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Spotting Exotic Species in Costa Rica: Why the Southern Nicoya Offers the Best Animal Photo Opportunities for your Vacation

Some places are simply not on the way to anywhere, no matter where you start. If you find them, it can only be by intention, or perhaps divine intervention, (if you’re into that sort of thing).

Either way, if you’re one of those people who want to come to Costa Rica but do more than just follow the crowds from souvenir shop to souvenir shop, this post might be for you.

Costa Rica has half a million species of fauna, living in pristine, natural habitat.


See, Costa Rica has a unique history, in that it was just too wild to tame… for conquistadors, gringo adventurers, and frankly, everyone else. As a result, there are more unique, rare, and breathtaking animal experiences to have here than most places on the planet.

If it is your intention to see amazing and exotic species with your own eyes (or your own camera lens) let us tell you about the southern Nicoya Peninsula. You’ll thank us.

Cuckoos, Parakeets, Toucans, and Macaws…

We promise; those are not just a bunch of silly-sounding words we made up. They’re REAL BIRDS! And if you come down to the region near the Cabo Blanco Absolute Nature Reserve , you’re almost guaranteed to see them.

Especially the scarlet macaws, as these birds have made a stunning recovery. Once regularly kidnapped and sold as pets in other countries, protection laws and reintroduction efforts in the Cabo Blanco region especially mean that if you spend any time in the area, you will see them, and certainly hear them. They make the best pterodactyl imitation we’ve ever heard! And we’ve never even heard a real pterodactyl.

Check with a local birder guide, or just walk the beach and the trails, and keep your eyes open. Morning and late afternoon are the best times for wildlife sightings, including these magnificent critters. And if you want to whet your appetite some more, look at this cuckoo, and this toucan, and this parrot. You can see them all here, often when you’re just lying in your hammock.



Everybody loves monkeys….

It’s true. We see them every day, and we still love them too! We have howlers, and white-face capuchins (called ‘cappuccinos’ by the locals), right above our heads!

But if you’re into cute and fuzzy mammals, there’s more than that to choose from! The coati (known locally as a pizote) can be seen daily, though most often early in the morning. Armadillos on the other hand, will be out mostly at night. The same goes for these cute little fellows, who look like they snuck out of the house in their pajamas. These are kinkajous, and you can hear them in the palm trees almost every night.


And so much more…

We know! “And so much more” might be the most over-used line ever. But in this case, it’s so true! You might not see the ocelot or the puma, but you can see their tracks, and they’re definitely here. Same with coyotes, which howl romantically in the night. We’ve got the most beautiful collection of hummingbirds, which will buzz right past an anteater, or maybe a big, green iguana, or a cane toad, and all of it, right in front of your eyes.

Don’t believe us? Well, come down here and call our bluff. Just don’t blame us if you end up with flies in your teeth from having your jaw hanging open in amazement for so much of the day!

The only thing you’ll want to do is keep your camera handy, which doesn’t sound too hard. Also keep in mind that the exotic-species per square inch around here is pretty impressive, thus, the only other recommendation we make is to take advantage of one of Costa Rica’s affordable and professional shuttles , and let someone else do the driving. That way, your eyes are free to wander, and not miss anything of your own, personal, Costa Rica adventure.



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Taking care of our guests and staff

As we welcome you back to our lodge, we are committed to providing you with a safe environment that aligns with expert protocols for working to defeat COVID-19.

Social distancing is pretty easy at the lodge, the beach nearby are always empty and the line-up at the surf breaks are never crowded. Our cabins are independent from each other and, in the restaurant and pool area, there is plenty of space between tables and deck chairs.
These are the new guidelines and practices we have recently implemented:

• Our team members are receiving ongoing briefings and enhanced operating protocols.

• We have increased the frequency of cleaning our public areas (including all surfaces, door handles, restaurant bathrooms, etc.) and have continued the use of hospital-grade disinfectant.

• We will continue to adjust food and beverage service in accordance with current food safety recommendations. The buffet breakfast has been replaced with a “á la carte” option.

• We have increased the deployment of hand sanitizers.

• We have increased the separation between tables in the restaurant by creating new spaces and reducing the number of tables available.