Peace Lodge? Or somewhere else?

Old Feb 23rd, 2015, 03:14 PM
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Peace Lodge? Or somewhere else?

I've been thinking about the Peace Lodge ever since our previous stay there was canceled due to the 2009 earthquake. I was thinking of staying there for a couple of days on our next trip, but now I have doubts...
What attracts me there is the easy way to photograph hummingbirds and frogs. Also, the possibility to visit Poas from there. I thought we could spend the night before the flight there, but it seems the flight would be at 7 am, so this might be a little too far. Or is that still doable?
Is there any alternative that would give me good photo opportunities for hummingbirds and frogs? Some place more "natural"? For some reason Monteverde does not appeal to me. Or is PL good for that for a couple of days?
There are so many places that I am considering...you can suggest anything, we haven't decided on anything yet. Thanks
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Old Feb 23rd, 2015, 03:37 PM
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Photo ops for hummingbirds are extraordinary in the Cerro de Muerte area and downslope at Bosque del Tolomuco.

Hummingbird photography at Paraiso Quetzal lodge, where we stopped for lunch and a 2 hour bird tour a couple weeks ago, was the best I've ever experienced. There's a bench for you to sit at and shoot fiery-throated, green violet-ear and magnificent hummingbirds to your heart's content. Volcano hummingbirds were also pretty easy to see there. (photos in our trip report)

Here's a list of hummingbird species we were able to see between Paraiso Quetzal Lodge, and Bosque del Tolomuco and a restaurant 1 km away (two locations are about 1 hour driving distance, so you could easily stay at one and visit the other)

Fiery-throated hummingbird (PQL)
Magnificent hummingbird (PQL)
Green violet-ear (PQL)
Volcano hummingbird (PQL)
Green hermit
Long-billed hermit
white-crested coquette (female only)
green-crowned brilliant
plain-capped starthroat
white-throated mountain gem
magenta-throated woodstar
scintillant hummingbird
violet sabrewing
stripe-tailed hummingbird
white-tailed emerald
snowy-bellied hummingbird
rufous-tailed hummingbird

Besides the above-listed, hummingbirds we were able to add to the list in the same general area (about 1 hour south or east of Bosque del Tolomuco) included:

White-necked Jacobin (Rio Magnolia)
White-tipped sicklebill (Rio Magnolia)
White-crested coquette (got the male!) (Rio Magnolia)
Long-billed starthroat (Los Cusingos)
Blue-throated goldentail(Rio magnolia)
Charming hummingbird (Los Cusingos)
Crowned woodnymph (Rio Magnolia and Los Cusingos)
Violet-headed hummingbird (Rio magnolia)
scaly-breasted hummingbird (Rio magnolia)

Note that the first two locations had feeders, whereas Rio Magnolia and Los Cusingos do not have hummingbird feeders
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Old Feb 23rd, 2015, 04:00 PM
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RAC,
Paraiso Quetzal was on the list of high contenders. It really sounds fabulous, I think we'll eliminate PL
We will not rent a car, and we don't like to change places too much. DO you think PQ would arrange for us to visit Rio Magnolia for a day trip? Would 4 nights there be too much?
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Old Feb 23rd, 2015, 04:51 PM
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Rio Magnolia is not really a day trip type of place--it's a lodge that's very isolated (about 25 minutes once you turn off the highway). Hiking there is restricted to guests, as far as I know. Apparently there are a lot of frogs there.

Issue with PQ is that they only have the 3-4 species around there. After a couple of hours taking photos of those species, you may be craving some more hummingbird variety. Plenty of other birds to see in the area, including quetzals, silky-flycatchers, and other highland endemics, of course.

Situation does get more tricky without a car. I know Rio Magnolia offers transportation to Los Cusingos if you want to tour it from there (I think it's $65).

Bosque del Tolomuco is the most centrally located, and by far had the most hummingbirds (and orioles and tanagers) on site, but it's also the one place where you really need a car.

Two other places that stand out for hummingbirds, besides CR locations, are the Chiriquí highlands in Panama (Cerro Punta, especially Los Quetzales lodge and its cabins inside La Amistad Int'l park) and the Pico Bonito/Rio Santiago locales in Northern Honduras--many hummingbirds there as well.
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Old Feb 23rd, 2015, 05:48 PM
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Great info, thanks a lot - need to think more about it, with a map. Hummers are of interest, but any other "new to me" birds would be appreciated. I an=m still all over the map, so I need to think more about this...what a good problem to have
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Old Feb 23rd, 2015, 10:35 PM
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The absolute best hummingbird photos we've ever gotten were at the Peace Lodge. The one in my profile was taken there. They will literally sit on your hand or perch perfectly still on a twig next to you. It's because people hand feed them there. I don't think it's a totally natural environment given that fact, so if that's what you're looking for then give it a pass. If you want great photos and to get up close to them, it would do the trick though. They have about 25 different varieties in their hummingbird garden. So many flying around that you can't even count them. We've stayed on the morning of our trips before, and it took about an hour to get from the Peace Lodge to SJO. We really loved it, but you can probably tell from pics if you think it's your kind of place. I think a night or two to see the hummingbirds and hike the beautiful waterfall trail is about right, but some people do think it has a manufactured Disney type quality to it.
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Old Feb 24th, 2015, 06:24 AM
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VG, this abundance and variety is what attracted me first, so maybe we'll do this for 1-2 nights at the end of the trip.

My other problem right now is DH, who would like to go to Chile instead of CR...well, there are no hummingbirds in Chile
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Old Feb 24th, 2015, 10:52 AM
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Wow, Chile sounds pretty amazing too. I had no idea that they didn't have hummingbirds there. In addition to all the great suggestions from RAC, you might check around for some trip reports from colibri - she's a fellow hummingbird lover as you can tell from her screen name.
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Old Feb 24th, 2015, 04:20 PM
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He-he, VG, I found colbri's posts where she lists a few CR lodges where hummingbirds viewing and photography is very good. I also have RAC's suggestions...so now I have about a dozen lodges to pick from. It will not be this next year, but hopefully soon.
Next to Italy, CR is the only country where we both know we will return.

I really don't know about hummingbirds in Chile, but I don't think so...maybe one kind? It will not be a wildlife vacation, that's for sure.
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