Our family is heading to Costa Rica in a couple weeks, along with our 10-year-old resident birder, Emily. We have plans to stay at Hotel Cerro Lodge in Tarcoles (near Carara), Arenal Observatory Lodge, and Selva Verde Lodge (near La Selva in Sarapiqui).
Emily has a little brother who is not as keen on birds and lacks stamina, so we can't go crazy on multiple days of all-day birding, but Emily is really hoping to see a lot of new bird species regardless. She has set a goal to reach 500 total species on her life list by the end of 2020 (she is currently at 299).
Recommendations for guides would be greatly appreciated, along with the best birding locations near our lodging (are the grounds of Selva Verde birdy enough, or should we take a guided tour of La Selva Biological Station as well? Is it worth taking a day trip to Cano Negro from Arenal? Do we need to book these things now, or can we finalize plans after arrival?)
Also, which bird guide should we take? I checked out Birds of Costa Rica from the library, but I'm wondering if it might be too bulky, and Emily didn't seem to connect well w/the illustrations.
Thanks in advance for any input you can provide! Megan