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The call of the wild was omnipresent. A mash-up of monkeys calling and birds chirping reverberated around Cerros de Turrubares (Turrubares Hills), a rural area in Costa Rica’s Central Pacific region where Macaw Lodge is located.
On my recent trip to the land of pura vida (pure life), I hiked through nature trails, rode on horseback into surreal wilderness and snorkeled with tropical fish in the Pacific Ocean.
And I was able to do it all from the eight-room Macaw Lodge, which is about two hours from San Jose. The off-the-grid sustainable lodge is nestled on 264 acres of organic farmland, tropical gardens and forest groves that emit a Garden of Eden-like ambiance. The property is also home to more than 350 bird species, offers on-site nature tours and collaborates with local partners on additional excursions.
Here are five of many activities that make Macaw Lodge worth a visit.
BirdingYou won’t have to go very far for sightings in this birder’s paradise. Throughout the property are rainforests, first-growth forests and secondary forests that provide shelter to elusive birds such as the Amazon kingfisher. The endangered scarlet macaw is the lodge’s namesake, and for guaranteed sightings, plan a visit that falls between October and February. Register for the sunrise bird-watching to hear Jurassic-like sounds pierce the dawn.
Horseback RidingWhile Tarzan, the king of the jungle, might not leap over you as you gallop through vine-covered foliage, a menagerie of critters might. Don’t be surprised to hear the “cheeuu” chants of the orange-collared manakin, the “see see see” rhythms of the Amazon kingfisher or the mournful quavers of the great tinamou — all these birds call this part of Carara National Park home. Located near Macaw Lodge, the park makes for a fabulous horseback diversion from the daily agricultural activities at the biodiverse lodge.
Kayaking and SnorkelingClients will love the blue-green flat waters of Playa Agujas, a popular beachfront located about an hour away from Macaw Lodge. They can kayak in view of small caves, beachside cliffs and sea critters as well as snorkel for close-up encounters with the likes of blowfish, starfish and schools of other fish. Meanwhile, osprey eagles often soar above the area while pelicans skim the sea. The half-day sea adventure requires reservations.
Night WalksCome nightfall, the rainforest switches to a new beat as flashlight-wielding guests are led on a night walk tour in search of nocturnal wildlife. It’s in this moonlit landscape where they can try to spot tiny red-eyed tree frogs and belching bullfrogs.
Waterfall TrailRecommend clients leave behind the mirrored glass-like ponds around Macaw Lodge and head into the maze-like, looped Waterfall Trail that is considered easy to moderate difficulty. Cradled by skyscraper-high bamboo trees, the trail often features iguanas slithering by guests. Be sure to wade in the shallow natural pond beneath the gently flowing waterfalls.