Birding the Americas Trip Report and Planning Repository
Return to the Main Index

Return to the North America Index
Return to the Central American Index
Return to the Costa Rica Index

2-16 August 2003

by Don Lewis
Lafayette, CA
donlewis AT

Two friends and I birded Costa Rica last year August 2-16. We deliberately went during our summer in order to eliminate
seeing any of our migrant birds. We didn't want to spend time looking at familiar birds when there are so many great new
ones to see. There is a "little dry season" in late July and early August. That is a relative term.

We had rain one entire morning at Rancho (not all bad; the balcony is great), and significant rain for about two to three
hours in early afternoon three other days, as I recall. We only got caught away from shelter once. Nighttime rain was
common but it didn't impinge on the birding. Most days there was no rain.

And there were no bugs. We only ran into mosquitoes once, at dusk in the forest at Tarcol. It is somewhat cooler in
the rainy season than during the dry season, another consideration for some. Less guests at the lodges also may be
an attraction.

We stayed at Tarcol Lodge, Savegre Lodge, Rancho Naturalista, and Selva Verde. The last three are great; Tarcol
has been correctly described in recent posts. Plenty good for birding but I wouldn't take my wife there. Gateway did
all our arrangements and provided transport between lodges, all done very efficiently with excellent vans, drivers and
helpful attitude.

Our trip list was 380 species, very comparable to the 450-500 or so that most two-week tours see in the dry season
when the North American migrants are subtracted from the latter.

Of minor note is that the guides usually saw and especially heard birds that we did not, so the actual number of birds to
which we were exposed was greater. We used local guides as we went along. Freddie Madrigal, who operates as
Falcon Tours:

was terrific; one of the best guides I've ever had the pleasure to bird with. Not to be confused with his brother, Paco,
who also gets rave reviews. Marino Chacon, the resident guide at Savegre Lodge, is also excellent. Both are highly

For the trip list click HERE.

Birding Top 500 Counter