Rancho La Merced National Wildlife Refuge is situated on the Pacific Coast near Punta Uvita and the Ballena Marine National Park. The reserve has an area of 1250 acres which is comprised of a forest reserve with both primary and secondary tropical wet forest as well as pasture, mangrove estuary, frontage on the Morete River and beach.
It offers a wide variety of environments for you to explore to find amazing birds, reptiles, insects and mammals. Here you can enjoy hiking around the trails of the reserve, enjoy the tropical rain forest, the mangrove, go horseback riding for pleasure, or visit the Ballena Marine National Park which is located adjacent to the refuge. Rancho La Merced has been protected from hunting for many years and is an active member of Asociacion de Amigos de la Naturaleza del Pacifico Central y Sur (ASANA). It is part of the Tapir's Path Wildlife Corridor (Corredor Biologico Paso de la Danta).
Lodging Our lodging facilities in Rancho La Merced are located up in the hills, in the base of the Costal Mountain Range. You will be sorrounded by a pleasant and peaceful environment away from the main road. The Old Farm House was built in 1942 with endurable woods transported by sea in small boats from Puntarenas to Punta Uvita, and then by ox cart, from Punta Uvita to the site where the house is located nowdays. The structural pieces of the house were carved out by hand, from mature trees of the sorrounding forest. Original arquitecture of the building is maintained by the owners who price the tremendous effort put into building this house in those difficult times, when there were no roads. The house lodges up to 10 people. Meals are served in the dining area next to the kitchen. We also offer a cabin that lodges up to 3 persons, it is quite comfortable and its located right next to the Old Farm House. Equipped with 1 double bed, and 1 single bed, refrigerator, coffee maker and microwave oven.
Electricity is 110 Volts AC. Hot water by solar energy.
Birdwatching Rancho La Merced National Wildlife Refuge is home of a great variety of birds. 310 Species have been spotted in the refuge and sorrounding habitats. Since 1971 the conservation of diverse natural habitats found in the Refuge, has attracted many birds, mammals, insects and reptiles, who have found in the refuge a sanctuary for feeding and reproduction in the rainforest, wetlands and mangroves. The trails crossing different habitats, give you the oportunity to observe a great number of species of birds maximizing your birding experience in Costa Rica. Its proximity to the beach and the Ballena Marine National Park will also give you the chance to observe some interesting sea shore species. Our guides will take you in an incredible half day walk helping you spot the numerous birds found in the refuge, explain their behavior and share with you other valuable information of this neotropical sanctuary and its birds. It is quite common to spot about 50 to 60 species in a morning, and who knows? you might add a new species to La Merced's list!.
Horseback Riding Experienced and unexperienced riders will enjoy horseback riding in La Merced. Our horses are carefully trained for you to have a nice experience while you cross the Wildlife Refuge in the middle of nature in the forest, the beach or the river. You can visit Punta Uvita in the Ballena Marine National Park, ride in the forest, the beach and to a waterfall in the river to take a swim. Various interests can be found here such as the environmentally sustainable cattle operation, nature, or just the pleasure of riding a horse. Groups are kept individualized as they come. Options: -Tour to the beach and Tour to the waterfall.
We also offer longer rides by side roads conecting small country towns.
Come and have an unforgetable experience!
Nature Hike Tour Rancho La Merced Wildlife Refuge presents a series of trails for hiking through primary rainforest, secondary growth and open land to give you the opportunity to observe the protected flora and fauna. Experience the behavior of insects, birds, mammals and reptiles in their natural habitat, and observe the extensive variety of tropical plants. Enjoy the tranquil environment of the beautiful nature sanctuary by hiking along the banks of the Morete River and taking a short tour of the mangrove estuary at the mouth of the river. Part of the trails are located on the hill sides of the reserve where you can observe the Morete River basin, the tropical rain forest, and the habitat near the river. This is an excellent hike for wildlife observation as there is a great deal of open space and gallery forest. The hike covers areas where the howler monkeys are heard always in the mornings.
Ballena Marine National Park The park was established in 1989 and it is located in the Southern Pacific Coast, between the mouth of "Higuerón" (or "Morete") River and Point Piñuela, District of Ballena Bay, Osa County, Province of Puntarenas. This park protects important habitats, such as sandy beaches, rocky beaches, estuaries, mangroves, cliffs, islands, rocky shoals, Point Uvita, and coral reef which represent a very important environment for the preservation and reproduction of marine diversity.
Birds such as Brown Boobies, Magnificent Frigatebirds, Whimbrels, Brown Pelicans, White Ibis, Neotropical Cormorant, Great Blue Herons, Tricolored Herons, Brown Noddy, several species of terns and gulls, sandpipers, between many other species. The terrestrial limits of the park are designated by the officially marked Public Inalienable Zone, the Marine/Terrestrial Restricted Zone and the natural border of wetlands and mangroves. The marine limit is an imaginary line that sorrounds the rocky shoals and coral reefs formed by the outer area of Point Uvita, Ballena Island, Tres Hermanas, and its sorroundings, originating at the mouth of the "Higuerón" (or "Morete") River, ending at Point Piñuelas. The Park consists of 5,375 marine hectares (13,281 acres) and 200 terrestrial hectares (494.2 acres).