Costa Rica – Tour Description
Hotel Bougainvillea is a perfect place to relax before or after your international flight. It is located in a very peaceful setting away from the city. See for a full description the tab “Hotel Bougainvillea”
Day Two – Three
Savegre Mountain Lodge is the perfect place to experience the highlands of Costa Rica.
Here you will get personal attention and family hospitality from three generations of the Chacon family who have lived in this valley since 1955. The Chacons’ interest in conservation and protection will be evident as you walk their extensive trail system through pristine oak forest. They have also set up the Quetzal Education and Research Center with the help of researchers from several countries. While at the lodge, hummingbird feeders will keep you entertained as well as other birds in the garden and along the river. Many consider this area to be the best location anywhere to see a large selection of Chiriqui Highland endemics – species found only in the highlands of Costa Rica and extreme western Panama. Savegre Mountain Lodge is located south of San Jose, 9 kms off the Pan American Highway, less than 2 hours by vehicle. It is nestled beside the Savegre River with montane oak forest as the backdrop.
The nearby Paramo habitat well above the lodge provides excellent birding for the Central American alpine species. Still a working farm, though not expanding, the surroundings of the lodge consist of apple and peach orchards, a small dairy farm, and a trout farm.
Climate: Savegre is located at an elevation of 7,200 feet in the Cerro de la Muerte region of the Cordillera de Talamanca. At this altitude the temperatures are typically mild in the daytime to down right chilly at night. Rooms are provided with a space heater or fireplace for those extra chilly nights.
Day Four – Six
After leaving Savegra Mountain Lodge, we will travel north to the cloud forest reserve of Monteverde and La Quinta where we will spend the next 3 nights. The La Quinta Sarapiqui Country Inn is owned and operated by a Costa Rican couple, Leonardo and Beatriz Jenkins whose attention to meals, personal service, and YOUR tropical experience while there will be most evident and appreciated. La Quinta is located on the Sardinal River in the Caribbean lowlands of Costa Rica, less than 2 kms off the beaten track, 20 minutes west of Puerto Viejo de Sarapiqui. It is approximately 25 minutes from the La Selva OTS Station and less than 2 hours from the San Jose airport. A nice selection of wildlife can be seen along the gallery forest next to the two adjoining rivers including the impressive Gray-necked Wood-Rail, several species of parrots and toucans, and the dancing White-collared Manakins on their lek. For many years now, a pair of Spectacled Owls have made this area their home. During breakfast and lunch you can enjoy watching colorful tanagers and honeycreepers coming to the banana feeding tables as you dine. They have also started a reforestation program that will benefit the Great Green Macaws of tomorrow. From butterfly and frog gardens to a cultural museum, La Quinta has much to offer in helping inspire and educate its guests on the wonders of the tropical rainforest. Climate: Being in the lowlands, the La Selva area is consistently warm and humid. Weather patterns are less predictable here compared to the Pacific lowlands. You are also more likely to encounter unseasonably rainy periods even in the dry season. As with most warm and humid lowlands in the tropics, bird and wildlife activity is highest in the early morning and late afternoon.
Drink plenty of fluids to avoid dehydration. Mosquitoes can be a nuisance, especially after heavy rains!
Day Seven – Nine
From La Quinta we head south for the famous Arenal Observatory Lodge. Arenal Observatory Lodge is located NW of San Jose at the base of Arenal Volcano. It is approximately 25 minutes west of the town of La Fortuna and a total of 3½ hours by car from the San Jose International Airport. Its location serves as an excellent stopover between the La Selva de Sarapiqui region and the Monteverde area. Set amidst a beautiful protected rainforest in the Caribbean foothills and with an overlooking active volcano, a visit to Arenal Observatory Lodge is recommended for many reasons.The lodge has lovely gardens complete with bird feeding tables, a very relaxing pool and Jacuzzi, an extensive trail system, a fine restaurant and an atmosphere that few other lodges can claim. We also believe it to be the best possible base for birding the Arenal area. Arenal Volcano is a perfect cinder cone and it is quite active. Eruptions of ash and gasses into the air are not uncommon and on a clear night you may even see lava oozing out of the top. The spectacle of the volcano is worth a visit alone but when combined with the rainforest and the abundance of birds and other wildlife, you can see why this area is so special. Whether you are looking for great birding, a romantic getaway, or just to commune with nature on a higher level, you will find that this area and specifically this lodge can provide all of that and much more.
Climate: Located in the Caribbean foothills at 2,400 feet in elevation, you can expect mild temperatures with occasional warm temperatures in the middle of the day and very comfortable sleeping conditions at night. This area typically has a very unpredictable rain pattern and tropical down pours and drizzles can occur at anytime of year, even lasting for days. Clouds are a common sight in the area and can obscure the view of the volcano. However, with patience and luck, you should get good to spectacular views eventually.
Day Ten – Eleven
After a morning of birding in the grounds of the hotel we will leave after lunch to the northern zone of Costa Rica. Here we will stay at the Natural Lodge Caño Negro. This lodge is situated at the river close to the Caño Negro National Wildlife Refuge. The lodge has 42 rooms all with airconditioning and a nice balcony.Caño Negro is mainly conformed by the Caño Negro Lagoon and the Rio Frio. It has an extension of 9960 Hs., and it is one of the most important biological areas of the country and one of the four most important wetlands areas in the world. A nature lover’s paradise, Caño Negro is the habitat of many migrant and endangered fish, reptiles, birds and plants.
Cano Negro Wild Life Refuge was declared “Wildlife Area of International Importance” in 1991. This Costa Rica ecological treasure is the natural habitat of more than 350 species of birds, as well as the emerald basilisk, iguanas, river turtles, caimans and jaguars. Climate: Caño Negro is situated between the Pacific lowland’s monsoonal climate and the Caribbean costal area’s humid climate
Day Twelve – Thirteen
After breakfast we leave our accommodation to go and visit a completely different world. Set atop the spine of Costa Rica’s continental divide, Monteverde is a world above the coastal towns that dot the country’s famous shoreline. It is a place of cloud forests and coffee plantations, monkeys, mist, and friendly locals. Due to its high altitude – some 4,662 ft (1,440 m) above sea level – Monteverde is privileged to receive a steady supply of clouds and the life-giving moisture that they contain. This moisture, often in the form of fog, catches on the branches of the tallest trees and drips down to the other organisms below. This helps to support a complex and far-reaching ecosystem, one that harbours over 100 species of mammal, 400 species of bird, tens of thousands of insect species, and over 2,500 varieties of plants, of which 420 are orchids. It’s one of the few remaining habitats that support all six species of the cat family – jaguars, ocelots, pumas, oncillas, margays, and jaguarundis – as well as the endangered three-wattled bellbird and resplendent quetzal.
The Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve was established in 1972 and initially covered some 810 acres (328 ha) of forested land. Nowadays, its protective reach extends over 35,089 acres (14,200 ha) and encompasses eight life zones atop the Continental Divide.
Trapp Family Lodge is the closest lodge to the Monteverde Reserve Costa Rica, a 15 minute walk, great for bird watching. This cozy new 20-room inn pays tribute to its setting with beautiful tropical wood appointments, private balcony in each guest room, and a family-style restaurant fronted by huge picture windows and a balcony overlooking gardens and verdant rain forest. Set in a small private reserve, the lodge is ideal for families or anyone appreciative of a warm, homey atmosphere and a convenient location just a few minutes walk from the Monteverde Cloud Forest Costa Rica
Climate: Resting roughly at 1,400 metres (4,600 ft) above sea level, Monteverde is misty, humid, and windy, with a mean annual temperature of 18 °C (64 °F. Annual rainfall averages around 3,000 millimetres (118 in). Humidity oscillates between 74% and 97%.
Day Fourteen – Fifteen
Leaving our accommodation we will drive south to our 3 night stay at Punta Leona Beach Resort. Punta Leona is located right on the Pacific Ocean between Tarcoles and Jaco. The entrance road is well sign posted off the main road approximately 15 minutes south of Carara National Park. Punta Leona Beach Resort is a wonderful combination of white sand beaches, comfortable lodging, and good birding. Your day might start with a guided bird walk watching Scarlet Macaws, Chestnut-mandibled Toucans, Fiery-billed Aracaris, and White-faced Capuchin monkeys amongst other colorful smaller birds and Spiny-tailed Iguanas. After a nice breakfast you may want to take in some sun at one of the 3 private white sand beaches or cool off in one of the 4 swimming pools. You found that watching a group of White-throated Magpie-Jays during lunch very enjoyable as was the siesta in the air-conditioned room afterwards. Mid-afternoon finds you on the trails in Punta Leona’s private rainforest reserve trying to track down the incessant gonging of a Three-wattled Bellbird high in the canopy. Slaty-tailed Trogon, Blue-crowned Motmot, Red-capped Manakin, and Bay-headed Tanager added a splash of color to the darkening forest before you headed back to freshen up for a nice dinner.
Climate: It is consistently warm and humid in this area and the weather patterns closely follow the typical rain and dry season periods. It is unlikely that you would encounter rain in this area from Dec to mid April, Feb, March being the driest months. Bird and wildlife activity is highest in the early morning and late afternoon and you should take advantage of these cooler periods. A siesta in the middle of the day is often a good idea. Take drinking water on the trails to avoid dehydration. Mosquitoes are typically not prolific here unless after heavy rains, a few are always present.
Hotel Bougainvillea – San José
Hotel Bougainvillea is a perfect place to relax before or after your international flight. It is located in a very peaceful setting away from the city. Its modern accommodation and pleasant temperatures will have you refreshed for your exciting holiday to follow or journey home. The enchanting gardens in the back are well worth a visit in the morning not only for the beautiful tropical flowers but also the birding. We can’t think of a better place to welcome you to Costa Rica.
Location: Hotel Bougainvillea is located near the town of Tibas to the east of San Jose, 25 minutes ESE from the Int’l airport.
Accommodation: Hotel Bougainvillea has modern rooms, all located in a long, three story main building. The rooms are spacious and immaculate, the tiled bathrooms, impressive. They have a fine restaurant and bar on the lower level. The gift shop is often stocked with “A Guide to the Birds of Costa Rica” if you need a copy. Cable television in each room will catch you up on the news at the end of your trip. The swimming pool and tennis courts are located in the back gardens. These gardens are impressive and well manicured with walkways throughout. Simply put, it is a lovely hotel.
Birding attractions at Hotel Bougainvillea: Despite the neighbourhood surroundings of the Hotel, there are some excellent birds to be found in the back gardens. The most significant of these is the uncommon and local Prevost’s Ground-Sparrow. Watch for this skulker in the early morning in thick cover along the stone fences. The attractive White-eared Ground-Sparrow outnumbers its cousin in the garden but is still a good find. White-tailed Kite, White-fronted Parrot, Ferruginous Pygmy-Owl, Tropical Screech-Owl, Squirrel Cuckoo, Blue-crowned Motmot, Plain Wren, the shy Orange-billed Nightingale-Thrush, Rufous-browed Peppershrike, Yellow-throated (White-naped) Brush-Finch, and Melodious Blackbird are seen fairly regularly along with more common species such as Crimson-fronted Parakeet, Rufous-tailed Hummingbird, Hoffmann’s Woodpecker, Great Kiskadee, Blue-and-white Swallow, House Wren, Clay-colored Thrush, Brown Jay, Blue-gray Tanager, Grayish Saltator, and Rufous-collared Sparrow. An early morning walk in these beautiful gardens can be very rewarding and is a great way to start and/or end your holiday.
Climate: Cooler with slightly more rainfall compared to the San Jose area but very mild overall.
Travel together as Friends