Turquoise-browed Motmot

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


Cost: $3750

Single Supplement: $600

Deposit: $300

Final Payment Due: December 29, 2020

​Maximum Group Size: 12 

Minimum Group Size: 8

Participant to Guide Ratio: 6:1

Guides: Steve Eshbaugh &

Post-trip Extension: $1,400 per person

Target # birds: 300

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 international airfare, passport/visa fees, arrival taxes, baggage fees, single-supplement fees, telephone calls, laundry, room service, souvenirs, and tipping of the United States-based guide & 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 strongly recommend that participants purchase trip insurance to cover full costs of the trip.


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

Deposit for two: $600

Costa Rica National Parks

March 26-April 5, 2021

Post-trip extention to Luna Lodge/Corcovado area: April 5-9

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 lowland tropical rainforests to high-elevation 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. We will stay on the edge of many national parks, including Juan Castro Blanco, Arenal, Braulio Carillo, Quetzales, and Corcovado. 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 neotropical 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, the favorite food of the quetzal, making spotting them much more likely.


​Many birdiing trips to Costa Rica do not visit the Osa Peninsula in the far southwestern corner of the country due to expense getting here. 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 26: Arrive in San Jose, transfer to Hotel Bougainvillea

March 27:Transfer to Bosque de Paz on the edge of Juan Castro Blanco National


March 28: All day exploring in and around Juan Castro Blanco Natoinal Park

March 29: Transfer to Arenal Volcano National Park area

March 30: All day birding, nature viewing and geology of the Arenal area

March 31: .Transfer to La Quinta de Sarapiqui hotel, night hike in La Selva.

April 1: Early morning walk La Selva Biological Station

April 2: Transfer to Savegre Hotel Nature Reserve and Spa

April 3: All day birding San Gerado de Dota area

April 4:  Return to Hotel Bougainvillea

April 5: Early morning transfer to San Jose for flights home or for extension.


April 5: Fly h Puerto Jimenez and transfer to Luna Lodge

April  6: Early morning bird hike, Day in Corcovado National Park, Easter Sunday

April 7: Morning flat water kayak trip, nature walk into Corcovado National Park

April 8: Early morning hike, fly Puerto Jimenez to San Jose

April 9: Depart for home

March 26: Your flights MUST arrive by tonight

March 27: Transfer to Bosque De Paz Lodge


You’ll awaken to many unfamiliar bird songs. First light is at around 5:15, and that and the next hour is when birds will be most active. We’ll bird the ten-acre grounds of our hotel prior to breakfast at 7:00. Many birds thrive among the stunning flowers and we’ll search for Blue-crowned Motmot and it's almost comical call, boot-boot 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 list of over 60 birds

After breakfast, our next stop is Bosque de Paz odge. Temperatures are cool and moist here. Though it may seem like we ate just a little while ago, the delicious tropical meals will convince you otherwise. As we eat, we’ll also bird, as numerous species occur on the hotel grounds. BLD

March 28: Juan Castro de Blanco National Park


This morning we'll venture on of the many trails that enter Juan Castro de Blanco National Park. 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. Our target birds include the spectacular Lovely Cotinga, Three-wattled Bellbird, Black Guan, Ornate Eagle, Black-and-white Hawk-eagle, Barred and Collard Forest Falcon, Azure-hooded Jay, Sooty-capped Tanager, Yellow-thighed Tanager and many more! BLD

March 29: Arenal Volcano


We’ll bird the grounds around Bosque De Paz again this morning before departing for Arenal Observatory Lodge. The bird feeding platforms here attract some intensely colored birds like Red-legged and Green Honeycreeper, Blue Dacnis and  various tanagers. From ebird lists, this lodge is the single best birding hot spot in Costa Rica, boasting an amazing 521 species sightings!

After lunch we'll see how many of those 521 birds we can spot on the waterfall trail, where we’ll search for Crested Guan, Barred Antshrike, Thicket Antpitta, Wedge-billed, Streak-headed, Northern-Barred and Spotted Woodcreepers and many others. We'll enjoy dinner in the gorgeous dining room at our hotel, with weather permitting Areal Volcano looming. Tonight, you'll sleep in a Smithsonian Room, with its massive windows that look upon the Volcano that became dormant in 2006. Soak in the giant hot spring at your leisure. BLD

Arenal Volcano

March 30: Arenal Volcano National Park


The well-maintained trails here provide lots of birding possibilities prior to breakfast. We'll then hike the Volcano Trail, including standing on dried lava flows that are younger than you. This trail is very different from the previous forest trail we hiked yesterday. Monkeys are frequently spotted along with many bird species.

After lunch we'll head to a private reserve that includes some canopy bridges, where we might pick up trogon species like the gartered, collared, and black-throated. Orange-chinned and Crimson-fronted parakeets along with several parrot species squawk loudly as they zip overhead. Some common targets that you can’t see in the United States include Olive-backed and Yellow-throated Euphonia, Montezuma Oropendola, Carmiol’s Tanager, Black-headed and Buff-throated Saltator, Common Bush Tanager, Orange-billed Sparrow, Silvery-throated, Passerini’s (Scarlet-rumped) and Golden-hooded Tanagers, Buff-rumped Warbler, Gray-breasted, Stripe-breasted, Plain and Bay wrens, and White-throated Magpie Jay.

​In the late afternoon, we'll head back down the hill to Tabacon Hot Springs Resort for dinner. After dinner you can soak in the spectacular hot springs, perhaps even choosing to soak under the thermal waterfall. At this point in the trip, your thought may well be “there’s more?” Yes, there’s so much more!

Northern Emerald Toucanet

March 31: Transfer to La Quinta Sarapiqui


Our destination today is La Quinta Sarapiqui. When we arrive, you’ll quickly see the hotel is not a national chain, but a quaint country hotel. The grounds at the hotel can yield numerous birds as well as spectacled caiman and two species of poison dart frogs, the “blue-jeans” and black-and-green. Target birds often spotted on the grounds in early April include Short-billed, Red-billed, Pale-vented Pigeons, Ruddy-ground, White-chested and White-tipped Doves, White-necked Jacobin, Bronzy Hermit, Band-tailed Barbthroat, Russet-naped Woodrail, Gray Hawk, Spectacled Owl, Broad-billed Motmot, Green Kingfisher, Collared Aracari, Keel-billed Toucan, Fasciated Tiger-Heron, Red-throated Ant-Tanager, Crimson-collared and Palm Tanagers.


In the evening we'll head to La Selva Biological Station. We hope to pick a Black-and-White Owl, and perhaps some nocturnal mammalian species.


Resplendent Quetzal

April 1: La Selva BIologiical Station (Organization for Tropical Studies)

Our pre-sunrise destination is once again La Selva Biological Station, just to the north of Braulio Carillo National Park. Here we’ll wander the very well-maintained trails, meandering 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 Yellow-throated toucan, Giant and Little Tinamou and a dizzying number of tanagers, hummingbirds and other birds, with almost 500 species counted on the grounds. The bizarre "walking palm" is also common on the grounds. Mammals spotted often include agouti, white-collared peccary, and three species of monekys (white-faced capuchin, spider and mantled howler)

April 2: Transfer to Savegre Lodge


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, Talamanca (Magnificent)and Fiery-Throated hummingbirds. Rivers near the hotel are preferred habitat of the tiny Torrent Tyrannulet. The more familiar American Dipper also often works the streams.BLD

April 3: Savegre Lodge near Quetzales National Park

 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 visiting during fruiting season of avocado the favorite food of the quetzal, which will greatly enhance our chances. BLD

April 4: Savegre to Bougainvillea


For those of you not doing the extension, today will be your last full day in Costa Rica. We’ll spend the morning birding Savegre before heading back to Heredia and Bougainvillea Hotel. You’ll have one last chance at picking up birds you previously missed. Tonight is a night for celebration and a farewell dinner. BLD

April 5: Everyone will be transported to the airport early this morning. (For those participating in the post-trip extension only - BLD

The post-trip extension is detailed below

April 5: Fly from San Jose to Puerto Jimenez

This morning we'll take the short flight to Puerto Jimenez. 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 6: 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.

We will also arrange for a Sunday Easter service, for those who desire it.

April 7, 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 8: 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-seen birds. We'll celebrate with a farewell dinner and recount stories of birds seen and adventures shared.

April 9: 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.