Turquoise-browed Motmot

Call Lead-Guide Steve "Esh" Eshbaugh today at 406.570.2428 with your questions about this trip.​


Cost: $3,950. 

Single Supplement: $650

Deposit: $800

Final Payment Due: March 25

Maximum Group Size: 12 

Participant to Guide Ratio: 6:1

Guides: Steve Eshbaugh &

David Hernandez

Target # birds: 250

Level: Easy to Moderate

Tour prices are given “per person, double occupancy” and include a donation to BOTH Montana Audubon (Steve Hoffman’s former employer) and ASVO, an orginzation that helps protect critical habitat in Costa Rica Our tour fee includes the following (unless otherwise noted):

  • All trip materials, including detailed daily itinerary, list of what to bring, recommended field guides and pre-trip reading materials, checklist of likely birds & other wildlife.

  • All services of the leaders and guides

  • All transportation upon arrival to destination city

  • All accommodations during tour dates

  • All entrance fees to museums, parks, etc.

  • All meals (except alcoholic beverages) are included, typically from breakfast on the first full day through breakfast on the last full day

Tour prices DO NOT include round-trip airfare, passport/visa fees, arrival taxes, baggage fees, single-supplement fees, telephone calls, laundry, room service, souvenirs, and tipping of the guides & drivers (optional but highly recommended).

Tour deposit is refundable, minus a $200 processing fee up to 120 days prior to departure.

Note: Tour costs, itineraries and dates are subject to change. Prices may be affected by international currency exchange rates or itinerary changes.

We offset all trip impacts by purchasing carbon offsets to reduce our global footprint.

Deposit for two: $1,600

Best of Costa Rica

March 29-April 10, 2020

Though only about the size of West Virginia, Costa Rica is home to over 850 species of birds and 140 species of mammals. On this trip, we'll visit habitats ranging from lolwland tropical rainforests to cool cloud forests. These varied habitats allow for seeing a wider diversity of birds and other wildlife.

With over 25% of Costa Rica's land protected in parks and preserves, vital bird habitat abounds. This trip is an excellent opportunity to see a wide range of resident species of Costa Rica, like the Resplendent Quetzal, Scarlet Macaw, Keel-billed Toucan and many others, as well as numerous dazzling neotopical migrants.

You will find self-labeled "Ticos" incredibly generous and friendly people, who will welcome you with open arms. Our selected lodges are situated specifically in prime bird habitat. Viewing platforms, flowering plants and hummingbird galleries enhance birding. Without ever stepping on a trail, we will see dozens of bird species.

The Resplendent Quetzal is a target of almost all birders, and when you spot one, you'll quickly understand why. Our trip is timed to coincide with fruiting season for avocados and figs, favorite foods of the quetzal, making spotting them much more likely.

Most birding trips to Costa Rica do not visit the Osa Peninsula in the far southwestern corner of the country. But the Osa is home to Corcovado National Park,  a natural treasure that should be on every nature enthusiast's list.

Three-wattled Bellbird


March 29, 2020: Arrive in San Jose, transfer to Hotel Bougainvillea

March 30, 2020: Transfer to La Quinta de Sarapiqui hotel

March 31, 2020: All day at La Selva Biological Station

April 1: Transfer to Bosque de Paz on the edge of Juan Castro Blanco National Park

April 2: All day exploring in and around Juan Castro Blanco Natoinal Park

April 3: Transfer to Savegre Lodge and Natural Rreserve

April 4: Bird the numerous trail at Savegre Lodge

April 5: Transfer to San Jose area, bird 10-acre gardens at Bougianvilla Hotel

April 6: Plane flight to Puerto Jimenez, transfer to Luna Lodge

April 7: Day in Corcovado National Park

April 8: Day in Corcovado National Park

April 9: Flight to San Jose, overnight Hotel Bougainvillea

April 10: Depart for home


March 30: Transfer to La Quinta de Sarapiqui

Awaken this morning to bird calls, none of which are likely familiar. We’ll bird the ten-acre grounds prior to breakfast. Many birds thrive among the stunning flowers and we’ll search for Blue-crowned Motmot and it's almost comical call. White-eared Ground Sparrow, Steely-vented Hummingbird and Green-breasted Mango will be among our other targets. Remarkably, though this hotel lies just outside the capital city, it has a bird lost of over 60 birds.

We’ll transfer by bus to our hotel for the next two nights, La Quinta de Sarapiqui. When we arrive, you’ll quickly see the hotel is not a national chain, but a quaint country hotel located outside La Selva Biological Station. The grounds at the hotel can yield numerous birds as well as spectacled caiman and two species of poison tree frogs.

MARCH 31: La Selva Biological Station

We’ll depart La Quinta early and take the short drive to La Selva Biological Station. Here we’ll wander the very well-maintained trails, wandering among and amid researching scientists. Our target birds include Double-toothed Kite, White-collard and Red-capped manakin, Crested Guan, Chestnut-backed Antbird, Fasciated Antshrike, Slaty-tailed, Black-throated and Gartered trogons, Collared Aracari, Keel-billed and Black-mandibled toucan, Giant and Little tinamou and a dizzying number of tanagers, hummingbirds and many other birds, with almost 500 species counted on the grounds. The bizarre "walking palm" is also common on the grounds.

After lunch at the biological reserve, we’ll head back on the trails. Mammals are plentiful here, and we hope to spot mantled howler, spider and white-faced capuchin monkeys. Agouti (think large hamster), white-lipped peccary, and tamandua are also frequently seen.

APRIL 1: Transfer to Bosque de Paz Lodge

Well bird the grounds at La Quinta before heading to the edge of the cloud forest at Bosque de Paz. Temperatures are cool and moist here, and contrast remarkably from the heat and humidity of La Selva. After lunch, we'll bird some of the 4,500 acres owned by the hotel. Birds here will be very different from our previous stops.

Emerald Toucanet

April 2nd, Cloud Forest exploration

We'll bird the higher elevations of the cloud forest found near our hotel, . We'll search for Black Guan, Emerald Toucanet, Spangle-cheeked Tanager, Collared Trogon, and Golden-browed Chlorophonia. Raptors overhead might include Great Black-Hawk and Solitary Eagle. We'll also look for our first Resplendent Quetzals and listen for the strange call of the appropriately-named Three-wattled Bellbird.

The wetlands near the lodge often provide White-necked Crake and Fasciated Tiger-heron and Little Blue Heron and Tri-colored Heron among more familiar water birds. An amazing assortment of flowers attract over a dozen of the 23 species of hummingbirds that nest in the forests here. The stunning Snowcap is aother target bird.


April 3rd: Transfer to Savegre Lodge and Natural Reserve

Before breakfast, we'll take advantage of the early-morning hours and search the grounds for birds we missed the past two days. A four-hour drive, our longest, of the trip will take us to Savegre Lodge. A lunch stop outside San Jose will break up the trip.

Savegre Lodge has stunning grounds with excellent habitat for many hummingbirds, including Volcano, White-throated Mountain-gem, Stripe-tailed, and Talamanca hummingbirds. Rivers near the hotel are preferred habitat of the tiny Torrent Tyrannulet. The more familiar American Dipper also often works the streams.

April 4: Savegre Lodge


Among our target birds at Savegre are birds endemic to Costa Rica and northern Panama like the stunning Long-tailed Silky-Flycatcher, Fiery-throated Hummingbird, Spot-crowned Woodcreeper, Buffy Tuftedcheek, Yellow-winged Vireo, Flame-throated and Black-cheeked warblers, and Sooty-capped Bush-Tanager.  Here will be our best chance at spotting the Resplendent Quetzal, considered by many to be the world’s most beautiful bird. We're visitig during fruiting season of avocado and fig, favorite foods of the quetzal, which will greatly enhance our chances.

Resplendent Quetzal

April 5: Transfer to Bougainvillea Hotel


After lunch, we'll bird the road edges along the way back to Hotel Bougainvillea, and we'll arrive in plenty of time to explore the 10-acre lush gardens at the hotel. 

April 6: Fly from San Jose to Puerto Jimenez

This morning we'll take the short flight to Puerto Jimenez on Sansa Air. It's a short drive from the Jimenez airport to our lodge for the next three nights, Luna Lodge. Your room looks down upon the Pacific Ocean. We're right on the edge of Corcovado National Park, of which National Geographic calls "The most biologically intense area in the world when it comes to biodiversity.” Many of Costa Rica's 140 mammal species also reside here, and we have excellent chances of adding a fourth species, the squirrel monkey.

April 7: Corcovado National Park

We'll spend the day birding and looking for other wildlife in this gem of a National Park. Our bird targets include the elusive Fiery-billed Aracari, and commonly seen King Vulture, Laughing Falcon, Yellow-headed Caracara, Short-tailed and Mangrove Black Hawk, Bare-throated Tiger-heron, Scarlet Macaw, Stripe-throated and Long-billed Hermit, Purple-crowned Fairy, White-necked Jacobin, Blue-throated Goldentail, Black-throated Trogon, Blue-capped, Red-crowned and Orange-collard manakin, Turquoise Cotinga, and many more.

Turquoise Cotinga

April 8, Corcovado National Park area

In addition to the diversity of birds, we'll also search for Baird's tapir, margay, jaguarundi, and a host of other mammals. Other birds on our target list include Tawny-crowned Greenlet, Red-breasted Blackbird, Spotted-crowned and Yellow-crowned Euphonia, Shining, Green, and Red-legged honeycreeper, Bay-head, Cherie's and Golden-hooded Tanager, Ringed, Green and Amazon kingfisher, Masked Tityra, Rufous Piha, and Golden-naped and Red-crowned Woodpeckers. 

April 9: This morning, we'll head back to Puerto Jimenez for our short flight to San Jose. We'll head to Buena Vista hotel for our last night in Costa Rica and our last chance to spot some previously un-spotted birds. We'll celebrate with a farewell dinner and recount stories of birds seen and adventures shared.

April 10: You'll be transported back to San Jose for your flight home.

Merlin Birding Tours offers extraordinary, affordable birding & natural history excursions in the U.S. and abroad.  We provide exceptional, personalized customer service to all clients. Custom ecotours are offered to any destination as requested. Consider scheduling a nature or birding tour with the expert guides at Merlin Birding today.

© Merlin Birding & Nature Tours, LLC 2018

P.O. Box 6788

Bozeman, MT 59771

Phone: (406) 461-5714

(Send us an Email)

Merlin Birding Tours offers extraordinary, affordable birding & natural history excursions in the U.S. and abroad. We provide exceptional, personalized customer service to all clients. Custom eco-tours are offered to any destination as requested. Consider scheduling a nature or birding tour with the expert guides at Merlin Birding today.

© 2019 Merlin Birding & Nature Tours, LLC. All Rights Reserved.