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.
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.
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
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 questions regarding our Costa Rica tours, please feel free to contact me on +44 (0)1803 866965
A very welcoming and stylish accommodation. Staff were all lovely and attentive. Our room was very good and comfortable, and of course in an amazing setting!