COSTA RICA PART TWO:

BACK

ITINERARY & DAILY ACCOUNTS

PART THREE

 

 

 

ITINERARY

 

Sunday 4 March

Flight Aídam-San Jose. Arrival 8:00PM at Hotel El Sesteo.

Monday 5 March

Visit to Poas Volcano NP

Tuesday 6 March

To Tortuguero NP arriving at 4:00PM in Caribe Lodge

Wednesday 7 March

Hike to Serro Tortuguero and boattrip over canals

Thursday 8 March

Birding hotel grounds and hike in forests and along the beach

Friday 9 March

To La Fortuna arriving at 3:30PM in hotel San Bosco

Saturday 10 March

Hike in Arenal NP

Sunday 11 March

To Rincon dl Vieja NP arriving at 3:00PM in Rincon dl Vieja Lodge

Monday 12 March

Hikes in forests to Laguna Azul Falls

Tuesday 13 March

Hikes in Las Pailas area

Wednesday 14 March

To Monte Verde walking the Skywalk and on to Cabanas los Pinos

Thursday 15 March

Birding Monte Verde and Santa Elena with birdguide

Friday 16 March

To Finca de Eddie Serrano. Afternoon birdwalk

Saturday 17 March

Morning birding and on to Villas Rio Mar in Dominical

Sunday 18 March

Morning walk in Hacienda Baru. Afternoon relaxing

Monday 19 March

To Puerto Jiminez on the Osa Peninsula.

Tuesday 20 March

With 4WD Jeep to Matapalo

Wednesday 21 March

To Corcovado Lodge. Afternoon birding

Thursday 22 March

Morning birding. Afternoon back to Puerto Jiminez

Friday 23 March

Travelday to Manuel Antonio NP

Saturday 24 March

Birding in Manuel Antonio NP

Sunday 25 March

Morning relaxing. Afternoon to airport for flight home

Monday 26 March

Arrival in Amsterdam at 2:00PM

 

 

DAILY ACCOUNTS

 

Sunday 4 March

Flight from Amsterdam to San Jose. After a 11/2 hour stop in Miami we arrived around 7:00PM in San Jose. After going through customs we changed some money and where transferred to Hotel El Sesteo which was only a 20 minutes drive from the airport. After dropping our luggage in the room we had a drink at the pool with our tourgroup and our tourguide Shirley. We then went to bed at 10:00PM.

 

Monday 5 March

Because of the time difference I was already up before first light. Together with our fellow travellers we had breakfast at 7:30AM and afterwards left for an excursion to Poas Volcano NP. The drive took about one hour. Arriving in the park we walked the last 300m from the parkinglot to the rim where we had fantastic views on the active crater. From here we did a 4km walk through the cloudforest towards a extinct crater lake called Los Botos. Driving back towards San Jose we had lunch in a restaurant at the foot of the mountain. We arrived back at Hotel El Sesteo at around 3:30PM and relaxed a bit untill dinner at 7:00PM.

Some birds observed during the day are Cattle Egret, Turkey Vulture, Black Vulture, Crimson-fronted Parakeet, Hairy Woodpecker, Great Kiskadee, Great-tailed Grackle and Rufous-collared Sparrow.

 

Tuesday 6 March

Today we left San Jose for Tortuguero NP at the Carribean Coast. The 5 hours drive brought us through Braulio Carillo NP where we had a short stop to gaze over the beautiful rainforest that surrounded us. After having lunch in a nice restaurant along a small stream we took an unpaved sideroad through banana plantations towards San Rafael where the boat was already waiting for us. The last part of the trip by boat took about 2 hours and we arrived in the somewhat basic but cosy Carib Lodge in Tortuguero. Dinner was served at 7:00PM.

Some birds observed include Royal Tern, Brown Pelican, Olivaceus Cormorant, Little Blue Heron, Snowy Egret, Northern Jacana, Black-necked Stilt, Lesser Yellowlegs, Osprey, Groove-billed Ani, Mangrove Swallow, Long-tailed Hermit, Slaty-tailed Trogon, Collared Aracari, Buff-rumped Warbler, Montezuma Oropendola, Blue-gray Tanager, Scarlet-rumped Tanager and five species of Kingfisher.

 

Wednesday 7 March

After birding the lodge surroundings we had breakfast and went by boat to the north of the park. From here we took a slippery trail through the forest up to Cerro Tortuguero, a 116m high hill. From the top of the hill we had nice views on the surrounding forest and canals. Back at the lodge we had lunch and made a 3 hourís boattrip over the narrow canals called Cano Palma. New birds observed today include Anhinga, Tricolored Heron, Bare-throated Tiger-heron, Least Bittern, Sungrebe, Red-lored Parrot, Bronzy Hermit, Lineated Woodpecker, Purple-throated Fruitcrow, Golden-hooded Tanager and Red-legged Honeycreeper.

 

Thursday 8 March

While the rest of our group made a trip by canoe we birded the area around the lodge untill lunch. In the afternoon we went to Tortuguero village from where we took a trail through the forest which ended up at the beach. New birds for today included Great Blue Heron, Gray-necked Woodrail, Purple Gallinule, Whimbrel, Semiplumbeous Hawk, Short-billed Pigeon, Purple Martin, Cinnamon Woodpecker, White-collared Manakin, Sulphur-bellied Flycatcher, Chestnut-sided Warbler, Northern Waterthrush, Summer Tanager and Black-striped Sparrow.

 

Friday 9 March

After breakfast we packed our luggage and left Tortuguero for our onwards journey to La Fortuna near Arenal NP. After 21/2 hours on the boat our bus was already waiting for us at the pier. Around 2:00 PM we had a lunchstop at Selva Verde River Lodge near Sarapique. After lunch we looked for birds in the surrounding forest but unfortunetally it started raining quite heavily. Our onwards drive to La Fortuna took another 2 hours and we arrived at the Hotel San Bosco around 5:00 PM. Some birds recorded today include Buff-rumped Warbler, Hoffmanís Woodpecker, Boat-billed Flycatcher, House Wren, Red-winged Blackbird, Grayish Saltator and Melodious Blackbird.

 

Saturday 10 March

After breakfast we made our way up towards Arenal NP. We arrived at the Arenal Observatory Lodge around 9:00 AM from where several good trails lead through forested areas, lava flows and open grassy areas. A short trail from the lodge also leads to a nice waterfall. A park with lotís of flowering plants produced eight species of hummingbirds. The birding was pretty good in this area. The views on the volcano are really excellent. While driving back to the hotel in the afternoon an explosion in the crater caused a massive cloud of ashes over the top of the volcano. In the late afternoon we went to the Tabacon Hotsprings for a relaxed dip in the hot tubs. In the evening we had dinner in a restaurant close to the volcano with spectacular views of the glowing lava. Some birds observed today include Green Violet-ear, Green-breasted Mango, Purple-crowned Fairy, Black-crested Coquette, Rufous Motmot, Golden-olive Woodpecker, Golden-naped Woodpecker, Barred Antshrike, Western Kingbird, Yellow Warbler, Wilsonís Warbler and Yellow-faced Grassquit.

 

Sunday 11 March

Today again a travelday. After breakfast we left La Fortuna at 9:30AM. Around 11:00 AM we stopped for a drink at a small restaurant. From the terrace we had a nice view on Lake Arenal. From here we headed further north to the town of Liberia. Here we had lunch before heading on to Rincon de la Vieja NP over an unpaved sideroad. We arrived at the very nice ranch-like Rincon de la Vieja Lodge at 3:30PM. The rest of the afternoon was filled in with doing some birding around the lodge. The grassy area around the lodge held lotís of ticks, so be adviced to wear long trousers. Some birds recorded today include Plain Chachalaca, Sunbittern, Roadside Hawk, Inca Dove, White-ringed Flycatcher and White-throated Magpie-Jay.

 

Monday 12 March

We did some pre-breakfast birding around the lodge before heading into the park. We did a 6 hourís walk through the forest and open grassy areas. The goal of our hike was a visit to a beautiful turquoise waterfall called Laguna Azul. At the falls we head our packed lunch before walking back to the lodge where we arrived back at around 3:30PM. After some relaxing on the porch of our cabin we birded the last hourís of daylight around the lodge. Birds observed include Great Curasow, White Hawk, Plain-breasted Ground-dove, White-fronted Parrot, Elegant Trogon, Blue-crowned Motmot, Pale-billed Woodpecker, Brown Jay, Long-tailed Manakin and Piratic Flycatcher.

 

Tuesday 13 March

We again visited the park but this time took a circular trail of about 8km through the Las Pailas area. This is an area with high vulcanic activity. The trail leads along several boiling mud pools, sulfurous fumaroles and even a miniature vulcano. Back at the lodge we relaxed a bit for the rest of the afternoon. Birds new for the list included Crested Caracara, Laughing Falcon, Squirrel Cuckoo, Black-headed Trogon, Turquoise-browed Motmot, Plain-brown Woodcreeper, Barred Woodcreeper, Least Flycatcher, Black-and-White Warbler and Gray-headed Tanager.

 

Wednesday 14 March

After breakfast we left the area for our drive to Monte Verde. After the bumpy unpaved road we took a left on the main road to the south. Near the town of Juntas we took the turn-off towards Monte Verde over an even more bumpy 30km long unpaved road. We had lunch in the village of Santa Elena, which is only 6km from the entrance of Monte Verde Reserve. In the afternoon we visited the ďSky WalkĒ located on the way up to the Santa Elena Reserve. Here five suspencion bridges, averaging 100m in length, stretch high across the valleys along a 4km trail winding through the cloudforests. The area should be very birdy but it was very quiet on mid-afternoon. Nevertheless the walk was very worthwhile with excellent views over the cloudforest. We were really lucky having open sunny weather, which is very exceptional in this area. We then went to our lodge called Cabanas de los Pinos where we arrived at 5:00 PM. At 5:30 PM we had a meeting with Roberto who was going to be our birdguide for tomorrow. New birds for today include Wood Stork, Scissor-tailed Flycatcher, Eastern Wood-pewee, Violet Sabrewing, Olivaceous Woodcreeper, Plain Wren and Collared Redstart.

 

Thursday 15 March

Today a full day of birding with Roberto is on the program. Our tourguide Shirley had arranged the guide for us, and this was certainly one of the best days of the whole tour. We left early at 6:00AM and we first walked to an open spot in the forest overlooking a valley with fruiting avocado trees. We had excellent views of several Resplendent Quetzals flying on and off into the trees foraging for the fruits. Roberto also showed us two spots with roosting owls. We birded the area just outside the Monte Verde Reserve until noon, and visited the hummingbird feeders at the reserveís entrance. From here we took a taxi to the Santa Elena Reserve which is about 250m higher in altitude then Monte Verde. We had lunch at the entrance of Santa Elena and the whole afternoon we birded the trails of this beautiful reserve. It is far more quieter here then in the more famous Monte Verde Reserve, and the birding is excellent. Like yesterday we where treated on excellent sunny weather. From the watchtower on top of the ridge we had marvelous views of the surrounding forest and the Arenal Volcano, while beautiful Swallow-tailed Kites soared above our heads. At 5:30PM we were picked up again by a taxi which dropped us at the lodge at 6:00PM. We said goodbye to Roberto and thanked him for the unforgettable day. Some noteworthy birds observed today include Black Guan, Crested Owl, Bare-shanked Screech-owl, Purple-throated Mountain-gem, Resplendent Quetzal, Orange-bellied Trogon, Emerald Toucanet, Spotted Barbtail, Rufous-breasted Wren, Black-and-Yellow Silky-flycatcher, Yellow-throated Euphonia and Silver-throated Tanager.

 

Friday 16 March

Today a fairly long drive south is on the program. We left Monte Verde at around 9:30AM and bumped down the poor unpaved road to the Interamericana road leading to San Jose. We arrived in San Jose around noon where we had some time to explore the city. We had hamburger lunch at McDonalds before heading further south at 2:00PM. After 70km of winding roads through the mountains we arrived at 4:00PM at the Finca del Eddie Serrano, a farm an friendly lodge at an altitude of 2650m. We dropped our luggage in our cabin, and accompanied by a local guide we birder the trails around the lodge. At this high altitude we saw quite some specialized birds not seen before on the trip. Back at the lodgeís porch we enjoyed a beautiful sunset over the vast mountain slopes which was really unforgetable. New birds on our list included Coppery-headed Emerald, Masked Tityra, Mountain Elaenia, Slate-throated Redstart, Spangle-cheeked tanager, Barred Parakeet, Mountain Robin, Large-footed Finch and again excellent sights of several Resplendent Quetzal.

 

Saturday 17 March

After a freezing night in the cabin we again birded the area around the lodge until 10:00AM. We again had excellent sunny weather, but it was fairly cold during the first hours of the morning. Back at the lodge we had a nice and relaxed breakfast sitting on the porch in the sun. We left this beautiful place at 11:30AM for our drive to Dominical at the Pacific Coast. We arrived at the comfortable Villas Rio Mar at 2:00PM and had lunch next to the pool. The rest of the afternoon we relaxed a bit and had a swim in the hotelís pool. We had dinner in the nearby little town of Dominical. Birds observed today included Ruddy Quail-dove, Magnificent Hummingbird, Black-billed Nightingale-thrush, Long-tailed Silky-flycatcher, Flame-throated Warbler and the beautiful Golden-browed Chlorophonia.

 

Sunday 18 March

We did some pre-breakfast birding near the lodge. There was a good unpaved road that started in front of the lodge along the Rio Mar river. The area produced some excellent new birds like the very localized Fiery-billed Aracari. After breakfast we visited the nearby Hacienda Baru Reserve and walked the trails for a couple of hours. Because of the heat the bird activity was fairly low. We were back at the lodge at 2:00PM and relaxed for a few hours. From 4:30PM we again birded the road along the river until dusk. Some birds observed included White Ibis, Crested Guan, Common Black-hawk, Fiery-billed Aracari, Streaked Flycatcher, Mistletoe Tyrannulet, Yellow-crowned Euphonia and Buff-throated Saltator.

 

Monday 19 March

Today again a travelday. After breakfast we took the road south along the coast. Near Palmar Norte we took the Interamericana further south to Golfito. The drive took about 4 hours. We had lunch in Golfito before taking the ferry over the Golfo Dulce to Puerto Jiminez on the Osa Peninsula. Our hotel Agua Luna in P.Jiminez was within walking distance from the harbour. In the afternoon we walked a track towards a mangrove area. Unfortunetally it began raining quite heavy after an hour which forced us to go back to the hotel at 5:00PM. Birds today included Ruddy Ground-dove, Dusky-capped Flycatcher, Lesser Greenlet, Brown Booby, Magnificent Frigatebird, Sandwich Tern, Osprey and Crimson-fronted Parakeet.

 

Tuesday 20 March

Today we were picked up by a 4WD jeep for our onwards journey on the Osa Peninsula. Originally the plans were to stay for two nights at the Corcovado Lodge Tented Camp, but unfortunetally the first night was already fully booked. The alternative was to stay in a very basic open house near Matapalo at the southernmost tip of the peninsula. Although basic the house was very cosy with a nice outdoor bathroom. This was the first time in my life having a shower while beautiful Scarlet Macaws flew over my head. In the afternoon we did some birding in the surrounding forest and walked up a hill with nice views over the deep blue Pacific Ocean. In the late afternoon we tried to swim at the beach but the sea was very rough. From a treetrunk on the beach we enjoyed a beautiful sunset. A very poor dinner was served by some local people who owned the house. Some birds observed include Laughing Gull, Brown Pelican, Roseate Spoonbill, Yellow-headed Caracara, Scarlet Macaw, Black-hooded Antshrike and Riverside Wren.

 

Wednesday 21 March

After breakfast a 11/2 hours journey by 4WD car brought us to the beach near the little town of Carate. From here we had to walk over the beach for another 45 minutes to reach the Corcovado Lodge Tent Camp. Our luggage was brought in on horseback. The camp was very comfortable and itís location is really excellent with a sandy beach in front of the tents and undisturbed lowland rainforest around the back of it. After dropping our luggage we walked a trail north of the camp through the forest along the beach. Back at the lodge at 3:00PM we relaxed a bit at the higher elevated bar/lounch porch overlooking the beach and the surrounding forest. While having a cool beer we enjoyed watching the birds visiting the trees in front of us. After the poor food of yesterday we had an excellent dinner at the restaurant next to the bar. While walking back to our tent the beach was full of crabs. Some new birds included Wilsonís Plover, Stilt Sandpiper, King Vulture, Orange-chinned Parakeet, Streaked Xenops, Shining Honeycreeper and Scarlet-thighed Dacnis.

 

Thursday 22 March

The early morning until 10:00AM we birded a trail through the forest located in the back of the lodge following a steep ridge. After a late breakfast at 10:00AM we packed our luggage and met up with the rest of our tourgroup at the beach. We walked back towards Carate over the beach where we were picked up by 4WD jeep for a bumpy 2 hours ride back to Puerto Jiminez. We arrived back at Hotel Agua Luna in P.Jiminez at about 2:00PM. The rest of the day was filled in with a stroll along the waterfront and an hour of birding in the late afternoon. Some birds today included Long-tailed Hermit, Buff-throated Woodcreeper, Strong-billed Woodcreeper and Golden-crowned Spadebill.

 

Friday 23 March

Today a long travelday to Manuel Antonio NP is on the program with not much time left for birding. After having breakfast we boarded the ferry to Golfito at 9:30AM. The crossing to Golfito took 11/2 hours. At the harbour in Golfito our bus was already waiting for us for our onwards journey north. The drive to Manuel Antonio took about 6 hours, and we arrived at the very comfortable Cabanas Espadilla at around 5:30PM. We had a nice dinner together with our fellow groupmembers in the nearby village. No new birds recorded today.

 

Saturday 24 March

We decided to take a packed breakfast with us and leave early to visit the nearby Manuel Antonio NP on foot. The whole morning we walked several trails in the park through nice forests, along beaches and over a ridge overlooking the rocky shore. Although we did see some nice birds we did only see two new species. We had Hooded Warbler and were very happy with finding two Bairdís Trogon which is a very localized bird in Costa Rica. We were back at the hotel at 2:00PM and relaxed for the rest of the afternoon. In the evening we had dinner in Quepos together with our tourgroup including our guide Shirley and busdriver Carlos.

 

Sunday 25 March

Our last day of the trip. We had a relaxed breakfast at the hotel and had a swim in the hotelís pool before packing our things. We left the hotel at 11:30AM for the 3 hours drive to San Jose airport. Near the town of Tarcoles we had lunch and watched the enormous crocodiles in the Tarcoles river from the bridge. We arrived at the airport at 3:30PM and said goodbye to Shirley and Carlos. Our flight left on time at 6:30PM arriving in Amsterdam the next day at 1:30PM.


TOP OF PAGE