COSTA RICA 12-Day: Quetzals and Hummingbirds



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2025 :: March 22 - April 2



From: $4,450 (See details)
Cost is per person, double occupancy from San Jose, Costa Rica (SJO)


6 - 10 Participants


2024: 6 spaces available


This tour is available as a private trip for any size group. The tour cost will vary with the number of people and any custom requests.

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Highlights of COSTA RICA 12-Day: Quetzals and Hummingbirds

  • 800 plus species of birds
  • The stunning Resplendent Quetzal
  • Over 50 species of hummingbirds
  • Incredible and beautiful habitat diversity


Description of COSTA RICA 12-Day: Quetzals and Hummingbirds

Costa Rica has become one of the most popular birding destination in the Americas thanks to the abundance of birds and other wildlife. Thanks to Costa Rica’s incredible habitat diversity, and its location as part of the land-bridge between North and South America, it is home to over 900 species of birds that have been recorded within Costa Rica’s borders.

Visiting multiple diverse habitats, the highlands of Cerro de la Muerte is drenched with mosses, lichens and orchids while the Caribbean lowlands are lush with bromeliads and heliconias. The mangrove-lined rivers and dry forest of the Pacific coast offer a new and different set of plants and wildlife. Throughout the trip we will look for Bay-headed Tanager, Rufous Motmot, Snowcap, Black-crested Coquet, Fiery-throated Hummingbird and, of course, the revered Resplendent Quetzal.

Length of Tour


Brief Itinerary

Day 1 – Arrival / Hotel Bougainvillea

Days 2 through 4 – Pacific Dry Forest

Days 5 through 7 – Highlands of Savegre

Days 8 through 10 – Caribbean lowlands

Day 11 – Return to Hotel Bougainvillea

Day 12 – Flights Home


Detailed Itinerary


DAY 1 Arrival in Costa Rica

Participants may be arriving in Costa Rica at varying times throughout the day. Please arrive no later than 4:00pm so you will be at hotel in time for dinner. After a relaxing dinner we will have a brief orientation to Costa Rica and the tour. Then have a good night’s rest and prepare for an early rise to begin our amazing journey!


Day 2 Drive to the Pacific Dry Forest

AM After Breakfast the group will load the van and drive down the slope to the Pacific Coast. Expect at least a 4 hour drive depending on birding (and crocodile viewing) stops along the way!

PM Lunch along the way plus a visit to the Tarcoles Bridge to view the crocodiles before arriving at our lodge. After check-in we will meet for some birding before dinner.
Dinner at the lodge.

The Hotel lies near the Pacific coast, south of the Rio Tarcoles. From here we will explore Carara National Park, a confluence of several habitats—tropical dry forest, coastal marsh and southern rainforest.

Day 3 Pacific Dry Forest

AM Early breakfast before departure to Carara National Park. As we walk the trails at Carara we will look for Scarlet Macaw, Blue-crowned Manakin, Black-faced Antthrush, and the elusive Streaked Antpitta. Nearby we have also found Pacific Screech Owl, Striped Owl, Olivaceous Piculet, and the endemic Mangrove Hummingbird.

PM Boxed lunch so we can continue birding.
Dinner at the lodge.


Day 4 Pacific Dry Forest

AM Early breakfast
The dry scrub along Guacimo Road, offers a whole new suite of birds, including Double-striped Thick-knee, White-throated Magpie-Jays, Turquoise-browed Motmots and possibly Gray-cowled Wood-Rail.

PM Return to hotel for lunch and a brief siesta before departing for the Rio Tarcoles for a boat trip in the tidewater bay and river in search of waders, caracaras, parrots, warblers and the elusive Rufous-necked Woodrail.
Dinner at the lodge.


Day 5 Drive to The highlands of Savegre

AM Early breakfast before departing for the Savegre Valley, about 6 hours with birding stops. Lunch on the way.

PM Arrival at lodge, birding after check-in.

NOTE: At this higher elevation, please take walks slow and steady!

Our lodge, set into the hillside at about 7000 feet, offers comfortable rooms, with heaters as it gets very cool at night at this elevation. The restaurant offers excellent meals that often include fresh trout.

Surrounded by one of the finest examples of highland pine-oak cloud forest on the planet, the ride into the valley is spectacular! The surrounding private nature reserve is the best place in the world to see the Resplendent Quetzal—one of the most beautiful birds in the Americas. Other “hot” finds here may include Flame-colored Tanager, Volcano Junco, Fiery-throated Hummingbird, and Flame-throated Warbler.

Day 6 Savegre

AM Pre-breakfast birding, breakfast at the lodge.
After breakfast we will get a ride to the top of the mountain above the lodge. This is a bumpy truck ride, so hang on! Specialties here include Costa Rican Pygmy Owl and Silvery-throated Jay.

PM Lunch at the lodge before afternoon birding along the river in search of American Dipper and many of the other specialties. Dinner at the lodge.


Day 7 Savegre

AM Pre-breakfast birding, breakfast at the lodge.
After breakfast we will walk along the river and explore the waterfall trail for more highland specialties.

PM Lunch at the lodge. Afternoon birding along the river and up the entrance road to higher elevations.


Day 8 To Caribbean Lowlands

AM Breakfast before departing for Selva Verde Lodge (about 6 hours with stops). Birding stop on top of the mountain for Fiery-throated Hummingbird if we did not get it before departing Savegre.

PM Late afternoon arrival at Selva Verde Lodge and birding from lodge deck and around the property before dinner.

Selva Verde is located in the midst of the 500 acre Sarapiquí Rainforest Preservation Area in the lush lowlands of northeastern Costa Rica. It is a haven for nature enthusiasts, bird and wildlife watchers, scientists and students, as well as adventure seekers.

The rainforest surrounding Selva Verde provides habitat for over 300 bird species, 120 species of mammals, 48 amphibian species, 89 reptile species, more than 10,000 species of insects, approximately 1,500 species of orchids, 330 species of trees and countless plants.

On a tour of Costa Rica’s rainforest it is possible to find between 50 and 100 different tree species in a few acres. You will also find a wide diversity of plants, birds and animals. There are approximately 1,500 species of orchids alone.


Day 9 Caribbean Lowlands

AM After breakfast at the lodge we will head to the La Selva Research Station for a full day of birding. The station offers 1,600 hectares of well-preserved old-growth and recovering wet lowland tropical forest that abuts the Braulio Carrillo National Park. The 4 to 6 km wide forested corridor that connects La Selva at 35 m above sea level to the Barva Volcano at 2,906 m is one of the best-preserved elevational gradients in the tropics..

PM We will have lunch at the station so we can continue to bird the grounds before returning to our lodge for dinner.


Day 10 Caribbean lowlands

AM Today’s birding will begin along the Rio San Jose, through gallery forests in search of the many birds that can be found here. Afterward we will enjoy Reserva El Tapir, known as the “Old Butterfly Garden,” full of butterflies, of course, but also many hummingbirds… including the much sought after Snowcap.

PM After a lunch on the road, we will enjoy the feeders and trails at Cope’s Gardens. Here we will seek numerous species including, Crested Owl, Spectacled Owl, Uniform Crake, Thicket Antpitta and Black-capped Pygmy-Tyrant.
Dinner back at the lodge.


Day 11 San Jose / Hotel Bougainvillaea

AM After breakfast at the lodge we will pack up and head to the La Paz Waterfalls and Hummingbird Gardens. Full of feeders and wonderful scenery, we will enjoy much of the morning here with lunch at the Gardens as well.

PM Early afternoon we will continue our drive to San Jose (about 2 hours not including birding stops). We will have dinner at Hotel Bougainvillea.

Today’s drive will offer more spectacular views and some good birding stops as we return to San Jose for our farewell dinner and a good night’s sleep before returning to the USA.


Day 12 Return to USA

Departures to USA at anytime throughout the day.


Cost is $4,450 per person, based upon double occupancy, from San Jose, Costa Rica (Airport code SJO).
This trip ends in San Jose, Costa Rica (Airport code SJO).

Single Supplement

If a single room is preferred, or we are unable to find a suitable roommate for you, a single supplement fee of $900 will be assessed.

Deposit Requirements

A $500 deposit per person is required to hold each space on this tour. Deposit may be made online by clicking the "Book Your Trip Now" button and using any credit card. If you prefer, you may call us at 888-875-9453 to pay by phone. You may also mail us a check, however, remember that all space is held on a first come-first served basis as deposits are received.

Minimum Number

If fewer than the minimum number of required participants are registered, we may still be able to run the trip by adding a small-group supplement fee, per person, determined by the number of participants registered.

How to Book

In order to hold your space, click the "Book Your Trip Now" button above and complete the deposit process, including payment of the deposit through our Paypal portal using ANY CREDIT CARD. Upon completion of deposit, please visit our secure, online CLIENT INFORMATION FORM to complete your registration.

Final Payment

For all land-based tours: full payment by check is due 120 days prior to the departure date.

For all boat-based adventure cruises of 7-days or longer: full payment by check is required 180 days prior to departure.

NOTE: If you prefer to use credit card for final payment, a 3% fee may be added to cover the credit card merchant fees we incur.

Hotel Bougainvillea

Hotel Bougainvillea lies 45 minutes north of San Jose in the “suburb” of Heredia. A typical hotel large hotel, the Bougainvillea offers all the expected amenities. However, the hotel is well known for its lush gardens which are well kept and home to many birds! This stop makes a great first and/or last night for any birding trip.


Sueños del Bosque

Sueños del Bosque sits at about 7000 feet on the side of a mountain, surrounded by cloud forest, along the Savegre River. The lodge offers comfortable rooms with en suite facilities and heaters, which are sometimes needed at this elevation. Keep a rain jacket handy however, as you are in the clouds.


Selva Verde Lodge

Selva Verde Lodge lies in the Caribbean lowlands only a few hours from San Jose. Its lush forest offers great birding opportunities along its many muddy trails. Bungalows are comfortable with en suite facilities. Delicious meals are served in the main building.

Activity Level Rating: (Note: 1 is easy and 5 is difficult)

Mostly easy trails, though often muddy. Some higher elevation walking (7000ft-10,000ft). Don’t worry, we move slow to see more!

Recommended Field Guide:

The Birds of Costa Rica

(2007, Cornell University Press)

By Richard Garrigues & Robert Dean

Purchasing Flights

Do not purchase your flights until the trip has been confirmed to go.

Detailed Trip Information

Upon notification that final payment is due (120 days prior to departure for land based tours / 180 days for boat based tours), you will receive a trip package of detailed information for your tour.

Any additional information about the trip, including lodgings, contacts, participants, meeting locations, etc., will sent about 2 weeks prior to the trip departure, or after final payment is received for late registrants.

Travel Insurance

As with all tours, we recommend purchasing Travel Insurance to help cover your investment, for covered reasons. Please see our section on Travel Insurance.

Passport & Visa

US Citizens may require a visa to enter certain foreign countries. See above for any required visa information.

Participants arriving to the USA from a foreign country may need to get a travel visa to enter the United States. Be sure to check the requirements for your country of origin.

Itinerary Changes

The trip itinerary is developed many months ahead of time. Occasionally, despite our best planning, changes may occur during the trip, or we may be forced to alter our plans. Changes may occur because of weather, road conditions, safety concerns or other circumstances. In these situations, it is the leader(s) responsibility to carefully consider and implement appropriate alternatives. Any additional costs incurred because of changes will be the responsibility of each individual participant. Refunds will not be issued as a result of itinerary changes.

Location Map