15th Feb 2024

"Classic Costa Rica" - initial report

Limosa’s "Classic Costa Rica" tour has now returned to the UK after a very successful trip which covered the Highlands, Caribbean and Pacific slopes. Plenty of great birds were seen including Resplendent Quetzal, Sunbittern and a multitude of hummingbirds

"We have just returned from Limosa's "Classic Costa Rica" after another very successful tour. This holiday can be divided into three sections: Highlands, the Caribbean and Pacific slopes. This year, we started on the Pacific coast with some first class birding in the Carara National Park area where Scarlet Macaws, Turquoise-browed Motmots, White-whiskered Puffbird, Yellow-throated Toucans and Fiery-billed Araracaris featured. Before leaving the coast for the highlands, we took a boat trip through the Tarcoles mangroves, always a favourite with Limosa groups and a chance to see five species of kingfisher, including the diminutive American Pygmy Kingfisher. 

Into the highlands and we were able to see up to six Resplendent Quetzals in a day, point blank views of Golden-browed Chlorospingus, Fiery-throated Hummingbirds, Long-tailed Silky-flycatchers in the forests and Volcano Junco in the Paramo. 

The final chapter of the tour commenced at the famous Rancho Naturalista with its Snowcaps, Sunbitterns and so much more, before we descended the Caribbean slope to our final destination in the lowlands. From here, we were able to search the renowned forests of the legendary La Selva Biological Station, but perhaps the highlight for many was the close views of nesting Great Green Macaws nearby. We returned to San Jose by way of Cinchona where we sipped coffee and watched Blue-throated Toucanets and the endemic Coppery-headed Hummingbird at leisure.

Having led more than a dozen tours to Costa Rica, I would pick out a few other sightings as less than expected. Special mention must go to the nine species of owl seen (eight of them at daytime roosts!), Great and Common Potoos, lengthy views of two Scaled Antpittas, a Lesser Ground Cuckoo dustbathing in the middle of the road and one of the final birds of the tour - Yellow-winged Tanager (a rarity in Costa Rica)."

Colin Bushell 15 February 2024

All photos below come from the recent tour and were taken by Limosa guide Colin Bushell.

If you would like a copy of the trip report for the recent tour please contact the office and we will email this to you as soon as it is completed. It will, however, also be available for download from the Limosa website.

Bookings are already open for the February 2025 tour which will again be led by Colin and expert local guide Herman Venegas and early reservations are recommended as this tour is consistently full several months prior to departure. For more details please click here.


Black Guan is only found in the mountains of Costa Rica and Western Panama © Colin Bushell, February 2024


A few years ago, Emerald Toucanet was split into several species with the birds in Costa Rica now called Blue-throated Toucanets © Colin Bushell, February 2024


The Violet Sabrewing is the largest hummingbird in Central America and was one of multiple 'hummers' which were seen exceptionally well on the holiday © Colin Bushell, February 2024


A breeding bird of North America, Baltimore Orioles migrate to Central and Northern South America during the winter months © Colin Bushell, February 2024


Silver-throated Tanager occurs from Northern Costa Rica to Southern Ecuador typically occurring above 600m elevation © Colin Bushell, February 2024