Costa Rica is a parrot-lover’s delight, and boasts 16 different parrot species, ranging in size from the orange-fronted parakeet to the large scarlet macaw. Among the most intelligent of birds, parrots exhibit complex social behavior and offer hours of fascinated viewing to bird lovers.
A parrot-watching tour in Costa Rica could take you into the mangrove swamps, lush rainforests and dry foothills. Birdwatchers may have opportunity to take part in the annual Fila Costera Bird Count in the southern end of the country, all while enjoying the beauty of free-flying parrots.
Preparing for a Trip
Costa Rica lies just to the north of the equator, so you can expect warm weather year round. Be aware, however, that higher altitudes can get quite chilly, so pack a few warm clothes for the trip. Because it’s the tropics, you may find yourself wishing for a good mosquito trap, especially in mangrove and rainforest environments.
Parrots, Parakeets, and Much More
You’ll see much more than parrots on a Costa Rica ecotour. Big-billed toucans, delicate wrens, and metallic-colored hummingbirds are common, along with exotic fare such as the resplendent Quetzal, one of Costa Rica’s most stunning birds. American crocodiles glide through the mangroves, while white-faced and howler monkeys move through the canopy. In addition, you’ll have opportunity to view Costa Rica’s many raptors, including the colorful and odd-looking King vulture.
The parrots, however, often steal the show from the other birds. During a Costa Rica trip you might see a pair of scarlet macaws groom and court each other, or watch a stocky little white-crowned pionus foraging among the branches for food. You can see parrots at even high elevations: the sulpher-winged parakeet can be found in the Talamancas cloud forests.
You don’t even need to leave the cities to see Costa Rican parrots. Crimson-fronted parakeets (also called Finsch’s Conure) are common sites in urban areas. The adaptive little parrot has leaned to nest on local buildings. A flock of these comical, squabbling little parrots can entertain a bird-lover for hours on end.
A Typical Tour
It could be argued that a “typical” Costa Rica eco tour doesn’t exist: each tour has its own remarkable scenery, birds and flora. A seven-day tour might take vacationers high into the ethereal Monteverde Cloud Forest, then down to the mangrove swamps of Carara National Park. Hiking trails are generally well-maintained, as Costa Rica draws a significant portion of its income from ecotourism.
Bear in mind that the basic cost of a bird-watching tour may not include transportation between locations. Ask if the tour company arranges transport. If not, the company should be able to recommend car rental services. Paying the extra for private transport is recommended, as driving Costa Rica’s often wet, narrow mountain roads can be treacherous for those not used to such conditions.
Carly is an aspiring writer who is constantly looking to expand her portfolio by creating content on a plethora of subjects. She has a wide variety of interests and loves writing about anything and everything. She loves that blogging allows her to share her writing with people all over the world.