The Top 12 birding lodges of Costa Rica

Costa Rica is a haven for birdwatchers, 920 specis of birds,  short distances, great reserves, more than 12 ecosystems, 2 coasts and stunning highlands, as well sandwiched between North and South America this the perfect spot for the spring and fall migration. The Costa Rica Birding Hotspots Project has identified the best “hotspots” (locations) to get close to some of the most stunning birds in the Neotropics, connecting those areas as a birdwatching route, encompassing the top areas and accommodations for the best birdwatching experience in the country.

Those areas and lodges are giving you the opportunity to experience more than 100 species of birds in a single day, and more than 300 species in each area, including the local hotspots selected by each lodge in the main hotspot-area. So taking into account those criteria, regarding the number of species, plus the location in key areas as biological corridors, Important Bird Areas (BirdLife), facilities for birdwatching and sustainable certifications, here are some of the best birding facilities in #CostaRica:

1. Rancho Naturalista (Turrialba)

This is the mecca for the Snowcap hummingbird and many other specials of the Caribbean Foothills of the country. Located in the Turrialba Valley Birding Hotspots, this is a must place for bird photographers and any kind of birder, hardcore or softcore. In the hotel more than 450 species of birds have been recorded. Specials includes also: Tawny-chested Flycatcher, Purplish-backed Quail-dove, White-crowned Manakin, White-throated Flycatcher, Dull-mantled Antbird, Thicket Antpitta, Black-throated Wren, Black-crested Coquette, Tawny-throated Leaftosser, Northern Schiffornis and Grey-headed Piprites. Local hotspots to visit: CATIE Campus, Tuis River Valley, Irazu Volcano, TEC Campus, La Mina and Base Cerro Silencio.

#Boat-billed #heron chilling by a pond near #RanchoNaturalista #costarica #birding

A photo posted by Jay Knight (@trekadventures) on

2. Arenal Observatory Lodge (La Fortuna – Arenal)

This is another of the super birding accommodations in the Caribbean Lowlands and Northern Plains, located at the feet of the Arenal Volcano, offering the best view to the ¨Coloso¨, where half of the birds of Costa Rica have been recorded. Special birds in the lodge grounds are: Lovely Cotinga, Yellow-eared Toucanet, Black-crested Coquette, Emerald Tanager, Bare-necked Umbrellabird, Great Curassow, Thicket Antpitta, Ornate Hawk-eagle and the Fasciated Tiger-heron. Local areas to bird around: La Fortuna Waterfall, Cerro Chato, The Suspension Bridges, Caño Negro and Medio Queso Wetlands.

3. Paraiso Quetzal Lodge (Los Quetzales & Talamanca Highlands)

This is the best place to add to your check list the most beautiful bird in the country and perhaps in the world, the stunning Resplendent Quetzal. Located by the KM 70 of the Panamerican Highway in Los Quetzales & Talamanca Highlands birding hotspot, the lodge give you a wide range of rare and endemic species happening only in the cloudforest and the Paramo. Other than quetzals, the main reason to go there, this is also the place to find both Black-and-yellow and Long-tailed Silky flycatchers, Fiery-throated hummingbird, Golden-browed Chlorophonia, Collared Redstart, Unspotted Saw-whet Owl, Flame throated Warbler, Volcano Junco, Timberline Wren, Costa Rican Pigmy-owl and the Dusky Nightjar.

Tomorrow I’m starting a 8 days photo tour with my buddy and hummingbird lover @elijahs_photography, we are gonna have so much fun.!! One of the tour target it’s gonna be the almighty Resplendent Quetzal, among a whole lots of hummingbird species! 👽 ————————————— For more follow >>@mauro_roman_nature_photo_ << ————————————— #Costarica #photography #nikon #d3200 #bird #WildGlobe #nikonusa #NikonNoFilter #puravida #pocket_birds #bns_birds #bb_of_ig #picoftheday #bestbirdshots #birdextreme #nature_sultans #your_best_birds #kings_birds #nuts_about_birds #AnimalElite #descubrecr #birdfreaks #birdextreme #naturephotography #resplendent #lifeisgood #costaricaofficial #CostaRicaExperts #ThisIsCostaRica #quetzal #SanDisk

A photo posted by >>© Mauro Roman Nature Photo<< (@mauro_roman_nature_photo_) on

4. Macaw Lodge (Carara & Turrubares Hills)

Our favorite lodge to bird Carara, Tarcoles & Turrubares hills area, one of the birdwatching capitals of Costa Rica. Located in the Central Pacific Carara & Turrubares Birding Hotspot, a trasitional area where you will find a combination of Dry Forest, Tropical Humid and Premontane forests species. This the capital of the Scarlet Macaw and also a super area for Antbirds, Manakins and trogons. Highlights includes: Fiery-billed Aracari, Sunbittern, Orange-collared Manakin, Blue-crowned Manakin and Riverside Wren.


A photo posted by Alli Ladd (@alliladd) on

5. Esquinas Rainforest Lodge (Piedras Blancas)

South in the country this legendary lodge has a strong reputation in the birding community. Some of the very special birds endemics to Southern Costa Rica and Western Panama are easy to find in the lodge grounds and nearby. A must in the endemic species target birding trips in Costa Rica and the very best place to meet one of the endemic birds of Costa Rica, the Black-cheeked Ant-tanager that only happens in this area. Baird´s Trogon, Uniform Crake, Charming Hummingbird, Crested Oropendola, Saphire-throated hummingbird, Royal Flycatcher and Tawny-winged Woodcreeper are just a taste on what you could expect in the Esquinas Lodge.

Endemics extension to the South Pacific! #EsquinasLodge #Baird’sTrogon

A photo posted by Serge Birding (@serge_birding) on

6. Rancho Humo (Palo Verde – Tempisque)

Dry-forest and wetlands is the best description for this super birding area along the Palo Verde National Park & Tempisque River basin, the perfect location adjacent to the national Park and in front of the Isla Pajaros. Water birds including the rare endangered Jabiru and the endemic to Costa Rica Mangrove Hummingbird are possible here. Dry forest specials: Lesser-ground Cuckoo, Mangrove Warbler, Spoonbills, herons, Yellow-nape Parrot and Plain Chachalacas are abundant in the hotel protected area and nearby.

7. Cristal Ballena (Costa Ballena)

The birding gem of Costa Ballena, sharing boundaries with the Ballena Marine National Park (a sanctuary for migratory wales and sea birds) this is great property to get amazed with more than 300 species of birds that have been reported in the hotel area. The lodge combines gardens with tropical humid forest, open areas and coastal ecosystems. local places to visit while staying there includes the Terraba-Sierpe Wetlands home to the Yellow-billed Cotinga, Corcovado National Park and Caño Island, as well the islands of the marine park, Oro Verde and Hacienda Baru. Special birds in the hotel includes the Fiery-billed Aracari, Red-capped Manakin, Riverside Wren, King Vulture, Black-and-white Owl and White-crested Coquette.

Couple of Tiger Herons Nupcial Dance Mangrove tours

A photo posted by Sierpe Azul Tours (@sierpeazultours) on

8. Tapirus Lodge (Braulio Carrillo & Sarapiqui)

The famous place of the Rainforest Adventures Aerial Tram is also the home of one of the very unique birding facilities in the Caribbean Foothills. A combination of rainforest, premontane and middle lands species are the main dish here. Nearby local hotspots includes the famous La Selva Field Station of the Organization for Tropical Studies, the Sarapiqui River, El Tapir Garden, Quebrada Gonzalez Ranger´s Station of the Braulio Carrillo National Park and Rio Corintio. Emblematic species here are the Sunbittern, Black-and-white Hawk-eagle, Great-green Macaw, Lattice-Tailed Trogon, Bare-necked Umbrellabird, Yellow-eared Toucanet, Sharpbill and Nightingale Wren.

Beautiful bird in our park! #visitcostarica #rainforestadventures #birding

A photo posted by Rainforest Adventures CR (@rainforestadventurescr) on

9. Selva Bananito (South Caribbean)

At the upper Bananito River in South Caribbean, this is the lodge for raptors and Caribbean specials lovers. A combination of lowlands and foothills of the Talamanca mountain range make of Selva Bananito the key place to the amazing birdlife of the region and South Caribbean Hotspot. This is also called the best place to photograph and find the Great Jacamar, a super bird that everyone wants to see close. Other than the Jacamar, this is the perfect place for the Snowy Cotinga, Pied Puffbird, Sunbittern, Great Potoo, Central-american Pigmy-owl and migratory raptors. local hotspots to visit besides of the lodge preserve are: Cahuita National Park, Kekoldi watch tower (location of the 2nd biggest raptors migration in the planet) and Hitoy Cerere.

10. Tango Mar (Nicoya Peninsula)

Sunshine birding in the Quizales beach and dry forest coast of the Nicoya Peninsula, the ultimate birding hotspot in Costa Rica. Some of the hidden and less explored but very productive birding locations are here: Cabo Blanco, Curu Preserve, Quizales Beach, the local Pochote wetlands and the Nicoya Gulf islands. A combination of marine species with dry forest specials in one of the most stunning locations of the country are the starter for birding here. Highlights: Three-wattled Bellbird, Elegant Trogon, Plain-capped Starthroat, Yellow-nape Parrot, Long-tailed Manakin and Double-stripe Thick-knee.


A photo posted by jessy lopez herra (@jessy.sys) on

11. Hacienda Guachipelin (Rincon de la Vieja)

At the feet of the active Rincon de la Vieja Volcano, this birding lodge offers a combination of Caribbean with Dry-forest species that overlap their range of distribution, giving Hacienda Guachipelin a perfect location to get amazed with the birds hiding in the grounds and nearby. From the charismatic White-throated Magpie-Jay, Black-headed Trogon, Great Curassow, Long-Tailed Manakin, Collared Aracari, Lesser-ground Cuckoo and the elusive Sunbittern, this is place to visit if you are planning a dry-forest and rainforest birding combined holiday.

Seen in our garden! Hope you like it. #birds #costarica #guanacaste #wildlife

A photo posted by Hotel Hacienda Guachipelín (@haciendaguachipelin) on

12. Selva Verde Lodge (Sarapiqui)

Located along the basin of the Sarapiqui river, Selva Verde is a top lodge for bird lovers with more than 350 species of bird recorded in the lodge grounds and nearby. The lodge includes old growth forest trails, secondary forest, gardens and open areas. Top bird to be found includes: Snowy Cotinga, Sunbittern, Agami Heron and more.

Chestnut mandibled Toucan – #birdphotography #costarica #wildlifephotography #toucan #selvaverde

Una publicación compartida de Bruce Leventhal (@bruceleventhal) el