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rsnyder Mar 9th, 2010 06:55 AM

Thoughts on two itineraries-birding Costa Rica
Looking at fall trip. Thoughts welcomed as to 3 nights near Carara in the Pacific Lowland and 3 at Monteverde in the Pacific Cloud Forest or 3 at Rancho Naturalista on the Caribbean slope and 3 at Savegre Mountain Lodge in the Chiriqui Highlands. First time to Costa Rica and main interest in wildlife.

shillmac Mar 9th, 2010 08:51 AM

Have been to all areas. My favorites are Rancho Naturalista and Savegre.

Rancho has outstanding food and guides and is generally beautiful weatherwise.

Savegre has fabulous guides (Marino and Melvin), food isn't as good as Rancho, but the lodge has such a nice feel.

You can't go wrong either way, but Rancho/Savegre get my vote.

volcanogirl Mar 9th, 2010 08:57 AM

I'm bookmarking for future reference. :)

gannetmusic Mar 9th, 2010 09:58 AM

Any way you can manage two or three more days? The Carara, Savegre, Rancho combo is excellent. Gets you both Pacific and Caribbean slopes and elevations from sea level to 10,000 feet plus.
Most diversity is at Carara / Tarcoles area. Rancho has great chances for lots of hummingbirds and a wide variety of Caribbean slope species. Savegre is beautiful and has quetzels plus many high elevation species.
Could you squeeze in 3 days at Carara, 3 at Rancho and 2 at Savegre?

Suzie2 Mar 9th, 2010 06:03 PM

Considering the time of year you might want to think about more time on the Caribbean side. It does tend to be a bit drier than other places at that time. Weather patterns can be different during El Nino periods so anything can happen but in general it can be drier. I forget if it was last year or the year before but they had to cancel the Columbus day week long festival in Limon due to heavy rains. It was the first time if I remember correctly.

Carara reserve is a nice place to view birds. Quite a few manakins there and there is a chance to see Scarlet Macaws. It is a unique area. Hotel Villa Lapa is a good place nearby to see some good birds as well. Much quicker and easier to get to now with the new road to the coast although Sunday afternoons going back to the city can be pretty crowded.

We enjoy Savegre and now that we don't live too far from there we have been spending more time there. We even had 5 people from their research group stay with us last week. It can be quite cold there so do have a fleece with you. They have some lovely rooms with fireplaces. Some of the older rooms still just have little heaters in them. The bar area has totally been redone and is quite nice. They are also building new rooms.

The bi

Over all, the birding isn't great at that time of year but there are still some around.

colibri Mar 12th, 2010 08:01 AM

I was at Savegre, Rancho Naturalista and Selva Verde/La Selva for a week of birding in mid-November, enjoyed all three places and had a diverse range of birds due to the elevation differences.

We did have rain two days out of three at Rancho, 1 1/2 days at Selva Verde. I wouldn't go back again in November, had no choice this time due to other plans.

volcanogirl Mar 12th, 2010 08:21 AM

r, I hope you'll report back after your trip. I'd love to hear how it all goes.

Patty Mar 12th, 2010 08:34 AM

<i>I wouldn't go back again in November, had no choice this time due to other plans.</i>

Is this because of the rain? What time(s) of year would you go back?

colibri Mar 12th, 2010 09:16 AM

I would go back to any of the above places from December - July, skipping worst of rainy season in fall. I know people say the Caribbean side is drier in fall, but we had two days of torrential rain in early Nov. at Selva Bananito (between Limon and Puerto Viejo), really washed out the activities along with good amounts of rain during the birding week. I had to be at Earth University for several days, so planned my other travels around those November dates.

Savegre had the best weather of any of the birding lodges during that time.

Patty Mar 12th, 2010 10:21 AM

Thanks, colibri!

gannetmusic Mar 12th, 2010 04:23 PM

Actually it is usually dryer in the Puerto Viejo area Sept Oct, but not Nov. Definitely don't suggest going to the Selva Verde area in Dec -often the wettest month there. Feb and Mar is your best bet for the Sarapiqui area, and generally decent elsewhere.


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