13 Day Birding in Costa Rica Self Drive
Costa Rica is one of the premier birding destinations in the world with a massive variety of species (887 recorded to date) inhabiting the coastal, mountain and forest regions. On this itinerary, you will stay in good quality eco lodges offering a range of activities as well as access to wildlife, other than birds – mammals, such as sloths and monkeys, reptiles – iguanas, snakes and colourful frogs, beautiful butterflies and, of course, spectacular flora. Self Drive gives you all the freedom you need yet all of the expert guiding at each lodge (where applicable). Share these wonderful moments with the help of our local, English speaking guides.
- Stay at La Selva Ecolodge will allow you time to explore some of the surrounding tropical forest, home to nearly 500 species of birds.
- Spot the beautiful resplendent quetzal (National bird) in the cloud forest of San Gerardo de Dota.
- Stay at one of Costa Rica’s most renowned birding lodges in Turrialba's, Rancho Naturalista.
- 12 nights’ accommodation
- Meals as per the itinerary
- Activities as per the itinerary
- Private arrival and departure transfers
- Private transfers or car rental days 2-13
- Vehicle Hire
So much to experience
Our popularitinerary Suggestions
All our itinerary holidays are fully customisable
San Jose to Heredia
Transfer from airport to Hotel Bougainvillea set in tropical gardens in Heredia. Spot your first birds, such as hummingbirds, tanagers, kingbirds and flycatchers in the grounds and walk amongst the lush tropical vegetation or just relax and enjoy the hotel’s varied facilities.
San Gerardo de Dota
Drive south-west to San Gerardo de Dota, an area of cloud forest, 2200 metres above sea level and the primary habitat of the country’s most famous bird, the quetzal. Two nights’ stay in the Savegre Lodge on full board basis.
Watch hummingbirds over an early breakfast and then take to the trail to look for over 170 species known in the area, including tanagers, woodpeckers and the quetzal.
Drive to the Rancho Naturalista in the beautiful Turrialba Valley, high on the Caribbean slopes of the Talamanca Mountains. Stunning views of volcanoes and a dedicated birding balcony from which over 250 species have been observed. Two nights on full board basis.
Full day birdwatching
Full day birdwatching. Spot grey-headed chachalaca, white-crowned parrot, blue-crowned motmot, collared aracari, keel-billed toucan, Montezuma oropendola, various tanagers, white-collared manakin amongst over 400 species.
Selva Bananito Eco Lodge
Drive to Salon Delia and transfer to Selva Bananito Eco Lodge for two nights on full board basis. The lodge does not have electricity (although batteries can be charged at the farm), but there are solar-powered lights and water heating. Spectacular views and comfortable hammocks.
Bird watching tour
Early breakfast, followed by guided bird-watching tour and natural history walk through the woodland. Optional tree climbing or horse riding.
After breakfast, drive on to another famous birding region at Sarapiqui, located in the lowlands of the north-east. Accommodation at the Selva Verde Eco Lodge for two nights’ full board. Massive variety of birds to be seen in both around the lodge and in the reserve.
Nature Pavilion Nature Park
Another recommended birding spot is the Nature Pavilion Nature Park, which has a spacious open-air covered pavilion, ideal for watching and photography. The area has one of the highest diversities of species in Costa Rica and is home to over 250 species.
Drive to Boca Tapada in the northern plains next to the San Carlos River for two nights at Maquenque Lodge on full board basis. This is one of the best areas for viewing the endangered great green macaw. Kayaking and horse riding are other options at the lodge.
Guided birding tour
05.30 start for guided birding tour, searching for green and scarlet macaws, toucans, oropendolas, honeycreepers, tanagers, euphonias, jacamars and many more. More birding in the afternoon or a raft ride on the San Carlos River.
Drive back to the Central Valley for another night at the delightful Bougainvillea Hotel and another opportunity to enjoy the birds and flora.
Transfer to airport
Transfer to airport for onward or return flights.
A view from Above
Savegre Mountain Lodge & Spa, San Gerardo de Dota
The Savegre Mountain Lodge & Spa is located in San Gerardo de Dota, a small community in the Talamanca mountains. It is the perfect base from which to explore the surrounding cloud forest which serves as a sanctuary for a large number of mammals, insects, amphibians, amazing plants and colorful birds, indeed a paradise for birdwatchers.
Bougainvillea, San Jose
Upon arrival at this beautiful hotel set within 10 acres of lush tropical gardens home to a variety of plants and bird life it will be hard to believe that you are just a 10 minute drive from downtown San Jose and the international airport.
Offering a true feeling of Costa Rican lifestyle and hospitality the hotel is set amidst the coffee farms of Santo Domingo de Heredia and is famous for the exceptional personal service offered to its guests.
Large bedrooms with private balconies offering beautiful views, a superb outdoor pool, tennis courts, a fantastic restaurant, a welcoming cocktail bar and a wide variety of excursions on offer make this intimate hotel an even better choice for your stay in the Costa Rican capital.
Selva Bananito Eco Lodge and Preserve
This beautiful and authentic eco-lodge perched in a secluded rainforest on a private reserve is located around 40 minutes' drive from Puerto Limon and offers comfortable accommodation and a wide variety of activities aimed at bringing you closer to nature.
Spend your days immersing yourself in your surroundings on a rain forest tour, rappelling down a jungle waterfall, horseback riding through the greens or trekking through the jungle in search of a plethora of wildlife and birdlife before returning to your beautiful cabin to sip a drink in your hammock or enjoy a candlelit meal with the majestic beauty of Selva Bananito Preserve and the sounds of the rainforest as your backdrop.
Pure adventure, total relaxation or a combination of both...the choice is yours!
Rancho Naturalista, Turrialba
Known as one of Central America's finest birdwatching premises this tranquil lodge offers superb hospitality, stunning views of the smoking Turrialba volcano, delicious gourmet food and bright and airy lodgings.
Situated within its own private forest reserve in the Central Talamanca mountain range this beautiful lodge offers bird watchers and nature lovers alike a unique getaway where relaxation and being at one with nature is the order of the day.
Over 450 species of birds have been recorded here and many of these can be spotted by simply sitting out in the grounds of the lodge. Alternatively expert guides are on hand to take you through the private trails and if birding isn't your thing don't worry there will still be plenty of adventurous things for you to do here!
Selva Verde Lodge, Sarapiqui
A firm favourite among eco-travellers, Selva Verde has been championing sustainable tourism in the area for thirty years. This rustic lodge overlooks the Sarapiqui River and is just 2 hours from San Jose.
The naturalist owner/managers promote conservation throughout the area and provide environmental education to locals and visitors alike. Guests enjoy being immersed in the rainforest whilst knowing they are contributing to the conservation of this beautiful area.
The lodge is crafted of stilted wooden structures, linked by covered walkways. Each room has screened windows, comfortable beds and private bathroom. There is a deck with hammocks for you to relax and spot the varied species of birdlife enjoying the bird-feeders in the grounds.
A tranquil nature lover's paradise this beautiful lodge is set amongst 68 acres of tropical rainforest within Maquenque National Wildlife Refuge and offers wonderful hospitality, comfortable accommodation, adventure and fantastic bird watching opportunities.
Guests are offered many opportunities to enjoy and fully immerse themselves in their wonderful natural surroundings. Join a guided morning walk through the rainforest, go canoeing in the lagoon or even plant a tree in the Maquenque rainforest to support sustainable tourism before returning to the lodge for a delightful open-air dinner, a dip in the swimming pool or a walk through the botanical garden.
Nature lovers will feel right at home here as they spend a few days tucked away amongst the beautiful rainforest along the San Carlos River.
Too much to choose from? This is where we come in
Take advantage of our vast experience, passion and expertise to help you hand craft the perfect Costa Rica adventure for you.
Having amassed a host of extraordinary adventures in destinations all over the world, Amy’s experience, skills and enthusiasm for helping clients plan their ideal itinerary will help make your holiday unforgettable, action packed and life-changing.
Mike lives and breathes adventure travel and has a wealth of experience in some of the most exciting and inspirational destinations in the world. His expertise and first-hand experience afford him the skills to help build holidays to remember.
With a lifetime of unforgettable nature and adventure based travel under his belt, Simon shares his passion, enthusiasm and hands-on experience to help create the perfect itinerary for every client.