Bijagua de Upala and Tenorio Volcano

Tenorio Volcano National Park , Celeste Mountain Lodge And Surround

The Guanacaste Mountain Range is a low elevation mountainous system in northwestern Costa Rica. Pronounced low passes allow air currents with moist air to funnel easily from the Caribbean slope into the Pacific side. Causing interesting climatic conditions that structure the fantastic lush green rainforest on the north and northeastern face of the Tenorio Massif, and the dry shrubbery, savanna, and tropical dry forest not far from the south and southwestern flanks of this volcanic complex.

The road from the village of Bijagua heading into the National Park offers very good birding, providing good access to mix species flocks, potential looks of Lovely Cotinga, Ornate Hawk-Eagle, White Hawk, Black Hawk-Eagle, White-fronted Nunbird, Keel-billed Motmot, Sunbittern, Yellow-eared Toucanet, Lattice-tailed Toucan, Northern Schiffornis, and when vines are in bloom Snowcap and Black-crested Coquette.

Celeste Mount Lodge (800 m / 2,625 ft)

The best place to stay in the area is the delightful Celeste Mountain Lodge, with a unique contemporary design, great ambience, and a well defined environmental philosophy. This lodge offers a wonderful strategic location to explore this rainforest paradise. Magnificent views of the Miravalles Volcano and the slopes of Tenorio Volcano can be enjoyed right from the restaurant and the rooms, sunsets can be spectacular, and a nice bird feeding station adds to the naturalist or birdwatcher’s experience. The resident Barred Antshrikes enhance your stay by performing a great concert every morning, bending over and raising their crests and vigorously vibrating their tails up and down while singing. Bay Wrens work the hedgerow and Hepatic Tanager, Yellow-throated Euphonia, Silver-throated Tanager, Blue-Gray Tanager, Baltimore Oriole, Scarlet-rumped Tanager and Black-cheeked Woodpecker attend the banana feeder all day. Keeping an eye on the steep forested slopes, may have spectacular sightings of White Hawk and Ornate Hawk-Eagle, while small flocks of loud Brown-hooded Parrots traverse the steamy cool sky. A walk along the driveway can produce White-tipped Sicklebill. The food in Celeste Mountain Lodge is also part of the experience, specially lunch and dinner, usually with a fixed menu for each meal, the chef, inspired from traditional recipes of the country or in a delicate blend of local ingredients and flavors, but adding an international touch! (Special diets can be accommodated upon anticipated request).

The rooms are well ventilated and are quite comfortable, offer good views, and hot water is great. AC is not needed here! Laundry service is offered at a great convenient price. Joel and Zelma are the owners and hosts, we hope you get to meet them.

Trails of Celeste Mountain Lodge

A 2 km (1.25 mile) trail split into 3 loops offers the best way to explore the rainforest interior. Amazingly designed and wisely built with a special geo-fiber, the surface of the trail is smooth and presents no erosion, and even better, allows you to move quietly and produce not sound as you walk. This condition makes this trail ideal for watching very special birds like Violaceous Quail-Dove, Purplish-backed Quail-Dove, Black-eared Wood-Quail, Rufous-vented Ground-Cuckoo and Tody Motmot. Other hot targets of the Celeste’s Trail are Dull-mantled Antbird, Ocellated Antbird, Spotted Antbird, Bicolored Antbird, Zeledon’s Antbird, Song Wren, Tawny-faced Gnatwren, Nightingale Wren, White-throated Spadebill, Buff-throated Foliage-gleaner, Spotted Woodcreeper, Spotted Barbtail, Golden-crowned Warbler, Rufous-winged Tanager, Keel-billed Motmot, Rufous Motmot, Broad-billed Motmot, Lattice-tailed Trogon, Yellow-eared Toucanet, Crested Guan, Chuck-will’s-widow and Streak-crowned Antvireo.

Typical owl species in the surrounding areas of Celeste Mountain Lodge:

Central American Pygmy-Owl, Spectacled Owl, Crested Owl and Mottled Owl; all very possible if some time is invested in seeking them and you visit the right spots. In Tropical Feathers we enjoy owls, so we will take you out and look for them! Some before dinner, some after dinner!

The Frog Pond at Celeste Mountain Lodge is a nice spot to visit one of the nights of your stay. It sits along the lodge’s driveway, and it attracts a diversity of leaf and tree-frogs like the famous Red-eyed Leaf-Frog. The presence of these amphibians and some snails attracts predators, so you can enjoy seeing some interesting species of snakes in the nearby vegetation.

Moths are another big attraction, if you are into watching this group of insects, this is the place. The moths that visit the lodge are fantastic, several dozens of species of moth, from small to enormous ones, can be seen in one night.

The Tenorio Volcano National Park offers some interesting trails with some good bird species including Bare-necked Umbrellabird and Rufous-vented Ground-Cuckoo, however the park is mostly visited to admire the different volcanic streams that turn light blue color as different elements from converging streams mix and react, this area in known as “Los Teñideros” or “Inking Pools”, the trail is a bit difficult and typically very muddy and slippery.


Heliconias Lodge

The trails at Heliconias Lodge are also fantastic for birding. The property sits on the slopes of Tenorio Volcano and offers spectacular views of the countryside and the distant Nicaragua Lake. Basic clean facilities with comfortable bungalows and small restaurant can also be a good place to stay if you like to have immediate access to the trails and iconic bird species found here. Day visits can also be arranged. Well maintained trails and three long hanging bridges allow access to explore this 180 acre  forest reserve. Heliconias can very well be considered the best location in Costa Rica to find the rare Tody Motmot, other birds include Keel-billed Motmot, Rufous-vented Ground Cuckoo, Purplish-backed Quail-Dove, Long-tailed Manakin, Spotted Antbird, Ocellated Antbird, Zeledon’s Antbird, Song Wren,  Lattice-tailed Trogon, Yellow-eared Toucanet, Scaly-throated Leaftosser, and Crested Owl.