying; the trail at the bottom of the valley (to a pretty waterfall) is very productive. Plus you can add nearby Cerro Muerte for paramo endemics. Another site worth trying for quetzals is 2/3 of the way up Irazu volcano (worth doing anyway) where you go through open oak savanna. Scarlet Macaw is common around the Pacific coast (e.g. Carara NP, Osa peninsula). There's a lovely lodge just west of Piedras Blancas called Suital Lodge; has it's own little reserve full of birds and a nice private beach & kayaks. Another spot nearby that's really nice is the Las Cruces biological station (San Vito) where they do active research on rainforest ecology & restoration - decent accommodation too and a nice reserve at mid-altitude.
If you want sloths, I can highly recommend the sloth sanctuary just north of Cahuita (Caribbean coast). They do a great tour and have baby ones you can see close up. Amazing beaches and good birds a bit further south around Manzanillo.
But the whole country is a tourist playground in the best possible way, so you'll have a great time wherever you go! Bus is doable but car is way better, and not difficult. San Jose can be a bit full-on during rush hour so try and avoid it :)

We stayed at Suital Lodge, we enjoyed it but it's quite basic and a couple of people who had booked, just walked out once they actually saw the place. It's clean and relaxing but not 5 Star, suited us and the owner is very nice.

Manakins in the garden here too as well as Tarantulas which the owner can show you at night and check out the building he lives in for bats. Wood Rails walking around the place too.


A
 

Nohatch

Mad scientist
We stayed at Suital Lodge, we enjoyed it but it's quite basic and a couple of people who had booked, just walked out once they actually saw the place. It's clean and relaxing but not 5 Star, suited us and the owner is very nice.

Manakins in the garden here too as well as Tarantulas which the owner can show you at night and check out the building he lives in for bats. Wood Rails walking around the place too.


A

Spot on Andy, I don't mind roughing it a bit for a nice location ;) Mind I stayed at a couple of backpacker places which were way worse...it's basic but clean and quiet. Owners are lovely, can't remember their names now but the Swiss lady is a herpetologist; showed us some cool snakes. Big spiders too, but hey you're in the jungle...I loved just sitting on the porch and watching the wildlife drift by :t:
 

West End Birder

Well-known member
Thank you to everyone who replied (particularly AA), it sounds an amazing place. Even if I am a birduder (please note JS Bach this is NOT an advert for my book, so no need to contact the Mods) I can still enjoy it - hopefuly I can see some Toucans too - can't wait!

Thanks again

Rob
 

Pariah

Stealth Birder
Thank you to everyone who replied (particularly AA), it sounds an amazing place. Even if I am a birduder (please note JS Bach this is NOT an advert for my book, so no need to contact the Mods) I can still enjoy it - hopefuly I can see some Toucans too - can't wait!

Thanks again

Rob

I had meant to link all the sites and dates yesterday, but was pushed for time.

http://helhathnobirdies.blogspot.fi/2017/09/the-hallowed-honeymoon-hummingbird-hunt_4.html?m=1

http://helhathnobirdies.blogspot.fi/2017/09/the-hallowed-honeymoon-hummingbird-hunt_7.html?m=1

http://helhathnobirdies.blogspot.fi/2017/09/the-hallowed-honeymoon-hummingbird-hunt_8.html?m=1

http://helhathnobirdies.blogspot.fi/2017/09/the-hallowed-honeymoon-hummingbird-hunt_10.html?m=1

http://helhathnobirdies.blogspot.fi/2017/09/the-hallowed-honeymoon-hummingbird-hunt_13.html?m=1

http://helhathnobirdies.blogspot.fi/2017/09/the-hallowed-honeymoon-hummingbird-hunt_18.html?m=1

http://helhathnobirdies.blogspot.fi/2017/09/the-hallowed-honeymoon-hummingbird-hunt_25.html?m=1

http://helhathnobirdies.blogspot.fi/2017/09/the-hallowed-honeymoon-hummingbird-hunt_28.html?m=1

http://helhathnobirdies.blogspot.fi/2017/10/the-hallowed-honeymoon-hummingbird-hunt.html?m=1

http://helhathnobirdies.blogspot.fi/2017/10/the-hallowed-honeymoon-hummingbird-hunt_6.html?m=1

http://helhathnobirdies.blogspot.fi/2017/10/the-hallowed-honeymoon-hummingbird-hunt_9.html?m=1

http://helhathnobirdies.blogspot.fi/2017/10/the-hallowed-honeymoon-hummingbird-hunt_19.html?m=1

If you need any specific locations, hotel/bnb tips etc don't hesitate to get in touch.

Regards

Owen
 

hookem2010

Well-known member
I spent 4 nights on the Osa Peninsula, just outside Corcovado NP in 2014. We only did a single day trip into the park itself and spent the rest of the time in the area of our "Advententure tent camp" (tents on raised wooden platforms with cots). I wasn't a birder at that time but we did see Scarlet Macaw and some Toucan species, as well as a trogon of some sort. I'm sure I missed a ton of other avian life as I wasn't paying particularly close attention. Other wildlife in Corcovado was excellent. In our 6-8 hour guided group tour we saw tapir, tamamdua, 3-toed sloth (I think), crocodile, caiman and all 4 monkey species of CR. The Osa Peninsula is a little bit more off the beaten path than some of the other areas of Costa Rica, but it was pretty magnificent.

Sent from my SM-G950U using Tapatalk
 

Andy Adcock

Well-known member
England
I spent 4 nights on the Osa Peninsula, just outside Corcovado NP in 2014. We only did a single day trip into the park itself and spent the rest of the time in the area of our "Advententure tent camp" (tents on raised wooden platforms with cots). I wasn't a birder at that time but we did see Scarlet Macaw and some Toucan species, as well as a trogon of some sort. I'm sure I missed a ton of other avian life as I wasn't paying particularly close attention. Other wildlife in Corcovado was excellent. In our 6-8 hour guided group tour we saw tapir, tamamdua, 3-toed sloth (I think), crocodile, caiman and all 4 monkey species of CR. The Osa Peninsula is a little bit more off the beaten path than some of the other areas of Costa Rica, but it was pretty magnificent.

Sent from my SM-G950U using Tapatalk

Sounds amazing, would love to have done that but ran out of time






A
 
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cafe birder

Well-known member
Supporter
Hi Rob, in answer to your question yes we drove ourselves. By arranging to be at Totuguera first (we were at mawamba lodge) we were picked up from airport and delivered to a hotel in San Hose for first night as most flights arrive afternoon or evening from this side of the pond. Then again we were collected by a coach at 6.00 next morning, taken for breakfast and delivered to the pick up point for all the boats into Totuguera (no roads in this area). After three nights here we were again met off the boat and taken to a cafe for lunch where the car hire company, Sixt, delivered our car along with a mobile phone set up with the local sat nav (Wayze) and taught how to use this. After that getting around was easy, much easier than I had feared in fact with the sat nav even warning us that cars were broken down a couple of kilometers ahead on a few occasions and accurately predicting any delays in real time. The one journey we forgot to take it we got lost !
The Osa peninsular is supposed to be the best area but it was not practical for us as we could see all our targets (Toucans, Macaws, Sloths) without needing to drive that far. Of note, one couple we met hired a driver to get to Osa as they had looked at the safety record of one company flying there and did not like the odds. I understand that the company in question is currently grounded but that is your field more than mine.
Howard
 

West End Birder

Well-known member
I am not sure I would drive, I really hate hiring cars, such a rip off but perhaps the Ticos are a bit more honest than in Europe. Looking at the links to the photos, my goodness some truly stunning birds!

I must admit flying internally in Central America does not fill me with pleasure....hmmm!

Thanks very much everyone.
 

Dan Miller

Avicasual Birder
Supporter
United States
Others have been giving good advice. My wife and I have been coming to CR for several years now. We had no trouble seeing scarlet macaws in the Carara/Tarcoles area in both February and September.

Timing can affect cloud forest sightings. For example, both this year and last year, we had no trouble finding quetzals in Curi-Cancha and Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve in February. In March so far this year, I have seen fewer - I think that it is because they are following the fruit (avocados) and I haven't yet found the more recently fruiting trees. I understand the guides are still finding them regularly, but i have not used a guide yet.

Other "good" species, like three-wattled bellbird, have been more variable. Last year we saw the bellbird in Curi-Cancha right before departing Monteverde on the last day of February. This year, the bellbirds were very sporadic until yesterday (March 11), when males were calling all day at Bajo del Tigre, and we even found a female.

For places to stay in Monteverde, I can highly recommend Casa Batsu. It is reasonably priced, and you will be well taken care of and fed a great breakfast. The owner, Carlos, can help you arrange transport, guides, etc.

Another good option is Hummingbird House (via AirBnB). It is a small, but comfortable 1BR house with kitchen. It is walking distance or easy ride to Curi-Cancha, Monteverde Reserve, and right next to Bajo del Tigre. Also walking distance to a small grocery, coffee shop, several restaurants, and more.

Dan
 

Pariah

Stealth Birder
I am not sure I would drive, I really hate hiring cars, such a rip off but perhaps the Ticos are a bit more honest than in Europe. Looking at the links to the photos, my goodness some truly stunning birds!

I must admit flying internally in Central America does not fill me with pleasure....hmmm!

Thanks very much everyone.

I would strongly recommend having your own transport, if you intend to cover ground. Car hire was quite reasonable. If you intend on simply staying in one location that could be different. Carara would likely be the most productive location if so.

Owen
 

Nohatch

Mad scientist
I must admit flying internally in Central America does not fill me with pleasure....hmmm.

Lol, I've flown a lot with the likes of TACA and LAN and they're just the same as any airline back home ;)
Definitely drive, it's a wasted opportunity if you don't, and nothing to worry about if you're used to UK rush hour.
Also the boat ride into Tortuguero is a great traveling experience: https://www.twoweeksincostarica.com/getting-to-tortuguero/

Cheers,
Joost
 
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