Enjoying Nature in Curu Wildlife Refuge

Curu_WhiteFacedMonkeyOne of our favorite things to do in the Southern Nicoya Peninsula is visit Curu Wildlife Refuge. The main reason is of course for the nature and variety of wildlife that can be found here. There’s no shortage of white-faced monkey and iguana sightings among many other crawling and flying critters. But we recently spent a day there and found even more to love about Curu.


A small entrance fee gets you in for the day (until 4pm when the refuge closes) and allows you access not just to the beautiful hiking trails, but also to the beach, gift shop, cafeteria, and kayak rentals. We opted to hike/walk a short easy trail close to the beach that goes through the mangrove and ends back out at the beach. You can do the hikes on your own, but taking a paid tour or hiring a guide (and this is not just self-promotion) really does help you better understand what animals, plants and ecosystems you are encountering. Otherwise, it’s still a nice walk if you choose to go it solo.

Kayaking in Curu Wildlife RefugeKayak

After our little hike, we rented kayaks for an hour or so, which is plenty if your arms get tired easily. This is an amazing way to see the refuge from a different perspective and paddle around the bay to see some perching pelicans and other water birds when they are around. Grab lunch at the cafeteria (order and pay in advance), then scout a location on the beach to lounge away the rest of the afternoon. What a perfect little escape and a great way to see a little part of Costa Rica… naturally. 🙂

Check here for more about our guided tour to Curu or customized private tours.


Counting Birds in Tambor Bay

It’s before 6am in Tambor Bay, Costa Rica. The sun has just risen and the air is calm and cool, the sky a pinkish haze dusted with a few low clouds reflecting in the nearly silent bay; silent that is, all but for the songs and calls of hundreds of species of birds that inhabit the area.

group_birdcount2On Friday and Saturday, January 10th and 11th, Tambor Bay Birders association hosted one of their many bird counts in the area.  With a regular base of about 12 birders in the association, they form groups with other members and volunteers who then split up and explore trails surrounding the bay to identify and record the names of any birds they spot. We had the honor of sharing in the count on Saturday, setting out from the Tambor Tropical Hotel with a group of about 20 participants; a combination of professionals, avid bird watchers and novice bird lovers both from the area and abroad who excitedly point out any fluttering wings or brightly colored flying objects. After a day of meandering through various trails the groups reconvened to determine the collective results of their findings. In this case the count totaled nearly 200 bird species, ranging from more common ones such as the Long-tailed Manakin, to more rare species such as the Mangrove Hummingbird endemic to only the Pacific of Costa Rica.

group_birdcountTambor Bay Birders not only host these bird counts for reports to the Costa Rica Ornithological Association for official records, but also for local educational purposes. With a noble cause to promote education about birds, nature and conservation, the aim of the association is to involve local residents and students, as well as visitors and volunteers, to help spur greater interest and awareness about Costa Rica’s biodiversity and its valuable place in our world. If you’re interested in joining the association on their next count, you can follow their Facebook page here. You don’t have to be a professional or have your own equipment necessarily (although a good pair of binoculars does help), just bring your curiosity, keen eyes… and of course a little bug spray. 🙂

*Special thanks to Juan Carlos Cruz, Nick Hawkins and the rest of the Tambor Bay Birders for inviting JC Aguirre of JC’s Journeys to participate in this count.

*Be sure to check out our bird watching tour Bird Lover’s Morning.