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“Rancho Naturalista is the place!” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Rancho Naturalista

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Rancho Naturalista
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1 Km este de Tuis de Turrialba | Tayutic, Turrialba 7150, Costa Rica   |  
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Ranked #1 of 11 Hotels in Turrialba
Cartago, Costa Rica
1 review
“Rancho Naturalista is the place!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 20, 2014

In my last trip to Rancho Naturalista, I travelled with a group of birders of the AOCR.
First the service that they gave from the food to the guides, was very well organized, clean and they had everything on time. The people over there work hard to do the best.
Then, the birds this is the home of the snowcap, we walked a couple of hours and we spotted around 60 species most of them very interesting species.

  • Stayed August 2014, traveled with friends
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
TexasTicaCR, Manager at Rancho Naturalista, responded to this review, August 25, 2014
Thank you for taking the time to write us such a nice review! Because the Asociacion Ornitologica de Costa Rica are the bird experts and they travel to birding hot spots all over Costa Rica, we feel that it was an honor for us to have them visit Rancho Naturalista. Thank you once again for your kind words and we hope to see you back again!
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97 reviews from our community

Traveler rating
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Rating summary
  • Location
    5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (25)
Date | Rating
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English first
Boyertown, Pennsylvania
1 review
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 14, 2014

My spouse and I spent the last week of July at Rancho Naturalista and even though it was during the “rainy season”, we had one of the best birding/nature experiences of our many travels to Costa Rica. With several miles of trails through rugged forest in addition to the lodge grounds and nearby pastures, we could vary our walks and each walk brought us something special.
The lodge itself was a welcome place to return to after an outing or during an afternoon rain. Our room (#4) had double doors that opened onto the large covered porch where guests watched the continual activity at the hummingbird feeders and shared stories. Meals were served style family promptly at 7 am, Noon, and 6 pm and were not only delicious, but a great time to meet other guests and visit with hosts Lisa and Mario. One of them checks in at each meal to see how everyone is doing. The staff were professional while being friendly and helpful. Excellent guides are available for a morning, afternoon, or full day. We were put in the expert hands of Harry whose knowledge of plants, animals, insects and birds was amazing. Our first morning we birded the trails at the Rancho with him, which gave us the lay of the land and reliable hot spots to return to on our own. He was also our guide at La Mina and the base of Cerro Silencio. The birding was excellent at both of these sites and we saw an incredible number of butterflies as well. Our week was both relaxing and eventful – a great Costa Rica experience.

  • Stayed July 2014, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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TexasTicaCR, Manager at Rancho Naturalista, responded to this review, August 18, 2014
We are delighted that you had such a positive experience at Rancho Naturalista. We thoroughly enjoyed having you as our guests at Rancho and we'd love to see you back again in the future!
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Paso Robles, California
1 review
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 7, 2014

My wife, son and I spent 3 days here in June. The birding was fantastic and the hospitality was great. Lisa and her staff treated us like family, and the meals, served family style were very good. We went in the low (rainy season), but the weather is was pretty good and when it did rain, the hummingbirds clustered to the feeders under the upper balcony overhang, providing a never ending show. Also, many bird could be seen in the trees and feeders surrounding the yard right from the balcony. Close by were other birding locations, La Mina River and the Angostura Lagoon in particular. In short, a great location, comfortable rooms, great food, and a warm family atmosphere. We would definitely go back!

  • Stayed June 2014, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
TexasTicaCR, Manager at Rancho Naturalista, responded to this review, August 17, 2014
We are happy that you felt comfortable and at home at Rancho Naturalista. We know it rained some during the time you were here, but we are happy that you also got some good weather and were able to get out and see a lot of birds. Thank you for taking the time to write such a nice review, we really appreciate it!
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Bridgewater, Virginia
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 4, 2014

This is a must stop for birders in Costa Rica! And go in July, yes it is the rainy season (that does not mean endless rain!) and you will have all the Costa Rican species without the endless N. American warblers to figure out. We had saved this as just about the last two nights of our three week trip to Costa Rica in 2014, and we were not disappointed, it was saving the best for last. We rolled in late on Thursday and started getting amazing views of hummingbirds right from the decks. We had coffee and snacks. Our Friday was wonderful walks all over the property with an excellent guide, plus nice breaks for the family style meals that were all delicious! We had 4 birders plus a toddler and grandma along. Friday we found the snowcap bathing, their hummingbird pool viewing area is worth the trip all by itself. Saturday we got directions to a nearby stream for Amazon Kingfisher, Sunbittern and Torrent Tyrannulet before lunch. All the meals were delicious and served with coffee, tea, water and juice. Rooms in the main lodge were very nice. We had an amazing time and would go back to enjoy the wonderful hospitality and birding!

  • Stayed July 2014, traveled with friends
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
TexasTicaCR, Manager at Rancho Naturalista, responded to this review, August 16, 2014
We are really happy that you had such a good time at Rancho Naturalista in July. Most importantly We are happy that you enjoyed your accommodations and our delicious meals as well as all the birds! Thank you for the great review!
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San Jose, Costa Rica
Senior Contributor
47 reviews 47 reviews
8 hotel reviews
Reviews in 16 cities Reviews in 16 cities
28 helpful votes 28 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed June 16, 2014

We spent a weekend here with the Birding Club of Costa Rica, and we saw many bird varieties. Our hosts were amazing, especially Lisa, who is very kind, helpful, and extremely knowledgeable about the birds and local points of interest. The food was wholesome and delicious, served family style, with the meat being raised right on their farm. There are many trails to hike for wildlife viewing; bring your binoculars for the birds that prefer to keep their distance. They have hummingbird feeders where you can view the "locals" close up. They also have a night light that they leave on to attract moths and bugs so that in the morning you can watch the birds that come in to dine. Our group had two bird guides and they were both excellent. Lisa can hook you up with them. We stayed in cabina #7 which was rustic but adequate and comfortable; I only had a peek at one of the rooms in the Lodge but it seemed more nicely appointed than our cabina. Overall, we had a lovely experience. The only reason I gave it 4 stars instead of 5 is because the signs posted to help you find the place are somewhat lacking, making it difficult to find. When you see the first Hydroelectric sign (white) on the right side of the road, Rancho Naturalista's sign is darker colored and right behind it, but almost hidden and hard to see as you whizz by. When you see that white Hydroelectric sign, stop and look up and to the left, where you will see another sign for Rancho Naturalista, about 20 feet up their gravel driveway which begins across from the white Hydroelectric sign. Plan to arrive during daylight, because the place i.s easy to miss. Our phone navigation and GPS led us astray to a location well past the turnoff. We had to double back and ask locals for directions (in Spanish). Best to have 4 wheel drive for the long, steep, gravel driveway up the hillside. When you come to a fork in the driveway and wonder which way to go, LOOK UP to see the sign to direct you to the left and not toward the house on the right; this sign is also easy to miss because it is so high up. This is a nice place and definitely worth going. Be sure to ask Lisa if you have questions or need anything, she is an amazing hostess. They should definitely put up more signs (further from the turnoff) on the main road to help get you there.

Room Tip: Ask for a room in the Lodge. The upper level rooms open onto a large balcony with hummingbird feeder...
See more room tips
  • Stayed May 2014, traveled with friends
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
TexasTicaCR, Manager at Rancho Naturalista, responded to this review, August 14, 2014
Thank you for taking the time to write a review for Rancho Naturalista. All your wonderful compliments are greatly appreciated. Thank you for the advice about the signs. I am thinking of how to make the signs for the lodge more visable so that people can find it easier without them becoming overly conspicious. Since we are isolated we like to keep things low key. We hope to see you back again at Rancho!
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Victoria, Canada
1 review
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 10, 2014

Rancho Naturalista is truly a gem. My girlfriend and I were lucky enough to stay at Rancho Naturalista for 3 weeks as volunteers helping out with the goings on of the resort. What an amazing, unforgettable experience we had. We met the sister of the owner (Lisa) earlier during our travels and she put us in contact with the ranch in regards to a work stay opportunity. Lisa was unbelievably accommodating and immediately welcomed us to the ranch and made us feel like family.

First of all, the ranch is located in some of the most beautiful rainforest highlands in the world. The climate is absolutely gorgeous and cool, and we came during the low season. The grounds are beautifully maintained, and there are fantastic hiking trails up into the mountain behind the ranch where you can find an abundance of birds, butterflies, cool insects, snakes, and if you're lucky like us, a Tarantula! The hummingbirds at Rancho are the most special highlight. At all hours of the day, many varieties can be found zipping around the front lawn from feeder to feeder, some coming so close to your head you can feel the whoosh of air as they speed past. Definitely make your way to the natural pools down the hill to catch a glimpse of the elusive Snowcap.

The staff is incredibly hard working and attentive, and give off a wonderful sense of family. The owners Lisa and Mario are wonderful and engaging and work hard to make sure the guests' experience is memorable. The ranch is partly self sufficient and has a working farm behind the scenes. Fresh dairy, chicken, and pork are all raised and used by the ranch. (These were our favourite daily chores.)

As far as food goes, oh my goodness. Vinicio, the head chef, is a truly gifted young man. Every meal is absolutely stunning. He cooks up a variety of traditional Costa Rican and international fare, (the farm cheese flan with guava puree was insanely good). The family style dinner is also a great way to meet fellow birders and a lovely way to end the day.

The rooms are beautiful, each offering unique styles and views of the grounds, and the cleaning staff keep everything fresh and taken care of.

Rancho Naturalista will always have a special place in our hearts, we are extremely thankful to Lisa and Mario for allowing us to volunteer there and we hope to come back someday soon to visit.

  • Stayed May 2014, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
TexasTicaCR, Manager at Rancho Naturalista, responded to this review, June 16, 2014
Thank you so much for the really nice review. We enjoyed having you both here at Rancho Naturalista. The staff at Rancho are still talking about how hard you worked. They were amazed that someone from another country would come and take an interest in learning to do the everyday things that they (the Costaricans) do here. It gave them much happiness to have you working alongside them! We wish you luck wherever you go. Someday your travels will bring you back to Rancho Naturalista once again, and when you do, know that you have friends waiting to welcome you back!
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Santiago de Puriscal, Costa Rica
Senior Contributor
26 reviews 26 reviews
7 hotel reviews
Reviews in 15 cities Reviews in 15 cities
14 helpful votes 14 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 2, 2014

We spent a weekend at Rancho with a group- the Birding Club of Costa Rica - expats and Costa Ricans that go all over the country on birding trips. The reason to select Rancho was because of its reputation for birding, and it did not disappoint! BUT... if you are not a 'birder' but want to see a really beautiful part of Costa Rica and have a wonderful time - head to Rancho. First, the rooms are wonderful - we stayed in the Lodge and see for yourself in the photos - beautiful room looking out over both the hummingbird feeders and a spectacular view of the valley and the Irazu and Turrialba volcanos. Meals are another huge plus - seriously great food . We are vegetarians and they are well prepared and served some of the better vegetarian dishes we have had in the country. Service is incredible - Lisa the manager and her team are attentive, helpful and cater to your every need. Hiking , horseback riding are available , and you are a day trip away from wonderful sites to see such as the Sloth Sanctuary on the coast and the newly updated National Monument Park at Guyabo - a really interesting pre-columbian site to visit . Oh, and the birding is great too ;-) We saw over 100 different species over the weekend and the guides were wonderful. All in all , a most wonderful stay - highly recommend it to any lover of nature as a base for visiting this part of Costa Rica.

  • Stayed May 2014, traveled with friends
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
TexasTicaCR, Manager at Rancho Naturalista, responded to this review, June 5, 2014
We feel that it was an honor for us to have had the Birding Club of Costa Rica as our guests at Rancho Naturalista. We know that you travel all over Costa Rica to the best birdwatching sites and that you have seen most of the best places to stay, so we are super happy that you enjoyed your stay at our little Lodge. Thank you for the kind review and know that you are always welcome back anytime!
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Additional Information about Rancho Naturalista

Address: 1 Km este de Tuis de Turrialba | Tayutic, Turrialba 7150, Costa Rica
Phone Number:
Location: Costa Rica > Province of Cartago > Turrialba
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities ( Kid / Family Friendly ) Restaurant Room Service Suites Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 11 Hotels in Turrialba
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Number of rooms: 14
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
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! ... more   less 
Also Known As:
Rancho Naturalista Turrialba
Rancho Naturalista Hotel Turrialba
Rancho Naturalista Costa Rica/Turrialba

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