Published on June 11th, 2012 | by csaylor0
New Costa Rica vacation mixes bird research and jungle exploration
Birdwatching is no longer a passive sport, thanks to a new Costa Rican educational vacation package from the teams at the National Biodiversity Institute of Costa Rica (INBio) and Nature Air (the world’s first carbon-neutral airline). Enthusiasts of all experience levels will get down and dirty as local bird researchers take travellers through the scientific process of tracking migrant and resident bird species.
The new, 10-day Migrant Birds and Coastal Jungles package pairs eco-friendly bird lovers with INBio-selected researchers and biologists for a light-footprint journey through some of Costa Rica’s top national parks and research stations. Highlights of this educational eco-adventure include taking part in ongoing projects at the Costa Rica Bird Observatory (both in Tortuguero and San Gerardo de Dota), staying at some of the country’s top eco-lodges (including Si Como No Resort, Spa & Wildlife Rescue) and heading out on naturalist-led bird watching treks through dense jungles and on pristine beaches.
“This new package is part of our Footprints of Nature series: perfectly timed trips that reveal rarely witnessed biological events,” said Claire Saylor, director of marketing at Nature Air. “Our other two packages, which follow Costa Rica’s annual quetzal and sea turtle nesting seasons, have been wildly received by eco-travellers. We expect to host groups of 12 travellers for each Migrant Birds and Coastal Jungles trip – each timed to coincide with the full moon.”
With two dates to choose from (Sept. 28 – Oct. 7 or Oct. 27 – Nov. 5, 2012), the package includes hotel accommodation (two nights in a river lodge near Tortuguero National Park, three nights in an eco-resort near Manuel Antonio National Park and four nights in San José); two round-trip, carbon-neutral flights with Nature Air; eight guided excursions with an ornithologist or expert naturalist; four interactive lectures on avian species and research projects; and meals. The cost, based on double occupancy, is $2,695 USD per person, with partial proceeds donated back to biodiversity research in Costa Rica.
“This is the first time INBio has partnered with another company to design a package for bird lovers – it’s truly an honour to play a part in offering this remarkable experience,” said Saylor. “For years, we’ve supported this important institute by offering researchers complimentary flights to their stations. Best of all, we both share a collective vision for sustainability, as the saying goes, birds of a feather flock together.”
Costa Rica is home to more bird species per square mile than most countries in the world, with nearly 650 resident species and 250 migrant birds spending a good portion of their lives amid the country’s diverse ecosystems. During the impressive annual migration, millions of birds leave their northern nesting grounds and head south in the search for a warmer climate to spend the winter months.
“This is a bird-watching tour completely unlike any other,” said Randall García, development director at INBio. “Instead of taking a backseat and merely observing, we invite our guests to become a part of the action by visiting living laboratories, hearing from some of the world’s top bird experts and journeying to some of the country’s most fascinating avian habitats.”
For more information about the INBio and current research projects, visit www.inbio.ac.cr/en.