What is Costa Rica Birding Contest?

The Costa Rica Birding Contest is an excellent opportunity for all amateur and passionate birders who want to add more bird species to their lists in one of the most wonderful places in the world. The country is home to more than 900 species of birds of which about 600 species are resident and the rest migrate from North America during winter, stop in Costa Rica before continuing their journey to South America. There are about 103 endemic species in the region. The density of avifauna in a very small territory of only 51’100 km2 makes Costa Rica one of the top five countries in bird counting in the world. Some of our past groups were able to spot over 500 species in just one week!

The Costa Rica Birding Contest is organized by ARA Tours, a well-established tour operator in Costa Rica since more than 25 years. We have put together a great itinerary along the main birdwatching hotspots in the country and invite you to join one of the small groups competing against each other.

You´re already winning just by participating!

In this contest, everyone wins, nobody loses! The best prize is living an amazing experience in a real birding paradise like Costa Rica and besides, you can help the environment donating a 3% of the total cost to the Costa Rica's Ornithologist Association (site only in Spanish), which is a non-profit organization whose main objective is to contribute to the study, research and conservation of wild birds and their habitats, helping to guide official and private policies in this field. It is also AOCR's priority to collaborate in the dissemination of knowledge about the 920 bird species of Costa Rica. In 1999 the association was declared of "public utility" by the Government of Costa Rica.

You will also recieve great surprises from our sponsors!

Register Online here

How does it work?

The Costa Rica Birding Contest takes place from September 24 to October 3, 2019, right during the great bird migration period.

Each team of maximum 6 birdwatchers will be accompanied by one of our specialist guides, who will assist you to spot and identify the highest possible amount of species. The teams will travel the same itinerary but in different order along the birding hotspots of Costa Rica and compete with each other in spotting more species of birds. The team that achieves the highest number during this contest will be the winner.

Of course you will also enjoy great landscapes, other animals, a fantastic flora and the cuisine and culture of the “ticos”.

Upon arrival we will offer a welcome cocktail and briefing, in which we will give you all the details, rules and instructions about the contest.

You will then travel along the birding hotspots for 10 days. The last day before your departure or extension program, all the teams meet again for a Farewell Dinner during which the winner team will be defined and prizes will be awarded.

Confirmed Dates 2020
Price 2020

From

September 29th through October 9th 2020

Price 2020
$2650.00 USD per Person in a double room, valid from September 29th through October 9th 2020

Your trip in Costa Rica Birding Contest

You are going to enroll yourself on a quest that includes the main destinations for birdwatching.

Central Valley, Heredia

The land in the valley is a relatively plain (1100m above sea level), despite being surrounded by several mountains and volcanoes. Although almost three quarters of the Costa Rican population lives here, not everything is towns and buildings in the Central Valley, there are plenty of lush and green grounds with many plantations. Two active volcanoes namely; Irazú and Poás have contributed the soil to be quite fertile and rich in minerals. Weather is very changeable in this region. However, temperatures are stable, ranging generally between 21 and 27°C.

Your hotel is designed for lovers of tropical gardens and the animals living here. The bedrooms allow you to take in the relaxing views over the gardens to the backdrop of the mountains surrounding Costa Rica's Central Valley.

Emblematic birds: Blue-crowned Motmot (Momotus lessonii), Clay-colored Thrush (Turdus grayi), Green-breasted Mango (Anthracothorax prevastii), White-naped Brush-finch (Atlapetes albinucha).

Other important species: Guanacaste tree (Enterolobium cyclocarpum), Cacao tree (Theobroma cacao), Bromeliads (Bromeliaceae), Forrers Leopard frog (Lithobates forreri), Bougainvillea (Bougainvillea spectabilis).

San Gerardo de Dota

This is the place to celebrate the simple joys of nature, which include breathing fresh air, taking a hike through the evergreen woods and marveling at the presence of the Resplendent Quetzal - considered by many one of the most beautiful feathery fellows in the world.

The Cerro de la Muerte is one of the highest mountain passes with its altitude of nearly 3'500 m. The tropical cloud forest grows dramatically, and apart from the great number of birds that can be observed in the region.

Don’t forget you raincoat and jacket, since it can be quite chilly over here.

Emblematic birds: Resplendent Quetzal (Pharomachrus mocinno), King-tailed Silky-flycatcher (Ptilogonys caudatus), Collared Trogon (Trogon collaris), Highland Tinamou (Nothocercus bonapartei).

Other important species: Tapir (Tapirus bairdii), Black Oak (Quercus costarricensis), White Oak (Quercus copeyensis), Montane Alligator Lizard (Mesaspis monticola), Fly Orchid (Ophrys insectifera), White Orchid (Sobralia Leucoxantha).

Tárcoles

This town is really close to the Carara National Park as well as to the Tarcoles Rivers estuary, two of the greatest birding spots in the region. Located at the central Pacific area, it is famous for the Tarcoles Bridge over the Tarcoles river, due to the amazing amount of crocodiles that can be seen here.

Thanks to the transitional climate conditions of the Carara National Park and surrounding area, evolution has developed an interesting jungle. There is a mix of tropical rainforest and tropical dry forest to be discovered, since it is something that doesn't exist in many places on earth. That's also why quite a number of endemic plants and animals can be found here. Rare Orchids and bromeliads can be admired and, regarding the world of birds, the large Scarlet Macaw can be spotted here as one of the main attractions.

Emblematic birds: Fiery-billed Araçari (Pteroglossus frantzii), Scarlet Macaws (Ara macao), Magnificent Frigatebird (Fregata magnificens), Boat-billed Heron (Cochlearius cochlearius).

Other important species: Common Basilisk (Basiliscus basiliscus), Boa Constrictor (Boa constrictor), Blue Morpho Butterfly (Morpho peleides).

La Fortuna

This town, at the foot of Arenal Volcano has a fascinating effect specially on sunny days where the weather permits the volcano to be seen, the views are just imposing. Although it has been inactive since 2010, its powerful presence is still there.

Your accommodation includes a lodge with 870-acres and combines two life zones: the tropical rainforest of the Caribbean lowlands and the premontane forests of the Caribbean foothills. Diversity of habitats: second-growth woodlands and rainforest, agricultural pastures, gardens planted with flowering and fruiting trees and bushes, create various niches very rich for birds to inhabit. Do not miss the opportunity to climb “The Nest” the 28 m. observation tower , for a unique bird watching experience.

Emblematic birds: Crested Guan (Penelope purpurascens), Golden-hooded Tanager (Tangara larvata), Keel-billed Toucan (Ramphastos sulfuratus), Passerini's Tanager (Ramphocelus passerinii), Red-lored Parrot (Amazona autumnalis).

Other important species: Howler Monkey (Alouatta palliata), White-faced Monkeys (Cebus capucinus), Chestnut-mandibled Toucan (Ramphastos ambiguus), Coati (Nasua narica).

Puerto Viejo de Sarapiquí

The Caribbean Lowlands are considered the richest ecosystem in the world. This part of the country along with the Caribbean Coast have the major number of birds in the country due to it’s rainforest. The Braulio Carrillo National Park, Tirimbina reserve and La Selva Biological Station are important protected areas to be found here. These places have been crucial for researchers and important in the discovery of new species of flora and fauna through history. Puerto Viejo de Sarapiquí along with the Braulio Carrillo’s foothills and places nearby, all as one have been considered Costa Rica’s capital for birds. This is for sure a destination you do not want to miss.

Emblematic birds: Great Green Macaw (Ara ambiguus), Sunbittern (Eurypyga helias), Snowy Cotinga (Carpodectes nitidus), Agami Heron (Agamia agami).

Other important species: Red-eyed Tree Frog (Agalychnis callidryas), Brown Two-toed Sloth (Choloepus hoffmanni), Black Mantled Howler Monkey (Alouatta palliata), Mountain Almond Tree (Dipteryx panamensis), Blue Jeans Poison Frog (Oophaga pumilio).

Puerto Viejo de Limón

For historic reasons the population is predominantly black, as well as numerous European immigrants characterize the region. The most important natural reserves in the region are the Cahuita National Park and the southern Gandoca Manzanillo Wildlife Refuge. They have beautiful beaches and rainforest trails with excellent bird watching opportunities. During october you can expect to experience the Northern bird migration in Puerto Viejo de Limón all month around. Keep you eyes open and do not miss one single winged fellow.

Emblematic birds:  Common Black Hawk (Buteogallus anthracinus) , White-collared Manakin ( Manacus candei), Slaty-tailed Trogon (Trogon massena).

Other important species: Two and Three toed Sloths (Choloepus hoffmanni, Bradypus variegatus), Agouti Paca(Cuniculus paca).

The given emblematic bird species and the other important species are just some examples of the flora and fauna that can be found on each region. It always depends on different circumstances: weather, flowering and fruits, diffenrent behaviors, luck and most important mother nature.

* The order of places to visit may change depending on the group you participate.

Let’s see how many species of birds you are able to spot! Are you ready?

Route Maps by Group

Group 1

  1. Central Valley, Heredia
  2. La Fortuna
  3. Puerto Viejo de Sarapiquí
  4. Puerto Viejo de Limón
  5. San Gerardo de Dota
  6. Tárcoles

Group 2

  1. Central Valley, Heredia.
  2. Puerto Viejo de Sarapiquí.
  3. Puerto Viejo de Limón.
  4. San Gerardo de Dota.
  5. Tárcoles.
  6. La Fortuna.

Group 3

  1. Central Valley, Heredia
  2. Puerto Viejo de Limón
  3. San Gerardo de Dota
  4. Tárcoles
  5. La Fortuna
  6. Puerto Viejo de Sarapiquí

Group 4

  1. Central Valley, Heredia.
  2. Tárcoles.
  3. La Fortuna.
  4. Puerto Viejo de Sarapiquí.
  5. Puerto Viejo de Limón.
  6. San Gerardo de Dota.

Who can participate?

Any amateur and passionate birder that wants to add more species of birds to his list and enjoy Costa Rica beautiful nature with other people of the same passion.

If you are an organizer of birdwatching tours, we invite you to register your own team of maximum 6 birdwatchers and compete under your company name.

An individual traveler is a birdwatcher who comes either on it’s own or accompanied with some partners to enjoy the Costa Rican birding paradise. If you are traveling solo and don't mind sharing a room for a better price, ask for half a double room and we will try to find a partner for the tour.

-A group is composed by 4-6 members of an asociation, tour operator or travel agency who join to compete together in the contest.

-Non Contest-participating companion: family and/or friends traveling to Costa Rica, but not wanting to participate on the contest. They rather join an alternativ program through this land.

If you are a private birdwatcher, we invite you to register and we will allocate you in one of the international mixed teams.

Services provided

Included

  • Bird Guide of Costa Rica.
  • 1 Bottle of water per day.
  • Personalized welcome at the airport.
  • Transfer from the airport to the hotel in San José the first night.
  • Participation in the Welcome Briefing Cocktail.
  • Accommodation in a single or double room in specialized birdwatching hotels.
  • Fullboard (breakfast, lunch, dinner or snacks depending on the itinerary. No alcoholic drinks included)
  • Entrance Fee to National Parks
  • Private guide specialized in birdwatching.
  • Private transportation for each team.
  • Farewell dinner.

Not Included

  • Alcoholic drinks.
  • Optional activities.
  • Professional equipment such as: telescope, binoculars and others
  • Tips.

Cancellation conditions

Until 60 days before arrival: no penalty.

59 - 00 days before arrival or no-show: 100% penalty fee.

Do you want to participate?

Costa Rica Birding Contest

Costa Rica Birding Contest
Online Registration Form


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  8. PRICE: $2650.00 USD
    per Person in a double room, valid from September 29th through October 9th 2020

An individual traveler is a birdwatcher who comes either on it’s own or accompanied with some partners to enjoy the Costa Rican birding paradise. If you are traveling solo and don't mind sharing a room for a better price, ask for half a double room and we will try to find a partner for the tour.

-A group is composed by 4-6 members of an asociation, tour operator or travel agency who join to compete together in the contest.

-Non Contest-participating companion: family and/or friends traveling to Costa Rica, but not wanting to participate on the contest. They rather join an alternativ program through this land.

Contact Us

  • Tel: +506-2232-0400
    Direct dial 326

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