Costa Rica - Rancho Naturalista - April 9-12, 2007

Published by Ron Freed (rrfreed AT

Participants: Ron and Patsy Freed


A group of three couples from Pennsylvania recently completed a two-week birding trip around Costa Rica. The final three days were spent at Rancho Naturalista. In light of recent postings about Rancho, I'd like to share our observations.

During our trip, we stayed at seven different lodges, and Rancho turned out to be one of our favorites. It was a perfect place to end our trip in relaxing and comfortable surroundings. This is a birder's place, and could also be enjoyed by anyone with interests in the outdoors. One of our party took advantage of the available horseback riding one afternoon and rode to a spectacular viewpoint at the top of the mountain.

Our friends stayed in the main lodge in excellent rooms, and my wife and I stayed in a separate cabin, not quite as nice, but still very satisfactory.

The food was outstanding. Breakfast, lunch and dinner all were well prepared, tasty, and offered up by a friendly and efficient staff.

Despite being at the tail end of a two-week trip that produced over 500 bird species, we still managed to pick up several species at Rancho that we had not seen anywhere else (see list below). Plus, the balcony and feeder stations produced closer views of some birds that we had already seen. There are some excellent side trips available nearby, including Tuis River Valley, where we got Fasciated Tiger-Heron and Black-crested Coquette, Old Mine Road for Sunbittern, and Silent Mountain trail for raptors and Green-fronted Lancebill, among other species. Our total species count at Rancho was over 255. We also saw some interesting mammals, herps, and insects.

In summary, we really enjoyed our stay at Rancho Naturalista and would recommend it to anyone interested in the outdoors, and especially birding.

Species Lists

Species that were new for us at Rancho Naturalista:

Fasciated Tiger-Heron
Barred Forest-Falcon
Common Potoo
Chestnut-collared Swift
White-tipped Sicklebill
Gren-fronted Lancebill
Black-crested Coquette
White-bellied Mountain-gem
Buff-throated Foliage-gleaner
Tawny-throated Leaftosser
Dull-mantled Antbird
Spotted Antbird
White-crowned Manakin
Slaty-capped Flycatcher
Tawny-chested Flycatcher
Emerald Tanager
Speckled Tanager
White-naped Brush-finch