Whether an avid birder or a novice twitcher, Costa Rica is an ornithological melting pot that showcases the best of what Latin American has to offer. The perennial beauty of Costa Rica’s paradise is in large part due to the iridescent and musical birds found in the tree canopies and in the forest undergrowth.
The country is a real favourite amongst birders and photographers alike because it has the highest percentage of protected land area of any country in the world, and with 12 of the planets 18 life zones, there is plenty to see on a wildlife tour.
Which birds to see
With over 850 bird species, there is everything from the iconic Keel-billed Toucan to the fabulous Resplendent Quetzal (pictured above) that is a must-see during any trip to Costa Rica. If you want small and exquisite, try catching a glimpse of the burgundy plumage and white crown of the male Snowcap hummingbird in San Gerardo de Dota. Or if you want something big and beautiful, go to Osa Peninsula to see the Scarlet Macaws flying overhead in their monogamous pairs and the Roseate Spoonbill wading through the marshes stirring the shallow waters with its bill.
Honourable mentions: The Elvis Presley of the avian world, the spectacular Bare-necked Umbrellabird, and the wonderfully bizarre Common Potoo (above).
When to go
On average the best birdlife and wildlife sightings occur in the driest months, between January and April, and so luckily bird watchers can miss out the rainy season without missing any of the action. However, with a Pacific and Caribbean coast, Costa Rica enjoys warm temperatures year-round.
Where to go
Check out this tailor-made wildlife and birding holiday that has been designed to reveal Costa Rica’s most spectacular animals during a tour through the wonderful tropical and coastal setting.