Heliconias Lodge

The Heliconias Lodge is in northern Costa Rica amid the central cordillera. It's not particularly far from Liberia yet has a largely Caribbean avifauna. This is a reasonable lodge with a couple of very good trails around the property. Many of the trails are made up of hanging suspension bridges which make it possible for a little canopy birding.

Many birders coming here are looking for the Tody Motmot (a much better chance here than elsewhere). In the past, an Ornate Hawk-Eagle has nested near the property, and a Rufous-vented Ground-Cuckoo was seen an photographed for over a year. Unfortunately, I missed both the motmot and the ground-cuckoo on my trip, but I enjoyed the habitat.

The road to Bijagua crosses two ecological zones in a short time. At Heliconias Lodge you pick up the Caribbean foothill species, but a quick drive to the west puts you in the drier Guanacaste Province.

Bright-rumped Attila - Greg Lavaty
Span Bridge at Heliconias Lodge

Birding here is fairly difficult, but that's to be expected in deep forest habitat. The idea is to find an ant swarm where you can pick up some antbirds. But you may also find Great Curassow, Long-tailed Manakin, White-ruffed Manakin, Spotted Antbird, and Carmiol's Tanager with minimal luck.

The Heliconias Lodge is also a good place to look for Nightingale Wren and Northern Schiffornis. Neither bird is easy to see, but both species sing at this location in the dry season.

The following link from the Costa Rica Guide website is a good map of the general area, particularly around the south side of the highway where it skirts the Tenorio Volcano. Heliconias Lodge, Celeste Lodge and area map.

A couple of other lodges close by, including the newer Celeste Mountain Lodge, make this an interesting and under-birded area.

White-whiskered Puffbird - Greg Lavaty
Golden-hooded Tanager - Greg Lavaty