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“Rancho Naturalista - a top birding destination”
Review of Rancho Naturalista

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Rancho Naturalista
Ranked #1 of 12 Hotels in Turrialba
Certificate of Excellence
Harrogate
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
“Rancho Naturalista - a top birding destination”
Reviewed August 23, 2007

RN has long held a lofty reputation as one of CR's top birding destinations. My wife and I went there 14th-18th April 2007. We reckon it continues to deserve its reputatioin.
The lodge attracts many localised species. Birding was exceptional: easily-found Snowcaps and Tawny-chested Flycatchers, plus rarities such as Tawny-throated Leaftosser, three different Manakins ( White-crowned, White-ruffed and White-collared), Purplish-backed Quail Dove (H)and Broad-billed Motmot. 352 species have been seen on this reserve in recent years, 439 on the reserve and at sites close to the reserve. where we saw Green Ibis and the glorious Sunbittern.
The lodge itself is a great place to accumulate species: its hummer feeders hold constant clouds of 8 species and others turn up. The forest trails are harder going but rewarding. No two walks are the same. The longer you can stay, the more you should see. Both the lodge and the trails were well maintained.
Our room was delightful and spotless. The food was scrummy, fresh and varied. The guides were brilliant: they had bionic eyes and ears and were quick with the tapes and at locating birds in the foliage.
This was the best place we stayed at in CR, and in my top 15% of worldwide bird lodges I have visited.
A word about the "bad press" other contributors have mentioned. I investigated this. All the "bad press", save possibly doodles 20041 here on TripAdvisor, emanated from one disgruntled ex-employee who fell out with the vastly capable and experienced management. The claims were baseless and misleading to birders. TA policy inhibits me from commenting on doodles 20041, save to say that I utterly disagree with its negative, strident comments.
RN is exceptionally eco-friendly. It owns and safeguards its own reserve. Those who take the trouble to go there play a vital role in securing the future of this reserve with its amazing biodiversity: if RN did not exist, the forest would be cleared.
RN is a great place, lovingly and well run by its manager Kathy Erb. We strongly recommend it.

  • Liked — The room.
  • Disliked — The view is pleasant and attractive but not outstanding.
  • Stayed April 2007, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
3 Thank Plumeleteer
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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228 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
  • Sleep Quality
  • Rooms
  • Service
  • Value
  • Cleanliness
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (63)
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English first
Carlisle, PA
Level Contributor
234 reviews
61 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 100 helpful votes
Reviewed April 13, 2007

After seeing some of the recent reviews blasting Rancho, we were apprehensive about what we would find. What we found was a great lodge with friendly staff and outstanding food, some of the best we found in Costa Rica. Our separate cabin was not quite as nice as the rooms in the main lodge, but still quite acceptable, with no complaints from us.

The stay at Rancho was at the end of a two-week trip of hiking and birding, and yet we still found a good number of new birds while at the ranch.

One of our party got a chance to go horseback riding and was thrilled.

All in all, we were very pleased with our visit there and would recommend it to anyone with an interest in enjoying the outdoors, especially birds.

  • Liked — Friendly staff, great food, good birding and wildlife.
  • Stayed April 2007, traveled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
4 Thank Birdguy
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Brooktondale NY
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed February 9, 2007

My husband and I stayed at Rancho Naturalista for 2 nights in early January 2007. We had a delightful experience. Our room was in the main lodge and had a large private balcony. From the balcony alone we saw 15 species of birds. But our private guide (included in the room price) showed us 78 species in 2 days! The food was excellent, our room was large and comfortable, and the whole experience was truly splendid.

We enjoyed the other birders we met and had several interesting conversations with the owner, Kathy Erb.

  • Liked — the birding was fabulous
  • Disliked — Can't think of a thing
  • Stayed January 2007, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank ChambermaidNY
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
houston
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed January 16, 2007

my wife and i just returned from a two day stay at rancho naturalista and had a wonderful experience. it's set in a beautiful country area with both tropical forest and pasture. we stayed in one of the cottage rooms which was very comfortable, spacious, and extremely clean. the staff who we met (waiters, waitresses, maintenance people, cooks, and maids) were very friendly. the meals, which were served family style, were delicious and varied (each contained a meat dish plus a variety of fresh fruits and vegetables). our particular interest was birding and the experience was fantastic. rancho provides a local guide as part of the cost of a room and he was an incredible birder - he was extremely knowledgable at identifying the birds themselves as well as their sounds. plus he was a great guy with a good sense of humor. we are definitely returning to rancho - and next time we'll stay longer than two days

Stayed January 2007
Helpful?
1 Thank houston_birder
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Costa Rica
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed December 1, 2006

We stayed at Rancho Naturalista while purchasing property in the area. The food is fantastic, perhaps some of the best in the country. The birds are beautiful and the guides are knowledgeable. We highly recommend Rancho Naturalista, they know hospitality. Good people, great place.

  • Liked — everything, comfort, food, service, scenery
  • Disliked — no complaints
  • Tips/Secrets — Get up early, have coffee upstairs on the bird watching balconey
  • Stayed April 2006, traveled on business
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
1 Thank areca
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Bermuda
Level Contributor
37 reviews
13 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 23 helpful votes
Reviewed June 7, 2006

I agree with the other review - Rancho Naturalista is quite a special place. It's remote, small and has a local feel to it. We didn't actually stay at there ( we were down the road at the Casa Turire) but did see the rooms and they were basic but clean. We wanted an alternative day trip to rafting because we have small children and Rancho Naturalista was a good choice. We and the kids had a guided hike up into the rainforest (wonderful humming birds!) and when we got back enjoyed possibly the best meal we had in Costa Rica. ( If we had stayed there it would have been very bad for our waistlines.) They have a wonderful, peaceful terrace with panoramic views across the valley and it would definitely be a very relaxing place to stay ( if you weren't with children who kept asking when can we go back to the pool...)

Stayed April 2005
Helpful?
2 Thank Bermudamum
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
A TripAdvisor Member
Reviewed March 7, 2005

Our hostess was most gracious. All meals were superb, filling and delicious. The terrain made the hiking just slightly challenging--invigorating. The weather was delightfully temperate (though, yes, wet). We were so relaxed that we went to bed early and rose early. In addition to a lengthy bird list, we saw numerous orchids and other plants, butterflies, reptiles (fer de lance) and other fauna. Included in our stay was a horseback riding excursion. The caballero was kind and good-humored; the horses (Paso Fino crosses) were kind and sure-footed. He took us to the top of the hill and let us stand and enjoy the breeze.

My stay at Rancho Naturalista will surely remain one of my greatest memories of all time.

  • Stayed January 2004
    • Value
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
6 Thank A TripAdvisor Member
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Rancho Naturalista

Property: 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 12 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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