Rancho Naturalista

Family owned and run by an American/Costa Rican couple, the simple yet comfortable lodge is a firm favourite amongst serious birders who come to spot target species.

Rancho Naturalista

Rancho Naturalista is located at an elevation of 900 metres overlooking the Tuis Valley, about two-and-a-half hours by road east of San Jose and just a few miles from the town of Turrialba. Family owned and run by an American/Costa Rican couple, the simple yet comfortable lodge is a firm favourite amongst serious birders who come to spot target species in the 130 acre private Caribbean rainforest reserve, such as tawny-chested flycatcher and snowcap hummingbird. There are many more hummingbird and other bird species, as well as hundreds of butterflies such as morphos, hesperids, nymphalids, pieridae, caligos and papilionidae species. There are hummingbird feeders on the lodge balcony, a network of trails through rainforest and pasture land, hummingbird bathing pools, and at night the lodge can set up a backlit white sheet which attracts a remarkable variety and quantity of moths and other nocturnal insects, some of which are really extraordinary. At around 0600 many birds typically hard to see birds visit the sheet to feed off the insects it attracted.


The main building houses the rancho office, dining room, dining terrace, and lounge. There is a 24 hour coffee station on the upstairs balcony with cookies and crackers. Complimentary WiFi is available downstairs. There is an honour bar with spirits, wine, beer, soft drinks and water, and a laundry service is also available.

Local Wildlife

Around 450 birds can be found in the private forest reserve and local area. On the balcony at Rancho Naturalista the hummingbird feeders are renowned for attracting many species of hummingbirds. Some of the species possible are; violet-crowned woodnymph, white-necked Jacobin, green hermit, green thorntail, violet sabrewing, bronze-tailed plumeleteer and green-crowned brilliant. On the verbena hedges at Rancho Naturalista the snowcap is a frequent visitor along with the black-crested coquette, the violet-headed hummingbird and possibly the garden emerald.

Optional Activities

Tours are also offered to nearby birding spots, and further afield, including rafting in Pacuare. Horse riding can also be arranged at a nearby property

Number of rooms


Air Conditioning


Swimming Pool


Jonathan Morris
Area Specialist

Be sure to ask the owners or guide to set up the backlit sheet in the evening to enjoy a remarkable bug show after dinner, and some pre-breakfast birding the following morning as some usually hard to see species come into the open to eat the insects.

If you have any queries about this accommodation please feel free to call me directly on +44 (0)1803 866965 or...

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Rancho Naturalista 9.831471, -83.562324 Rancho Naturalista View

This is the second trip with reef and Rainforest and it certainly met all of our expectations. (Your representatives) were excellent as were all the lodges generally. There was a good balance of organised tours and time to ourselves – this was just what we wanted. Your choice of locations in Costa Rica was again excellent sharing your local knowledge and expertise and assessing what we wanted. Thank you very much for your help and organisation. We look forward to using you again and will happily recommend you.

Mr D M - Gwynedd