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.
- 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