This was my fourth time to visit Arenal Observatory Lodge (link to lodge website) and the second time as my annual “Christmas Getaway!” The first two days we had a lot of rain & wind unlike the other Christmas visit and I thought it was not going to be a good place for Christmas this year, but then Christmas Day was a bright blue-sky, sunshiny day and we had a mixture of weather my remaining 4 nights there, and though I initially thought I didn’t see as much wildlife, I actually did pretty good with 27 species of birds and more butterflies and “other wildlife” than before! So – No big toucans or monkeys! I had a lot of other wildlife and some of my best frog photos plus more butterflies! 🙂
Also, I had less energy than on the previous trips here (cancer recovery is slow) and I scheduled no early-morning guided bird walk like usual, so to have 27 birds on my own is okay! 🙂 And I will be sharing those bird and butterfly photos in future days on this blog when I finally get them organized.
So . . . YES! I continue to rate Arenal Observatory Lodge as one of the best places in Costa Rica for birds and for my nature fix AND also for the lodge services with an excellent room and gourmet food, surrounded by one of the largest rainforests in the country! And yes, it is not cheap, but worth what you pay in my opinion. Superb guides, the best of other services, plus the best maintained wilderness trails that are featured below in this post, a birding tower, a big waterfall, and more birds, butterflies and trails than almost anywhere else! So yes – I will return to Arenal Observatory Lodge! But next time I’m going in May again, for the beautiful sunsets over the lake every night, and maybe monkeys then! 🙂 I think the sun moves further south this time of year, putting the sunset behind the mountains, but in May, it’s right over the lake! 🙂
Below is a Gallery of some rainforest trails at Arenal Observatory, then links to the photo galleries of my other 3 previous visits with a comparison of birds and other wildlife photographed. 🙂
Rainforest Trails Gallery . . .
CLICK an image to see full-width and larger and to start a manual slide show if you wish . . .
Previous Trips to Arenal Observatory Galleries & Wildlife Comparisons
- This Year, 2022 Christmas with gallery not ready yet.
- BIRDS: 27 species on lodge property.
- BUTTERFLIES: 26 species on lodge property. (I don’t have a count yet from the Butterfly Conservatory but maybe that many again!).
- OTHER WILDLIFE: 8 species on lodge property. More frogs this time even if no monkeys! 🙂
- 2020 December 21-27, Arenal Observatory Lodge & Reserve (link to gallery)
- BIRDS: 38 species on lodge property (+21 at Caño Negro)
- BUTTERFLIES: 1 species on lodge property (+11 at the Butterfly Conservatory that year).
- OTHER WILDLIFE: 8 species on lodge property (9 at Caño Negro).
- 2019 November 11-17–Arenal Observatory (link to gallery)
- BIRDS: 36 species on lodge grounds & 20 more at Bogarin Trail in La Fortuna with overlaps for a total of 49 species.
- BUTTERFLIES: 1 species on lodge grounds (butterflies not a focus back then).
- OTHER WILDLIFE: 6 on lodge grounds.
- 2018-May 4-9 – Arenal Observatory Lodge (link to gallery)
- BIRDS: 27 species on lodge grounds.
- BUTTERFLIES: 1 species on lodge grounds (not my focus then).
- OTHER WILDLIFE: 6 species on lodge grounds.