Friday, August 25, 2017

Rancho Naturalista

So.  Here we are.  Nearly 2 months after our Costa Rican trek.  So much has happened since that amazing trip but it's time I finish off these last two posts.  Today we'll visit the infamous Rancho Naturalista, home of the Snowcap hummingbird.

Originally we had planned to visit Poas National Park on this day, but the volcano had other ideas.  So we moved our agenda up a day and headed over to Rancho Naturalista. I am so grateful to new friend and bird guide Serge Arias for taking us to this magical place. Without him, a lot of our time would have been wasted on transportation.

White-necked Jacobin
Even better?  Serge knew everyone at the places we went to visit.  He's great.  And he knows when your tummy is about to growl from hunger.  He had our lunches all set up without even a second thought.  Now that's awesome!

Green Basilisk

People can stay at Rancho Naturalista or they can visit.  Lisa Erb runs the ranch and she was wonderful!  What a fantastic place!  There were trails, sitting areas and lots of fantastic birds!

I was so caught up in the bird activity that I forgot to take landscape and people pics!  I know many of you enjoy those photos as well. Anyhow, in this pic,  Serge and Lisa talk about an upcoming conference that they will attend.

Chestnut-headed Oropendula
As a birder, I can tell you that I enjoy these "movie theater" kind of places.  You get a cup of coffee or tea and sit down to watch the incredible bird life around you. After walking trails, it's a nice and welcome break.

Brown Jay
Photography is fun here.  There are lots of great spots to point your camera and shoot. 

Blue-gray Tanager

Once we had our coffee and break, it was off to hike once again.  How can this place have so many birds?  The lifers seemed endless. 

Olive-backed Euphonia

The star of the show here at the ranch is the Snowcap.  It's why birders from all over the world come to visit.

It was on my list of "must sees" on our trip to Costa Rica.  This is a striking hummer with distinct coloring. The male has a deep merlot color. Our human eyes are very limiting but with the camera, I was able to catch the subtle walk and fly motion that this bird did while feeding.

Palm Tanager
We met with Lisa's parents who also live on the ranch.  It was a hot and muggy day, but it was all made better by a wonderful cold drink! 

 With Serge, we never needed to ask for a food or drink stop.  It was always there when you needed it. Right when I felt thirsty, this amazing cold drink appeared out of nowhere!  That is the mark of an excellent bird guide. Some people need bathroom breaks.  Others need snacks.  I need fluid!

Orange-billed Sparrow
The birds also had the same idea as they bathed in the trickling water feature at the ranch.  I love ALL sparrows, and the ones found in Central America are quite unique! 

Crowned Woodnymph
We had a blast. For birders, this is a great 1 or 2 day stop for your Costa Rican birding adventures.  For the Rancho Naturalista list, click here.

Until next time.....


  1. What a super place to visit - so much wildlife. Wonderful photos Chris and your guide sounds perfect :)

  2. What a fantastic place, Chris. How fortunate you were to have such a great guide to help you get around in Costa Rica. This Ranch is amazing! I can't believe the great bounty of wonderful bird sightings...especially the amazing exotic hummingbirds! Wow! Loved this post!

  3. Wow Chris. A fantastic array of birds. All so colourful and tropical. It's no wonder that Costa Rica has such a reputation as THE place for birders and other naturalists. Love the Snowcap. Great pics today.

  4. Firstly allow me to thank you for looking in on me, your explanation of your trip is quite amazing, and the photos are beautiful, my Faughter was looking over my shoulder when I was looking at the photos, and she just went wow,
    Take care, Gordon.

  5. Lovely to see the snowcap. I saw it in Costa Rica 110210, and stayed at Naturalista. Loved it :)
    If you want to see:

  6. Hello Chris, this sounds like an awesome place to stay. It is cool to be able to sit and have the birds come to you. I love the pretty Snowcap Hummer. The Oropendula is cool too, but then I love all the birds. Great photos and post. Thanks for sharing your visit. Happy Birding, enjoy your day!


Thanks for stopping by!