Bosque De Paz, Costa Rica

Steely vented hummingbird

Location: Bosque De Paz, Valle del Rio Toro, (Cloud forest) Costa Rica

Famous for: The Respendent Quetzal, rainforest birds and spectacular orchids

When to go: Dry season: Late November to late April. Rainy or ‘tropical’ season: May through to November. But whichever season you prefer – if you like birds you will love this place.

Cost: The cost for Bosque de Paz can be found on their website here…>

Flights/travel: The roads to Bosque de Paz are fairly good and transfer from the Capital San Jose will take under 2 hours.

Time difference: 7 hours behind UK

Bosque de Paz: This is a private reserve which was originally set up purely to preserve this strip of cloudy rainforest but which has since grown to a birdwatching paradise and is run as a non profit eco-lodge by the owner Federico Gonzales Pinto.

The lodge itself is set by the side of a small river in the most picturesque surroundings, with the rainforest providing a colourful and musical backdrop to your arrival.

Set within 3,000 acres of private reserve open only to the guests, and with only 12 rooms available, you can rest assured that you will not bump into another soul while you are out exploring – and there is plenty to explore.

All of the paths and trails are clearly marked and it is easy enough to find your way around. Hikes vat from a short 2o minutes, to longer 3+ hours if you are feeling energetic. Just be aware that the more you see the longer each hike will take, so allow more tie than you need when exploring.

Green crowned brilliant hummingbird

Wildlife: the first thing you will notice about this stunning lodge is the humming birds. Like many lodges in Costa Rica, Bosque de Paz put out hummingbird feeders to encourage these graceful visitors and as a result, you can see up to 24 different species, including a number of rare species…

As you approach the feeders and the seating area, you could be forgiven for confusing the humming birds with butterflies, in fact the butterflies here are much bigger and slower. The air is thick with the gentle hum of wing beats and they fly close to your face,seemingly with no concern at all. I can only describe the experience as magical and somehow otherworldly – but whatever your interpretation, it is an amazing experience.

There are a great many species of bird found in this area and as its a private reserve you avoid the madding crowd in the more touristy areas of the cloud forest. There are guides on hand and their expertise is second to none, but if you have a sharp eye you will be able to see plenty on your own, including, if you are lucky, the resplendent quetzal, which is frequently observed here.

Agouti feeding on the lawn outside the lodge

But there are not only birds here, you will also see agouti and coati in the grounds, although you may have to wait until dusk or dark before seeing the coati, which can be a little tricky.

If you can keep your eyes open after dark (it’s a struggle believe me…) them look out for the fireflies, there is a huge abundance of them here and they are better to watch than any TV show and a lot more unpredictable. I slept with the curtains open just to watch them for as long as I could.

What to take:
• Waterproof and breathable jackets
• A lightweight sweater or two
• Quick drying walking trousers (‘zip off’ are always handy) and tops
• Lightwight walking shoes (its warm here so boots can get a little hot)
• A camera and plenty of memory cards
• Binoculars or monoculars – invaluable when you are out walking
• Waterproof rucksack or rucksack liner, rain can fall without little warning and be very heavy
• A refillable drinks bottle
• Some Spanish language basics…

Hummingbird caught in flight

What to expect: There is a fair amount of rain here and the climate can be little chilly when the sun goes in, but it is worth the slight chill in the air to experience the peace and tranquility of this location.

Great food, great warmth and a hearty welcome from the people who work at the lodge and of course, this is Cost Rica – amazing coffee available for most of the day and night.

The orchid gardens are also open to the guest and if you are lucky enough to find yourself here at the same time as one of the many orchid specialists then you can always ask for a short guided tour.

The best thing abut this location is undoubtedly the peace and quiet and of course the knowledge that everything you have spent to be there is going back into the upkeep and preservation of the reserve itself.

You can find the Bosque de Paz website here…>