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We’re headed back to Costa Rica for a third time, and this time we’re headed SOUTH!

We will be guided by the one and only Mario Córdoba once again as we venture south to see several of Costa Rica’s endemic birds and dozens of other beautiful species.

Long-tailed silky flycatcher by Mario Córdoba.

Long-tailed silky flycatcher by Mario Córdoba.

In southern Costa Rica, we will see the unmatched resplendent quetzal, black-cheeked ant-tanager, yellow-billed cotinga, turquoise cotinga, long-tailed silky-flycatcher, blue-crowned manakin, Costa Rican pygmy owl, and dozens more. We will also experience the food and culture of Costa Rica with some interesting cultural sights, tastes, and sounds of the southern region included on our tour.

We’ll begin our adventure climbing to 11,000 feet in the Talamanca Mountains, looking for volcano junco and other high-elevation species. Along the way, we may see sooty-capped chlorospingus, slaty flowerpiercer, flame-throated warbler, and more. We’ll also visit Bosque del Tolomuco Gardens in search of snowy-bellied hummingbird, red-headed barbet, and white-crested coquette, among many others.

We’ll also visit a farming community dedicated to the conservation of resplendent quetzal habitat, and tick that gorgeous species as well as scintillant hummingbird and others. We’ll continue farther south, to San Vito to Las Cruces Biological Station and Wilson Botanical Gardens, one of the largest remaining fragments of tropical wet premontane forest in southern Costa Rica. We’ll spend a full day birding in this area and expect to spot pale-breasted spinetail, the elusive masked duck, thick-billed euphonia, eye-ringed flatbill, speckled tanager, and lots of others.

Red-headed barbet.

Our next destination will be the famed Osa Peninsula. Along the way, we’ll search for highly sought-after species such as savanna hawk, scrub greenlet, Veraguan mango, and much more. We’ll visit one of the best places in the country to see the near-endemic yellow-billed cotinga. Some of the specialties found here include the Costa Rican endemic Black-cheeked ant-tanager, golden-naped woodpecker, chiriqui foliage-gleaner, fiery-billed aracari, scarlet macaw, red-capped manakin, among others.

Blue-crowned manakin.

Then it’s off to El General Valley, and along the route we’ll be looking for fork-tailed flycatcher, red-breasted blackbird, pearl kite, and lesser elaenia, among others.

Our final destination will be to Los Cusingos Bird Sanctuary, former home of Alexander Skutch, co-author of Birds of Costa Rica and prominent ornithologist and philosopher. Here we’ll look for turquoise cotinga, tawny-winged woodcreeper, and blue-crowned manakin.


WHY ARE WE PLANNING YET ANOTHER READER RENDEZVOUS TO COSTA RICA? Well, there are lots of reasons. It’s easy to travel there from the US, it’s safe and affordable, the climate is wonderful, we have a knowledgeable and charming local guide, and the best part: There are fabulous birds! Costa Rica is the perfect destination to explore lush rainforests, view exotic birds, experience new adventures, enjoy magnificent landscapes, and so much more!

There are also a few other reasons, too. Costa Rica, which means “rich coast,” constitutionally abolished its army permanently in 1949. Costa Rica has consistently been among the top Latin American countries in the Human Development Index (HDI). It was also cited by the UNDP as one of the countries that have attained much higher human development than other countries at the same income levels, and was highlighted by UNDP for being a good performer on environmental sustainability, producing a much better record on human development and inequality than the median of their region. In fact, Costa Rica was the only country to meet all five criteria established to measure environmental sustainability. The country is ranked third in the world, and first among the Americas, in terms of the 2010 Environmental Performance Index. Costa Rica aims to become carbon-neutral—this year—according to the New Economics Foundation, and would be the first country to do so. It is deceptively large, a spectacularly beautiful country, and you could visit ten times and enjoy different birds, landscapes, lodges, and habitats with each visit.

Whether you’re a Costa Rica birding veteran, or whether you’re considering joining your first international birding trip, remember that Costa Rica has been the #1 international birding destination for American birders for decades. Wendy Clark, publisher of  Bird Watcher’s Digest, will be the Reader Rendezvous host for this tour, alongside our fabulous local guide, Mario Córdoba.

So, what are you waiting for? Let’s go birding together in southern Costa Rica!



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