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June 22 - July 1, 2019

A Dragonfly &
Nature Tour!

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Everyone knows that Costa Rica is a naturalist's heaven and bird watchers from all over the world have often visited Costa Rica as their introduction to Neotropical birds. But how many people know just how fantastic Costa Rica is for dragonflies? With 274 species presently described and at least 15 undescribed in Costa Rica, we will aim to see a good selection of these winged gems. There are 14 different families of Odonata in Costa Rica compared to 9 in the UK and 11 in the US, making this tropical paradise the perfect place to search the rocky mountain streams, rivers, marshes and ponds for wide variety of species. This tour will have dragonflies as the main focus, but we will also take time to look at the wide variety of other fantastic wildlife this beautiful country has to offer. If the weather is particularly cloudy or overcast and not great for dragonflying, we will take time to look at some of the magnificent birds, plus reptiles, frogs, other insects and indeed butterflies which are active even on dull days.

Red-eyed Tree FrogDue to the fantastic success of our 2017 and 2018 tours we have a big demand to repeat one particular area around Laguna del Lagarto where we discovered several new species for Costa Rica and also found a handful of undescribed species. This exciting area is home to the much sought after Common Blue-wing and certainly deserves a more thorough search which is why we have organized this new and exciting itinerary. We will spend time in just two areas allowing us good opportunities to find even more new species for the country. Other wildlife we hope to see could include Great Green Macaws, Snowy Cotinga, Honeycreepers, Toucans, Trogons, Hummingbirds, Mantled Howler Monkey, Strawberry Poison Dart and Red-eyed Tree Frog.

Some of the species possible on this tour:
Amazon Sapphirewing – Blue-winged Helicopter –
Metallic Pennant – Red-and-black Flatwing – Yellow-eyed Spreadwing – Guatemala Spinyneck – Caribbean Yellowface – Brilliant Redskimmer – Mexican Scarlet-tail – Golden Amberwing – Little Swamp Dasher – Andagoya Dragonlet – Morton's Skimmer – Tuxtla Leaftail – Lowland Knobtail – Gold-tipped Darner – Marsh Firetail – Bromeliad Helicopter – Wispy Threadtail – Tiny Forktail – Costa Rican Wedgetail – White-faced Flatwing – Peralta Cora – Tikal Spreadwing – Hercules Skimmer – Jade-striped Sylph – Arch-tipped Glider – and many more!



DamselflyDay 1: Start of Tour, Saturday 22nd June – Arrival San Jose – Welcome dinner

If traveling from the UK or US you need to plan for a flight that arrives in San Jose International Airport (Airport code: SJO) on June 22, 2019. Note this is just an arrival day and a free shuttle bus will transfer you to our hotel. The tour begins with dinner at 7.00pm. (D) NT San Jose.


Day 2: Sunday 23rd June – La Paz – Cinchona – Selva Verde
After breakfast today we will meet our trusted coach driver Ramon and head out of the city towards the Sarapiqui. Our first stop will be the La Paz Waterfall Gardens where we can see a variety of interesting hummingbirds which include the Black-bellied Hummingbird, Coppery-headed Emerald, Green-crowned Brilliant, and Brown Violetear. Several other birds present here could include the gorgeous Red-headed barbet, Golden-browed Chlorophonia and maybe even a White Hawk. Moving on we will have a light lunch at a local café with hummingbird and fruit feeders. This little café will entertain us for a while as we look for up to 6 species of hummingbird including Green Thorntail, White-bellied Mountain Gem and Violet Sabrewing. Other birds here include Blue-throated Toucanet and Prong-billed Barbets plus a few tanager species.

From here we will then head towards Puerto Viejo de Sarapiqui and the Selva Verde Lodge our home for the next 3 nights. If time permits along the way we may check a small river for our first dragonflies and perhaps Torrent Tyrannulet or American Dipper. Once we get to the lodge and settle in we may get our first chance to check out the now famous Dragonflydragonfly ponds near our bungalows. Here a good variety of species can be found as long as it is sunny and among these are an undescribed species of Amberwing, as well as Sooty Saddlebags (Tramea binotata), Flame-tailed Pondhawk (Erythemis peruviana), Pond Amberwing (Perithemis mooma), Lowland Knobtail (Epigomphus tumefactus), Fiery Darner (Coryphaeschna diapyra), Brilliant Redskimmer (Rhodopygia hinei), Arch-tipped Glider (Tauriphila argo), Striped Saddlebags (Tramea onusta), Scarlet Dragonlet (Erythrodiplax castanea), Square-spotted Dasher (Micrathyria ocellata) and Tiny Forktails (Ischnura capreolus) and if we are lucky maybe our first huge helicopter damsel such as Blue-winged Helicopter (Megaloprepus caerulatus) or Bromeliad Helicopter (Mecistogaster modesta). Tonight for those that can stay awake we will have an optional search for Red-eyed Tree Frog and maybe Strawberry and Green-and-black Poison-Dart Frogs and possibly Crab-eating Racoon. Night Selva Verde Lodge. (B,L,D)


Day 3: Monday 24th June – La Selva Biological Station
dragonToday we will visit the world famous La Selva Biological Station. This is one of the best and best-studied sites for dragonflies in Central America, and at this time some 130 species have been recorded in the swamps and streams of this extensive patch of rainforest. We hope to see a good sample of these including Tikal Spreadwing (Lestes tikalus), Redstripe Rubyspot (Hetaerina miniata), Costa Rican Wedgetail (Acanthagrion speculum), Red-and-black Flatwing (Heteragrion erythrogastrum), Wispy Threadtail (Psaironeura angeloi), Gold-tipped Darner (Gynacantha tibiata), Common Blue-eye (Anatya guttata), Armed Knobtail (Epigomphus armatus), Black Dasher (Micrathyria atra), Fork-tipped Dashers (Micrathyria mengeri), Swamp Skimmer (Orthemis cultriformis) and Large Woodskimmer (Uracis fastigiata). Previous visits have tallied all three of the huge helicopter damsels here, as well as several as yet undescribed species. Peccaries and guans can be seen around the restaurant area, Red-capped Manakinwhile basilisks and iguanas hang around the river, and many species of birds visit the fruiting shrubs. We will spend the day here and just outside the entrance in order to find a good selection of species. The small streams and patchy reeds can hold species like Jade-striped Sylph (Macrothemis inequiunguis), Tuxtla Leaftail (Phyllogomphoides pugnifer) and Broad-striped Forceptail (Aphylla angustifolia). This whole area is a haven for birds and other wildlife and we have opportunities to look for Snowy Cotinga, Rufous Motmot, the skulky Agami Heron, Red-capped Manakin, Pied and White-whiskered Puffbirds and maybe Brown-throated Three-toed Sloth or Mantled Howler Monkey. Back at the lodge if we have time we can again check the ponds and in the evening go in search of nocturnal creatures if you so wish.
Night Selva Verde Lodge. (B,L,D)


Day 4: Tuesday 25th June – Cope – Braulio Carrillo
DragonflyToday we drive to a private house owned by Jose Perez better known as ‘Cope’. This wonderful guide and excellent photographer and artist will show us some of the delightful wildlife of this area. He can often find a roosting owl or two or even a Great Potoo! The beautiful Honduran White Bat can sometimes be found as well as unusual birds such as Yellow-eared Toucanet. His hummingbird feeders attract a variety of species and sometimes White-tipped Sicklebill can be found feeding on flowers in the garden. If it is sunny, his ponds may attract a few different dragonfly species. Depending on the weather we will go and visit one of the trails at Braulio Carrillo before heading back to our lodge. Braulio is a fabulous place but more often than not it it cloudy and wet. There are usually mixed bird species flocks working their way through the forest and along the small streams we could find dragonflies such as Hercules Skimmer (Libellula herculea), Arch-tipped Shadowdamsel (Palaemnema collaris), Pale-faced Flatwings (Heteragrion albiffrons), Oculate Dancer (Argia oculata) and if we are luck the rarely seen Yellow-eyed Spreadwing (Archilestes latialatus). Night Selva Verde Lodge. (B,L,D)


Days 5 – 7: Wed 26th – Fri 28th June – Laguna del Lagarto Lodge
DragonflyAfter breakfast we will set off towards our next destination. We visited Laguna del Lagarto on our 2017 and 2018 tours and it turned out to be an amazing area, rich in wildlife and in particular the dragonflies. The well positioned lodge offers great opportunities to search rivers, streams, marshes and some very interesting forest ponds. Set within 500 hectares of rainforest this area has been little studied and as our previous tours proved, there is much to be discovered. We found several species new to Costa Rica and several undescribed species which included species only ever seen previously in La Selva. Of particular interest is the fabulous Amazon Sapphirewing (Zenithoptera fasciata) which seems to be plentiful in the area. Other interesting species have included Peten Dasher (Micrathyria debilis), we found the first record for the country here in Keel-billed Toucan2017 and again in 2018. Metallic Pennant (Idiataphe amazonica ), Mexican Scarlet-tail (Planiplax sanguiniventris ), Brilliant Redskimmer (Rhodopygia hinei ), Morton’s Skimmer (Cannaphila mortoni), Red-tailed Skimmers (Orthemis schmidti), Marsh Firetail (Telebasis digiticollis), Guatemala Spinyneck (Metaleptobasis bovilla), Bristle-tipped Dancer (Argia johannella), and undescribed species of Amberwing (Perithemis) and Firetail (Telebasis). The next two days will allow us to search the lakes and forest ponds with high hopes of uncovering more interesting and possibly new species. We do know that several species with restricted ranges in Costa Rica occur here. This is also the land of parrots, and even the rare Great Green Macaws and gaudy Scarlet Macaws can be seen flying over. Bird feeders at eye level to the lodge deck offer unprecedented views and photo opportunities of many birds including Keel-billed and Yellow-throated Toucans, Collared Aracaris, 3 species of Honeycreeper, Brown-hooded Parrots and a variety of colorful tanagers. In the evening we can relax and watch the sunset, and then for those that wish when it gets dark we can look for frogs and other night-time creatures.  Nights at Laguna del Lagarto Lodge (B,L,D)


Day 8: Sat 29th – Braulio Carrillo - Rio Perlas
DragonflyToday we will leave after breakfast and head for Braulio Carrillo National Park. We should arrive mid morning in perfect time to explore this wonderful rainforest. We will decide which of the two trails or even both we should explore with the high hopes of finding some really interesting species. Several nice flatwings occur as well as Peralta Cora (Miocora peraltica), Lowland Knobtail (Epigomphus tumefactus) and Yellow-tipped Helicopter (Mecistogaster ornata), and with luck we have another chance for the rarely seen Yellow-eyed Spreadwing (Archilestes latialatus). After our visit we will head towards our next destinations in the Orosi Valley near Cartago. Our hotel is actually a 5* hotel & spa situated on the edge of Tapanti National Park. We hope to arrive in time for an initial exploration of the grounds of this wonderful lodge which was surrounded by tropical gardens and cloud forest and contained ponds, forest streams and waterfalls. This is unexplored territory as far as dragonflies and damsels so it presents a very interesting and exciting prospect.
Night Hotel Rio Perlas (B,L,D)


Day 9: Sun 30th – Rio Perlas – Tapanti National Park
SunbitternToday we have a full day to explore the habitats around our lodge and also visit Tapanti National Park just 30 minutes away. A different set of dragonflies will be sought as we are now in lower and pre-montane rainforest. Tumbling waterfalls and clear forest streams hold highland species such as Highland Rubyspot (Hetaerina cruentata), Mountain Flatwing (Heteragrion majus), Montane Firetail (Telebasis garleppi), Highland Darner (Rhionaeschna cornigera), Masked Clubskimmer (Brechmorhoga pertinax), Montane Dragonlet (Erythrodiplax abjecta) and Highland Skimmer (Libellula foliata) and the most exciting thing of all is that this area has been little studied so we could make some interesting discoveries. The birdlife here will also differ from the first part of our tour and we could now find species such as Green-fronted Lancebill a waterfall specialist, Red-headed Barbet, Black Guan, Sunbittern, Spangle-cheeked and White-winged Tanagers. This will be a wonderful addition to our previous tours to Costa Rica and all the better as we stay in a superb lodge set in fabulous habitat. Night Hotel Rio Perlas (B,L,D)

Costa Rica DragonflyDay 10: Mon 01st – Rio Perlas – San Jose – End of Tour
Today we will have a little time in the morning to check out the lodge grounds and its exciting wildlife before we leave and head for San Jose International Airport in time for our afternoon departing flights.

Leaders: Tom Bird, Steve Bird with driver Ramon

June 22 - July 1, 2019

Registration Form>    
Contact to reserve your space!

Main Tour Ground Price: US$2450.00 based on double occupancy from San Jose, Costa Rica (Airport code: SJO).
Single supplement: US$395.00 per person, subject to availability.

Deposit: $500.00 per person per tour. Note: Tour deposits can be paid by credit card via PayPal.  Use this link to make your credit card payment.  Please advise when you have made payment. 

The tour includes:
* All lodging as per itinerary based on sharing a room with en-suite facilities
* All meals from dinner day 1 to breakfast day 10
* Ground transportation by air-conditioned coach
* All reserve and park entrance fees
* Hotel Taxes
* Bottled water
* Services of guides and leaders


Included in cost: All accommodation in twin rooms en-suite, all meals from dinner on 22nd June to breakfast on 01st July, or as described in itinerary (B,L,D), all entrance fees to National Parks, La Paz Waterfall Gardens, Cinchona Hummingbird Café, Cope, Braulio Carillo, La Selva and Tapanti National Park, transport throughout, all taxes, water on board coach, services of leaders.

Not Included: International airfare, insurance, drinks, tips, and items of a personal nature.


RESERVATIONS: Contact to reserve your space!  Then follow up with your completed registration form and deposit of $500 per person per tour within two weeks to secure your place. Credit card deposits are possible with no added fees.   Please inquire.   Reservations are held with a deposit on a first-come, first-served basis.   
>Download & print the Registration Form 


Once the tour is confirmed to go ahead, we will send you information about booking your flights. Please do not book flights until you receive this information from us and are notified that the trip has sufficient numbers to run. Final payment is due Feb 22, 2019. Check or bank transfer are preferred but credit card payments are possible (surcharges of up to 5% are added depending on amount to cover credit card company fees). 


This tour is being run through – Sunrise Birding LLC – and organized by Steve Bird
Contact Steve Bird for more information.


**Please note: Tour prices are based on quoted costs from ground operators (in their local currency), estimated fuel costs, and the rate of exchange the time of itinerary publication. The erratic nature to global financial markets makes it difficult to predict changes in costs and foreign currency exchange rates over the long term. Since tours are priced well in advance of the actual operation of the tour, tour costs, fuel costs and exchange rates can change, sometimes drastically. Depending on the extent of such changes, it may be necessary to implement a surcharge on this tour. If a surcharge is necessary, every effort will be made to minimize the amount.

Cancellations and Refunds: All cancellations must be made in writing. In the event that you must cancel your booking at any stage, all payments you have made to Sunrise Birding, LLC will be retained by us, except at our discretion. You may have the opportunity to transfer your booking to another tour or another person, provided you are unavoidably prevented from coming on the tour. In this case, you will bear any extra costs that such changes may incur. There are no refunds once the trip is confirmed to go ahead and no refunds will be made for unused meals, accommodations, or other trip features. Sunrise Birding, LLC cannot accept liability for airline cancellations or delays or penalties incurred by the purchase of non-refundable airline tickets or other expenses incurred by tour participants in preparing for this tour.


Insurance: Sunrise Birding, LLC recommends that you purchase a travel protection plan to help protect you and your travel investment against the unexpected. Travel protection plans can include coverage for Trip Cancellation, Trip Interruption, Emergency Medical and Emergency Evacuation/Repatriation, Trip Delay, Baggage Delay and more.

For more information on the available plans or to enroll, click on the link below or contact Travelex Insurance Services at 800-228-9792 and reference location number 07-0025.

The product descriptions provided here are only brief summaries. The full coverage terms and details, including limitations and exclusions, are contained in the insurance policy. Travelex CA Agency License #0D10209. All products listed are underwritten by, Berkshire Hathaway Specialty Insurance Company. 11.17 E7N