November 2, 2022


Birdwatching, natural history, photography and diving expedition to Cocos Island.

The remote Cocos Island, a dream for naturalists, birders and divers, now accesible with us. We have already run 6 successful birding and wildlife expeditions to the remote Island, so we are ready to give you the best experience possible. 

Yellow Warbler (Galapagos subespecies) are also found in the island. Serge Arias.

THE TRIP: The next trip starts June 20 2023 in the afternoon and ends June 30 2023 in the morning when we dock back in Puntarenas. The trip will involve 36 hours to arrive at the Island and anchor in Chatham Bay, We will spend 7 days in the island and head back to mainland on day 9. 

A White Tern in the Yglesias Hill Trail, they are also called Fairy Terns and are found in the Island from Feb to October. Sergio Arias.


–  Departing spot is a private dock in Puntarens. We will provide a free shuttle from San José downtown and back.

– We will have 7 days at the island for birding along the Shores and Mirador Aguacate in Chatham bay, also the Wafer Bay and the Yglesias hill (summit of the extinct volcano) we will take short walks and spend a lot of time looking out and views to the birds and landscape. We will be able to get natural showers in  a small fresh water ponds at the end of some of the walks by the shore. 

Cocos in a cloudy day. Still gorgeous. Serge Arias.

– Our birding-nature activities will be concentrated in Chatham Bay and Wafer Bay at the shore and trail, also from our boat and some evenings we will take visits to the cliffs and rocky islands for boobies and noddies on a dinghy. We will swim in the tide allowed, from the dinghy one of the days to visit one of the many lush waterfalls. All the endemics are abundant in the trail in Chatham, in our latest trip we saw most of them on a daily basis.

A White Tern and a Great Frigatebird sharing the perch on an endemic cecropia tree of the island. Serge Arias.

Our June 20-30, 2023 map and plan. Serge Arias.

– Landing from the dinghy in the Chatham and Wafer Bays is wet, we might get water to the level of your knees or chest depending on tide, bring plenty of extra clothing and dry bags for your gear.

Easter Facade of the Cocos Island in a clear day, it is possible to spot the Summit of the extinct volcano. Serge Arias.

Day 1: June 20 BOARDING AND DEPARTURE TO COCOS: When all passengers have arrived on board, the vessel will take a 32-36 hour cruise out to Cocos Island. We will have an early dinner and familiarize ourselves with the rocking of the boat. Check list and recommendations, all boat instructions and rules will be provided by your guide and crew.

A Wandering Tattler preening while a Black-tipped reef shark cruises the shore in Chatham Bay. Serge Arias.

Day 2:A whole day of cruise in the vast Pacific: A travel day on the ship. Enjoy the Pacific and the sunshine at your leisure, take notes and read the program, check list and materials we will provide, we will be giving identification tips and we will have talks with our tour leader about the birds and other wildlife to expect. We will be sharing the cruise with a diving group, so there is also a time to interact with them and the guides about their experiences. There are videos and the experience of the Captain and crew to help you get excited before getting to the remote island. During the travel time if you have a diving license you might want to take one of the lessons and join the divers in activities (this will represent additional costs and we must pre arrange that day’s prior departure). Morning will be calm, but after lunch we will spend time at the bow of the ship for pelagic opportunities, Red-footed boobies and Brown Noddies will scort our vessel, also we will check for storm Petrels including Wedge-rumped and Black, also shearwaters. We will probably also spot turtles and dolphins. We will take dinner and rest. 

Cocos Cuckoo, endemic, and one of the main reasons to visit the island for birding purposes.

Day 3: ARRIVAL TO COCOS: We will wake up at 1.30 to 2 am to check for potential sightings of the very special Swallow-tailed Gull fishing and chasing our boat lights. We will rest and wake up by 6 am for breakfast and we will have our first view of Jurassic looking Island, probably with some rain, clouds and rainbows around. Brown, Masked and Red Footed Boobies, plus noddies and other sea birds will welcome our pumping hearts while we approach Chatham bay for breakfast and our first walk on the island. Our first official day on the island. We will be taken to the shore and take a morning of walking up to the Mirador Aguacate in search for our first endemic and a warm welcome by the CocosFinches, the only darwin Finch out of the Galapagos and one of our main targets, we will look for White Terns, Magnificent and Great Frigate Birds, also the CocosCuckoo and Flycatcher. We will go back on the vessel for lunch, in the afternoon we can walk the same trail again or spend the afternoon birding from our boat. 

Cocos Finches (endemic), are abundant in the both Bays (Chatham and Wafer), also along the trails, and are our meet and greet committee as we land in the remote location. Serge Arias.


We will have a skiff for taking us to and from the ship, we will go birding the perimeter of Cocos Island for marine birds in the rocks. Our birding will be concentrated on many visits at the Chatham Bay and Wafer Bay shore and trail. Our main target is to register and photograph the 3 endemics to the island Cocos Cuckoo (Coccyzus ferrugineus), Cocos Flycatcher (Nesotriccus ridgwayi) and Cocos Finch (Pinaroloxias inornata). 

Cocos Flycatcher, completes the Holy Trinity of the island, and also a mega target during the trip. Serge Arias.

Cocos Island receives an average of 25 feet of rainfall per year, resulting in a covering of lush green foliage. Waterfalls abound, of which there are up to 70 falls of varying sizes during the peak of the rainy season. The island also supports a verdant, high-altitude cloud forest. Rare for a small island, this is made possible by dramatic topography, abundant rainfall and surplus water stored in the porous reservoirs of the island itself. This extraordinary island ecosystem is unique to Cocos alone, of all the islands of the Eastern Tropical Pacific (Clipperton, the Revillagigedos, the Galapagos Islands, and Malpelo). We will have different visits to the island according to the weather conditions for getting as many of the birds as possible. This is a target species tour, mainly for the birds but also for the other endemic wildlife including lizards, trees and more. Some days we will take visits on the dinghy to the rocky small islands of Dos Amigos, the only place where the Masked and Nazca Boobies are found in the entire island. We will also visit a waterfall and many of the cliffs from the boat for birding.

Masked Boobies have a nesting colony, along with Nazca and Brown Boobies in the Dos Amigos rocks in the South Easter side of the island, they are only found there. Serge Arias.

At Chatham Bay there is the famous pirates stones beach where we will find the chiseled signs on the rocks of famous pirates and explorers of the past.

Nesting Great Frigatebirds re found along the trails. Serge Arias.

On day 6 we will visit Yglesias  hill, the summit of the island. The vessel will move to be anchored in Chatham or Wafer Bay during the trip, and based on the bay where we will arrange with the captain the locations to be visited (Shores, rocky islands, cliffs and the Chatham Bay and trail). On day 9 in the evening 3-5 pm we will depart back to Puntarenas. That night we will try again for the Swallow-tailed Gull. 

Highlights includes a visit to the lowest cloudforest on Earth. On the walk to the summit of the island. Serge Arias.

Day 10: A whole day cruising back, we will spend some time birding for pelagic opportunities from the vessel including more Petrels and Shearwaters. We will have a meeting with the crew and the gift shop will open to buy shirts and memories of the island.

Sooty Terns nest in the Gisler rock at the Wafer Bay. Serge Arias.

Day 11: We will arrive by 6 am to Puntarenas, and after breakfast you will be allowed to leave the boat. 

Migratory and Vagrant birds are a great addition, for example this cute American Golden Plover. Serge Arias.

PRICING: This is a very unique opportunity to visit the island for more than half of the regular price. Price is giving in US dollars. Per person based in a double room. $ 4600 pp. USD in a shared double room. Payments by October 15 have a $300 discount. Includes: All the meals, starting with dinner on day 1 and ending with breakfast on day 11. The 10 days of cruise. Wine and local beer are unlimited and covered. Guide. Not included: National Park fee for 7 days: Not divers: $200 for Costa Ricans and Residents and $400 for non residents. Divers: $400 for Costa Ricans and Residents and $600 for non residents. Evacuation Insurance: $30, Park fees and evacuation insurance must be paid on the boat. Tips to the crew and your birding guide are not included. Other alcoholic drinks are not included, you can bring them.

If interested in taking some of the dives we must arrange that in advance and involve extra costs. 

Diving is great addition to the trip, even the non divers can take a discovery dive the last evening in the coral gardens of Manuelita Island.

More details and information contact us by email

This is a one of its kind trip that must be booked at least 4-6 months prior departure due to vessel logistics, approaching the departure dates won’t be possible to sign.

Swallow-tailed Gull have been spotted in all the last trips. Serge Arias.

Trip reports of the past 6 trips:

VI Expedition Island section (March 26-April 3)

VI Expedition Pelagic (March 26 – April 4 2022)

V Expedition (Nov 9-19 2021)

IV Expedition (May 13-23 2021)

III Expedition (Jan 5-15 2021)

II Expedition (Aug 30 _ Sept 9 2020)

I Expedition (July 11-21 2020)

Markham’s Storm Petrel is a highlight in the pelagic cruising to Cocos, plenty of seabirds are potential during the long journey. Serge Arias.

#puravidabirding #flocktococos