Bird Watching in Costa Rica

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Costa Rica is the perfect destination for any bird-watching enthusiast. There have been over 800 different species of birds spotted in Costa Rica. Every region of the country has several bird-watching hot spots that offer bird-watching tours. The following locations are fabulous bird-watching destinations in Costa Rica.

Turrialba, Cartago, Costa Rica

Turrialba is the second largest city in Cartago and sits at the foot of the Turrialba Volcano and Turrialba mountain range. It is elevated over 2,000ft above sea level with impeccable views of the Caribbean seas. The city is developing nicely with the presence of five bank branches, clinics, restaurants, supermarkets, and stores. Turrialba is also home to the University of Costa Rica, CATIE Institute for Agriculture and Natural Resources and William Allen Hospital. Rafting and kayaking are just as popular as bird watching in Turrialba. In 2010 National Geographic listed a Turrialba river as of the top 5 rivers on the planet. The scenic mountain vistas and beautiful waterfalls make Turrialba a great place to explore.
Nearby on the Caribbean slope in Cordillera Talamanca sits Rancho Naturalista, set at an altitude of about 3,000ft above sea level. The lodge at Rancho Naturalista is a bird-watcher’s paradise. The open stairways and balconies are full of hummingbirds and snowcaps. Over 430 species of birds have been recorded throughout their private forest reserve, which features several exciting hikes and bird trails. You can venture out on your own or travel with knowledgeable guides.
Birds in Turrialba:
• Hummingbird
• Snowcap
• White-necked Jacobin
• Green Thorntail
• Garden Emerald
• White-lined Tanager
• Brown Jay
• White-throated Crake
• Tawny-chested Flycatcher
• White-crowned Manakin

Selva Verde, Costa Rica

Bird Watching in Costa Rica – Keel-billed ToucanSelva Verde protects nearly 500 acres of tropical forest in the lush lowlands of northeastern Costa Rica. Selva Verde is in the midst of the Sarapiqui Rainforest Preservation Area and the Talamanca Cloud Forest. The Selva Verde Nature Reserve is refuge to 300+ species of birds, 120 species of mammals, numerous amphibians and reptiles, and countless invertebrates. Selva Verde is part of the greater Mesoamerican Biological Corridor initiative, a proposal to connect protected habitat from southern Mexico and Belize to Panama. This region of Costa Rica’s rainforest is important because it is the last remaining area where the Almond tree is dominant. It is the habitat for the endangered Great Green Macaw.
The Sarapiqui region is home to the Costa Rican Bird Route and Selva Verde is one of the established sites on the route. The route consists of twelve birding sites, among established biological reserves, that offer a variety of bird watching opportunities.
Birds in Selva Verde:
• Keel-billed Toucans
• Great Green Macaus
• Wood Thrushes
• Grey-necked Wood Rails
• Sunbitterns
• Violet Crowned Woodnymphs
• Great-tailed Grackle
• Yellow Warbler
• Bare-necked Umbrellabird
• Grey-headed Piprites
• Black-cheeked Woodpecker
• Great Potoo

Monteverde Cloud Forest, Costa Rica

Bird Watching in Costa Rica, Monteverde Female HummingbirdThe Monteverde Cloud Forest sits on the ridges of the Tilaran Mountains and is home to some of the world’s most beautiful and fascinating birds. The Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve protects over 35,000 acres of forested land. The lush, tropical habitat is home to the endangered Three-wattled Bellbird and Resplendent Quetzal; and is one of the last areas to support all six species of the cat family – jaguars, ocelots, pumas, oncillas, margays, and jaguarundis. The area offers over 8 miles of exciting trails to explore. Nearby, the Santa Elena Cloud Forest Reserve is home to many lively spider monkey families, where you can enjoy breathtaking views of the Arenal Volcano.

The forest’s proximity to the Arenal Volcano makes the Monteverde Cloud Forest a very attractive Costa Rica destination. A plethora of hot spring resorts sit at the foot of the Arenal Volcano in the developing, trendy community of La Fortuna. The Springs Resort and Spa is among them and famous for hosting a season of ABC’s The Bachelor. The Springs luxury villas feature spacious balconies where you can capture several different species of birds with the stunning Arenal Volcano as your backdrop. The Springs has their own wildlife preserve where you can feed Toucans when you are not exploring the Monteverde Coud Forest.
Birds in Monteverde Cloud Forest:
• Resplendent Quetzal
• Three-wattled Bellbird
• Golden-browed Chlorophonia
• Azure-hooded Jay
• Zeledonia
• Black Guan
• Prong-billed Barbet
• Silvery-fronted Tapaculo
• Spangle-cheeked Tanager

Carara National Park, Puntarenas, Costa Rica

Bird Watching Costa Rica, Quetzal, MonteverdeCarara National Park is located in the Central Pacific Conservation Area near the Pacific coast of Costa Rica; and recognized for its exuberant wildlife and dense rain forest. Carara National Park is about an hour away from San Jose and 10 miles north of the popular beach town, Jaco. Jaco is blossoming into a beautiful resort city that offers plenty of places to stay and restaurants to dine at; it accommodates those seeking luxury as well as those on a budget. Jaco is famous for offering some of the best surfing in Costa Rica.
Carara National Park’s name means crocodile. The Tarcoles River that borders the park is inhabited by crocodiles year round; and provides tourists and amazing chance to see large crocodiles close up. Toucans, parrots and herons flourish in the mangroves near the mouth of the Tarcoles River. The park is also home to one of the largest remaining populations of the wild Scarlet Macaws. The Scarlet Macaws migrate daily from the interior of the dense forest canopy to the mangroves and leave colorful streaks as they soar through the sky. Other wildlife you are likely to see include white-faced capuchin monkeys, several snake and lizard species, white-tailed deer and brown-throated three-toed sloths.
Birds in Carara National Park:
• White-throated Magpie-Jays
• Rufous-naped Wrens
• Lesser Ground-Cuckoos
• Turquois-browed Motmots
• Scarlet Macaws
• Baird Trogons
• Firey-billed Aracaris
• Yellow-billed Cotingas
• Orange-collared Manakins

Wilson’s Botanical Garden at Las Cruces, Puntarenas, Costa Rica

Bird Watching in Costa Rica, Red-Legged HoneycreeperWilson’s Botanical Garden and Las Cruces Biological Station are located in the southern part of the Puntarenas province of Costa Rica. Wilson’s Botanical Garden features diverse plantings of tropical and subtropical representatives of unusual plant families and rare and endangered plants from Costa Rica. Particularly, there is an abundance of ferns, aroids, bromeliads, gingers, heliconias, marantas, and palms.
Las Cruces is a mountainous region that sits approximately 1,000ft. above sea level. Las Cruces is part of La Amistad Biosphere Reserve that encompasses 472,000 hectares of parkland and buffer zones located in the Southern Talamanca Mountain Range. Due to its greatly preserved surroundings and to the high plant diversity in the gardens, this is a wonderful destination for birding.
There are several excellent walks through the garden where you can admire high bird diversity. Color coded signs lead you along the well-maintained paths and provide details of related species found between the Helliconia Loop, the Bromeliad walk, the tree fern hill trail, the bamboo forest, and the orchid garden loop.
Birds in Wilson’s Botanical Garden:
• White-tailed Kite
• Purple Gallinule
• Tropical Screech-Owl
• Costa Rican Swift
• Violet Sabrewing
• Green Violetear
• Rufous-tailed Jacamar
• Belted Kingfisher
• Great Antshrike
• Great Kiskadee
• Tropical Parula

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