Discovering the Birdlife on Costa Rica Wildlife Holidays
Costa Rica wildlife holidays afford sightings of hundreds of avian species. Here are some of the best places to go bird watching in Costa Rica.
Costa Rica wildlife holidays are becoming more and more popular with nature enthusiasts, and this spectacular country has a huge variety of habitats in which myriad species thrive. Despite the country's small size, over 850 species of birds have been recorded - more than North America in its entirety – so it is an especially exciting destination to explore for a budding or experienced birdwatcher.
The country's location situated between the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans gives it a terrain characterised by coastlines, forests, swamps, rivers and marshes. This diverse habitat plays host to a huge variety of insect, amphibian and avian species, and the extensive range of plants that thrives within its lush forests will also impress botanical fans.
For those embarking on one of the excellent Costa Rica wildlife holidays, here are some of the best locations to explore.
Carara National Park
Carara National Park is a perfect example of the country's diverse habitats. Flourishing within its verdant embrace are wetlands, evergreen forests, secondary forests, scrub, mudflats and mangrove thickets. Such a variety of environments naturally invites an extensive list of bird species, which any enthusiast will be thrilled to encounter.
Carara contains one of the only untouched lowland tropical forests left near the Pacific slope, so the weather can get steamy and very humid. The best time to head out is early in the morning, when it is cooler and the forest is buzzing with avian activity.
Birds you may see in this area include Lesser Nighthawk, Orange-chinned Parakeet, Royal Tern, Great Tinamou, Roseate Spoonbill, Green-breasted Mango, Swallow-tailed Swift, Steely-vented Hummingbird, Baird’s Trogon, White-throated Magpie-jay, Chestnut-sided Warbler, and many more exciting species. Carara National Park is a popular destination for Costa Rica wildlife holidays as it also boasts an impressive range of butterfly and dragonfly species.
Monteverde is home to the spectacular cloudforests, which contain an abundance of birdlife. Birders can experience some of the country's diverse species of hummingbirds in the hummingbird gallery, located near the cloudforest reserve entrance. Sightings may include Purple-throated Mountaingems, Green-crowned Brilliants, Stripe-tailed Hummingbirds and Violet Sabrewings, all of which live up to their colourful names.
Within the Monteverde cloudforests, the cool air is a welcome respite from the humidity of other locations. This pleasant change in climate also means avian activity is consistent throughout the day, giving plenty of opportunities to explore and enjoy sightings. Monteverde is, in many ways, the ultimate location for Costa Rica wildlife holidays; its location within proximity of both the Pacific and Atlantic oceans yields an incredible 320 avian species, 100 mammal species, and 2,000 plant species.
At the very least birders should see the following avian species: Orange-bellied Trogon, Magenta-throated Woodstar, Resplendent Quetzal, Black-faced Solitaire, Golden-winged Warbler, Grey-crowned Yellowthroat, Azure-hooded Jay, Silver-throated Tanager, and many more. This just begins to scratch the surface of the wildlife it's possible to encounter in Monteverde, and it is a rich and truly fulfilling destination for nature lovers.
Arenal Volcano National Park
Arenal is another ideal location to include on Costa Rica wildlife holidays, combining a wonderful selection of avian species with breath-taking natural phenomena. With clear weather, visitors can experience the sight of the volcano in action after dark, as shards of hot rocks and glowing earth cascade down its slopes. It is also a fantastic area for birding, with species such as the Double-toothed Tanager, Green Thorntail, Bay-headed Tanager, Blue-winged Warbler, Giant Cowbird, and many other exciting varieties.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Marissa Ellis-Snow is a freelance nature writer. If you’re looking for Costa Rica wildlife holidays Naturetrek specialises in expert-led natural history and wildlife tours worldwide. Naturetrek brings over 25 years of experience to polar expeditions and tours to other spectacular regions on Earth.