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DIY non driving bird vacation 2 spots, 2 weeks. Recommendations? (1 Viewer)

Fiscalshrike

Well-known member
I am looking for 2 places to spend 2 weeks in; in January 2021. I will most likely fly in and out of San Jose and spend a few of the days there so maybe a 5/5 split between the 2 locations. I haven't been to Central America yet, but Yucatan and Ecuador. I am not a go, go, go type traveler anymore and as I have been working in hospital lab through the current 'situation', I will want an easy trip. Also am an older woman not in the peak of shape for high altitude hill birding. Tend to be a budget traveler and Canadian, so $1 is only about $.60 US today. I determined Monteverde and Arenal to be the easiest for shared shuttle bus and options of lodges that include decent birding on site. I am willing to splurge on Arenal Observatory Lodge (the cheaper La Casona rooms are still a 'splurge' in my budget) and thought to book Monteverde Reserve Lodge, but I see the latter only take bank transfers. I need something that I can cancel with no penalty in case wave 2 (or 3) means vacation is cancelled by other powers than mine. That or wait it out and see what is available closer to October or November for booking.
I would appreciate any recommendation of a reserve lodge situation that allows for birding on site,some sort of restaurant for basic meals and no need to drive. I don't mind a bathroom down the hall, but no hostel. Comfortable bed, and the best would have an inroom reading/lounge chair and some veranda seat. I am willing to hire a bird guide some days or take a tour to sites close by. I have no set bird list in mind, but I do want to have at least one canopy type bridge walk for upper story birding and animal views.
My last question, is whether Monteverde Cloud Forest is truly 'the best' location, or if there is something similar and not so highly priced if I don't stay on site. Too bad Curi-Court doesn't offer accommodations.
(I hope to visit again for other locations, but for this trip, this is the region I have in mind) Thanks for any feedback or alternate recommendations.
 

gdhunter

Well-known member
So your preference will be something in the mountains northwest of San Jose? If you want to mix in something a bit more lowland, Tirimbina Rainforest Lodge near Puerto Viejo de Sarapiqui might be of interest. About 80 miles from Arenal.
 

Fiscalshrike

Well-known member
So your preference will be something in the mountains northwest of San Jose? If you want to mix in something a bit more lowland, Tirimbina Rainforest Lodge near Puerto Viejo de Sarapiqui might be of interest. About 80 miles from Arenal.

I have looked at Sarapiqui, but making that my 2nd location requires a return to San Jose and then back out to Sarapiqui....not having a rental car means it is not an easy add on.

I see there isn't a lot of distance between Monteverde and Arenal, but I thought there was an altitude height to offer some change in birds. Am I wrong?
Thanks.
 
I am looking for 2 places to spend 2 weeks in; in January 2021. I will most likely fly in and out of San Jose and spend a few of the days there so maybe a 5/5 split between the 2 locations. I haven't been to Central America yet, but Yucatan and Ecuador. I am not a go, go, go type traveler anymore and as I have been working in hospital lab through the current 'situation', I will want an easy trip. Also am an older woman not in the peak of shape for high altitude hill birding. Tend to be a budget traveler and Canadian, so $1 is only about $.60 US today. I determined Monteverde and Arenal to be the easiest for shared shuttle bus and options of lodges that include decent birding on site. I am willing to splurge on Arenal Observatory Lodge (the cheaper La Casona rooms are still a 'splurge' in my budget) and thought to book Monteverde Reserve Lodge, but I see the latter only take bank transfers. I need something that I can cancel with no penalty in case wave 2 (or 3) means vacation is cancelled by other powers than mine. That or wait it out and see what is available closer to October or November for booking.
I would appreciate any recommendation of a reserve lodge situation that allows for birding on site,some sort of restaurant for basic meals and no need to drive. I don't mind a bathroom down the hall, but no hostel. Comfortable bed, and the best would have an inroom reading/lounge chair and some veranda seat. I am willing to hire a bird guide some days or take a tour to sites close by. I have no set bird list in mind, but I do want to have at least one canopy type bridge walk for upper story birding and animal views.
My last question, is whether Monteverde Cloud Forest is truly 'the best' location, or if there is something similar and not so highly priced if I don't stay on site. Too bad Curi-Court doesn't offer accommodations.
(I hope to visit again for other locations, but for this trip, this is the region I have in mind) Thanks for any feedback or alternate recommendations.
Hi! I was in Costa Rica on a birding trip when CV19 hit and cut my trip short. I am interested in going back to 'finish' my trip. Have you put off your trip in the meantime and are you ever looking for a travel/birding companion also interested in budget travel? I am in the same city as you.
At any rate, on my first trip to CR, I stayed IN the Monteverde reserve in their dorms (only 2 beds in the dorm I was in so I had my own room)- still a bit pricy but the Quetzals are in the parking lot in the right season BEFORE the tourist busses arrive and scare them away in the morning. Also there is a brilliant café outside the entrance where they have numerous hummingbird feeders that buzz with activity first thing in the morning. If you have time, visit San Gerardo de dota for the mountain species. Local bus will get you to the road going to the town, but you must pay for pickup to get to the town. I could spend a lot of time with recommendations but don't want to if you've already planned your trip. Let me know if you want more info. And let me know if you are looking for a birding companion for future trips to help bring those costs down. I have been doing birding trips solo and with friends for a few years. I retire next year and there is so much more to see!
 

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