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Some Good Reasons for Visiting the Catarata del Toro

The Catarata del Toro is a massive, scenic waterfall at the edge of Juan Castro Blanco National Park. if you are wondering where that is, think central Costa Rica, the mountains between Poas and La Fortuna. If it helps, it’s also near Bosque de Paz. If you aren’t headed to Bosque de Paz, it’s a bit of a detour off the route between Arenal and Sarapiqui but here are some reasons why the detour is worth it:

  • A couple of loop trails through good cloud forest: Although I have only birded on them twice, I think there is a lot of birding potential. The elevation is around 1,200 meters, the forest has a lot of big trees (indicators of quality habitat), and the forest is connected to the national park. On my limited time on those trails, I have had Highland Tinamou, Emerald Toucanet, Prong-billed Barbet, Pale-vented Thrush, and various common middle elevation species. I bet a lot more could occur.
  • Hummingbird feeders:  This is the main reason for paying a visit. Sometimes, they can be slow but during rainy weather and, when hummingbirds are hungry, the Colibridae action is out of sight.
Some of that sweet hummingbird action.
The feeders are also scenic.
Lots of fantastic Violet Sabrewings to look at.

  • Crazy, close shots of hummingbirds:
Juvenile Green-crowned Brilliant.
Adult Green-crowned Brilliant.
Adult male Green-crowned Brilliant with photo-bombing White-bellied Mountain-Gem.
White-bellied Mounatin-Gem
Green Hermit
  • Black-bellied Hummingbird: Not a whole lot of accessible sites for this one.
Black-bellied Hummingbird
Black-bellied Hummingbird showing its flat crown.
  • Coppery-headed Emerald: Common, near endemic (one population was found in Nicaragua).
    Coppery-headed Emerald shaking off the rain.

    Coppery-headed Emerald showing its colors.
  • Black-breasted Wood-Quail: They used to come into the garden but one of the owners told me that she thought their recent absence might be related to Coatis showing up now and then. She is probably right but the wood-quail should still be in the forest. I wonder if Ochre-breasted and Scaled Antpittas are also around.

Not to mention, the owners also provide good service, can provide meals, and also offer 3 simple rooms. Sounds like a good place for a lone birder or small group to stay and check out. If you do, please send me a report to publish on the blog.

There's also that waterfall to look at. Probably harbors some good swifts.

One reply on “Some Good Reasons for Visiting the Catarata del Toro”

My husband and I stayed one night at Cataract del Toro in February 2014 prompted by a a brief afternoon, sunny daytime visit in March 2012 (after a stay at Bosque de Paz).
Their comfortable, rustic, affordable room was perfect for our visit. We arrived on a Sunday (arranged in advance) and had a wonderful spaghetti-style dinner. There was a non-birding Canadian couple also staying at CDT that we met the next morning at breakfast.
Walked the upper loop trails and encountered Black-breasted Wood-Quail in 2014.
Also, I recall slightly more hummingbird activity in 2012 (including Black-bellied Hummingbird) possibly r/t less vegetation in parts of the garden and perhaps more nectar feeders (?). In 2014, several areas of the garden adjacent to the restaurant had filled in with regrowth and seemed vastly less-birdy. But, overall a fantastic birding experience BOTH times. I would definitely stay here again!

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