Cerro Lodge is situated on a promontory overlooking the Río Tarcoles estuary, mangroves and Pacific Ocean. It is a short drive to Carara National Park, the crocodile bridge over the Río Tarcoles, and the dock where you can take Luis Campos' Mangrove Birding Tour. In November 2008, I wanted to take my wife to see Carara National Park. I decided to stay at Cerro Lodge which had only been in operation for a short while. While preparing for our Costa Rica trip, I encountered a report of a Double-striped Thick-knee seen by someone along a road in the general area of the Río Tarcoles. When we arrived at Cerro Lodge, we were greeted by the gracious owner, Federico Ferraro. I asked about the possibility of birding the Río Tarcoles and Federico recommended his friend Luis Campos who has a boat and runs the Mangrove Birding Tour. While there are boats dedicated to crocodile watching, Luis conducts birding tours exporing the Río Tarcoles estuary and mangroves.
When we met, I asked Luis if he had ever seen the Double-striped Thick-knee in the area and he replied that sometimes they could be spotted well up the river near the bridge. I told Luis that this was a target bird and so we set off upstream to search for it. After we had journeyed quite a ways, I was looking far upstream and saw a high, grass-covered sandbar with some odd looking brownish objects projecting upward. I put my binoculars up and scanned the sandbar. Lo and behold, there were 12 Double-striped Thick-knee standing around. What a thrill. Luis knows his birds and where to look for them.
Cerro Lodge has beautiful cabins and grounds and is a good place to bird. When my wife and I were there, a Crane Hawk flew by one morning very low and close. Another morning, Scarlet Macaws perched in a palm tree in front of our cabin. I wholeheartedly recommend both Cerro Lodge and Luis Campos' Mangrove Birding Tour.
Selva Verde Lodge & Rainforest Reserve
Selva Verde Lodge is located in the eastern lowlands where you can find great rainforest birding. Selva Verde is a wonderful place to stay and a great base for day trips to surrounding birding locations. Selva Verde has a marvelous restaurant (great fruit drinks) on the second floor of a building overlooking the Río Sarapiquí. There is also a suspension foot bridge which crosses the river and, on the rocks near the opposite bank, we spotted 2 Fasciated Tiger-Heron late one afternoon. Selva Verde is a good place for birding and is a short drive from the La Selva Biological Station and Braulio Carrillo National Park.