1 Night in Savegre Mountain Lodge,
2 Nights in La Merced National Wildlife Refuge
2 Nights in Las Cruces Biological Station
Meals as indicated in itinerary (B,L,D)
Birding guided walks with bilingual guides at locations (could also include full trip private guide)
Rented Car (or Land Transfers)
Day 1: Savegre Mountain Hotel- Savegre Cloudforest
Early in the morning depart from your hotel in San José and travel towards San Gerardo de Dota, a small community in the Talamanca Mountains in the midst of a precious ecosystem, the Tropical Cloud Forest, filled with massive oaks and other native species. The woods serve as a sanctuary for a large number of mammals and innumerable species of insects, amphibians, amazing plants and abundant colorful birds, it is defenitely a paradise for birdwatchers, where the Resplendent Quetzal can be seen all year around and hummingbirds fly all over the place, some of them are the White-throated Mountain-gem, Volcano Hummingbird, Scintillant Hummingbird, Green-crowned Brilliant, among many others. Collared Trogons, Acorn Woodpeckers, Yellow-tighed Finches, Dark Pewee, and Emerald Toucanets, can also be added to your list at the end of the day. The drive takes about 2 and half hours from San José, which allows you to spend the whole afternoon birding in this paradise. Your night will be in Savegre Mountain Hotel. (L,D)
Day 2: La Merced National Wildlife Refuge
Early in the morning after a delicious breakfast, you will go in search of the beautiful Resplendent Quetzal in a relaxing guided walk along the Savegre River where it is easy to spot this marvellous bird due to the abundance of fruit trees of the Lauraceae Family and the good conditions for nesting.
A little bit before noon depart from San Gerardo towards La Merced National Wildlife Refuge. On the way stop at Mirador Vista del Valle, an excellent location for a panoramic view of El General Valley and to observe the Violet Sabrewing and the Red-headed Barbet. Lunch here.
Late in the afternoon you will be arriving to La Merced located on the Pacific Coast near Punta Uvita and the Ballena Marine National Park. The refuge has an area of 1250 acres which is comprised of a forest reserve with both primary and secondary tropical wet forest as well as pasture, mangrove estuary, frontage on the Morete River and beach. It offers a wide variety of habitats to explore. A nocturnal walk might produce Spectacled Owl, Crested Owl, Black and White Owl, and Common Paraque. (B,D)
Day 3: La Merced National Wildlife Refuge
What a great night you had! A feeling of peace, the sounds of the tropical jungle, and the awakening accompanied by the call of the howler monkeys. It couldn't be a better scenary for a new birding day. Explore the rainforest trails of this nature reserve where countless birds will be spotted in the abundant mixed flocks, and in the afternoon hike through the lower areas to see birds from more open areas and sea shore. Tawny-winged Woodcreepers, King Vultures, Red-capped Manakins, Streaked-chested Anpitta, are just some of the highlights. (B,L,D)
Day 4: Las Cruces Biological Station
Early walk to spot some birds before breakfast. Leave for Las Cruces Bilogical Station in Wilson Botanical Garden. You will be arriving to Las Cruces around noon to enjoy lunch. Afternoon hike in the gardens. Not only you will admire the countless birds, but the great botanical display. Your visit to the station might produce Silver-throated Tanager, Green Honeycreepers, Lance-tailed Manakin, Orange-collared Manakins, several Euphonias, Barred Forest-falcon amid many other birds.
Las Cruces Biological Station is home to the Wilson Botanical Garden featuring beautifully diverse plantings of tropical and subtropical ornamentals, representatives of unusual plant families and rare and endangered plants from Costa Rica and elsewhere. Particularly well represented are ferns, aroids, bromeliads, gingers, heliconias, marantas, and palms. More than 1,000 genera in 212 plants families can be seen along trails that wind around palm-covered hillsides, through agave and lily beds, under rain forest canopy, through banana and heliconia groves, or to strategic overlooks on the rolling grounds. Las Cruces is part of the La Amistad Biosphere Reserve that encompasses 472,000 hectares of park land and buffer zones centered in the Southern Talamanca Mountain Range. Due to its greatly preserved sorroundings and to the high plant diversity in the gardens, this is a wonderful destination for birding. (B,L,D)
Day 5: Las Cruces Biological Station
Right after your breakfast explore Wilson Botanical Gardens, learn about the plants (exotic and endemic) and admire the high bird diversity, a lot of mixed flocks are found in the gardens and in the cloud forest trails, you could easily add 60 to 70 species in one day. (B,L,D)
Day 6: Return to San José
Breakfast and depart from Las Cruces towards San José. Stop on the way for lunch in San Isidro if you wish. (B)