Copa Has Big Sale On Central/South America From USA

It always pays to keep an eye on sales, I get them emailed to me but you can always check the websites as well.  Copa is running a nice sale to various places in Central & South America.


Here’s a sample quote from Orlando to Guayaquil (since we are going there soon).  Ecuador has great birding and I will be blogging the whole trip after we get home!


Copa & Lan Offer Cheap Fares To Central & South America

Not enough miles?  Want a quick eco-trip to Central or South America?  These hit my email this morning.


Save to South America with Fares starting at $299. Book Now >>


Celebrate the long weekend by booking an amazing trip to South America! Purchase your roundtrip ticket before January 21, 2014 at 11:59pm (EST) to fly to select destinations in South America from the U.S. with fares starting from only $299. Take advantage of this incredible opportunity to save on a romantic Valentines’ weekend or fun Spring Break getaway. BOOK NOW >>


Copa Airlines


Oficinas de ventas Call center



Take advantage of our exclusive offers and enjoy the irresistible destinations that Copa Airlines offers through the Hub of the Americas.
Origin Destination Before Flash sale
Boston Panama $660 $554
Boston Belo Horizonte $1352 $1113
Chicago Panama $570 $481
Las Vegas Panama $520 $441
1Los Angeles Panama $560 $473
1Los Angeles Bogota $603 $510
1Los Angeles Punta Cana $674 $573
2Miami Panama $410 $362
2Miami Cartagena $637 $519
3New York Panama $540 $457
3New York Lima $801 $670
4Orlando Panama $450 $384
4Orlando San Andres $680 $572
Tampa Panama $430 $368
Washington Panama $610 $513
Don’t wait any longer and travel to your favorite destination

Great Green Macaw (Ara ambiguus)

GGMThe Great Green Macaw (Ara ambiguus) is also known as Buffon’s Macaw or the Great Military Macaw.  Two allopatric subspecies are recognized, the nominate subspecies is found in Central America to northern Colombia, while A. a. guayaquilensis is found in western Ecuador and possibly south-western Colombia.

The photo above from Wikipedia shows the bird up close in all his glory.  I wasn’t so lucky with my photography as both my sightings were at a distance and came out blurry.  At least I got to see them which was exciting in itself!

IMG_9511This macaw has a very limited range in Nicaragua, Honduras, Costa Rica, Panama, Colombia and Ecuador.  Costa Rica has the easiest places to see them in the Selva Verde/Sarapiqui area and near the Nicaraguan border at Laguna del Lagarto.  Use a Central American award to San Jose, Costa Rica.


Great Green Macaws are the largest parrots in their natural range, averaging 85–90 cm (33–36 in) long and 1.3 kg (2.9 lb) in weight. They are mainly green and have a reddish forehead and pale blue lower back, rump and upper tail feathers. Tail is brownish red tipped with very pale blue. The bare facial skin is patterned with lines of small dark feathers, which are reddish in older and female parrots.

They are highly endangered and there are several conservation groups working to preserve them in the wild.  If you would like to help this fantastic macaw survive, please visit these projects’ websites.

WPT has provided support in the form of funds ($15,000 US) through the Great Green Macaw Fund.
Also see:

Links to Other Project(s):


World Parrot Trust




This was filmed near the Selva Verde Lodge.  I wish I had a camera crew like this!  The host, James Currie of Birding Adventures talks about a conservation project to protect the nesting trees of the macaws.


Blue-grey Tanager (Thraupis episcopus)

The Blue-grey Tanager (Thraupis episcopus) is a medium-sized South American songbird of the Tanager family, Thraupidae. Its range is from Mexico south to northeast Bolivia and northern Brazil, all of the Amazon Basin, except the very south. It has been introduced to Lima (Peru). On Trinidad and Tobago, this bird is called Blue Jean.

IMG_9784 IMG_9854This delicately hued little beauty has a wide range throughout Central and South America (easily reached with airline miles) and can be easily seen in most of the national parks.  I saw them in Crooked Tree, Belize; Tikal, Laguna del Lagarto & Savegre, Costa Rica; and Soberania in Panama.


The breeding habitat is open woodland, cultivated areas and gardens. The Blue-grey Tanager lives mainly on fruit, but will also take some nectar and insects.  This is a common, restless, noisy and confiding species, usually found in pairs, but sometimes small groups. It thrives around human habitation, and will take some cultivated fruit like papayas (Carica papaya).  Many eco-lodges put bananas out to attract them closer.  I have no problem with this since bananas are part of their normal diet.  Breeding season is from March to July. During this time, the female lays one to three mottled eggs, which she incubates for 12 to 14 days. Once hatched, both parents feed their chicks.

Adult blue-gray tanagers are preyed upon by felines, snakes, birds of prey and crocodilians. Other predators, such as raccoons, eat young birds and eggs. Habitat destruction due to deforestation is the primary threat to this species.




Rainforest Alliance


This one is long but watch for a few minutes to see the bird’s feeding habits and sound.


Costa Rica – Something For Everyone, Especially Eco-Tourists

First of all, the whole country is visually stunning.  The Pacific coast, Caribbean coast, mountains, volcanoes, rainforests, lakes, rivers and national parks.  Not surprisingly, Costa Rica is not only a popular vacation spot for mainstream tourists but also serves the cruise industry and a growing population of retirees who find their pensions go a lot further there.  The tourist infrastructure is well-established and credit cards are widely accepted.


You will need a Central America award on your airline of choice.  If you are new here, please have a look at the programs I recommend you to join.  San Jose (SJO) is very well served by Star Alliance (red dot) carriers but there are a few interesting options on One World (blue dot) and Sky Team (green dot).  Most people would either be coming from or connecting in the USA but if you don’t want to travel via the USA you can connect in Madrid on Iberia or Toronto on Air Canada.


You can also fly to Liberia airport (LIR) on any of the 3 major alliances.



Most of the major hotel chains are represented here but I strongly advise you not to go overboard booking them.  I have seen people book 7-10 days in San Jose when the Holiday Inn or Crowne Plaza goes on Pointbreaks but this is a false economy (unless you are on a business trip).  Costa Rica has so much to offer and I hate to see people spending their whole trip in the city!  One night before or after a flight is fine and there are several options which I will go over in the San Jose post.  Eco-lodges can be ridiculously easy to book online (even getting miles via Pointshound) with secure credit card payments and instant confirmations.


As you can see, Costa Rica is truly blessed with national parks full of fascinating birds and amazing scenery!  The red line and dots represent our itinerary which I chose to maximize Parrot sightings and also to see the gorgeous Respendent Quetzal.  I was also reluctant to hire a car here so I had to choose places easy to get to on public transport or tourist shuttles.

1.  Selva Verde, Sarapiqui

2.  Laguna del Lagarto, Boca Tapada

3.  Arenal

4.  Monteverde

5.  Carara

6.  Parque Nacional Los Quetzales

7.  San Jose (pre-flight)

Our Travel Route

The Birds Of Tikal National Park

Yesterday, I posted about the travel aspect of Tikal National Park and because I had so many photos decided to split the birds off into their own post.  Tikal has quite an impressive bird list, with several of my targeted parrot species.  I’ll screenshot the parrots and leave you to visit the bird list on their website.  Remember, creating a successful birding adventure means identifying the species you most want to see and finding out the best places to see them.  I have highlighted in yellow the parrot species I saw at Tikal.  I did see the other species later in Costa Rica.  The subspecies of Olive-throated Parakeet found here is more commonly known as an Aztec Conure.  We saw a small flock near the Grand Plaza flying swiftly overhead-as conures do.


Montezuma Oropendulas were everywhere throughout the whole trip.

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Keel-billed Toucan

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Lineated Woodpecker


Montezuma Oropendula



Brown-hooded Parrot


Ocellated Turkey

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Montezuma Oropendulas and White-fronted Parrots sharing a tree

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Great Kiskadee

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Lineated Woodpecker

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Collared Aracaris

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Blue-grey Tanager


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