Are you Planning a Birding Vacation in Costa Rica to find the best birding hotspots?

When is time to plan a Birding vacation in Costa Rica with Epic Tours, you can’t go wrong. We find the best birding hotspots in Costa Rica.

Hi, my name is Paul Laurent, and with my wife Amanda we own and operate the birding tour company called Epic Nature Tours. We specialize in bringing small groups of birders to the best birding spots in Costa Rica while avoiding the big crowds and tour buses. Over the years we have found lots of great birding spots across Costa Rica, but only a handful can compare to the Caño Negro Wetlands.

Birding vacation in Costa Rica with Epic Tours

When you visit Caño Negro Refuge for a birdwatching experience, you can trust in Hotel de Campo

We first found out about Hotel de Campo when a group contacted us about setting up a trip to look for the Agami Heron – one of the most beautiful and hard-to-find herons in Costa Rica. We hadn’t had the chance to visit Caño Negro yet, but that is the place to go if you’re targeting this elusive and secretive species. We found Hotel de Campo online, and the small size, great location, and private tour options made it the obvious choice for us to bring our guests to.

Hotel de Campo itself is a great place for birdwatching, the rooms open up to an open garden with spread-out trees and shrubs that bring in lots of birds and is open enough to see them easily, and the lagoon is just a few hundred feet away. I’ve never seen as many Red-legged Honeycreepers in one place before!

Birding vacation in Costa Rica with Epic Tours

Birding vacation in Costa Rica with Epic Tours

Our amazing guide and captain was Alonso, and while he doesn’t speak a lot of English he has an incredible ability to know exactly where to go to find the birds we’re looking for.

Our two days of birding let us see well over 100 different species – including an Agami Heron, Black-collared Hawks, Nicaraguan Grackles, Sungrebes, and a Pacific Screech-Owl! On our first day of boat tours, Alonso took us into a tiny little creek with just enough water for the boat and cut off the engine. A few minutes later he got a big grin and pointed to the thick bushes overhanging the muddy bank of the creek next to our boat.

An Agami Heron stalked slowly and silently out of the dense vegetation into a small clearing, paused for a moment in plain view, then slowly stalked back into the bushes and out of sight. It was one of the most incredible birding moments of my life. Alonso could do this with just about every bird we wanted to see, he knew exactly which creek to find the Agami Heron in, had a spot to look for Black-collared Hawks and Lesser Yellow-headed Vultures, and on the last day made a special run far up the river to a creek he knew a Sungrebe liked to visit.

Birding vacation in Costa Rica with Epic Tours

One of the fascinating things about Caño Negro is how much it changes over the year. As water levels rise and fall different birds come and go as well. Our first visit was in mid-November, and unfortunately, we were a couple of weeks too early to see the Jabirus (but we saw a few flying overheads on the drive home). Our second trip to Caño Negro was in January, with much lower water – and we saw at least six or eight Jabirus and hundreds of other wading birds in the shallow flats that were underwater on our first visit. This isn’t to say that January is better than November to visit Caño Negro. We saw at least as many birds in November as we did in January, we just saw some were different species depending on the water depth each time.

Hotel de Campo has become one of our regular stops for birding tours, and we are excited to return to Caño Negro soon.

Next step? just contact Epic Nature Tours

For your next trip to Costa Rica, consider to plan a Birding vacation in Costa Rica with Epic Tours.

    Useful Tips for a great Birding vacation in Costa Rica with Epic Tours

    What to bring? BINOCULARS

    Pleeease… Bring at least a decent binocular. Animals like to stay away from us. So at least a decent binocular is a must to spot any kind of animal. The minimum recommended size for a binocular is 8×36 or 8×40 is a very good decision. Today you can purchase a good binocular for $100. Try to avoid the cheapest binoculars, especially when you go for birdwatching.

    Repellent and Mosquito “plaquitas”

    Repellent and Mosquito “plaquitas” (in Google, just type “plaquitas mosquitos”.

    YES, in Costa Rica, ALL around Costa Rica we do have mosquitoes. Try to buy the repellent in Costa Rica, is stronger.

    Also, for your hotel room, we do have a special electric item, is an electric burner with an insert, in Spanish is “plaquitas”, that works perfectly, and you buy it in every supermarket.

    Long pants and long sleeves

    Long pants and long sleeves. I know is hot. But when we visit nature, the refuge, especially when we go for a walk, or during a night walk for frogs, long pants and long sleeves are a must.

    Good pair of shoes, avoid flip-flops

    Good pair of shoes. Please, avoid “chancletas”, flip-flops, any kind of flip-flop when you visit nature. Best shoes investment? By rubber boots. You can purchase this in any hardware store in Costa Rica, they are cheap.

    Rubber boots are the best idea especially when you visit Costa Rica during the rainy season.

    A decent camera

    A decent camera. Even if taking pictures are not your thing, cellphone cameras are useless for nature pictures. They work fine for panoramic, but if you like to take a picture of a monkey, will be useless. If you like to travel light, look for a bridge camera. 

    Cellphone local chip-card

    Cellphone local chip-card. Purchase a pre-paid local line. They work fine in all of Costa Rica. So you will be sure to have internet for WhatsApp and other communication. Sometimes, when you travel to a hotel that is not close to a city, there is no cables company that offers the service. So hotels do not have good wifi service.

    Birdwatching App

    If you are a birdwatcher, is very useful to have a good cellphone, a good Bluetooth speaker, and the application of Merlin Bird ID. (for Android and IOS) Install this app at home, download the bird package for Costa Rica and Nicaragua. This is the best way to attract birds around. For example, when you have a moment in the garden of your hotel like we do at Hotel de Campo, use the sound. Call the birds.

    If you need any other information, if you have any questions, please do not hesitate to reach us.