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Rancho Naturalista

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Traveller (434)
Dining (73)
Certificate of Excellence


Certificate of Excellence
The premier birding lodge in Costa Rica, Rancho Naturalista is among the finest in Central America. There are plentiful hummingbirds on the large, open upstairs balcony where you can view the distant smoking volcano. Over 430 species of birds have been recorded in the area. You can hike and bird the trails on your own, and excellent guides are available as well. At Rancho Naturalista the atmosphere is warm and relaxed, and the staff are friendly and welcoming. This comfortable lodge is famous for its excellent food, well prepared, and made with the best fresh local ingredients. (All meals are included.) The weather is almost perfect, not too hot and not too cold. Rancho Naturalista is a wonderful getaway for bird watchers, hikers, and nature lovers!
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Property amenities
Free parking
Free Internet
Breakfast included
Breakfast Available
Laundry Service
Multilingual Staff
Non-smoking hotel
Public Wifi
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Room features
Family Rooms
Non-smoking rooms
Good to know
Great View
Hotel links
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79Room tips
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Popular mentions
We stayed here for 2 nights on a birding tour and it was a good place to stay with a variety of wildlife on the grounds. Service was good and the wait staff were very attentive at meals. Unfortunately, we had the room right above the kitchen so it was a little too early wake up
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I want to start this review with the fact that I am being completely objective in my observations, but I have reviewed years of private reviews for the resort and expect the owner / manager will write a response contesting some of my observations. I am not writing this review
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We carefully planned our recent 28-day trip to Costa Rica to include eight special stops where animal life and natural history would create lifetime memories. We began with four days here, planning the rest of the trip around this universally praised retreat. Everything
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I stayed here for 2 nights in February 2019. Had a nice room with kitchenette and easy chairs. However I didn't like the bed because it had a nylon type mattress cover which felt rather like sleeping on a hospital bed. That aside the food quality was excellent although it was a
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Response from LisaErb_CR, Manager at Rancho Naturalista
Responded 1 week ago
Hello and thank you for your nice recommendation! We couldn't do anything on the road at the time you were here due to the drought. Now that is has began to rain a bit we have put 6 truckloads of gravel on the road and now it is an much better shape. We realize that its a bit difficult at times but it is a rainforest reserve and not as easily accessible as a lodge that is located on a main hi-way. We believe that good places are worth the extra effort in getting there. We also recommend that anyone driving to Rancho Naturalista should have (not necessarily4x4) a high clearence vehicle. A regular automovile will not make it easily.
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Room was spacious and comfortable. Surroundings are lovely and birds and other wildlife were abundant. Staff went out of their way to ensure we were able to see and do what we wanted. The food was excellent and the best we had of the places we stayed in Costa Rica. We loved
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Album Categories
All photosTravellerDining Room & SuiteFamily and Play AreasBusiness Centre & Event Rooms
Looking from the baclony
Volcan Turrialba view from the patio
Las habitaciones son increibles
Clean and met our needs
More than adequate
Hello from all of us at Rancho Naturalista! Yes the first 2 weeks of August can be very nice weather. It may also be raining during the afternoons which is normal for this time of the year. Everything is lush and green and the rivers are perfect for whitewater rafting. Most species of birds are finishing with nesting and many species are showing up. Northern migrant species are not yet present although a few may begin to show up at the end of August. It is too low for the Quetzal at Rancho Naturalista but can be seen in higher elevations on a day trip. If you have any other questions please do not hesitate to send us an email.
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What is the check-in and check-out time for the hotel?
Sorry I didn’t see this sooner! We aren’t strict about checkout times. We allow guests to stay and have lunch -even if they arrived for lunch on the day they checked in. As long as it’s not a large group, we don’t charge extra for this. Also some guests would rather stay and see more birds before leaving for the airport or hotel in San Jose, that is ok with us too. Rancho Naturalista is a family owned and operated business and we want our guests to feel at home. Just let us know what you need and we will be happy to help.
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Hello and Saludos from all of us here at Rancho Naturalista! Although many of our guests do come with a tour group we also have guests that prefer to come on their own. We try to help our guests plan every detail, from guides to transportation, special events like birthdays, special diets etc. We can help arrange to see any special "target birds" you may want to see while you are here.We have extra activities available like whitewater rafting and canyoning. Just let us know what you want and we will be happy to help you plan an exciting vacation.
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Hello sorry for the delay I didn't see your message! Yes we can arrange for a local taxi driver from our area who will pick you up at The Hampton Inn or any other hotel that you would like to be picked up from. He also will pick you up directly from the airport and the time doesn't matter. For more details feel free to send an email. Oh and the drive from San Jose takes 3 hrs. If you are renting a car we will be happy to send you driving directions. Have fun planning your trip to Costa Rica!
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No doubt that you will encounter all sorts of lighting conditions. For the hummers I got many images without flash and some with flash. Going into the trails you will find deep tree cover with scattered small clearings. I used a flash Better Beamer/Flash Extender quite a bit. A monopod was very helpful when I used a Sigma 150-600 but I discovered that sometimes I could not follow the action so I used a Nikon 300 f4 PF with a 1.4x teleconverter. That is a very light combination that allowed me to walk 6-8 hours at a time. You sacrifice some reach but will not miss rapidly moving birds. I used a full frame DSLR that allowed me plenty of cropping. It is important that your camera can handle high ISO's, I shot some at 24K as flash was not advisable that came out pretty decent. You will love Rancho Naturalista! Awesome food and very friendly people that know how to cater to bird and nature photographers.
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"Get a room away from the main lodge"
"Look on their website all the rooms are shown clearly. Rooms 10 and 11 are the furthest away but not too far and are quiet."
"Ask to be in main building if wanting quick access to feeding statiosn"
"All rooms are unique, but stay away from the rooms in front of the laundry."
"stayed in the main lodge with a room adjoining the upstairs balcony..ideal for the hummingbird feeders"
rancho naturalista turrialbarancho naturalista hotel turrialba
Costa RicaProvince of CartagoTurrialba
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