ExperiencePlus! - Bicycle Tours since 1972

Travel Stories

Warblers Wintering in Costa Rica

by ExperiencePlus! - Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Warblers Wintering in Costa Rica

Costa Rica sunsetIt’s not clear how many birds migrate to Central and South America every year. Warblers, orioles, tanagers and many small birds migrate during the night and are hard to be recorded. Hawks, falcons and vultures do it in the daytime. Almost three million migrant prey birds were counted last year at the Keköldi Reserve on the Southern Caribbean slope of Costa Rica.

When it starts getting cold in the fall, a tiny Yellow Warbler (dendroica petechia) leaves its breeding grounds in North America and flies to Costa Rica. But what’s so great about flying south in the winter? What in Costa Rica is worth a 5,000 km flight?

There’s got to be something good or that four inch warbler wouldn’t bother doing it.

The warbler flies south to avoid the cold weather and to find food. You may find these reasons apply to you too!

Central America is a bridge connecting North and South America where animals and plants from both hemispheres converge. Costa Rica hosts lowland rain forests, active volcanoes, mountain cloud forests and treeless grasslands.

It is said that Costa Rica is the country with the highest concentration of species per square kilometer in the world. For instance, for every 10,000 square kilometers one may find 295 different species of trees, thus generating some of the most complex primary forests in the world.

We design each ExperiencePlus! tour to visit several different regions in the country and to explore as much of it’s huge biodiversity and culture as possible. Our Osa Peninsula Multisport tour spends 2 days in the high mountains of Talamanca, biking and hiking in the Oak Forests isolated on these highlands since the last glacial period. From there we go down to sea level at Corcovado National Park, one of the last refuges of the Jaguar, the biggest cat in the American continent, and home of a healthy population of Baird’s Tapirs.

Our Arenal & the Northwest Coast Multisport takes us biking in the coffee plantations of the Orosi Valley, where the coffee is harvested every December and January following, as it has been done for the last 100 years. Later, in the lowland rainforest of the Caribbean slope, we hike in a place with an amazing diversity of birds, over 400 species reported in one field station in Sarapiquí.

Our spectacular Butterflies, Bicycles and Beaches tour takes you on a hike in the mid-altitude Cloud Forest where the trees are covered with mosses and the air is filled with hummingbirds. Later, we mountain bike around the base of the Arenal Volcano, where impressive shows of red lava occur every day.

Both of our tours in the north of Costa Rica go into Guanacaste, the dry province, covered by savannas and deciduous forests that change colors in December and January as the dry season settles in.

So whether you are tempted to fly south this winter to snorkel on the clear waters of the Pacific, give your kids a science lesson on ecology and natural history, to feel the adrenaline while rafting the Pacuare River, or simply to be warm on a tropical beach, you too can join the Yellow Warbler in its southern home with ExperiencePlus! Costa Rica this winter.