Costa Rica: Biological Stations; Birding Adventure (2018)

Customized for groups of 2 – 12 persons
Days: 10

The Organization for Tropical Studies (OTS) is a non-profit consortium for almost 60 universities and colleges around the world. The stations offer opportunities for students and scientists to participate and launch intense studies on tropical flora and fauna. These lodges are in remote areas rich with all types of wildlife and perfect for serious birders looking to see hundreds of the 900+ possible species in Costa Rica. You will travel from the Pacific lowlands known for dry forest and freshwater marshes & wetlands to the Caribbean Lowlands at the base of Braulio Carillo National Park, through the highest peaks of the Talamanca mountains, and finally to the Pacific southern slope. If you enjoy being immersed in nature, in rustic surroundings, you will love this adventure.

Costa Rica Birding Adventure tour 2018

The Costa Rica Focus Touch:

  • Private meet and greet at the Daniel Oduber Quiros (Liberia) 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, Costa Rica, Palo Verde Biological Station | Wetlands & marshes.
Day 2: Palo Verde Biological Station | Wetlands & dry forest.
Day 3: La Selva Biological Station | Caribbean Lowland.
Day 4: La Selva Biological Station | Caribbean Lowland
Day 5: San Gerardo de Dota | Quetzal Country
Day 6: San Gerardo de Dota | Highland Species
Day 7: Las Cruces Biological Station | Pacific Slope
Day 8: Las Cruces Biological Station | Los Cusingos Sanctuary
Day 9: San Jose | Farewell dinner
Day 10: San Jose | Time to return home

Day 1: Arrive Liberia, Costa Rica| Wetlands & Dry forest

Arrive at the Liberia Airport, where you will be met by your private guide. Your journey begins with a 1.5-hour drive to the Palo Verde Research center. This 50,000-acre National Park has seasonally dry forest and extensive wetlands. The intense number of bird species in the area makes up for the modest accommodations. Keep your binoculars ready as you will have great chances for the thicket tinamou, long tail manikin, vireos, orioles and the jabiru stork.

Palo Verde Biological Station/ Meals: lunch, dinner

Day 2: Palo Verde Biological Station | marshes

Today you will spend the day exploring the dry forest and wetlands. You will combine hiking and driving and possibly even a boat ride to search out all the target species in the area. After a full day of birding (with breaks for meals on site) you will have time to relax at dinner and update your checklists. This evening, you will spend time around the station searching for owls, potoos, and nightjars. (plus, all the other night creatures of the rainforest).

Palo Verde Biological Station / Meals: breakfast, lunch, dinner

Day 3: La Selva Biological Station | Caribbean lowlands

After breakfast, continue your adventure traveling northeast to the Caribbean Lowlands. You will drive about 3-hours to the station. Weather permitting you will stop at the Tenorio National Park to look for the pied-puff bird, tody motmot, black & yellow tanager (among many other species) and then continue to La Selva. La Selva is comprised of 3900 acres of tropical forest nestled between two rivers. (Rio Puerto Viejo and Rio Sarapiqui) La Selva was established in 1954 as a farm dedicated to natural resource management. In 1968, it became a private reserve and research station owned and operated by the O.T.S. More than 250 scientific papers are published yearly with research and study done and completed at La Selva. The accommodations are simple and the food basic, but the birding and wildlife viewing is without compare.

La Selva Biological Station / Meals: breakfast, lunch, dinner

Day 4: La Selva Biological Station | La Selva

From the moment, you step out of your room, you will be collecting species at La Selva. The gardens surrounding the lodge are teeming with bananaquits, red-legged honeycreepers, hummingbirds, and toucans. You will spend the day exploring the vast trail system throughout the station. Keep your eyes peeled for the snowy Cotinga, black-striped woodcreeper, tiny hawk and the little tinamou.

La Selva Biological Station /Meals: breakfast, lunch, dinner

Day 5: San Gerardo de Dota | Paramo species

Today you will depart the steamy Caribbean lowlands and head for the highlands of the Talamanca Mountains. Enroute, you will stop at the famed La Paz waterfall gardens to walk the trails, view the waterfalls, and enjoy a tasty lunch. Your total drive time is about 3 hours. Note the change in temperature (have a sweater handy) and a vast difference in the surrounding fauna as you enter the gorgeous white oak forests of San Gerardo de Dota. Your riverside lodge has gorgeous gardens and comfortable accommodations. This area is the prime location for the resplendent quetzal, the flame-throated warbler, and the red-headed barbet. (to name just a few)

Savegre Lodge / Meals: breakfast, lunch, dinner

Day 6: San Gerardo de Dota | Quetzal Country

A full day of birding at the private reserve of Savegre Lodge. You will walk the trails and be entranced by the beautiful white oaks, and golden moss of this stunning forest. The array of bird species is astounding. In the afternoon, stroll along the river looking for dippers and phoebes and relax in the gardens surrounded by hummingbirds as the sunsets.

Savegre Lodge / Meals: breakfast, lunch, dinner

Day 7: Pacific Mountains | Las Cruces Biological Station/Wilson’s Gardens

Today you will travel south to the area of San Vito and the Las Cruces Biological Station (home of the famous Wilson’s Gardens). You will journey about 3.5 hours (birding as you go) and make a stop at Los Cusingos Sanctuary, the home of Alexander Skutch. Las Cruces is a mid-elevation site exuberant with vast collections of gingers, ferns, and bromeliads. Wilson’s Gardens has the second largest palm collection in the world. It’s not just about plants! Las Cruces has fantastic birding too. You will want to be ready to spy the speckled tanager, bran colored fly-catcher and the turquoise Cotinga. Accommodations are very simple, and meals basic but the flora and fauna are spectacular.

Las Cruces Biological Station / Meals: breakfast, lunch, dinner

Day 8: Pacific Mountains | Las Cruces Biological Station/Wilson’s Gardens

Few places in Costa Rica boast the diversity and grandeur of Carara National Park. Its key location as a wildlife corridor between northern and southern Costa Rica creates a sanctuary for a huge variety of animals and birds. More than 400 species are possible in this region. The fertile Tarcoles river, famous for its massive crocodiles flows through the region bringing in shorebirds and seabirds as well. Keep watch for tinamous, manakins, and puffbirds (just to name a few).

Las Cruces Biological Station / Meals: breakfast, lunch, dinner

Day 9: San Jose | Pacific Coast

It is about 5.5-hours drive back to San Jose but you will make plenty of stops along the way to view many bird species along the way. You’ll stop along the coast for a lovely ocean view and a delicious lunch. You will arrive late afternoon to your hotel. Plan on a celebratory farewell dinner that evening.

Bougainvillea /meals: breakfast, lunch and Farewell Dinner

Day 10: San Jose | Time to return home

The birding adventure comes to a close. Return to the San Jose 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.


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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.