Whether you are an avid and deeply dedicated birdwatcher or simply an enthusiastic fan of birds in general, a visit to Costa Rica requires you to spend a bit of time exploring the many options for bird watching. After all, Costa Rica is one of the most bio diverse places on the planet and home to 6% of the world’s biodiversity – including a simply astonishing number of birds that live there full time or pass through during migration.
In this article, we are going to explore a list of the best places to encounter Costa Rica’s many feathered inhabitants, including some of the rarest in the world.
The Sure Thing
If you are eager to see the birds native to Costa Rica and yet you don’t have days on end to spend in bird blinds, the Sarapiqui Eco Observatory in San Gerardo de Dota is the best place to visit. It is an American owned entity that has been recently opened to the public. It spreads out over roughly ten acres and is home to more than 200 different bird species. The team that designed it ensure that visitors get great views of many different birds thanks to the special feeding stations designed to attract them. This is also a photographer’s favorite destination, too.
If you are a fan of gardens and also enjoy bird watching or vice versa, then the Wilson Botanical Gardens is an excellent choice. It is home to some of the rarest birds in Costa Rica, and specialty feeders here also ensure that you catch glimpses of such rarities as brown-billed scythebills, snowy-bellied hummingbirds and gray-necked wood rails among others. You also get to enjoy the lovely trails that wander throughout the gardens.
For the Dedicated
The Curi Cancha Reserve is considered prime bird watching terrain in Costa Rica. It is close to the Monteverde Cloudforest Reserve and features more than 230 acres of pristine territory for the most dedicated bird watchers. There are not so many feeding stations here, but there are many excellent trails ideal for stalking particular varieties of birds, and it is not unusual for the stunning quetzals to be seen here.
As we just mentioned the Monteverde Cloudforest Reserve, we would be remiss if we did not include it on the list of spots for impressive birdwatching. However, you must keep in mind that around 90% of the reserve is untouched and cloud cover does make it tricky to find many species. However, it is home to around 400 different kinds of birds, and it is best if you head there early in the morning to see the largest number of species.
If you are eager for the biggest and most diverse spot to visit for your Costa Rican bird watching adventures, it would have to be the Tortuguero National Park and its 47k acres along the coast. Most birders are told that they are going to encounter species that they may never find anywhere else on the planet. You cannot hike here, but instead take boats that lead you through prime bird watching territory for species such as roseate spoonbills, grebes and more.
For the Macaw Fans
While you can often spot the majestic quetzal in Monteverde, if you are eager to see the wildly colorful macaws in their native territory, then it is to the Carara National Park you must go. A favorite among the world’s bird watchers, it is in a drier part of the country with more open areas to spot birds, including the scarlet macaws.
As you can see, Costa Rica is a paradise for bird watchers, and we hope you plan at least a day of photography or bird watching during your next visit.