Costa Rica Tour > Northern Caribbean

Costa Rica Tour > Northern Caribbean

Onaga NeotropicalCosta Rica northern Caribbean coast tour, 12 days

The northern Carribean coast of Costa Rica includes areas of Atlantic slope between the Tilaran and Central Volcanic Cordilleras, and extends all the way down to the foothills and lowlands of the Carribean coast. This part of the country is popularly known as “Caribe”.

In this region, habitats range from the high montane cloud forest and dense tropical forest down to foothills and lowlands, large rivers and torrents, small mudflats and lagoons, along with an interesting mosaic of farmland and pasture.

On our tour we’ll visit these habitats in an area recognised as having the greatest bird biodiversity in the whole country. We’ll have a few days of intense birdwatching in the cloud forest and tropical forest on the Pacific slope of the Tilaran Cordillera when we visit the Monteverde area. The combination of montane habitats on both Carribean and Atlantic slopes, with the large range of lowland Carribean species will make for a species-rich experience, not forgetting the emblematic toucans, motmots, trogons, quetzals and tanagers.

Discover Costa Rica

Day 1Arrive at Juan Santamaria airport, transfer to hotel. If we arrive early, there will be a chance to observe some Central Valley species in the hotel grounds. We’ll spend the night in the Alajuela area.
Night in the Alajuela area:  » Buena Vista Hotel
White-tailed Kite, Red-billed Pigeon, Steely-vented Hummingbird, White-eared Ground-sparrow, Grayish Saltator, Plain-capped Starthroat.
Transfer to Monteverde where we will spend the next two days exploring the rich avifauna of this area. On the way we will make a few stops to try to observe a few species of the Pacific dry forest.
Grey Hawk, Hoffman’s Woodpecker, White-fronted Parrot, Violaceous Trogon, Turquoise-browed Motmot, Green Kingfisher, Keel-billed Toucan, Streak-headed Woodcreeper, Barred Antshrike.
We will visit different habitats in this area over the next days. We’ll explore the highest points of the Tilaran Cordillera with its famous cloud forest and elfin forest reserves: Santa Elena and Monteverde. We’ll also search for birds in drier forest on the Pacific Slope at Finca Ecologica and Bajo del Tigre, and the picturesque San Luis valley with its lower ground, river and waterfall.
Four nights at Hotel Colina Lodge:  » Colina Lodge
There is a wide range of lunch and dinner options in the area.
Emerald, Yellow-thighed Finch, Spangle-cheeked Tanager, Golden-browed Chlorophonia, Blue-crowned Motmot, Chiriqui Quail-dove, Canivet’s Emerald, Emerald Toucanet, Sulphur-bellied Flycatcher, Long-tailed Manakin, Orange-billed Nightingale-Thrush, Scarlet-thighed Dacnis, Thicket Tinamou, Swallow-tailed Kite, Bat Falcon, Keel-billed Toucan, Collared Araçari, White-throated Magpie-jay, Northern Barred Woodcreeper, Yellow-throated Euphonia, Plain Wren.
We will dedicate these days to visiting the various habitats in the Monteverde area.
After breakfast we head off to Arenal Volcano where we’ll spend two days exploring its rich Caribbean slope avifauna along an excellent network of trails through various habitats around the lodge. The spectacular nearby Arenal Volcano makes for an impressive backdrop.Accommodation subject to availability. 2 nights in the Hotel Arenal Obsevatory Lodge, or in Hotel abinas de Catarata, or similar. Lunches and dinners in the lodge.
 » Hoteles
Grey-headed Chachalaca, White Hawk, White-crowned Parrot, Black-crested Coquette, Bronze-tailed Plumeleteer, Rufous-tailed Jacamar, Orange-bellied Trogon, Rufouswinged Woodpecker, Green-fronted Lancebill, Spotted Antbird, Ocellated Antbird, Thicket Antpitta, Masked Tityra, Crimson-collared Tanager, Montezuma Oropendola.
A whole day of bird observation around Arenal.
After breakfast, we will transfer to the Sarapiqui area to discover a whole host of Lowland aribbean species. Accommodation for 3 nights in Reserva Tirimbina (or Hotel Ara, Gavilan Lodge or Chilamate rainforest Ecolodge if it is full). There is also the possibility of staying at the Biological Station at La Selva. Lunches and dinners at the Biological Station.
 » Accommodation in Sarapiqui
Great Curassow, Slaty-breasted Tinamou, Sunbittern, Great Potoo, Striped Cuckoo, Chestnut-colored Woodpecker, Tawny-chested Flycatcher, Snowy Cotinga, Purple-throated Fruitcrow, Red-capped Manakin, Nicaraguan Seed-finch, White-fronted Nunbird, Pied Puffbird, Fasciated Antshrike, Bicolored Antbird, Black-throated Wren.
Days 9 y 10SARAPIQUÍ
Dedicated entirely to searching for birds in the Sarapiqui- La Selva area.
After breakfast we will visit the Braulio Carrillo National Park (Quebrada Gonzalez) to see some of its spectacular bird species. Accommodation is 2 nights at the Hotel Kiri Lodge or Sanchiri Lodge. Hotels are subject to availability. Lunch en route and the following dinners and lunches at the lodge.
 » Hoteles
Cinnamon Woodpecker, Yellow-eared Toucanet, Lattice-tailed Trogon, Black-crowned Antpitta, Ornate Hawk-Eagle, Dull-mantled Antbird, Ashy-throated Bush-tanager, Snowcap, Black-crested Coquette, Sharpbill, Black-and-yellow Tanager, Blue-and-gold Tanager, White-throated Shrike-tanager, Rufous Mourner.
A visit to Tapanti National Park.
Scaled & Ochre-breasted Antpittas, Spot-crowned Woodcreeper, Chestnut-headed Oropendola, Streaked Xenops, Spotted Barbtail, Streak-breasted Treehunter, Tawny-throated Leaftosser, Silvery-fronted Tapaculo, Torrent Tyrannulet, White-throated Flycatcher, Slaty-capped Flycatcher, Scale-crested Pygmy-tyrant, Eye-ringed Flatbill, Bright-rumped Attila, Golden-bellied Flycatcher, Barred Becard.
Day 13Transfer to the airport. Return to country of origin.
If there is time, we will stop along the way to see some birds in the Cartago area.

A 3-day extension to visit the volcanoes of the Central Valley

We’ll make an early morning visit to Irazu Volcano with its spectacular views (weather permitting), watching the high-montane birds there. 3 nights at Poas Lodge, next to the Poas National Volcano, where there is a hummingbird garden.
 » Poas Lodge
Acorn Woodpecker, Volcano Junco, Volcano Hummingbird, Flame-throated Warbler, Sooty-capped Bush-tanager, Buffy-crowned Wood-partridge, Zeledonia, Costarican Pygmy-owl, Silvery-throated Jay.
Day 14POAS
We’ll make an early visit to the Poas National Park and its trails. We will observe high-montane species and also the volcano’s impressive crater, on of the world’s largest.
Hairy Woodpecker, Fiery-throated Hummingbird, Magnificent Hummingbird, Buffy Tuftedcheek, Spot-crowned Woodcreeper, Yellow-winged Vireo, Ochraceous Wren, Black-billed Nightingale-thrush, Resplendent Quetzal, Sooty-capped Bush-Tanager, Slaty Flowerpiercer.
We will visit the Catarata de La Paz and Virgin del Socorro, which has a varied mid-montane avifauna. There are many lunches and dinner options in this area.
Black-bellied Hummingbird, Emerald Toucanet, Prong-billed Barbet, Golden-browed Chlorophonia, Red-headed Barbet, American Dipper, Green Thorntail, Violet Sabrewing, Green Violetear, White-bellied Mountain-Gem, Green-crowned Brilliant.
Day 16Transfer to the airport. Return to country of origin.
  • April to August
  • Maximum group size: 8 people
  • Please contact us

Get information without committing yourself

  • Booked accommodation consists of double rooms with an en suite bathroom for private use. If for any reason it is necessary to change this, the tour operator reserves the right to substitute booked hotes for another similar establishment. If the use of inferior accommodation cannot be avoided, the client will be reimbirsed proportionately for the difference in price.
  • The price of booked accommodation is based on a double room per night. If you are travelling alone, and you don’t mind sharing accommodation, please specify in your application (“willing to share”). If there are other members of the group who are also amenable to sharing, the agency will facilitate the booking. If you are travelling alone and wish to have a room to yourself, please add the Single Room Supplement to the tour fees.

  • Being met at the airport on arrival
  • Transport in a private vehicle from the start to the end of the tour
  • Accommodation in selected hotels
  • Three meals a day
  • National Park entrance fees according to the interary
  • Local guide who speaks Spanish and English
  • Health and Safety Insurance
  • Professional support from our team

  • International flight tickets at the start and the end of the tour
  • Travel insurance and flight cancellation insurance
  • Personal extras: drinks, laundry, telephone bills
  • Single room supplement
  • Unspecified food (snacks etc)
  • Activities and excursions not mentioned in the tour itinerary
  • Airport taxes or entry and exit fees
  • Any other service not mentioned above
  • If you suffer from an allergy or dietary intolerance, you should inform us of this when you make your reservation and we will try to offer you adecuate menus on the tour.We would be happy to help.
  • Road travel (journey distance and time) is carefully planned on our tours. However, in the case of unfavourable weather conditions, or a change in opening hours or other technical problems, our itinerary may alter. The guide will decide how to modify each stage of the trip if necessary to adapt to the conditions on the trip. We ask for flexibilty and understanding from tour members should this be the case.
  • Entry requirements. Passport with a minimum validity of 6 months is required to stay in the country for a period of 90 days. Entry visas are not required for US, Canadian and EU citizens. More information on visas can be found here: Visas at the official website.
    You cannot bring fruit, plants, meat or narcotics into the country.
    We recommend you bring a list of medication you are bringing with you and specify if you suffer from a particular allergy.
  • Leaving the country. In the airport you will have to pay a departure fee of 29 US$. You can pay in the local currency (CRC) or by credit card. It’s recommended you do this prior to check-in.
  • Health. Costa Rica has an especially good health service.There is a strong network of hospitals and health centres or EBAIS throughout the country. There are also Emergency centres run by the Red Cross in nearly all cities.

    Ther are not currently any required vaccinations. However, some nmight be required if you are visiting a particular area. Vaccination against Hepititis A and B, Tetanus, Diptheria and Typhoid re recommended if you are travelling to remote areas with a low population. To obtain more information on this and also Malaria, you should consult your doctor or a specialist doctor in tropical medicine.

  • Safety. In comparison with other Latinamerican countries, Costa Rica is a very safe country. We recommend you lock valuables you are not using in the hotel safe. Make sure you are covered with reliable insurance if you loose valuables. More advice on safety: here .
  • Money. The currency in osta Rica is the colon (CRC).Many establishments throughout the country accept Visa, Mastercard and American Express. There are cash machines throughout. You can check the exchange rate at the following link: Click here
  • Climate. The coast, with its valleys and plains, is hot and humid. In higher areas, cloud cover means cooler conditions.The rains generally fall from April to December and there is a brief dry deason between February and April.The annual average temperature is 25-30°C. Annual average rainfall is 3,000-4,000mm. Relative humidity: 81-91%.
  • Local Time. The time difference between Costa Rica and Europe is 7 hours behind in winter and 8 hours behind in summer. If you would like to know the exact time difference, check here .
  • Advice
    • Birdwatching equipment: binoculars and/or telescope, camera and field guide.
    • Photography: due to the strong tropical glare a polarising filter is recommended. Also the use of flash or a suitable filter is recommended in humid areas.
    • Electricity: voltage is 110v and 60Hz, with two-point plugs.You will need to bring an adaptor to connect your camera, mobile and laptop chargers. Click here for more information.
    • Luggage: you are advised to bring light, comfortable clothing, a waterproof hiking jacket, some warm clothing, a hat or cap, sun protection and mosquito repellent. Spare batteries and memory cards. A shoulder bag (around 10L) for walks.

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