Costa Rica: “Birding * Northern Mountains” (2018)

Customized for groups of 2 – 12 persons
Days: 9

With about 940 known species of birds in Costa Rica, avid bird watchers around the world cannot miss out on this fantastic opportunity to indulge their passion for birding. From the highest mountains of the Southern Pacific to the sultry jungles of Corcovado National Park and the pristine transitional forest at Carara Biological Reserve, you will marvel at the array of birds, the vibrant foliage, and the natural wonder of Costa Rica.

Costa Rica Birding Northern Mountains


The Costa Rica Focus Touch: 

Private meet and greet at the Juan Santa Maria (San Jose) International Airport.
Services of your private naturalist guide, Rudy Zamora (35+ years of birding in Central America) 24/7 in-country assistance.
Birding checklist and target list customized to each location.
Daily recap every day with your guide to update your birding checklist.
1 group leader travels for free with 12 full fare guests.

Overview: Itinerary at a Glance

  • Day 1: Arrive Liberia Airport, transfer to Arenal.
  • Day 2: La Fortuna | Arenal Volcano.
  • Day 3: Caribbean Lowlands | Arenal Volcano.
  • Day 4: Caribbean Lowlands | Arenal Volcano.
  • Day 5: Central Mountains | Tenorio National Park.
  • Day 6: Central Mountains | Rio Celeste.
  • Day 7: Guanacaste Mountains | Rincon de la Vieja.
  • Day 8: Guanacaste Mountains | Santa Rosa.
  • Day 9: Guanacaste Mountains | Dry forest.
  • Day 10: Return Home.

Day 1: Arrive Liberia, Costa Rica | Arenal

Arrive today at the Liberia International Airport where you will be met by your private guide. You will travel approximately 3.5 hours through rolling hills, cattle farms, fields of yucca and pineapples to reach your destination; La Fortuna. This area is most commonly referred to as “The Arenal Volcano area”. Arenal is home to the iconic Arenal Volcano. The perfect cone stands majestically overlooking the town of La Fortuna. The base is surrounded by lush tropical rainforest and rolling green hills. Arenal is known as the adventure capital of Costa Rica due to the huge choice of activities offered in the area. Bird Watching is one of the area’s top attractions.

Arenal Observatory Lodge / Meals: lunch & dinner*
*Lunch is provided depending upon your arrival time to the lodge.

Day 2: La Fortuna | Arenal Volcano

The Arenal Observatory Lodge was the former research center for the Smithsonian Institute. The location is ideal for viewing the volcano and bird watching. Today you will spend the full day around the trails at the Observatory Lodge. More than 500 species have been registered on the grounds and forest of the lodge. Keep watch for the black-crested coquette, yellow-eared toucanet, great curassow and many more. The diverse habitat provides a true paradise for bird watchers.

Arenal Observatory Lodge / Meals: breakfast, lunch, dinner

Day 3: La Fortuna | Arenal Volcano

Today you will venture to the Sky Tram/Sky Trek for an interesting perspective of the rainforest canopy. You will board a tram that slowly travels from the forest floor, up through the forest and above the canopy. This interesting ride allows guests the opportunity to experience the different flora and fauna at each level of the rainforest. You will watch for birds, reptiles, and small mammals. After the tram, you will hike through the forest trails keeping your eyes sharp, looking for sunbirds, trogons, and more. You will enjoy lunch in the town of La Fortuna and then return to the Observatory lodge for afternoon birdwatching and dinner.

Arenal Observatory Lodge / Meals: breakfast, lunch, dinner

Day 4: Tenorio National Park | Rio Celeste

After breakfast, you will travel about one hour to the Tenorio National Park area and the Rio Celeste Hide-away Lodge. The lodge sits beside this 32,000-acre protected reserve. Today you’ll enjoy the trails that surround the Rio Celeste Hide-away lodge, birding the grounds and looking for the interesting species that inhabit the area. Keep a lookout for Crested Guans, tody motmots, and many species of hummingbirds.

Rio Celeste Hideaway / Meals: breakfast, lunch, dinner

Day 5: Tenorio National Park | Rio Celeste

After a delicious breakfast, you will head to the Tenorio National Park for a day of bird watching. The trails in the park take you through lush forest and alongside the spectacular Rio Celeste. Rio Celeste (Blue River) twists and turns its way throughout the National Park. Along the rive,r there are multiple hot springs and impressive waterfalls. The unique mineral composition provided by the Tenorio Volcano gives the water a pure turquoise hue that must be seen to be believed. Along with the marvelous natural wonders of the area, the birding at Tenorio is fantastic. One of Costa Rica’s most difficult and most wanted birds, the bare-necked umbrellabird, can be found perched in the trees anywhere in the park.

Arenal Observatory Lodge / Meals: breakfast, lunch, dinner

Day 6: Central Mountains| Guanacaste

This morning after breakfast, you will start your journey to Northern Guanacaste and the Rincon de la Vieja National Park area. You will travel about 3 hours from Rio Celeste, making your way through horse farms and cattle ranches. Look for the famed Guanacaste trees that dot the landscape. Farmland gives way to mountains as you arrive at the Borinquen Lodge.

Borinquen Lodge / Meals: breakfast, lunch, dinner

Day 7: Guanacaste | Rincon de la Vieja

You will make an early start today, to the Rincon de la Vieja National Park. You will want to be on the trails and in the forest before the Guanacaste heat sets in, in the afternoon. Rincon de la Vieja National Park is famous for the large caldron style volcano that sits at the center of this protected area. Visitors enjoy an interesting array of ecosystems from open fields, to lush forest and tumbling waterfalls, bubbling mud-pots, and eventually to open plains. Birding in the area is spectacular and you will want to keep watch for the emerald toucanet, lesser ground cuckoo, and the black-faced solitaire (to name a few).

Borinquen Lodge / Meals: breakfast, lunch, dinner

Day 8: Guanacaste | Santa Rosa National Park

Today you will mix birding watching with some history. Santa Rosa National Park is one of the oldest and largest National Parks in Costa Rica. It’s Costa Rica’s largest remaining section of tropical dry forest. The parks combination of scrub grasses and thorned acacia trees often remind visitors of the African Savannah. Along with the beautiful landscape, Santa Rosa is famous for being the site of one of only three armed conflicts to ever take place on Costa Rican soil. Farmers stood their ground against William Walker at this site, protecting the freedom of their nation in 1856, and once more against the Nicaraguan dictator, Somoza in 1955. Their victories are celebrated with a modest museum, at La Casona, the small ranch house that still stands today. You’ll have time to view the displays if you like.

Borinquen Lodge / Meals: breakfast, lunch, dinner

Day 9: Guanacaste | Liberia Airport

Your amazing journey comes to an end today, as you return to the Liberia Airport for your flight home.
Meals: breakfast

Our tours are customized to fit your needs. This tour can be booked on all dates, space is simply subject to availability.


Prices depend on the time of year you wish to travel and the amount of people you are traveling with. Please contact us for the pricing of your customized trip.

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Expedition Details:

  • This trip is suitable for guests 12 years +
  • The physical requirements are intermediate. There will be walking and hiking in temperatures between 80-90 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Guests should be able to maneuver inclines and declines, some up & down, and unpaved trails and pathways.

Terms & Conditions:

Deposit & Balance payments:

For reservations made outside 60 days prior to arrival, a deposit payment of 25% is required to secure your package. Your balance payment is due 60 days prior to your arrival.

For reservations made within 60 days prior to arrival, a 100% payment is due to secure your package.


Changes may be made up to 30 days prior to arrival without fees from Costa Rica Focus; however, any fees or penalties charged by the providers in your package (hotels, transport, activities, tours, meals) will be the responsibility of the travelers. These penalties will be added to your package price.

Changes made within 30 days of your arrival will carry a change fee from Costa Rica Focus of $300 plus any fees or penalties charged by the providers in your package. (hotels, transport, activities, tours, meals).

Changes requested while in the country are at the discretion of the provider’s (hotels, transport, activities, tours, meals) in your package. Any penalties or fees associated with the changes are the responsibility of the traveler.


Cancellations may be made up until 30 days prior to arrival. Cancellation penalty up to 30 days prior to arrival is 50% of your deposit amount.

Cancellations made within 30 days of arrival carry a penalty of 100%.

Important Note:

Costa Rica Focus highly recommends the purchase of comprehensive travel insurance to protect your vacation investment.