Prev Tour

Tajikistan

Next Tour

Crete

Costa Rica

Motmots and Manakins

Resplendant Quetzal © Andy Hawkins

Costa Rica’s stunning landscapes are still largely carpeted in virgin forest and no less than one-quarter of the country is now within national parks or private reserves. This itinerary introduces you to five different biomes, the locations and lodges selected to provide a wildlife show of incredible variety and beauty, and give you the time to fully appreciate it all!

A special feature of this tour are the Manakins. You’ll be able to watch and in many cases photograph the dazzling and sometimes bizarre displays of these little gems of the understorey. We can watch elegant Long-tailed Manakins, shimmering Red-capped Manakins and citrus shaded Orange-collared Manakins, as well as virtually all the other Manakin species found in Costa Rica. At magical Rancho Naturalista, we’ll find Golden hooded Tanagers, Sunbitterns, Collared Peccaries, all sorts of gaudy flowers and equally gaudy frogs! Here the immaculate Snowcap Hummingbird will be a prize, indeed during the tour we’ll find an incredible array of hummers; Magenta-throated Woodstar, Purple-crowned Fairy and the shimmering jewel that is the Violet-crowned Woodnymph. Many of Central America’s most extraordinary creatures inhabit the Caribbean lowland forests around Tirimbina; Mantled Howler Monkeys, impudent Black-crested Coquettes, smartly attired Keel-billed Toucans and improbably colourful Strawberry Poison-dart Frogs. An elegant racquet-tipped tail will suddenly come into focus before we see the electric-blue diadem, as a Blue-crowned Motmot perches quietly amid Orchid and Bromeliad laden forests. Just one of all six Costa Rican species of motmot we’ll see on this tour!

Snowcap © Andy Hawkins

The mid-altitude forests of Bosque La Paz are home to the brilliant Blue-crowned Motmot, the cryptically-patterned Scaled Antpitta, and the fabulous Emerald Toucanet. The lodges’ hummingbird feeders can barely cope it seems with the throngs of these tiny iridescent birds. Over twenty species of hummingbird visit, among them Magenta-throated Woodstar, Green Thorntail and the fabulous shimmering jewel that is the Purple-crowned Fairy. Shimmering Blue Morphos, elegantly-shaped Memphis and many Heliconid butterflies flaunt their fabulous colours around the private Bosque del Cabo reserve, owned and run by a professional wildlife photographer. This is nestled in a wonderful position on the fabulous Osa Peninsula- home to one of the most wildlife rich forests on Earth. Amongst a host of new birds are White-necked Puffbird, King Vulture and the fabulous Scarlet Macaw. Huge and approachable Basilisks will allow you a close-up before they run off across the water!

Dates and Prices

5th April - 23rd April 2024 (19 days)

London - London £7,595
San Jose - San Jose £6,875
Single Supplement* £995
Deposit £700

* doesn't apply if you're willing to share and a room-mate can be arranged

or ask us a question.

Tour Summary

Day 1
Arrive San Jose, Costa Rica
Days 2-3 (am)
Bosque de Paz
Days 3 (pm)-5 (am)
Tenorio Volcano – mid-elevation Caribbean
Days 5 (pm)-6 (am)
Caño Negro – mid-elevation Caribbean
Days 6 (pm)-8 (am)
Tirimbina – low-elevation Caribbean
Days 8 (pm)-10 (am)
Turrialba – visiting Rancho Naturalista
Days 10 (pm)-13 (am)
San Gerardo Dota – Cerro de la Muerte cloudforests
Days 13 (pm)-17 (am)
Bosque del Cabo – Osa Peninsula in the Pacific Lowlands
Days 17 (pm) - 18(am)
La Cusinga
Days 18 (pm)
Departure from San Jose
Day 19
Arrive UK/Europe

Tour information

Focus

Absolutely Everything! Birds, Mammals, Reptiles, Amphibians, Butterflies and Flowers.

Leaders

Phil Benstead

Group Size

The minimum is 5 and the maximum is 8. In rainforest habitats it is essential to keep groups small!

Included in the Price

All flights. All transport, accommodation and meals in Costa Rica. Services of your leader and local guides. National park and reserve entrance fees. Please note: drinks, tips, and items of a personal nature, including travel insurance, are not included.
Bird, butterfly and mammal checklists are available.

Accommodation

Costa Rica is endowed with many superb wildlife lodges and we will stay in some of the best. All our lodges are either in national parks or have private nature reserves attached.

We start with a night at the Buena Vista Chic Hotel in Bajos del Toro in nice countryside not far from San Jose Airport. Next is a night at the lovely Bosque de Paz where comfortable rooms have balconies overlooking wonderful forest. After two nights in the beautifully situated cabins at the Sueños Río Celeste Lodge in the endemic-rich rainforests on the lower slopes of Tenorio Volcano, we’ve a single night at the Caño Negro Natural Lodge. Next are two nights at the excellent Tirimbina Lodge in wildlife-filled grounds. Then we have two nights at the Wagelia Hotel, a pleasant hotel in Turrialba, just half an hour from the Rancho Naturalista, where we’ll spend the days. Next are three nights high up in the highlands of San Gerardo Dota at the Dantica Cloud Forest Lodge. Simple but clean and spacious rooms have the cloud forest just beyond… A highlight of this tour will be the next four nights at the gorgeous Bosque del Cabo where spacious cabins on the rainforest’s edge have large balconies overlooking the Pacific Ocean. Back on the ‘mainland we’ve a night at La Cusinga. All accommodation on this tour has en suite facilities and lowland locations have air-conditioning.

Walking

No more than three or four miles on any one day and always at a slow pace, well suited to photographers. Trails can be muddy at times.

Flights

UK return flights are from Heathrow via New York to San Jose. There is also an option to take the BA direct from London Gatwick to San Jose outbound but via Madrid to London Heathrow on the return*. Other indirect routes from regional UK Airports* are available. Direct return flights are also available but you will need to stay an extra two nights in San Jose to be on them*.

*These routes may incur a supplement.

Climate

Warm and pleasant in San Jose, cool to warm on the Cerro de la Muerte, and warm to hot at all other venues with temperatures often up around 30°C in the middle of the day. Rain can be expected anywhere, but usually only for an hour or two in the afternoon. Humidity levels are generally quite high in the lowlands, less so in the north.

How to Book

Contact us to check if there is availability for the number of places you require. Click on the ‘Book this Tour’ button on this page to be taken to the online booking form or contact us and we will send one to you which you can complete and send back to us. You will receive confirmation of your place, and then a detailed information pack will be dispatched to you about twelve weeks before departure. This will contain up-to-date health information.

Tour Galleries