Rancho Naturalista

Rancho Naturalista

Rancho Naturalista is a birding lodge about 3 hours south of San Jose. Generally people stay at least 2-4 days. The birding, the habitat, and the guide services make it worthwhile for at least that long.

The lodge has its own bird guides, and you will benefit greatly at finding several birds with their help. The lodge is a good place for Tawny-chested Flycatcher, and White-crowned Manakin, but it's also good for several species of hummingbirds. One should have about 15 species, including Snowcap, before your stay ends. A few skulkers like Dull-mantled Antbird, Checker-throated Antwren, Russet Antshrike, and Middle American Leaf-tosser can generally be found on the trails.

A side trip to the Tuis Valley is offered at the lodge where Sunbittern, Torrent Tyrannulet, and Fasciated Tiger-Heron are frequently seen. A harder hike up to Silent Mountain can sometimes produce Lovely Cotinga or Rufous-rumped Antwren.

On our trip, we were also treated to roosting Crested Owls, and two Black-crested Coquette hummingbirds.

The food there is good and plentiful, and the accommodations are more than adequate. If you're lucky enough to get one of the two upstairs porch rooms, you're birding experience will be enhanced by quick access to the bird feeding stations. (Please see the important note below at the bottom of this page).

Black-crested Coquette - Greg Lavaty
Fasciated Tiger-Heron - Greg Lavaty

Ebird observations (bar chart) at Rancho Naturalista - https://ebird.org/barchart?r=L468901&yr=all&m=

IMPORTANT NOTE: Costa Rica law now prohibits the feeding of wildlife. This broad regulation also includes all bird feeders. In regard to bird feeders specifically, this restriction may not be based on good science. It is, however, sometimes enforced. Pushback on the enforcement of the bird-feeding aspect of the law is currently happening within the tourism industry. The specific interpretation and enforcement of the law now appears to be under review.

I recommend checking Facebook or other current bird information specific to your Costa Rica destinations to see if there have been any changes to the law and if these destinations still maintain bird feeders.