la Ensenada Lodge

• Introduction:

La Ensenada Lodge is an isolated lodge, beautifully located in the heart of the Guanacaste province of Costa Rica. The lodge offers a fantastic setting for birding in Costa Rica with pasturelands dotted with some small patches of tropical dry forest, shrubs, some wetlands, salt ponds and extensive coastal areas with rocky beaches and mangroves. This large variety in landscapes attracts a huge variety of birds. Birdwatching in Costa Rica can’t be more relaxed in La Ensenada Lodge, where, thanks to the many open areas, some of the most beautiful birds of Costa Rica are easy to observe and photograph.

• Location:

La Ensenada Lodge is located a little outside of the small town of Abangaritos in the Pacific slope of Costa Rica’s Guanacaste province. To get to La Ensenada Lodge from San José one should take the Interamerican Highway (highway nr 1) for about 150 kms and then take a left the turn towards Puerto Morales and follow the main road and the signs to the lodge for about 20 kms. Estimated driving time from San José: 3 hours.

• Facilities: 

La Ensenada Lodge offers basic bungalows with private bathrooms. Each one has a private porch with hammocks with great views of the Pacific Ocean. Good home-made meals are served in the restaurant. There is also a well-stocked bar and wireless internet is available in the common areas. About 30 % of the large farm of which La Ensenada Lodge is part of protects important parts of tropical dry forest, mangroves and wetlands. All these habitats are accesable to hotelguests by an extensive and well-maintained trailsystem. A refreshing swimming pool is the ideal place to relax after your walk.

• Birding and wildlife attractions:

Turqoise-browed Motmot
Turqoise-browed Motmot

La Ensenada Lodge offers soms of the best birdwatching in Costa Rica if you are interested in the typical avifauna of the tropical dry forest and wetlands. Because  of the open habitat the birding here is quite easy. Expect to see some of the most colourfull birds of Costa Rica like the Turqoise-browed Motmot, White-throated Magpie-jay, White-fronted Parrot, and Orange-fronted Parakeet. Other common birds that are easy to see around La Ensenada Lodge are Rufous-naped Wren, Hoffman’s Woodpecker, Cinnamon Hummingbird, Canivet’s Emerald, Green-breasted Mango, Yellow-headed Caracara, Crested Caracara, Eastern Meadowlark, White-tipped Dove, Inca Dove, Common Ground-dove and Melodious Blackbird. A bit harder are Scrub Euphonia, Streak-backed Oriole and Spot-breasted Oriole. Good to know is that Three-watled Bellbird is a yearly guest around La Ensenada Lodge. This is one of the birds of Costa Rica that is highly sought for. It normally shows up around December –January. It’s characteristic loud sound can be heard from a far distance. At night Common Pauraques can be seen and also Lesser Nighthawks might be around. Both Pacific Screech-owl and Ferruginous Pygmee-Owl (which is also active during the day) are common but not always easy to see. A short walk to the beach can produce a whole set of different birds. Around the pier at high tide many gulls and terns hang out. Most common are the Laughing Gulls and Royal Terns and Sandwich Tern, but other species might be around. Also common are the Brown Pelicans, Magnificent Frigatbirds, Neotropic Cormorant and White Ibis. A walk to the nearby salt flats can be very productive for sandpipers and plovers (only present durin the northern winter). All species will be in their dull wintering plumage, which makes identification not easy. Look for Spotted, Western, Semipalmated and Stilt Sandpiper, Black-bellied Plovers, Wilson’s Plover, Semipalmated Plover, Black-necked Stilt, Whimbrell, Willet and Short-billed Dowitchers. A nearby pond can produce Black-bellied Whistling Ducks, Blue-winged Teals, Wood Storks, Roseatte Spoonbills, Great Egrets, Little Blue Herons, Tricolored Herons, Green Heron, White Ibis and Northern Jacana’s. Sometimes even the large Jabirú shows up. Around the reededges Purple Gallinule and even the shy Sora could be around.