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Quetzal/Hummingbird Special!

January 31 - February 6, 2022

Featuring the wonderful
Rancho Naturalista
and Sueños del Bosque
in the Valley of the Quetzal!

Contact to reserve your space!

Trip Cost & Travel Planning>  |  Registration Form>

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Escape the cold weather and bird in sunny, Costa Rica this winter on our easy, affordable getaway in search of Resplendent Quetzal and the charming hummingbirds of this bird filled country. Our itinerary features stays at lovely lodges where we'll enjoy warm tropical weather, nice accommodation, great food, lush forests, and an incredible variety of vibrant birds. A stay in the famous Valley of the Quetzals will offer the chance to explore mid-montane habitats where trogons, hummingbirds, tanagers, flycatchers and other vividly colored birds flourish. At the lovely Rancho Naturalista, we'll be the best possible place in Costa Rica to see Snowcap, a stunning hummingbird that visits feeders strategically placed along forest trails.

Book your getaway now to bird the winter blues away in the lush habitats of Costa Rica!

Sunrise Birding has organized many successful birding trips to Costa Rica.
See our Trip Reports page past trip reports>

Trip Cost and Travel Planning>> 
Registration Form>>

Resplendent Quetzal. Photo by Steve Bird.Resplendent Quetzal. Photo by Steve Bird.

Snowcap. Photo by Steve Bird.
Snowcap. Photo by Steve Bird.

Blue-crowned Motmot. Photo by Gina Nichol.Day 1 -Arrival San Jose, Costa Rica

Plan to arrive in the evening in tropical San Jose, Costa Rica and transfer the short distance to our hotel for the night. If you arrive early enough, enjoy a lovely dinner in the hotel restaurant.

Days 2 & 3 – San Jose / Rancho Naturalista

This morning we will spend some time around the hotel gardens before breakfast for an introduction to Costa Rica’s varied avifauna. Many of the more common bird species can be seen here including Costa Rica's national bird, the Clay-colored Thrush, Boat-billed Flycatcher, Hoffmann’s Woodpecker, Great Kiskadee, Blue-gray Tanager, Blue-and-White Swallow, Red-billed Pigeon, Summer Tanager, White-winged Dove, Great-tailed Grackle, and (Blue-crowned) Lesson's Motmot.

Emerald Tanager. Photo by Steve Bird.After breakfast, we will head to Rancho Naturalista, a very special lodge set in the pre-montane rain forest of the Caribbean slope at 3,000 feet. With unobstructed views of both Irazu and Turrialba Volcanoes, this "birder's paradise" has one of the richest concentrations of birds, butterflies and plants in Costa Rica, with more than 400 species of birds found on the 125-acre ranch, and more than 200 species seen from the lodge balcony. The lodge is known for very comfortable rooms, excellent meals, family style atmosphere, and knowledgeable, resident bird guides.

The next two days will be spent birding the trails and grounds here looking for Great Tinamou, Barred Forest Falcon, Sulphur-winged Parakeet, Yellow-eared Toucanet, White-ruffed Manakin, Purple-crowned Fairy, Scarlet-rumped Cacique, and such beauties as Emerald, Golden-headed, Bay-headed and Black-and-Yellow Tanager. Ant swarms are possible in the forest and, if present, are often attended to by Spotted Antbird, Immaculate Antbird, and other ant followers. Specialty birds of Rancho Naturalista include Snowcap. Photo by Steve Bird.Sunbittern, Green Thorntail, Purplish-backed Quail-Dove, the mythical Lanceolated Monklet, Rufous Motmot, Brown-billed Scythebill, Checker-throated Antwren, and White-crowned Manakin which displays on a lek on Rancho’s upper trail.


One of the many avian prizes here is the lovely Snowcap. Rancho Naturalista is arguably the best place in the world to see this little local jewel. Here it visits the forest feeders and also feeds along the vervain in front of the lodge. Our stay here is sure to be relaxing and exciting at the same time with fantastic birding all around.


Day 4: Paraiso Quetzales / Valley of the Quetzal
Fiery-throated Hummingbird. Photo by Gina Nichol.After breakfast, we will depart San Jose for the Valley of the Quetzal. Traveling along the Pan-American highway, we will rise up into the central Talamanca Mountains.  Along the way, we will stop at a small cafe in the mountains where we can enjoy a cup of fresh Costa Rican coffee while watching dozens of Fiery-throated Hummingbirds coming into feeders. This stunning little gem breeds only in the mountains of Costa Rica and western Panama, and seeing the congregation of these birds and their antics around the feeders is an amazing spectacle. Joining these flying sparklers and vying for position at the feeders are the larger (Magnificent) Talamanca Hummingbirds and Lesser Violetears. Occasionally the tiny Volcano Hummingbird (another regional endemic) drifts in with its bee-like flight for a quick nectar drink.

Resplendent Quetzal. Photo by Steve Bird.If you can tear yourself away from the feeders, there will be a walk on the trails to look for such delightful birds as Black-and-yellow Silky-Flycatcher, Long-tailed Silky Flycatcher, Ochraceous Pewee, Silvery-fronted Tapaculo and the skulking Zeledonia (Wrenthrush). Resplendent Quetzals also live here so continue to keep a vigilant watch!

Later on, we'll head back down the Pan-American Highway to a turn off the main road that descends into San Gerardo de Dota, the Valley of the Quetzal. As we descend slowly, we'll be heading into prime habitat for the stunning Resplendent Quetzal, a vibrant member of the trogon family and arguably the most beautiful bird in the Americas. This important valley is a stronghold of the Resplendent Quetzal. This specialized fruit-eating member of the trogon family that depends on the wild avocado fruits that grow on the forested slopes of the valley. Keep an eye out! From time to time, we have seen these stunning birds from the road.


As we continue down the beautiful wooded valley, the winding road follows tumbling river that holds American Dipper, Torrent Tyrannulet and sometimes Louisiana Waterthrush. This is the Savegre River and it flows right past our lodging for the next three nights.

Day 5: The Valley of the Quetzal
Today will hopefully begin with close views of Resplendent Quetzal at a special observation area. This will require an early start and it is well worth it if the birds are feeding in their traditional trees. There will be no shortage of other birds to look for in the valley including Collared Trogon, Silvery-fronted Tapaculo, Yellow-winged Vireo, Ruddy-capped Nightingale-Thrush, Yellow-thighed Finch, Black-headed and Tufted Flycatcher, Barred Becard, Long-tailed Silky-Flycatcher and White-collared Swift.

The rest of the day will be spent exploring the valley, looking for the stunning Flame-colored Tanager, Brown-capped Vireo, Spangle-cheeked Tanager, Rufous-browed Peppershrike, Yellowish Flycatcher, Collared Redstart, Acorn and Hairy Woodpecker, Sulphur-winged Parakeet, Green Violet-ear, White-throated Mountain-Gem, Scintillant Hummingbird, Ruddy Treerunner, Black-faced Solitaire, Emerald Toucanet, Flame-throated Warbler, Stripe-tailed Emerald and more. Throughout the day, there will be more chances to see amazing Resplendent Quetzal - a highlight of any tour to Costa Rica.


Day 6: Cerro de la Muerte / Valley of the Quetzal
Volcano Junco. Photo by Steve Bird.Today we will visit another unique habitat in the highlands of the Talamanca Mountains - the famed Cerra de la Muerte.  The highest point, often shrouded in cloud, is sprawling paramo habitat, an area of short stunted bushes and trees on the upper mountain slopes which hold some very special species. Volcano Junco can be found here and other high altitude species such as Mountain Thrush, Sooty Robin, Black-billed Nightingale-Thrush, Slaty Flowerpiercer, Volcano and Talamanca Hummingbirds, Black-cheeked Warbler, and Timberline Wren are also possible.

Later on, we will head back to the Valley of the Quetzals and make a stop at a Miriam’s cafe. Miriam is a long time friend and her small cafe is a favorite spot to enjoy a cup of coffee and check the birds in the back garden. If the fuchsia shrubs are blooming, it is likely that Volcano Hummingbirds will be taking advantage of it allowing great views. Also here, keep watch for Sooty-capped Bush Tanager, Flame-colored Tanager, Sooty Robin, and Large-footed and Yellow-thighed Finches foraging on the ground.

Day 7: Return to San Jose for departures
Today, early birders may enjoy a last look around the lodge before we make our way back to San Jose for departures.

Scintillant Hummingbird. Photo by Steve Bird.COSTA RICA
Quetzal & Hummingbird Special!
January 31 - February 6, 2022  
Registration Form>>

TOUR PRICE:  $2395.00 per person based on double occupancy from San Jose, Costa Rica (Airport code: SJO).

Deposit:  $500.00 per person. Note: Tour deposits can be paid by check or credit card via PayPal.  Use this link to make your credit card payment.  Please advise [email protected] when you have made payment.  Final payment is due TBA. We are currently confirming tours 60 days out.  We will notify you when the final payment is due. 

Single Supplement: 
$395.00 per person
(subject to availability)

Included in cost: Cost is based on double occupancy and a minimum of 8 passengers and includes private transportation during the tour, all accommodations, meals from dinner on Day 1 (for those arriving in time) until the morning of Day 7 during the tour, professional guide services, local guides, local park and reserve entrance fees.


Not included:  International flight, airport departure tax (currently $29 per person, subject to change), airport transfer on arrival (Note: The orange taxis outside the airport are very easy to use and a fraction of the cost of a private transfer.  If you require a private transfer on arrival, we can arrange it and let you know the cost.), insurance, drinks, tips, and items of a personal nature such as: laundry, telephone, beverages, gratuities for porterage, guides, or personal services.   Also, any and all costs arising from pandemic or Covid-19 related issues are not included in the tour cost and are the sole responsibility of the traveler. These include, among others, the costs of Covid treatment, hospitalization, medical fees, transport, meals and accommodation in case of illness or quarantine, and the costs of any Covid tests needed before, during and after the tour.

RESERVATIONS: To reserve your place on this tour:

1) Contact Gina Nichol at [email protected] to confirm availability and hold your place.

2) Review the Terms and Conditions of Booking (pdf download)>

3) Complete the Registration & Release Form (pdf)> and mail it with your deposit of US$1000.00 per person to Sunrise Birding, LLC within two weeks to secure your place. 

>Download & print the Registration Form (pdf download).
Instructions are on the form.

Reservations are held with a paid deposit on a first-come, first-served basis.

Final payment is due TBA. We are currently confirming tours 60 days out.  We will notify you when the final payment is due.  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).  Please inquire.

Flights:  Once we have reached the subscription level, we will confirm the tour and send out confirmations with specific timings so that you can book your flights for this tour. Please do NOT book your flights until you have received the official confirmation letter from us with the flight schedule.  There is a flight agent who can help you and we will provide their contact information in the confirmation letter.

Please note: Tour prices are based on quoted costs from ground operators, estimated fuel costs, and the rate of exchange the time of itinerary publication. The erratic nature to financial markets makes it difficult to predict changes in costs over the long term. Since tours are priced well in advance of the actual operation of the tour, tour costs, and fuel costs 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. Note, we have rarely had to do this but we need to be clear what could happen due to changing costs.

Cancellations and Refunds:
Please review our Terms and Conditions of Booking (pdf download)> prior to registering for this tour. All cancellations must be made in writing. Please ensure that you take out adequate insurance to cover this and any other eventuality as early as possible. 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.


Sunrise Birding LLC strongly recommends that you consider purchasing a travel protection plan to protect you and your travel investment against the unexpected in case of delay, injury or illness prior to or during a tour. Travel protection plans can include coverage for Trip Cancellation, Trip Interruption, Emergency Medical and Emergency Evacuation/Repatriation, Trip Delay, Baggage Loss and Delay, Emergency Medical Transportation, Pre-existing Conditions, and more.


There are many trip insurers. Here are two options to consider:

CSA Travel Protection
CSA offers coverage for pre-existing conditions if you purchase your policy before making your final payment for a tour.
Please be sure to use Sunrise Birding's producer code: 20201123
when purchasing your policy.
Insure My Trip is a web site that allows you to compare trip insurance plans
to find the right plan for you.


  • Insurance policy requirements vary and the timing of your purchase can affect coverage. Some insurance providers require that for coverage of pre-existing conditions, a policy must be purchased within 7-14 days of booking. Others, like CSA, offer policies that cover pre-existing conditions as long as the policy is purchased prior to making your final payment for the tour.

  • Trip insurance policy premiums may be non-refundable, but they may be able to be amended or transferred. Check with your insurer. It is important to be sure that the tour is sufficiently subscribed to operate before you purchase trip insurance.

  • Pay attention to coverages provided by your policy. Be aware of the requirements of country or destination can change, so check often. Some policies are now offering Covid related coverages so check with your insurer.

  • US medical insurance plans (including Medicare) often do not provide coverage outside the US. The US State Department strongly advises Americans to consult with their medical insurance company prior to traveling abroad to confirm whether their policy applies overseas and if it will cover emergency expenses such as a medical evacuation. Consult with your insurer prior to your trip to ascertain whether payment will be made to the overseas healthcare provider directly or whether you will be reimbursed later for expenses that you incur. Be sure to get and keep all documentation of any expenses incurred

All photos © Gina Nichol and Steve Bird.  Top to Bottom: Resplendent Quetzal (Steve Bird), Snowcap (Steve Bird),
Blue-crowned Motmot (Gina Nichol), Resplendent Quetzal (Steve Bird), Emerald Tanager (Steve Bird),
Fiery-throated Hummingbird (Gina Nichol), Resplendent Quetzal (Steve Bird), Volcano Junco (Steve Bird),
Scintillant Hummingbird (Steve Bird).

Questions? Contact Gina Nichol at [email protected].com 
Phone: 203.453.672