A whole host of bird species can be enjoyed in this Central American country
In the lower folds of Poás Volcano’s foothills, overlooking the city of Alajuela and Costa Rica’s Central Valley, Xandari Resort & Spa offers travellers what Forbes Magazine has called ‘a mountainside slice of paradise.’ The 40-acre property includes diverse tropical gardens and a forest reserve with several miles of trails that lead to multiple waterfalls – one of which is between 60ft and 70ft high. A total of 130 bird species have been reported on the resort’s ebird hotspot (an online birding resource, which you can view at http://bit.ly/2dpcyy1), but Xandari is a mere 20 minutes away from the country’s main international airport. Hummingbirds and tanagers flit year-round among the flowering bushes and fruiting trees, Blue-and-white Swallows commonly swoop down by the sunset pool to sip water. Strange vocalisations of the Montezuma Oropendola, diverse tunes from the Orange-billed Nightingalethrush, and eerie whistles from Rufousand-white Wrens drift up from the woods below, while various species of raptor soar thermals in the skies above. Spot White-eared Ground-sparrows foraging among the leaf litter, Red- crowned Ant-tanagers chattering in the dense vine tangles, and Long-tailed Manakins performing their mating rituals. To say nothing of all the migratory warblers and other families of birds that find Xandari’s forest and gardens to be a little oasis in the greater overwintering haven of Costa Rica! An orange grove is a popular area for the local community of Blue-crowned Motmots and one of the resident pairs of Hoffmann’s Woodpeckers, as well as three types of saltator that fly through almost daily for their breakfast. At dusk, calls from the Common Pauraque and Laughing Falcons echo across the hills, and if you’re lucky and have a good torch you might spot a Mottled Owl or Tropical Screech-owl, as well as the cute but deadly Ferruginous Pygmy-owl. Dawn choruses resound with Rufous-naped Wren chatter and whistles from Costa Rica’s national bird, the Clay-colored Thrush, often interspersed with Yellow-throated Euphonia and Barred Antshrike song depending on the location of your villa. One of the advantages of being in the Central Valley is the proximity to several key Costa Rican birding hotspots. Costa Rica’s dry season, or summer, runs from December to April and corresponds with the North American bird migration, so despite the higher rates on hotels throughout the country it makes for better birding. The rainy season is more affordable given the lower amount of tourists in the country, and often the mornings are sunny and clear before the afternoon downpours. With nearly 900 species recorded in a country two-thirds the size of Scotland, Costa Rica is a top candidate for any birdwatcher’s holiday destination, whether they be casual or avid!
Carara National Park is a popular birding hotspot Rufous-tailed Hummingbird Long-tailed Manakin UNITED STATES MEXICO COSTA RICA Montezuma Oropedola and Keel-billed Toucan Nationalgeographiccreative/alamy Allcanadaphotos/alamy Naturepicturelibrary/alamy