Costa Rica 2013
Fifteen Years Later

Resources for a Costa Rica Birding Trip

Bird Guiding Companies

We think Tropical Birding consistently offers the best guides, the best birding and the best planning. We've used them on half a dozen trips now, and they've always been first rate.

Bird Identification

There are some 830 bird species in Costa Rica, not counting plaes like Cocos Island out in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. Unless you are Richard Garrigues, you're not going to be able to identify them without help. For a long time, "help" was the massive F. Gary Stiles and Alexander F. Skutch A Guide to the Birds of Costa Rica. The 500 page behemoth is still authoritative, although its taxonomy is dated and confusing. More recently, Richard Garriegues and Robert Dean have written The Birds of Costa Rica, a smaller, 384 page work, with the 2011 Clements taxonomy and better illustrations. It doesn't have the extended species information, but it's a lot more portable.


We stayed at some eight different lodge and all of them were perfectly fine. Here's the list, with notes and links:

Trogon Lodge, Savegre Valley A beautiful location on the edge of Los Quetzales National Park, in a forest reserve. It's on the bank of the Savegre River.
Talari Mountain Lodge A bit older than Trogon Lodge, but still a beautiful site. We watched a Blue-crowned Motmot from the hammock on our deck.
Esquinas Rainforest Lodge A lowland habitat, not far from the Golfo Dulce, terrific birding and beautiful grounds.
Hotel Bougainvilla A hotel/resort in the suburbs of San Jose. The extensive grounds are a magnet for birds. The hotel qualifies as posh by any definition.
La Selva Biological Station The rooms are pretty basic, and the food is strictly college cafeteria. But the birding is superb, and you won't find better trails in Costa Rica.
Bosque de Paz A real gem. Wonderful facilities, great food, a very friendly staff and great habitats. And the Black Guan capital of the world.
Arenal Observatory Lodge The lodge is nice, very touristy, and there for the volcano, not the birds, But the feeder action form the deck is impressive. The crowds can be a problem.
Heliconias Lodge Owned by a village cooperative, it's very comfortable and offfers good food. The weather was bad when we were there, so we birded elsewhere.

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