Bird Watching

Costa Rica has documented over 875 different types of birds among its great diversity of habitats: primary and secondary rain forests, cloud forests, mangrove estuaries, pastures, plantations, beaches, and rivers. Common sightings within these diverse habitats include lowland birds: tanagers, honeycreepers, toucans, chachalacas, aracaris, parrots, hummingbirds, owls, saltators, and vireos; water birds: petrels, jaegers, gulls, osprey; egrets, herons, and ibis; shore birds: whimbrels, plovers, phalaropes, sandpipers and sanderlings, pelicans and frigatebirds; even elusive rainforest species: trogons, motmots, antshrikes, manakins, tinamous, and curasows.

Uvita is a great hub for visiting several outstanding birding habitats. Closest is Rancho La Merced National Wildlife Refuge, just five minutes away. Rancho La Merced comprises an area of about 505 hectares featuring primary and secondary rainforest, a mangrove estuary, pasture, river front on the Morete river, and beach front. Over 310 bird species have been documented among these habitats, and night hikes are offered to view nocturnal species.

Just 25 minutes to the north is Hacienda Barú Nature Reserve. This reserve contains diverse habitats including lowlands, mangroves estuary, primary and secondary forests and ocean-facing hills. There are 330 hectares with kilometers of trails – you could spend weeks here without seeing all the species that inhabit this reserve.

At 30 minutes distance is the Oro Verde private reserve, located by a small village, San Josecito, about 18 km south of Dominical and 3-4 km up the mountain road from the coastal highway. Oro Verde is a privately-owned reserve of about 150 hectares of primary and secondary lowland rainforest. The reserve claims that hundreds of bird species have been spotted here.

At 1.5 hours away, you’ll find the Los Cusingos Bird Sanctuary among the San Isidro mountains. This sanctuary is on the grounds of a 78 hectare farm that once belonged to Alexander Skutch, one of the world’s experts on Central American birds. The sanctuary hosts over 300 species of birds and is open by appointment to bird-watchers.
It’s three hours to the Osa Peninsula and Corcovado National Park. This park is rated in the top five national parks of the world and is home to almost 400 species of birds. Among these species are sixteen that are range-restricted, and several are considered either endangered or near-extinction.