Birdwatching destination in Costa Rica

A few tips for a great birdwatching trip to Costa Rica

Costa Rica is a world-renowned birdwatching destination, with over 850 species of birds, more than any other Central American country. From the vibrant rainforests of Monteverde to the ethereal cloud forests of the Talamanca Mountains, birding opportunities abound throughout the country.

The sheer number of bird species in Costa Rica can be attributed to its diverse geography. The country’s varied landscape provides a wide array of habitats that support an extraordinary range of avian life, from dense rainforests to mist-laden cloud forests, towering mountains to serene beaches.

One of the advantages of birdwatching in Costa Rica is the country’s compact size, which makes it easy to explore different birding hotspots. Navigating around the country is relatively hassle-free, allowing bird enthusiasts to venture into various regions and encounter distinct avian communities. Furthermore, Costa Rica boasts well-maintained trails and observation platforms, providing ideal vantage points to observe and appreciate birds in their natural habitats.

In addition to being a birder’s haven, Costa Rica prides itself on its commitment to environmental conservation. The country has a strong focus on sustainability and boasts numerous organizations dedicated to safeguarding its natural resources. By choosing to birdwatch in Costa Rica, you can be assured that your activities align with eco-friendly practices, making it a rewarding and responsible experience.

With Birding Costa Rica Tours you will visit:

  • Caño Negro Wildlife Refuge: This marshland reserve is home to a variety of wading birds, including the Agami Heron, the Jabiru, the Yellow-breasted Crake, and the roseate spoonbill during the dry season.
  • Monteverde Cloud Forest: This lush rainforest is home to over 400 species of birds, including the resplendent quetzal, and the three-wattled bellbird.
  • Arenal La Fortuna: This region is home to a variety of rainforests, cloud forests, and volcanoes, making it a great place to see a variety of bird species, including the resplendent quetzal, and the keel-billed toucan.
  • Peninsula de Osa: This remote peninsula is home to the Corcovado National Park, one of the most biodiverse places on Earth. Here, you can see an incredible diversity of bird species, including a large number of raptors, the ocelot, tapir, and the jaguar.
  • Sarapiquí, visiting La Selva Biological Station: This research station is located in a rainforest and offers guided birdwatching tours. This diverse landscape makes it a great place for birdwatching, and over 400 species of birds have been recorded in the region.

No matter where you go in Costa Rica, you’re sure to see a variety of beautiful and interesting birds. So what are you waiting for? Start planning your birdwatching trip to Costa Rica today!

Here are some additional tips for birdwatching in Costa Rica:

  • Consider hiring a local guide who can help you find the best birdwatching spots and teach you about the local birdlife.
  • Be aware of the different birding seasons, as some species are only present during certain times of year.
  • Be respectful of the birds and their habitat, and avoid disturbing them.

The top 8 Birdwatching destination in Costa Rica are:

When we mention “Birdwatching Destination in Costa Rica,” we are referring to significant regions that could contain multiple birding hotspots in Costa Rica. We believe that these primary destinations for birdwatching include:

  1. The northern region of Costa Rica: Caño Negro Wildlife Refuge and Medio Queso
  2. Bijagua – Tenorio National Park
  3. Puerto Viejo de Sarapiquí
  4. La Fortuna – Arenal Volcano
  5. Monteverde Cloud Forest
  6. San Gerardo de Dota
  7. The Atlantic Coast
  8. Central Pacific Coast – Carrara National Park

Costa Rica birding map, Costa Rica Birding Tours

The top 8 Birding destination in Costa Rica and their birdwatching hotspots

The northern region of Costa Rica:
Caño Negro Wildlife Refuge and Medio Queso

Birdwatching in Caño Negro Wildlife Refuge

Situated in the northern region of Costa Rica, close to the Nicaraguan border, lies the Caño Negro National Wildlife Refuge, an absolute must-see for those passionate about birdwatching. This hidden treasure has gained recognition as a prime spot for birding, granting visitors an extraordinary chance to witness and capture a remarkable assortment of bird species.

Uncovering the Paradise for Birdwatching: Caño Negro is a haven for birdwatchers, boasting one of the most diverse bird populations in the entire country. With its varied ecosystems encompassing wetlands, lagoons, and marshes, this refuge serves as a sanctuary for over 200 distinct bird species. Whether they are permanent residents or migratory visitors, Caño Negro delivers an unparalleled birding experience that lasts throughout the year.

Target birds to spot in this area can be:

Birdwatching in Caño Negro Wildlife Refuge


Birdwatching at Medio Queso Wetland

Just a few kilometres from Caño Negro, we find Medio Queso Wetland. This wetland is similar to Caño Negro, but in a much smaller dimension. Even so, during the dry season, it is a great hotspot to enjoy a few species of birds that are very difficult to see in Caño Negro.

The birds that can be spotted in Medio Queso Wetland include:
– Yellow-breasted crake
– Sora
– Pinnated bittern
– Least bittern
– Forktail Flycatcher
– Lesser Yellow-headed Vulture

What can I do in the National Refuge of Caño Negro?

2 nights – 3 days Birdwatching Package in Caño Negro

This destination is included in our Birding and Photography journey packages: 10 days, 15 days, and 18 days birding around Costa Rica

The Atlantic region of Costa Rica: Manzanillo National Park in Cahuita and Kekoldi Private reserve.

Birdwatching at Gandoca Manzanillo Wildlife Refuge

Gandoca Manzanillo Wildlife Refuge is a protected area located on the Caribbean coast of Costa Rica. It is situated near the Panama border, in the province of Limón. The primary goal of the refuge is to conserve the diverse ecosystems found within its boundaries. It covers an area of approximately 55,000 hectares (136,000 acres) and consists of both land and marine habitats. These include tropical forests, mangroves, wetlands, and coral reefs. The refuge is home to a wide range of wildlife species, including many endangered and rare animals. Some of the notable species found here include crocodiles, caimans, iguanas, monkeys, sloths, anteaters, turtles, and of course dozens of bird species.

Gandoca Manzanillo is the Birdwatching Hotspot on the Atlantic Coast of Costa Rica

Gandoca Manzanillo Wildlife Refuge is a popular hotspot for birdwatchers, as it is home to a wide variety of bird species.  

Possible targets for Manzanillo National Park are:

Kekoldi Private Reserve: A Delightful Oasis for Birdwatchers

Kekoldi Private Reserve is a protected area located on the Atlantic coast of Costa Rica. It is situated near the town of Puerto Viejo de Sarapiquí, in the province of Limón. The reserve was founded in 1990 by a group of local conservationists who wanted to protect the rich biodiversity of the area.

The reserve covers an area of approximately 2,000 hectares (5,000 acres) and consists of both land and wetland habitats. The land is home to a variety of tropical rainforests, while the wetlands include rivers, streams, and swamps. The reserve is home to a wide range of wildlife species, including many endangered and rare animals. Some of the notable species found here include jaguars, monkeys, sloths, anteaters, turtles, and a variety of bird species.

Kekoldi Private Reserve: A Raptor Migration Hotspot

Kekoldi Private Reserve is a protected area located on the Atlantic coast of Costa Rica. It is situated near the town of Puerto Viejo de Sarapiquí, in the province of Limón. The reserve is a popular destination for birdwatchers, especially during the raptor migration seasons of March/April and October/November.

During these times, thousands of raptors pass through the reserve, making it one of the best places in the country to see these magnificent birds. Some of the species that can be seen at Kekoldi Private Reserve include:


Costa Rica is a top birdwatching destination in the world, with over 850 bird species, making it the most diverse country in Central America in terms of avian diversity

Birdwatching at Puerto Viejo de Sarapiquí: Heaven for Bird Enthusiasts

Puerto Viejo de Sarapiquí, located on the Atlantic coast of Costa Rica, is a fantastic destination for birdwatching enthusiasts. Here is some information about birdwatching in this area:

1. Biodiversity: Puerto Viejo de Sarapiquí is situated in the Sarapiquí region, known for its exceptional biodiversity. The area is home to a wide range of tropical bird species, making it an ideal spot for birdwatching.

2. Bird Species: Over 450 bird species have been recorded in the Sarapiquí region, including colorful toucans, parrots, hummingbirds, tanagers, trogons, woodpeckers, and many more. You can find both resident and migratory bird species in the area.

3. Birding Hotspots at Puerto Viejo de Sarapiqui: There are several recommended birding hotspots in and around Puerto Viejo de Sarapiquí. Between the few, we prefere to visit “La Selva Biological Station”. This is one of the oldest biological station in Costa Rica, and is one with the most prestige. You won’t be desappointed.

Depending on the season, our target could be:

La Fortuna - Arenal Volcano region of Costa Rica: Bogarin trail, Arenal Observatory, Hanging Bridges

Birdwatching at La Fortuna – Arenal Volcano

La Fortuna is a small town in Costa Rica, known for its proximity to the majestic Arenal Volcano. The volcano, also known as Arenal Volcano, stands tall at over 5,000 feet and is one of the most active volcanoes in the world. With its perfectly conical shape, Arenal provides a breathtaking backdrop to the town and its surrounding lush rainforests. Visitors can enjoy a range of activities in La Fortuna, including hiking to the volcano’s base, relaxing in natural hot springs, or exploring the nearby Arenal Volcano National Park. With its stunning natural beauty and adventurous spirit, La Fortuna has become a popular destination for nature lovers and thrill-seekers alike.

Birding Hotspots at La Fortuna:

Birdwatching at Bogarin Trail:

The Bogarin Trail in La Fortuna, Costa Rica, is a popular destination known for its stunning views of the Arenal Volcano and lush rainforest. This short and easy loop trail covers 1.25 miles (2 kilometers) and offers a unique biodiversity experience. Encounter sloths, monkeys, birds, frogs, and butterflies along the way. With over 220 bird species, it’s a paradise for bird watchers

Birdwatching at the Arenal Observatory Lodge

Nestled in the stunning beauty of Costa Rica’s rainforest, the Arenal Observatory Lodge is a paradise for birdwatchers. Located near the Arenal Volcano National Park, this lodge offers a unique opportunity to observe a rich variety of bird species in their natural habitat. With its diverse ecosystems and abundant wildlife, the Arenal Observatory Lodge is a must-visit destination for bird enthusiasts.

As you embark on your birdwatching adventure, you will be greeted by the melodious songs and vibrant colors of the tropical avifauna. The Arenal Volcano National Park is home to over 500 bird species, making it a birdwatcher’s dream come true. Whether you are an experienced birder or a novice, you will be captivated by the sheer diversity of species that can be found here.

Always related to season, our few targets can be:

Birding in Monteverde:

Monteverde – Curicancha Private Reserve – San Luis at Finca Paraiso

Monteverde is always an interesting destination because you have a few birding hotspots in one place. Depending on the season, it can be a crowdy destination. Instead, it would be best if you visited San Gerardo de Dota.

Looking for a 10 days birding trip in Costa Rica?

We have this cover!  And major birding hotspots are included, such as Arenal Volcano, Monteverde, Caño Negro Refuge, and Puerto Viejo de Sarapiquí.

Birding in San Gerardo de Dota

The resplendent Quetzal and the Long-tailed Flycatcher

A few birds that could be on our target list will be:

Birdwatching destination in Costa Rica

Contact & Prices

Next step? just contact Birding Costa Rica Tours with Renzo

For your next trip to Costa Rica, consider planning a Birding vacation in Costa Rica with Renzo Sturmo.

All our packages are custom-made. So be as specific as you can at the time to request information about the package