Enjoy Bird Watching Tours at the Arenal Observatory Lodge
Nestled in the heart of the Arenal Volcano National Park, Arenal Observatory Lodge & Spa is a gateway to experiencing the birdlife of Costa Rica and the Arenal & La Fortuna Birding Hotspot. Half of the birds of Costa Rica, more than 500 species have been recorded in our forests, such as the lovely cotinga, black-crested coquette, yellow-eared toucanet, bare-necked umbrellabird, emerald tanager, great curassow, thicket antpitta, ornate hawk-eagle and the fasciated tiger-heron. Arenal Observatory Lodge & Spa is one of the best locations for birdwatching in Costa Rica and a proud member of Costa Rica's Birding Hotspots Project. Our 870-acre lodge encompasses two life zones: the tropical rainforest of the Caribbean lowlands and the premontane forests of the Caribbean foothills. The diversity of habitats, ranging from primary and secondary forests to agricultural pastures, creates various niches for birds and other animals to inhabit. While visiting the lodge do not miss the opportunity to climb our 28 m. (92 ft.) observation tower, The Nest, for a unique bird watching experience or check out some of the surrounding birding hotspots. The incredible abundance of flora and fauna at Arenal Observatory Lodge & Spa and the surrounding areas makes staying here truly a birdwatcher's paradise.
Arenal Observatory Lodge & Spa Guided Birding Tours
Morning Birding – 2hrs
Dawn at Arenal Observatory Lodge & Spa (AOL) is a magical time. The air is fresh, the trails are quiet, but the forest that permeates the property is buzzing with life. In the morning birding tour, you will join one of our experienced guides in the quest to fulfill your bird bucket list. The diversity of habitats within our private reserve at (AOL) means you can expect a great diversity of bird species, over 500 hundred in fact. Toucans, trogons, and tanagers or maybe the ever-elusive umbrella bird with its postmodern hairdo and loud, booming calls; there is no telling what to expect.
Afternoon Birding – 2hrs
If early mornings just aren’t your thing or if the morning tour wasn’t enough to satiate your hunger for birding, Arenal Observatory Lodge & Spa also offers an afternoon birding tour. This tour embarks after your, and the birds’, afternoon siesta, returning in time for dinner at the restaurant. Similar to the morning tour this package includes an experienced guide that will show you the best spots to find birds and help you in your identification process. Oftentimes the birds found in the afternoon are greatly different from the species present in the morning hours. This makes the afternoon tour worthwhile even for those who have already experienced the morning birding tour.
All-day Tour – 7.5hrs
Like many bird enthusiasts, if you want every opportunity to see as many bird species as possible the all-day birding tour combines both the morning and afternoon tours (with a break for breakfast, lunch and a siesta). The all-day tour allows our guide more time to show you around the property and the surrounding areas so that no stone is left unturned. As a part of the all-day tour you are certain to be exposed to many of the microhabitats that exist at the lodge, from old-growth rainforest to agricultural pastures, and each site offers a unique opportunity to see different bird species.
Hanging Bridges Tour – 6 hrs
Get your feet off the ground and your head into the canopy with our guided bird tours at the nearby Mistico Arenal Hanging Bridges Park. In their reserve, you will see a great variety of bird species and have the opportunity to see the forest from an elevated perspective. These hanging bridges provide an excellent opportunity to appreciate birds that are normally camouflaged by the thick foliage of the canopy. In this area, more than 350 species of birds have been observed, including migratory and resident species.
El Silencio – 4 hrs
This nearby property is a private reserve that has over 100 ha of primary forestry and offers 4 trails where you can enjoy viewing several species of birds of different colors and sizes. You can observe birds in the primary forest, secondary forest, and open areas. From their viewpoint, you can enjoy the different flora and fauna this property has to offer. Like the other tours, you will be accompanied by our guide to help you identify and observe as many species as possible.
AOL and El Silencio – 7.5 hrs
If you have an excess of energy and an eagerness to explore a wide variety of bird habitat, the AOL and El Silencio Tour is for you. Your day will consist of birding on the property, birding in the wetland areas that surround Arenal Lake, and birding in the private El Silencio reserve. Prepare to be amazed by the vast diversity of birds that call the Arenal area home.
*Add a 30min Back or Leg Massage for a discounted rate of $40 per person when you book any of our birding tours*
*Contact us to make a reservation, all tours are subject to availability*
“Birdwatchers know that the more different habitats you explore, the more bird species you’re likely to see. Also, Costa Rican birders know that arguably the richest life zone for bird diversity here is the Caribbean foothill belt. That may be due in part to the ease with which both lowland and middle elevation species overlap at elevations between about 500 and 900 meters (1,640 – 2,953 feet), but there are also many birds that you will only find in the foothills. It therefore comes as no surprise that the Arenal Observatory Lodge is a favorite place for birders as the lodge itself sits at 740 meters (2,428 feet) above sea level and the entire property spans an elevation gradient from 600 to 1100 meters (1,969 – 3,609 feet). Add to that a variety of habitats comprising gardens planted with flowering and fruiting trees and bushes, pastures, second-growth woodlands and rainforest, and you have the potential for seeing lots of birds. No wonder the species list for the lodge and its vicinity has grown to more than 400 species seen over the years!”
Noted by renowned naturalist and birder, Richard Garrigues, author of The Birds of Costa Rica: A Field Guide.