A recent study by the Fish and Wildlife Service found that a surprising one in six US citizens are birdwatchers—That's 48 million fellow birders in the US alone! While many of us plan our birding trips to the northern parts of the country (Montana, Maine, Vermont, Minnesota and Iowa are top birding destinations), we highly recommend traveling south to Costa Rica.
Costa Rica has less than 0.03% of the planet's surface, but you'll find some 875 bird species, more than the United States and Canada combined. The sheer variety and abundance of birds here makes bird-watching a daily pastime.
You don't have to stray far from your hotel or even need binoculars to spot, for instance, a kaleidoscopic-colored Keel-billed Toucan. But armed with a pair of binoculars and a birding guide, the sky is literally the limit for the numbers of birds you can see.
According to Fodor's member gannetmusic:
"Arenal is on the Caribbean slope and is the most diverse area for birds in Costa Rica... If this is your first taste of Central American birding I suggest a guide who can help sort out the similar species and identify birds by song, as well as knowing good locations to visit."
Check out the type of birds you can expect to see in Costa Rica.
If you've never gone wildlife or bird watching but would like to try, here are a few pointers to get you started.
Photo courtesy of rachfog on flickr