When you reserve a time at the reserve – they only allow so many people at a time – you must also reserve a guide. Which is really the best way to experience the reserve (and in fact any natural area in Costa Rica). Without a guide you tend to get a vegetarian tour: all plants and no animals.
Our guide, German, was nice and very knowledgeable although maybe a little preachy about things ecological still we got lots of useful information about ecosystems and Costa Rica. There were ten of us in our group, couples from five different countries: US, UK, Germany, Netherlands, and France. The French couple were actually there for breakfast at the same time we were. We saw a tarantula, a grey wren, a trogon, a barber, a rare quail, and stingless bees.
After our guided tour we went off on our own and walked the Camino trail out to the overlook of the Continental divide. It was fascinating watching the clouds blow over. And I do mean blow over. It was really windy.
Then we walked back to the entrance and did a loop of a couple of the shorter trails – Cuecha and Tosi – where we saw some additional birds. And ran into our guide again with another couple. So apparently when you go earlier maybe you see more but there are more people there. Because there weren’t many people coming in as our tour ended.
While on our own we saw: a common bush tanager, a blue capped jay, a chestnut capped warbler, a black headed nightingale thrush.
While waiting for our shuttle back we visited the hummingbird place to gorge ourselves admiring them as they gorged themselves on the feeders.
The feeders attract the odd not hummingbird too. You can read about our first visit to the reserve back in 2015 here.