Beyond just visiting the pristine beaches, hiking through rainforests, and engaging in adventure activities, more and more tourists are coming to Costa Rica with a passion to observe the diverse wild life, more exclusively: the birds.
Bird watching has become one of the top activities listed among those who visit Costa Rica.
In fact, a survey by the Instituto Costarricense de Turismo (ICT) indicates that last year 29.5% of tourists entering the country said that they came solely for bird watching. This equates to roughly 430,000 people.
Paul Elizondo, a researcher for the National Biodiversity Institute said that Costa Rica is very famous in the world due to its vast number of bird species. The country has about 880 species of resident and migratory birds, 56 of which are endemic; meaning unique to a specific geographic area.
There are birding sites all over the country and some of the most sought after are, Los Santos in the Cerro de la Muerte, the Palo Verde National Park in Guanacaste, Monteverde, Puntarenas, Tortuguero, and Corcovado.
The number of species observed is constantly changing, especially due to migration and the need to change their habitats to adapt to climate changes that are experienced today.
The phenomenon of bird migration occurs in October. However, depending on the species, migratory populations are maintained until late March and early April.
Elizondo also said, “The Caribbean and Pacific coastal areas are excellent for observing migratory birds.”
Marino Chacon, a tour guide expert adds, “There are people who wait years to see a bird, who have studied it, seen pictures, and heard the songs and recordings. For them it is very important when they get the chance to see the birds in living color.”
For these avid bird watchers, Costa Rica has been able to develop a significant tourism industry aimed to meet their needs, allowing them to experience Costa Rica’s natural beauty and diverse bird population.