The next stop in our adventure took us to Rancho Naturalista for two full days and three nights. This premier resort is located in Turrialba in the Province of Cartago. The grounds are pristine and planted with many nectar rich flowers. There are hummingbird pools where you can watch them bathe, and an insect light that attracts all sorts of insect-eating birds early in the morning. There are also trails that run through the property perfect for spotting wildlife.
Let me tell you about the food. There wasn't a dish that I didn't find exceptional. The meat is fresh and farm raised from their own cattle and the fruits and vegetables are top quality from the local farmers. Vinicio, the chef certainly knows what he is doing! Meals are served at large tables, so you can get to know and trade stories with the other guests.
Lisa Erb is the owner and manager of Rancho Naturalista and she does a great job! She's warm and friendly and will do anything she can to make her guests feel at home.
The picture is from Rancho Naturalista's website.
My room was the "Cotinga" room which features two french doors that open up directly onto the upstairs balcony. This balcony has a view of the Turrialba volcano in the distance.
I could go out there any time and photograph the numerous hummingbirds that came to the feeders and the verbena planted below. The balcony also overlooks the fruit feeders which attract a variety of other birds.
Not far down the road is Rancho Bajo, the home of Lisa's parents, Kathy and John Erb. It's worth the trip just to get a tour of their fabulous log home, which has two guest rooms you can book upstairs. John is 90 and going strong doing his 300 "mini" push-ups a day and spending regular time in his own hyperbaric chamber.
We went there to try to find that elusive Black-crested Coquette, but one was nowhere to be found. A few Snowcap hummers made an appearance and so did my other target bird for the area, the Garden Emerald. This beauty is found only in Costa Rica and Panama and a few of them were feeding in the verbena there.
William Orellana's video of the Garden Emerald for Hummingbird Spot
While we were at Rancho Bajo, we met Wayne Easley, a wildlife photographer who has a home nearby. On our last morning we stopped at his home to see if we could find that elusive Black-crested Coquette. No luck there, either, but we did get a look at his very busy feeders. He had a lot of Green-breasted Mangos, including the pair who hung out together on a perch. We also photographed a spectacular juvenile male Green-breasted Mango who had developed some pretty interesting coloring in his change from his juvenile to adult feather pattern