About Birding Guides in Costa Rica

I have never had a bad guide at any of the lodges or national parks I visit though of course some are better than others. Kevin at Esquinas Rainforest Lodge last week was great and helped me get photos of 52 species with 10 lifers! That is amazing and one of my best trips! One of the best I have ever had was my first and thus far only female birding guide while on an earlier visit to Rancho Naturalista, Mercedes “Meche” Alpizar who I think is now a freelance guide and has been honored by the other guides for finding the most birds one year.  She is the one who found the Sunbittern for me to photograph, so I am always thankful to Meche!

Check out her Facebook Page to get an idea of things she is doing.  That’s her new FB Profile Picture I copied here just in case you think all the birders in Costa Rica are rough and dirty boys or old men!   🙂


And maybe a more typical guide is the young 20ish David Mora Vargas I had at Danta Corcovado recently. He is high energy and also has an interesting Facebook Page!  

I generally cut back on using Facebook because of all the ugly, angry arguing from the states, but I enjoy using it to keep up with some of my young Tico friends like Meche and David!

Guide Training

All guides have completed the Costa Rica Institute of Tourism’s training course and been certified as a guide. They are trained at either a public university or a private school and have basic skills in at least one other language than Spanish, though most lodges and tour companies require English. I had trouble finding information about their training online, but here’s a tiny bit:

Tourist Guide Requirements

Inside EcoTeach Guide Training

A Private Guide Training (Lapas Rio) Overview – 6 days for $1,760 which is too expensive for most Ticos – You can see the itinerary here.


 “Do not follow where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.”

– Ralph Waldo Emerson


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