A number of traditional booksellers and online stores list excellent inventories of field guides and other natural history resources that will help prepare you for this tour. We recommend www.amazon.com, which has a wide selection; www.buteobooks.com and www.nhbs.com, which specialize in ornithology and natural history books; and www.abebooks.com for out-of-print and hard-to-find titles.
Field Guides (Birds):
Garrigues, Richard and Robert Dean, The Birds of Costa Rica: A Field Guide. Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 2007. Compact and complete, now the recommended field guide.
Stiles, Gary and Alexander Skutch. A Guide to the Birds of Costa Rica. Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1990. The first field guide specifically for Costa Rica and still very useful, especially the text.
Ridgely, Robert S. A Guide to the Birds of Panama. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1992 (2nd ed.). Edition expanded to include Costa Rica and suitable for use here.
Merlin Bird ID. Cornell Lab of Ornithology. The best app to use in the field. Nowadays considered the “future of birding.” Once you download the app, you must download the pack for Costa Rica. Includes bird description, photos and voices. Also, there is a section for Bird Photo ID which can be useful in the field. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.
Ebird. Cornell Lab of Ornithology. This is nowadays your best way to keep your life list, all in a single application. When taxonomic splits are incorporated, your list will be automatically updated. Furthermore, your guide will be able to share the daily list. You can just accept the list, and have it uploaded in your files! HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.
Bird Call Xeno. This app gives you access to one of the largest online bird libraries in the world. Provided that your phone has an active data service, you´ll be able to listen to the bird recordings uploaded in the site.
Costa Rica Birds. Field Guide. Birding Field Guides. A good source of information with bird voices and range maps. It provides multiple filter choices and easy search function. Downloadable in the App Store, Amazon appstore and Google Play.
Mammals of North, Central and South America - A mammal app.
Sky Guide. If you’re interested in stargazing, you might want to consider using this app. Just hold your device overhead and it will show you the stars, constellations and planets. Downloadable in the App Store and Google Play.
Maps.me. If you like checking routes, roads and locations, this app allows you to track the tour route even with your phone offline! Just download the app and the Costa Rica map and you will be all set. Downloadable in the App Store and Google Play.
General Introduction to the Tropics:
Forsyth, Adrian, and Ken Miyata. Tropical Nature. Scribner, 1987. Paperback available. Excellent chapters, very readable and informative. Written for the layman; highly recommended.
Forsyth, Adrian, Portraits of the Rainforest. With photos by Michael and Pat Fogden. Camden East, ONT: Camden House, 1990. Stunning photos and a superb text by one of the best nature writers in the business.
Hilty, Steven. Birds of Tropical America. Shelburne, VT: Chapters Publishing Ltd, 1994. An excellent, easy-to-read book on the ecology of neotropical birds. Highly recommended.
Kricher, John C. A Neotropical Companion. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1999. Good introduction to the tropics.