Cocos Island Birdwatching & Sea Life Expedition April 03-13, 2018

April 03-13, 2018.

Join us for an amazing experience to one of the most remote places on Earth, the Cocos Island (Costa Rica), in the Pacific Ocean. 10 nights and 11 days of adventure in 2018 searching for 3 of the most rare and special birds in the world: Cocos Cuckoo (Coccyzus ferrugineus), Cocos Flycatcher (Nesotriccus ridgwayi) and Cocos Finch (Pinaroloxias inornata) the only Darwin’s finch occurring outside of the Galapagos. Besides of those 3 endemics to the island, there is great chance to add dozens of pelagic birds and other marine wildlife. If you are a hardcore birdwatcher and want to live this adventure contact us, we are opening a very special group for 6-12 twitchers for this once in a life time journey.

Located in the Eastern Tropical Pacific, 300 miles southwest of Cabo Blanco, Costa Rica, lies the renowned Cocos Island Marine Park. A rugged yet incredibly verdant island, this World Heritage Site is the spectacularly beautiful crown jewel of Costa Rica’s many National Parks. In 1994, after several return visits to the island, Jacques Cousteau pronounced Cocos, “The most beautiful island in the world¨ and served as inspiration for Robert Louis Stevenson’s Treasure Island and Michael Crichton’s Jurassic Park. The island has an irregular coastline, which makes precise estimation of its land area more a matter of opinion than a surveyor’s science, but it is roughly five miles by two miles (8 x 3 kilometers).
Cocos Island was formed during a volcanic upheaval about two-and-a-half million years ago and is composed of basaltic rock, labradorite and andesite lava flows. Its landmass is punctuated by four mountain peaks, the highest of which is Cerro Iglesias, at 2,080 feet or 634 meters above the sea. There are only two bays with safe anchorages and sandy beaches: Chatham is located on the northeast side and Wafer Bay is on the northwest. Just off Cocos are a series of smaller basaltic rocks and islets. The largest satellite is Isla Manuelita (formerly Nuez).
Cocos Island is also home to at least 27 endemic fish species including the exotic rosy-lipped batfish. The terrestrial life at Cocos also exhibits a high number of endemic species. The island is home to 70 of the 235 identified vascular plant species in the world, some 25 species of moss, 27 species of liverwort and 85 species of fungus. There are more than 150 bird species, including the famous CocosCuckoo, Finch and Flycatcher (our targets). There are 362 species of insects, of which 64 are endemic. Two native reptiles are found only on the Island.

Cocos Finch | JJ Pucci (c).

Price is based according to the number of passengers on board. The tour will runs with a minimum of 6 travelers. 

Group of 6 people: $ 6 869.00 USD pp

Group of 8 people: $ 6 390.00 USD pp

Group of 10 people: $ 5 600.00 USD pp

Prices is per person sharing a double cabin with another participant.

Included in the price: Ground transportation San Jose – Puntarenas and return; 11-day / 10-night cruise with all meals, including beer; Seven full days of birding from the boat and visiting the different locations of the island.

Cocos Cuckoo| Michel Pascal & Michel Montoya (c).

Program Summary

Arrival Day

You must arrive at least one day prior to the boat departure date. Recommended to Arrive April 02 or prior, you can arrange a hotel in the city or we can help you to make it.
Upon arrival to San José, we can have transportation waiting for you (please contact us for a quote) or you can take a taxi to your hotel. There are always taxis available at the airport, even minivans for those of you who carry a lot of gear. We can also recommend and arrange accommodations for hotels in San José. The evening is at your leisure. Air transport, airport transfers, hotel nights and meals before and after the cruise are not included in the trip.

Day 1  | April 03

The following day, generally between 8 am and 1 pm, pick up from certain hotels and transfer the group by bus to Puntarenas where you will board the vessel. The drive takes about 2 1/2 hours. We will provide day by day programs of the birding activities at the Island and the talks and activities we will be doing in the boat during the trip by boat there. Due to occasional low tides our boats may need to depart from the pier earlier in the day. Should this occur, you will be transferred by skiff to the vessel. When all passengers have arrived on board, the vessel will take a 32-36 hour cruise out to Cocos Island. We are spending the nights in the vessel, since there are not facilities and is not allowed to overnight in the land of the island.

Day 2 | April 04 

A travel day in the ship. Enjoy the Pacific and the sunshine at your leisure, take notes and read the program, check list and materials we will provide, we will be giving identification tips and we will have talks with our tour leader about the birds and other wildlife to expect. We will be sharing the cruise with a diving group, so there is also a time to also time to interact with them and the guides about their experiences. There are videos and the experience of the Captain and crew to help you get excited before getting the remote island. During the travel time. If you have diving license you might want to take one of the lessons and join the divers in activities (this will represent additional costs).

Days 3 – 8 | April 05-10

The birding in the Island start, we take our first walk in the Island in search for our special birds on day 3, we will have a skiff for taking us to and from the ship, we will go birding the perimeter of Cocos Island for marine birds in the rocks, We will visit the cloudforest trail to the Cerro Iglesias (2,080 feet above sea level) and the Plane Wreck, Chatham and Wafer Bays, the Ranger Stations, waterfall trails and the bridge, as well the beach with the stones signed by some of the most famous pirates in the history of the world. Our main target is to register and photograph the 3 endemics to the island Cocos Cuckoo (Coccyzus ferrugineus), Cocos Flycatcher (Nesotriccus ridgwayi) and Cocos Finch (Pinaroloxias inornata). Cocos Island receives an average of 25 feet of rainfall per year, resulting in a covering of lush green foliage. Waterfalls abound, of which there are up to 70 falls of varying sizes during the peak of the rainy season. The island also supports a verdant, high-altitude cloud forest. Rare for a small island, this is made possible by dramatic topography, abundant rainfall and surplus water stored in the porous reservoirs of the island itself. This extraordinary island ecosystem is unique to Cocos alone, of all the islands of the Eastern Tropical Pacific (Clipperton, the Revillagigedos, the Galapagos Islands, and Malpelo). We will have different visits to the island according to the weather conditions for getting as many of the birds as possible. This is a target species tour, mainly for the birds but also for the other endemic wildlife. We expect 40-80 different species of birds during the trip + the other wildlife.

Day 9 | April 11

We make our last birding-sailing around the Island.

Day 10 | April 12

All day to discuss the trip, check list, field notes and to compare your adventures!

Day 11 | April 13

Arrival to Puntarenas. Immediately after breakfast you will be transported back to San Jose. We strongly recommend staying one more night on land, before flying out, in case of any unforeseen delays. We can arrange hotel rooms for you and transfers to the airport with additional cost.

Cocos Flycatcher | K Easley (c).

Optional pre-post tours

While you are here in Costa Rica it is certainly worth the extra time to visit other aspects of the country that truly make it a natural wonderland. Very active volcanoes, white water rafting, mountain biking, some of the most pristine jungles in the world, coffee plantations, horseback riding, visits to craft centers, and of course, more birds. We would be happy to arrange pre or post extensions to experience the birdlife of the Caribbean Lowlands, Highlands including quetzals, the South Pacific, the Dry forest and more.

*Due to the possible increase in the cost of oil, based on events in the past few years, we reserves the right to charge a US$200.00 per person Fuel Surcharge. This fee will be effective in the event that the diesel price published by Costa Rica’s state owned refinery, RECOPE, reaches US$3.80 per gallon (US$1.00 per liter). We will verify the fuel index table 75 days prior to the departure date and if it is necessary to collect a fuel surcharge then we will inform the participants of the trip. The surcharge will be collected onboard.

E mails us at info@wildtravelcentralamerica.com for more information.