where to watch birds in costa rica

Costa Rica is a bird watchers paradise and with good cause! As the bridge connecting the Americas, it is home to a striking variety of tropical birds. Few places in the world can boast of having so many bird species. Over 850 have been identified – more than the United States and Canada combined! Keep in mind, this is all in an area roughly the size of West Virginia. Costa Rica has 12 of the planet’s 18 different life zones, providing a huge range of climates. Factor in the volcanoes and rolling hills of the country and different altitudes just add to the species variety! Popular birds of Costa Rica include toucans, scarlet macaws, motmots, and the shy and beautiful Quetzal. Up to 150 different species have been reported seen in a single day. From the dry tropics of the Nicoya Peninsula to the humid lowlands of the Caribbean Coast, the incredible array of habitats and micro-systems creates nearly endless bird watching opportunities in Costa Rica.

In 2007, Costa Ricans named the Monteverde Cloud Forest one of the 7 natural wonders of their country. Thanks to its unique location, the Reserve consists of different ecological zones, 90% of which are untouched forest. The cloud cover that hovers around the forest’s canopy creates a near-unique environment. Many of the plants and animals that are seen in the cloud forest cannot be found anywhere else in the world. Besides containing the most orchid species in a single place, Monteverde is estimated to be the home of upwards of 400 different bird species – and an early morning birding tour is the perfect opportunity to see how many you can spot!

900 species of birds have been registered in all the territory

Serious bird watchers have long held Costa Rica in high regard, and many individuals who had never taken an interest in birds before become enthralled with the remarkable variety of birds that call the country home. With nearly 900 species of birds—more than all of North America—contained in a region half the size of Kentucky, it is difficult to avoid falling in love with Costa Rica’s exquisitely feathered inhabitants right away. Experienced naturalists are provided by nearby travel agencies, making any birdwatching excursion entertaining and instructive.

The remarkable diversity of Costa Rica’s habitats, which include rain forests, mangrove swamps, beaches, cloud forests, rivers, and more, contributes to the country’s exceptional bird life. Any two of those ecosystems are frequently very close to one another, with their respective resident bird species. Due to the abundance of warblers, flycatchers, vireos, orioles, and other familiar faces in the forest, North American birdwatchers who travel to Costa Rica in the northern winter months always recognize the same individuals there. migrate to Costa Rica every winter.

Although there are plenty of excellent places for birdwatchers to go in Costa Rica thanks to the excellent system of National Parks and Protected Areas, interesting bird species can be seen almost anywhere in the country. In San Jose hotel gardens, colorful varieties can be seen hopping and twittering, such as the crimson-fronted parakeet, great kiskadee, and blue-grey tanager. The brilliant quetzal, which inhabits the cloud forests of Monteverde, the Los Santos region, and the Central Volcanic Mountain Range, is something that true bird watchers should definitely see. Around the Carara Biological Reserve and on the Osa Peninsula, one can witness the equally magnificent scarlet macaw.

Costa Rica’s best places for bird watching

The tourist areas of Costa Rica, where these activities are offered, are indicated on the map. Get in touch with your travel agent or hotel for more details on any of these activities.

La Paz Waterfall Gardens Birding Tours:

  • Peace Lodge Private Bird Watching Tour

where to watch birds in costa rica

There are some of the world’s most secluded and pristine rainforests on the Osa Peninsula. The area is teeming with wildlife, so you don’t even need to be in Corcovado National Park to see birds! Over 350 bird species inhabit the peninsula. Some of the rare and exotic birds that call this place home can be seen when you take an early morning birding hike or gaze out over the rainforest canopy from your eco lodge. It’s common to see the colorful Scarlet Macaw flying in pairs. Many kinds of water birds can be found in swampy mangrove inlets.


What month is best for birding in Costa Rica?

Birdwatching in Costa Rica is a year-round activity. However, the dry season, from December to April, is generally considered the best time to go birding. During this period, you’ll encounter a higher number of resident and migratory species.

Where can I see parrots in Costa Rica?

There are several projects in Costa Rica to restore their population. You can commonly see the macaws at Jaco, Corcovado National Park, Carara National Park, Tortuguero, Osa Peninsula and Manuel Antonio. You’ll hear them before you see them as they squawk very loudly!

Are there a lot of birds in Costa Rica?

Richard Garrigues, author of the 440-page long Birds of Costa Rica Field Guide* counted more than 900 species of birds in Costa Rica.

Where is the best place to see the king vulture in Costa Rica?

In Costa Rica, one of the best places to see it is precisely in Boca Tapada and within the Maquenque Mixed Reserve.