A Paradise for Birdwatchers

El Copal Reserve, a paradise for birdwatchers, is about an hour southwest of the town of Turrialba, famous for rafting on the Pacuare river. The isolated Reserve is at a mid-level altitude where you can see bird species that you won't find in the higher cloud forest and at lower elevations. It is part of a biological corridor between Tapantí-Macizo de la Muerte National Park and La Amistad International Park. Over 380 bird species have been identified in El Copal' Rainforest Reserve.

To get there, your ACTUAR naturalist guide will take you through lush green mountains and by clear rushing rivers. The community will share their traditional activities like boiling down sugar cane juice to make "tapa de dulce", the native hard brown sugar. After a hearty campesino lunch, go birding in the El Copal Reserve. It's a good place to see the Snowcap, Lovely Cotinga, Scale Antpitta, Scarlet Thighed Dacnis and White-collared Manakin. At dinner, learn about El Copal's conservation association.

Forest Hiking

The sun will be out by 5:00 a.m. the next morning, and some birds are active a bit earlier. A forest hike with your guide will be followed by breakfast and more birding. Have a hearty campesino lunch at midday and head back into the forest, or relax on the verandah.

Other Things to Do

There's an optional trip that afternoon to Guayabo National Monument, the tranquil, bird-filled site of Costa Rica's only pre-Columbian ruins, about an hour and a half north of El Copal.

Families will enjoy rafting on the Río Pejibaye. The put-in location is near El Copal.

Accommodations and Climate

Accommodations are in El Copal's rustic lodge, 5 rooms with shared baths and two rooms with private bath, surrounded by a verandah strung with hammocks, where you can relax and enjoy the tanager parade. El Copal's light-filled dining room serves some of the best native cuisine we've tasted.

The climate is cool and fresh at night. At El Copal you can immerse yourself in the tranquility of nature.

What our travelers are saying

El Copal might be the highlight of our 79-day Central American birding adventure. 182 species identified at El Copal Lodge and Reserve and 203 for the area. We are torn between hiking the dark primary forest in search of the harder-to-find and fewer ovenbirds, woodcreepers and antbirds or to stay on the deck watching the almost constant parade of tanagers and hummingbirds.
--Bert Frenz, February 2008
This is my type of birding: just sit in a chair and let the birds come to me."
--Shari Frenz, February 2008

Let us help you set up your trip!

To include El Copal in your itinerary, contact beatrice@keytocostarica.beablake.com

Central Valley El Copal map
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