My wife and I visited Rancho Naturalista in early November 2006. This was the third stop of our trip, and our fourth visit to Costa Rica since the year 2000.
Over the years we have stayed at 13 different locations from North to South and from beach to high mountain lodges. As birders, and photographers, we are fascinated with the variety of climate change and hence bird diversity that Costa Rica offers. We knew of Rancho Naturalista from birding reports that spoke of the ease of viewing and the number of species that can be seen there. We were not disappointed. This is a birder’s lodge.
Rancho is not large and offers balcony viewing of their feeders that attract a good array of birds.Hummingbird feeders allow you to be up close as the birds are accustomed to people and feed within a few feet. When staying at Rancho, a guide is provided to guests for spotting and walking the trails. My wife was out twice each day. I walk with a cane, and am unstable, however I did manage the trail to the feeders to get a shot of the Snow Capped Hummingbird. Rancho has a reputation for sightings of this bird. Meals were served in a family setting with guests discussing sightings and experiences from their travels. My wife is vegetarian and also has lactose intolerance. When the kitchen was alerted her dietary needs were met. The variety and quality of meals was very good. Much better than the buffet style we encountered at other lodges.
Since we were traveling in the green, or off season, we stayed in a large bedroom in the main building that had doors opening to the viewing balcony. You must be a birder to stay there as everyone was outside your room, drinking early morning coffee and birding at 6 am. Fortunately we were also there to share the sunrise viewing with them. As there were not many guests, we saw that some rooms in adjacent buildings were being improved.
During our three day stay we enjoyed sharing our common interest with the other guests and the owner over evening meals. We found the staff and guides very willing to help when we needed assistance. This was a good spot for us. Good birding, good food and photos to remember.
Bob and Ione Unsworth,
Vineland, Ontario, Canada