Costa Rica: A perfect bird-watching holiday

August 14, 2006 by  
Filed under Features

Many bird-watchers see their first tropical birds in Costa Rica. More than 850 species of birds inhabit Costa Rica’s rainforests, mountains, and tropical islands.

Costa Rica is famous for its park system. Tourists enjoy excellent national parks, hiking trails, organized tours, and lodging. The lodging ranges from very cheap hostels, to classy 4-star jungle resorts. Ecotourism is big business in Costa Rica, and tourist dollars help preserve the parks and all the birds living there.

The bird most Costa Rican bird-watchers hope to spot is the Resplendent Quetzal. This dramatic bird has jewel-green feathers and a spectacular long tail plume. It lives in misty, high-elevation tropical forests called “cloud forests”. Many tourists travel to Monteverde, a Costa Rican cloud forest preserve, to look for quetzals.

Bird-watchers also head for Manuel Antonio National Park. This park has lovely white-sand beaches, rainforests filled with birds, and islands where seabirds such as Blue-footed Boobies nest.

Even people unfamiliar with birds can’t help but notice Costa Rica’s colorful bird-life. Over 50 species of hummingbirds live here, and many lodges put up feeders so that visiting tourists can get a close look. Hire a guide for a day, and he or she can also point exciting forest birds like toucans or the colorful Scarlet Macaw.

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