The province of Guanacaste is well known for being the Golden Coast of Costa Rica. Its endless beaches are probably its top attraction, yet there are varied topographies and activities to enjoy. Birdwatching is certainly one of them. Bird Island (Isla Pajaros), is an important reserve protecting nesting grounds for several species of marine birds including Pelicans and Frigates and the endangered Jabiru, one of the largest aquatic bird species in the world. This is just one of the birding hotspots in the Northern Pacific province of Costa Rica.
This oasis is an obligatory spot for migratory birds traveling North or South depending on the season. Important work has been done in the last few years in these wetlands and marshes cleaning invasive plant species that were covering canals and obstructing the water’s flow during the dry season. This has created more “water mirrors” reflecting the sun and visible for birds as they fly overhead, inviting them to return. Bird Island is part of this protected area, and can be observed in a boat tour up the Rio Tempisque River.
Enjoy a boat trip to this tiny island, the country’s smallest wildlife reserve. It protects nesting sites for Magnificent Frigate Birds which can be seen November through June as well as Brown Pelicans, which nest for a couple of months during January and February.
Travel further island, where the region surrounding the Rincon de la Vieja Volcano is replete with birdwatching opportunities due to its diverse ecosystems. Over 300 different species have been identified in the area, including the Spectacled Owl, the Currasow and the Montezuma Oropendola. Hike its trails and be rewarded by a spectacular waterfall.
Costa Rica is one of the top ten birding spots in the world, and wherever you stay, birdwatching is an option. Get up early and listen and observe while you drink your coffee, you might not even need to leave your seat and beautiful tropical birds will come for a visit. Contact Guanacaste Tours for detailed tour options, nature guides and a personalized itinerary, and observe and listen to new species so you can check them off your list.
Article by Katie Widdowson