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Quetzal & Hummingbird Special

March 27 - April 3, 2025

Combine this tour with our
TOUCAN & TANAGER SPECIAL, March 21 - 28, 2025>

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Join us to escape the cold weather and bird in sunny, Costa Rica this winter on our easy, affordable getaway in search of Resplendent Quetzal (Photo: Gina Nichol) and the charming hummingbirds and other feathered gems 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.

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

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

Lesson's Motmot by Gina NicholITINERARY
Day 1 -Arrival San Jose, Costa Rica

Plan to arrive at SJO any time today and if you can, arrive in time for dinner with the group. Our hotel will have your airline, arrival time, and flight number and will monitor the arrival of you flight. Giving you time to clear immigration, the hotel transfer will be at the airport 40-45 minutes after the landing time and pick up our clients in front of the Malinche Deli/Restaurant just outside of the airport. Note that the hotel transfer schedule is from 5 am to 11 pm. Outside of those hours, you'll need to take a taxi to the hotel which is 10 minutes from the airport.


Day 2 - Cerro de la Muerte and the Valley of the Quetzal
After breakfast we’ll drive to the highlands of the Talamanca Mountain Range. Along the way, we will visit a unique habitat in the highlands of the Talamanca Mountains - the famed Cerro de la Muerte. The highest point, just over 11,000 feet and often shrouded in cloud, is sprawling paramo habitat, an area of short stunted bushes and trees on the upper mountain slopes that holds some very special species. Volcano Junco (Photo: Gina Nichol) 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 to the Valley of the Quetzals and our lodge set in Parque Nacional Los Quetzales. We've visited this spot many times over the years as a favorite spot to enjoy a cup of coffee and check the birds in the back garden. In recent years, comfortable cabins have been built allowing us to stay in the middle of this birder's paradise.

On arrival, we'll check the balcony behind the restaurant. 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. We have arrivedin the Valley of the Quetzal and will of course be keeping an eye out for the Resplendent Quetzal (Photo: Gina Nichol), the most beautiful of Costa Rican birds. This area is also the home of Unspotted Saw-whet Owl and Dusky Nightjar. In the evening, we'll listen and look for these very special birds pending reports in the area.


Day 3 - All day in San Gerardo for Quetzals and other avian gems
Today we have a full day birding at San Gerardo de Dota, prime habitat for the stunning Resplendent Quetzal, arguably the most beautiful bird in the Americas. This important valley is a stronghold of the Quetzal and 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! Sometimes we have seen these stunning birds from the road.

As we explore the beautiful, wooded Valley of the Quetzal, our day list may include White-throated Mountain-gem, Volcano Hummingbird, Stripe-tailed Hummingbird, Collared Redstart, Yellow-thighed Brushfinch, Sulphur-winged Parakeet, Black-faced Solitaire, Long-tailed Silky-flycatcher, Northern Emerald Toucanet, Flame-colored Tanager and others! The winding road into the valley follows tumbling river that holds American Dipper, Torrent Tyrannulet and sometimes Louisiana Waterthrush. 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, Spangle-cheeked Tanager, Yellowish Flycatcher, Acorn Woodpecker, Lesser Violet-ear, Scintillant Hummingbird, Ruddy Treerunner, Black-faced Solitaire, Flame-throated Warbler,Black-headed and Tufted Flycatcher, Barred Becard, Long-tailed Silky-Flycatcher and White-collared Swift. Throughout the day, there should be more chances to see the amazing Resplendent Quetzal - a highlight of any tour to Costa Rica.

Talamanca Hummingbird by Gina Nichol.

We'll also visit a small cafe in the mountains where we can enjoy a cup of fresh Costa Rican coffee while watching dozens of Fiery-throated Hummingbirds (Photo below by Gina Nichol) 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 (right, photo by Gina Nichol) and Lesser Violetears. Occasionally the tiny Volcano Hummingbird (another regional endemic) drifts in with its bee-like flight for a quick nectar drink.


Day 4 - Travel to El Copal and then on to Hotel Quelitales
Snowcap. Photo by Gina NicholAfter breakfast we’ll drive 2.5 hours to visit El Copal Reserve, this beautiful 160 hectare private reserve was created in 1998 by local communities in order to guarantee it the conservation of the tropical rainforest of this area. On our journey we'll keep an eye out for some of the more common Costa Rican birds like Tropical Kingbird, Great Kiskadee, Social Flycatcher, Clay-colored Robin, Lesson's Motmot, Rufous-capped Warbler, Brown Jay, Red-billed Pigeon and Rufous-tailed Hummingbird.

El Copal is a very special place situated between Turrialba and Tapanti on the Caribbean slope of the Talamanca mountains. Protected from being turned over the croplands, El Copal’s rainforests offer irreplaceable biodiversity and our visit here will be memorable.

Emerald Tanager. Photo by Steve Bird.The main target hummingbirds here are Green Thorntail, Crowned Woodnymph and world-famous Snowcap (Photo: Gina Nichol). The Verbena bushes in front of the buildings and the Inga trees could offer many others including Green Hermit, Bronzy Hermit, Green-crowned Brilliant, Black-bellied Hummingbird, Scintillant Hummingbird, Purple-throated Mountain-Gem, and Purple-crowned Fairy.

We’ll be looking for mixed flock species on the trails such as the Tawny-crested, Bay-headed, Speckled and Emerald Tanager (Photo: Steve Bird). Tawny-chested Flycatcher is a specialty here and keeping an eye to the sky, we hope to see raptors. Possibilities include Double-toothed Kite, American Swallow-tailed Kite, Barred Hawk, White Hawk, Short-tailed Hawk and even Black Hawk-Eagle if we are lucky.

After a homemade typical lunch in the reserve, we’ll drive to Hotel Quelitales. Set in the mountains of Peñas Blancas de Cachí at about 4500 feet, this eco-friendly accommodation features an organic farm and a fusion restaurant. Bungalows have contemporary décor, hardwood floors, open-air waterfall showers and gorgeous rainforest views. Rooms here are designed with large windows that offer stunning views of Costa Rica's highland rainforest. The hotel grounds boast 400 species of birds and more than 70% of Costa Rica's hummingbirds including special ones like Black-bellied Hummingbird, Green-fronted Lancebill, and the endemic Coppery-headed Emerald. We'll settle in and survey the grounds if there is time before dinner.


Days 5 & 6 - Birding Hotel Quelitales & surroundings
We'll spend the next two days exploring the Hotel Quelitales gardens and trails. There is so much to take in here that our time will be well used!

Some of the highlights may include Violet Sabrewing (Photo: Gina Nichol), Black-bellied Hummingbird, Coppery-headed Emerald, Green Thorntail, Purple-throated and White-bellied Mountain-gems, Green Hermit, Zeledon’s Antbird, Chestnut-headed Oropendola, and the beautiful Keel-billed Toucan! Other specialties here include Highland Tinamou, Scaled Antpitta, Ochre-breasted Antpitta, White-collared Manakin, White-eared and Cabanis’s Ground-sparrow, and Barred Parakeet.

We'll also explore the Ujarrás Valley looking for Green-breasted Mango and Ruby-throated Hummingbird, the only migratory hummingbird present in Costa Rica! Other specialties here could be Green Ibis and the declining White-faced (formerly Prevost's) Ground Sparrow.

One of the many benefits of staying at this wonderful hotel are the evening meals prepared by birder/chef, Jose Alvarez. Jose's passion for cooking is only matched by his passion for birds and the meals are delicious. You'll be completely enthralled by this birding lodge and all that it has to offer.

Day 7 -Birding and then return to San Jose late afternoon.
Today we will do some final morning birding around the lodge. After breakfast, we will pack up and head toward San Jose birding along the way.
We'll enjoy lunch at the cafe and then head back to San Jose for our last night in Costa Rica.

Day 8 - Departures from San Jose


LEADER: Jose Pablo Castillo

Fiery-throated Hummingbird by Gina Nichol.COSTA RICA
Quetzal & Hummingbird Special!
March 27 - April 3, 2025
Registration Form>

TOUR PRICE:  US$2895.00 per person based on double occupancy from San Jose, Costa Rica (Airport code: SJO) and 8 passengers.

Deposit:  $750.00 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.

Single supplement: US$625 pp based on availability. Single accommodation may be limited on this tour due to availability at the lodges.  Please inquire. 

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 breakfast on Day 8 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 by the hotel (the regular hotel transfer is included during the hours stated, a taxi transfer is not included), 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$750.00 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 November 27, 2024. 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. Get started here>



  • 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.


Questions? Contact Gina Nichol at 
Phone: 203.453.6724