Costa Rica has long been famous among serious bird watchers and many people who never before had an interest change their mind when they encounter the country's spectacular avian diversity.
With almost 900 species of birds – more than all of North America – concentrated into an area half the size of Kentucky, it is hard not to become an instant fan of the beautifully feathered creatures one encounters in Costa Rica. Local travel agencies provide experienced nature guides who make any bird watching expedition an enjoyable and educational experience.
One of the reasons for Costa Rica's extraordinary bird life is the country's great variety of habitats: rain forests; mangrove swamps; beaches; cloud forest; rivers and more. Any two of those ecosystems, with their resident bird species, are often only a short distance apart. Birders from North America who visit Costa Rica during the northern winter invariably recognize familiar faces in the forest, since many species of warblers, flycatchers, vireos, orioles, etc. migrate to Costa Rica every winter.
The country's exemplary system of National Parks and Protected Areas provides more than ample stomping grounds for birders, but just about anywhere in Costa Rica interesting avian species are spotted. Colorful varieties like the blue-grey tanagers, great kiskadees and crimson-fronted parakeets can be seen twittering and hopping around the gardens of San Jose hotels. True bird watching enthusiasts will want to see the resplendent quetzal, which lives in the cloud forests of Monteverde, Los Santos region and the Central Volcanic Mountain Range. The equally spectacular scarlet macaw can be seen on the Osa Peninsula and around the Carara Biological Reserve.
On the map you'll find Costa Rica's tourism regions, where you can participate in these activities. For more information on any of these activities, contact your travel agent or hotel.