10 BEST Birding Lodges in Costa Rica! (2024)

Searching for the BEST birding lodges in Costa Rica can be hard.

best birding lodges in costa rica

There are many that offer amazing birdwatching opportunities, but what hotels and resorts are worth visiting?

Check out this list of the top ten birding lodges in Costa Rica to help you decide! 

#1. Rancho Naturalista

birding lodges in costa ricaLocated on 120 acres of forest with 7km of trails to explore, this birding lodge is connected to the Verdant Caribbean Rainforest near the Turrialba Volcano. With different types of forests and a fruit orchard, there are plenty of chances to spot tropical birds, including many types of hummingbirds!

If you want a more relaxing way to see the birds, you can join a local bilingual guide on the lodge balcony, as they point out various species nearby

When looking into your accommodations for this eco-lodge, you can choose from simple cabins with a bed and private bathroom to cabins with multiple beds, a private bathroom, and a kitchen. Remember that all meals are prepared with local ingredients and served family-style in the lodge family-style meal can make it difficult for opinionated eaters. Still, the chefs will accommodate allergies the best that they can.  

For those not interested in birds, there are a few other activities offered by Rancho Naturalista, like white water rafting, canyoning and ziplining, and a coffee bean tour.

For those inclined to the nightlife of the rainforest, there is a night walk to find frogs, insects, and other wildlife. The ranch will also turn on a moth/insect light at the lodge to let the moths and insects come to the guests who choose to relax in the evening. 

While there is no swimming pool, this is not a deal breaker for this amazing bird lodge. I recommend booking a freelance guide during your stay to get the most out of your visit! Rancho Naturalista can offer a list of current guides available. 

#2. Savegre

birding lodges in costa rica

This mountain hotel is located 1.5 hours from San José and offers so much more than a place to sleep. This tiny hotel is surrounded by abundant fauna within the Talamanca Mountains along the Savegre River, making this location a birder’s paradise. But that isn’t all they offer; Savegre Hotel has created an all-relaxing environment for their guests surrounding the cleanest river in Costa Rica, Savegre River, by building an open-air spa on site.

The accommodations of this hotel are very simple to choose from. There are two types of independent cabins; the Junior Suite is slightly larger with 2 Queen size beds and a bathtub/shower, while the standard suite is slightly smaller with two full-size beds and only a shower. However, both offer WIFI.

Having both a restaurant and bar on-site means you will never go hungry. The menus offer local Costa Rican cuisine made garden to table. It is also highly recommended that you try a cup of the world’s best coffee from the Mountains of Tarrazú. 

For those ready to hit the trails and see the sights, Savegre has over six hiking trails of varying difficulties for anyone to explore. Also, you can book a guided tour for birdwatching, photography, running, and horseback riding. After exploring, return to the open-air Del Rio Spa and start relaxing to the sounds of the Savegre River.  

In summary, this unique birding lodge is not all-inclusive but perfect for DIY travelers who want to book things independently. There is no swimming pool. However, local swimming areas can be found here. 

#3. Natural Lodge Cano Negro 

birding lodges in costa rica

Cano Negro Natural Lodge prides itself on being one of the #1 destinations in Costa Rica, all while still having sustainable tourism practices in place. They also support the reforestation of Costa Rica in the Cano Negro National Wildlife Refuge and provide educational moments for visitors to learn more about the rainforest.  

Natural Lodge Cano Negro offers two different types of accommodations. Their “Superior Rooms” feature a king-size bed, AC, mini fridge, coffee maker, hair dryer, private bathroom, and WIFI. Their “Standard Rooms” have two double beds, AC, and a private bathroom. Both types of rooms include a safe for your valuables. You receive free breakfast and parking with any reservation. There is also limited free WIFI in the public areas of the lodge. 

While staying here you will never be bored. There are many options for tours that are offered daily.  For the adventurous spirit, you can visit the lagoons on a wetlands boat tour, participate in a 4-hour walk around the Tenorio Volcano National Park, or try fishing in one of the many local rivers.

For the more adventurous spirits, you can enjoy a variety of walking tours to enjoy the surrounding forest. Learn about the conservation of it, look for birds, or even enjoy a tour of the lodge’s “secret garden.” The local guides will point out any wildlife they spot.

You can enjoy the Jabiru restaurants farm to table menu seated in the restaurant or served in the adjoining reading room where they offer WIFI, games, and books. Enjoy the wet bar at the pool and end your adventure-filled day with some tropical drinks.  

Lastly, this family-friendly birding lodge provides games and books for children to enjoy.  

#4. Hotel Villa Lapas Jungle Village

birding lodges in costa rica

Just 60 minutes from San José on 500 acres of private rainforest reserve, Hotel Villa Lapas is located in the middle of everything. This birding lodge is perfect for explorers who can’t choose just one location to visit.  

Accommodations vary from having one king-size bed to having two queen-size beds. You can also choose to sleep in a tree-top yurt! All rooms have a private bathroom, hot water, smart TV, AC, in-room safe, and WIFI. In addition, each of the simple rustic rooms opens to beautiful views of the surrounding rainforest.  

You will never be bored staying at Hotel Villa Lapas as the staff is always willing to help you book an excursion. You can choose from a variety of active tours, including skywalks in the rainforest, early birdwatching tours, or ziplining through the rainforest. Some less active excursions include jungle wagon tours, watching the crocodiles at Tácoles River, or visiting your choice of nearby beaches. 

After a day of exploring, you have your choice of dining locations, either in the nearby Colonial Village or the staff can recommend other local restaurants, including an open-air dining platform overlooking the rainforest. All the restaurants offer international cuisine, along with local Costa Rican dishes and seafood specialties.  

If you are looking for a more centrally located birding lodge with a nice variety of activities, this is it!

#5. Laguna del Lagarto Lodge 

birding lodges in costa rica

Welcome to the lodge that is all about protecting the Great Green Macaw. Laguna del Lagarto Lodge is a rainforest birding paradise. There are no frills here, as everything is about sustainable tourism and protecting the surrounding rainforest. Staying here means you have the passion to vacation in harmony with nature.  

Each room has a private bathroom, a hot shower, and a ceiling fan. WIFI is only accessible in the restaurant and reception areas. These minimal accommodations allow the lodge to focus on its sustainability within the rainforest. 

There are plenty of activities that will get you out of your room. They offer unlimited free canoeing through the three local lagoons where you can search for birds. There are also 10 kilometers of trails for you to explore.

You can also take a boat trip on the San Carlos and San Juan Rivers to explore the rainforest even further. Once you are done for the day, you can enjoy local cuisine at the on-site restaurant for a reasonable price.  

Staying at the Laguna del Lagarto Lodge is an adventure! Come ready to explore the rainforest and check things off your bucket list.  Come here to be in harmony with the rainforest.  

#6. Macaw Lodge 

Located in Cerros de Turrubares, Macaw Lodge has found a middle ground between sustainability and comfort. This lodge has moved most of its operations to off-grid sustainable substitutes like solar power, using natural springs, and growing its food on-site. You will notice some differences that support this off-grid lifestyle, such as low-flow showerheads, LED lightbulbs, low-voltage ceiling fans, and food composting.  

You can choose between rooms in the main lodge or bungalows for larger groups. All rooms have ceiling fans, a private bath, solar-warmed water, screened windows, and bamboo linens. The rooms located in the lodge have access to a balcony overlooking the lodge and WIFI. The bungalows have terraces with rocking chairs ready for relaxation, and the family bungalow is equipped for cooking.   

Whether you have WIFI or not there is plenty to do at Macaw Lodge. You can enjoy three self-guided tours at any time: Rain Forest hike, a Botanical Garden tour, and a hike to a gorgeous waterfall.

Multiple guided tours take you to explore the rainforest or the sea. The rainforest tours are birdwatching, night hikes, sustainable living, cocoa to chocolate, and a guided hike through Carara National Park. The water tours include a day pass to Punta Leona Beach, sea kayaking and snorkeling, traditional Costa Rican canoeing (called outrigging) and snorkeling, and trying your hand at kayak fishing.  

After working up an appetite, you can enjoy a garden-to-table meal prepared by an amazing local chef. The Macaw Lodge serves only locally and sustainably sourced foods for their restaurant. Be aware that lunch and dinner are served as a 3-course meal with salad, entree, and dessert. It has also been mentioned that there are very few other places to eat in the area.  

I love that the Macaw Lodge is so sustainable. There are very few frills with this place, but with so much to do, I’m not sure I would mind. The meal plans could be awkward, but I would sign up for breakfast and dinner and have snacks ready.  

#7. Esquinas Rainforest Lodge

Located in the Southern part of Costa Rica, Esquinas Rainforest Lodge has as much biodiversity as the nearby Osa Peninsula but is closer to civilization. Near this birding lodge, you will find the village of La Gamba, the Interamerican Highway, and Golfito Airport, making this lodge easily accessible year-round.  

While you stay here, there are multiple tours for you to enjoy. You can start with the provided birding list and join one of the birdwatching tours with the local guides. Then you can participate in the popular night hike and search for wildlife in the jungle.

Water tours are also offered, such as the Rio Coto Mangrove Tour or the Dolphin and Wildlife Tour in Golfo Dulce. The Dolphin and Wildlife tour travels through the Golfo Dulce fjord, home to porpoises, dolphins, and sometimes humpback whales. You can also tour the La Gamba Tropical Research Station to see what rainforest studies are underway. 

After a full day of exploring, a traditional Costa Rican meal is highly recommended. All the food served at the lodge is organically grown and locally purchased to help keep items and meals fresh. Each meal is individually prepared to help accommodate any food allergies.  

#8. Hotel Bougainvillea 

Just 10 minutes from downtown San José, Hotel Bougainvillea is nestled within an award-winning tropical botanical garden, making you feel like you are within the rainforest even though you are in the city’s suburbs. Their many amenities and proud, friendly staff make this place special.  

The rooms here are typical hotel rooms with a comfortable bed, workspace, and TV. The other amenities are free WIFI and parking, a solar heated pool, gym, tennis courts, free breakfast buffet, and a restaurant and bar. Multiple large spaces are also perfect for corporate meetings and other business needs.  

Not only is this hotel extremely close to San José, but you also have 10 acres of a botanical garden to explore. These gardens have over 600 native plants attracting numerous birds, bugs, and animals for you to see.  

After spending a relaxing day bird-watching in the gardens, you can enjoy dinner at the Vitrales Restaurant. Here they offer a variety of dishes from traditional Costa Rican dishes to international dishes giving you choices on what you would like to eat.  

In summary, Hotel Bougainvillea is a great choice for staying near San Jose and does practice sustainable tourism! 

#9. Cloud Forest Lodge

Located between Montverde Reserve and Santa Elena Reserve, Cloud Forest Lodge is dedicated to preserving biodiversity while allowing people to enjoy the nature around them.

To experience the Cloud Forest at its greatest, each suite has a private terrace overlooking the gardens and the wonderful views of the forest. Each room also has local Costa Rican coffee, turn-down service, a laptop-size safe, solar-powered hot water, and free WIFI.

You can do so many things while staying at the Cloud Forest Lodge! You can independently wander the gardens or explore the 56 acres of trails, join one of several guided hikes to learn about local reserves, check out the Montverde Adventure Park, take a night hike, enjoy a walk through the butterfly and orchid gardens, or take some time to check out the frog pond.

If you are interested in how things are made, sign up for a coffee, chocolate, or sugarcane tour! You can book any of these tours upon arrival however, it is highly recommended to book ahead as these tours are popular and space is limited. 

The Endémica Restaurant is located on-site for all of your meal needs. All food is locally sourced, and only the highest quality is served in the chef’s creative manner. Each meal ordered is considered a celebration of traditional and international cultures. Be aware that meals are not included when booking rooms.  

#10. Casa Corcovado Wilderness Lodge

Located on the Osa Peninsula, the Casa Corcovado Wilderness Lodge is so far into the wilderness that it can only be accessed by a 90-minute boat ride from the mainland. But that is why the company SCP (Soul, Community, Planet) chose to build their lodge just outside of Corcovado National Park, to be on the edge of the wilderness

Depending on your desired view and how much human contact you would like, you can choose between bungalows, suites, and even beach houses here. The beach house, ocean-view bungalows, and rainforest village all have a more private feel. All lodging choices include WIFI, mini-fridges, room safes, and eco-friendly products.  

There is always something to do at this birding lodge, whether you want to be on the water or land. For land tours, you can choose from locally guided hikes, birdwatching, the Sirena Park Station tour, horseback riding, or a night hike where you may see some of the elusive mammals of the rainforest.

For water tours, you can choose from snorkeling near Caño Island, scuba diving, sea kayaking, mangrove tour, sport fishing tour, or a whale watching trip. After finishing all these tours, you can relax by the pool. 

Dining at the Wilderness Lodge is an experience in itself. All meals are created with originality as the chefs work with what foods they can find locally available. You can choose to have your breakfast or dinner served in the restaurant, poolside, or on your terrace.

Refresh yourself after an adventure by heading to the Wilderness Lodge Wellness and Spa. Offering reflexology, facials, and massages, this is just the place you need after a few days of exploring Corcovado National Park.  

Even though this place is a bit harder to reach, if you want to see Corcovado National Park but don’t want to backpack through the area, then this is a great place to stay! Enjoy the comforts of ‘home’ while exploring the backcountry.  

Which of these birding lodges in Costa Rica is your favorite?

These top ten eco-lodges are perfect for rainforest lovers, birding enthusiasts, and people ready to explore the natural world. Happy travels! 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *