Costa Rica has long been famous among serious bird watchers, but many people who would never consider the activity at home quickly have become interested in the country’s spectacular avian diversity.

With almost 850 species of birds -more than the total of what North America has- packed into an area half the size of Kentucky, it’s hard not to become enthused about the variety of feathered creatures one encounters in Costa Rica. And we can provide us experienced nature guides who make any Costa Rica bird watching vacation an educational experience.

One of the reasons for Costa Rica’s extraordinary birdlife is the country’s great variety of habitats: rain forests, mangrove swamps, beaches, cloud forests, rivers, etc. And any two of those ecosystems, with their resident bird species, are often only a short distance apart.

Birders from North America who enjoy their Costa Rica bird watching vacation 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 provide more than ample stomping grounds for birders, but just about anywhere you look in Costa Rica, you spot interesting avian species. Even some hotels in the San Jose area have such colorful critters as blue-grey tanagers, great kiskadees, and crimson-fronted parakeets in their gardens.

However, those interested in bird watching will want to see the resplendent quetzal, which lives in the cloud forests of Monteverde, Los Santos region and the Central Volcanic Mountain Range, and the equally spectacular scarlet macaw, which can be seen on the Osa Peninsula or the area around the Carara Biological Reserve.

Cano negro wildlife refuge is another destination for your Costa Rica bird watching vacation. Cano Negro is a sweet water lagoon, not too deep, with an extension of 800 hectares. The lagoon and the nearby areas are some most important and vital biological areas that support environmental quality in the north side of the country. The Cano Negro refuge is an important source of food to migratory birds from the north. There are also several species of plants and animals not found anywhere else in the country, birds, and fishes for human consumption.

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