There are plenty of non-birding activities that you can do during your stay at Rancho Naturalista. If you would like to try any of these, please let us know and we will be happy to help you! Most of these can be arranged the night before, but it is always better if you can reserve them a little more in advance.
When guests are present at Rancho Naturalista we usually turn on the moth/insect light so that they can observe the amazing amount of insects and moths that are attracted to the light. There are around 12,000 species of moths found in Costa Rica so you can imagine the sizable amount that arrive at the light, not to mention the insects. The darkest nights are best for insects and moths at the light, so the new moon nights are the best time. Rain also helps to speed up the breeding cycles of butterflies, moths, and insects, so the rainy season is best. If the light is left on all night, insect feeding birds arrive at dawn to feed on the insects and moths. You may see the Red-throated Ant Tanager, Rufous Motmot, Tawny-chested Flycatcher, White-breasted Wood Wren, and several species of Woodcreeper and other species in the area near the light. If you want the moth light to be connected please just ask and we will be happy to turn it on! Around the lodge and in the forest on our trails many different species of the butterflies found in Costa Rica such as Morphos, Hesperids, Nymphalids, Pieridae and Papilionidae can be observed. We will also be happy to make a butterfly bait of fermented fruit to place in strategic spots. This will help to attract Morphos, Caligos, and other species of butterflies that feed on rotten fruit. We do have a “No Collection” policy at Rancho Naturalista, remember “Take only pictures and leave only footprints”
Not far from Rancho Naturalista you can experience world-class white-water rafting on the Rio Pacuare, listed in “Outdoor Magazine” as one of the top five rivers in the world for white water rafting. It is a thrilling experience, paddling through numerous Class III and Class IV rapids (occasionally Class V if there is enough rain and water) as the river twists down through 28 km (18 miles) of deep, isolated canyons with many waterfalls and some of the most breath-taking scenery in all of Costa Rica. Before entering the river, your guide will give a safety talk, familiarizing you with the necessary commands and safety instructions that you will need. After practicing the commands and drills you will start rafting. You will stop at a beautiful beach on the river for a delicious lunch prepared right on the spot by your guide. The rafting is conducted by a well-established rafting company and is not included in your guest package at Rancho Naturalista, but our staff can help you reserve your spaces. Bring; a T-shirt, swimsuit, shorts, tennis shoes or sandals with ankle straps (no flip-flops), and sunblock. Extra clothes and a towel will be needed at the end of the tour.
Age limit: 12 years old
Canyoning is a popular extreme sport all over the world. Canyoning involves rappelling and descending cliffs and waterfalls within a canyon. The Canyoning site is located above Turrialba. You start the tour at a waterfall where a guide will explain the course and the equipment making sure you know what you will be doing. This ensures that you have a safe and fun experience. Then you will begin rappelling down waterfalls, zip lining on four canopy cables, and walking across a 132 foot hanging bridge – an unforgettable adrenaline rush! This is a 2-3 hour adventure. The Canyoning tour is conducted by a well-established company and is not included in your guest package at Rancho Naturalista, but our staff can help you reserve your spaces. Bring a T-shirt; shorts, (no jeans) a swimsuit, sandals with straps or tennis shoes, (these will get wet) sunscreen, and insect repellent. Clean, dry clothes and towel will be needed for the end of the tour. A delicious lunch is also included.
Spend a morning or afternoon in Turrialba
Turrialba is considered to be the friendliest place in Costa Rica and when you visit there you will see why. Turrialba is a very unique area and feels completely different from the capital. Every Friday and Saturday there is a Market day called “La Feria” where farmers have been bringing fresh local vegetables, and fruits and even the famous Turrialba Cheese to sell for at least 100 years! Forget food chains…no Mcdonalds, Taco Bell, Subway, or anything like that here. Instead, have a ceviche or a “casado” at a local soda. Stop in and try the delicious Mango or Dulce de leche ice cream at the “Pops”, and walk around and see the shops including the mercado, enjoy people watching at the park. Friendly people are all around, visit a souvenir shop. Turrialba is not a “touristy” town, (most tourists visit only to go white water rafting on the famous Pacaure River) but this friendly, safe city make it a great tourist stop if you want to see and feel the real Costa Rica!
All Day Hiking Tour
See the wilder side of Costa Rica, hike all day in the Talamanca Mountains near Rancho Naturalista and see life in Costa Rica the way it was long ago. Along these mountain trails the indigenous people can be seen still living in their traditional homes. Life in the mountains goes on for the Costa Ricans living here in many ways unchanged. This is a tour for people who can really hike. If you have good hiking shoes and don’t mind getting wet, muddy, and tired, this is your kind of tour! Ask us about a hike and we will be happy to arrange it!
Other Activities Available at Rancho Naturalista:
Hyperbaric Oxygen Session, Massage, Sugar mill tour, Butterfly garden and House, Spanish Lessons, Dancing lessons, Horseback Riding, Golden Bean Coffee Tour, Zumba Dance Class, Painting Class, Free Cooking Class or a Trip to a Swimming Pool or Swim in a Mountain Stream.