February is all about Costa Rica, as we have three wonderful and separate weeks down there. Week one, the “Western Loop,” we head over to the Pacific Coast and begin with the Tarcoles area. Included in this is the town itself, with Turquoise-browed Motmots, a boat ride into the mangroves with Boat-billed Herons, a Canopy Walk down the side of the mountain, with many mid-range tropical species, and fabulous Carara National Park.
Click thumbnail to see larger image and scroll through slideshow:
The first week continues with a visit to extreme southwestern Costa Rica, before heading into the Central Highlands to the sanctuary once owned by the late Alexander Skutch, and a terrific site for hummingbird study and photography. We visit the very high areas of the Talamancas, with birds like Volcano Junco and Volcano Hummingbird, and finish by visiting and staying in a reserve where quetzals are guaranteed. $1200, all but meals. The second week is the Eastern Loop, which begins high atop Poas Volcano, where many species occur that will not be seen the rest of the trip. It’s possible to see quetzals, but we can’t promise it, like we do on week one. We then ease down the mountain, where we visit La Paz Waterfall Gardens, with terrific hummingbird feeders and other possible birds on the grounds. Also, there is a huge, walk-in aviary for photographers to get shots of loads of Costa Rican birds easily missed on the trip. More hummingbird shots are easy at the “Hummingbird House” further down the mountain, where there are also Emerald Toucannets, Collared Aracari, plus Prong-billed and Red-headed Barbets. Further down the mountains, along the Sarapique River, there are fabulous areas for birds, like Selva Verde, and best of all, La Selva Biological Station. We even stay at lovely La Quinta, with a fabulous feeder that attracts many tropical songbirds, like ant-tanagers, Green and Red-legged Honeyeaters and much more. From this area we will visit Los Chiles, on the Rio Frio, and take two phenomenal boat trips with huge numbers of tropical birds, huge iguanas, caimen and several species of monkeys. $1200 The third week is for bird photographers, and is mostly in eastern Costa Rica. We’ll work many of the natural feeders and other places with good shooting, then move over to Laguna del Lagartos for a fabulous morning of shooting aracari, oropendola, tanagers and other tropical birds. Next is the Rio Frio, with all the river birds, and then the trip will wind up at Monteverdi, with opportunities to photograph quetzals. You should bag two hundred tropical species while there, plus monkeys, huge iguanas, caimen and beautiful butterflies. $1200