Lieve and Wim (Nl/BE)
Hola Dave! I do not have the words to explain what an enjoyable day I spent with you and your son. This was a once in a life time experience for me. As an amateur photographer, the knowledge and the work that you and your son have put into creating the Nature Park has enabled me to take pictures like a pro! I am sending you a few shots I took. Looking forward to returning in the near future.
On our way from Sarapiqui to la Fortuna we saw this Eco-Observatory and decided to pay it a visit. We weren't disappointed. On the contrary. A very pleasant tour led by Dave, who showed us the surroundings and the way of making nature ecologically sound. We saw a lot of birds. So it was a very well spent morning. We recommend this visit to everyone.
Lieve and Wim (Nl/BE)
David and Dave Lando, the father and son owners of the Nature Pavilion, have made bird photography a main focus (others being environmental education, reforestation, and conservation) of their place and yes, it’s a damn fine place for bird photography!
Costa Rica Living and Birding by Patrick O'Donnell
We called in as a family when passing, not as particularly keen birders or photographers but interest in natural history and wildlife. We had a fantastic morning being shown around the trails by Dave and watching birds from the decks. My ten year old was captivated by the easy to identify birds and learnt so many species whilst here that she continued to point out to us throughout our vacation. Although obviously designed for experts there was plenty of interest for amateurs like us, thoroughly recommended!
Lenton Family, New Forest, UK
The idea is simple. Provide a simple, covered platform with comfy seats, plenty of space, good reference books and drinks. Surround it with feeding platforms for birds (stocked with local, natural fruits) and let the birds come. Come they do. As other testify, lots of species and plenty of time to simply watch or photograph them.
What turns good into excellent is the father and son team who run the place with a friendly welcome, a lot of bird knowledge (without being overbearing), a wilingness to engage or leave you in peace as the mood suits and buckets of enthusiasm to help you enjoy your experience.
We really enjoyed our couple of hours there - a perfect place if you like birds and like photography without having to be too serious about either.
By the way, the birds are the focus of the place, but there is other stuff as well. When we were there we had great, prolonged views of a sloth in one of the trees and, because of the slope on the property, we were eye level with the sloth as he sat on the top of his tree. Obviously, that was pure luck, but remember there is other stuff here as well as birds and the empathetic owners.
I've just returned from the most amazing trip to Costa Rica and wanted to thank you both for your hospitality, efforts towards conservation, and for your enthusiasm when I came to visit your Nature Pavilion on the afternoon of 23rd January 2013.
I had an amazing time viewing all the birdlife that came to visit the feeders! All thanks to David Lando Ramirez putting banana and papaya out in the best spots for photography. In fact, I had my best views and photo opportunities of most of the birds I saw in Costa Rica with you, especially the Collared Aracari! Thank you again.
I'm currently editing my photos as quickly as possible and I will post my favourites up on your Facebook page as soon as possible.
I just wanted to say a huge thank you to you both for my afternoon visit. It felt like a hidden gem in the rainforest. It is so refreshing to see people who're so enthusiastic about conservation and wildlife. Costa Rica and your Nature Pavilion are an example to the rest of the world. I'll be in touch very soon!
I visited the Sarapiqui Eco-Observatory in February 2012 and my only regret is that I did not find out about it until close to the end of my stay in Sarapiqui. I could have easily spent a week in this location. This is a paradise for bird watchers and photographers with specially designed perches and a wide variety of interesting birds which can be viewed from 3 covered open-air decks. You can also participate in guided night walks and other fun activities in the Observatory's private reserve.
The owners were warm and friendly, happy to provide bird id's, information, coffee, etc. I look forward to spending much more time there on future trips to Costa Rica.
-Megan Lorenz, http://www.mlorenzphotography.com/
I was lucky enough to visit the Eco-Observatory last week. As soon as we came through the entrance I was struck by how pretty it looked. The viewing platform and main house are stunning in themselves, only outdone by the amazing birds we saw in every direction.
David is a charming host and it is clear that he is knowledgeable and passionate about his business. The quality and care and attention to detail is evident wherever you look. I can only hope I get the oppotunity to visit Costa Rica again so I can fit in a special stop here.
Three of us visited the Eco-Observatory one afternoon while spending a week in the Sarapiqui region. It is a gem of a place for bird-watchers! The owner and his adult son greeted us and son David showed us around. First we sat & were mesmerized with the gorgeous birds coming to a feeding "tree" that afforded a lovely natural setting to photograph the birds. At the foot of the garden was a hummingbird garden that attracted a variety of gorgeous hummers. Heliconias provided such beautiful & natural photographic opportunities here as well. There are a variety of plants, trees & flowers around the grounds. We saw many birds including a pair of amorous Collared Aracari. There is a steep wooden path with many wooden steps, down to the river, a very pretty area that had a resident Sunbittern at the time...although he was away when we went looking...we'll wait for next time! They have sturdy wooden walking sticks to use to descend to the river. The main grounds are easy to walk about & the bird-viewing pavilion is easy to reach & has seating. The Eco-Lodge is on a paved highway and the grounds are easily accessed. It is a very interesting place for kids & folks. It is especially great for those of us who enjoy birds & enjoy photographing birds in natural settings. Dave was most gracious & very helpful in identifying the birds and plants about the grounds. This is a very interesting, beautiful & peaceful place to visit.
Visited March 5, 2012
Got this shot at Eco-Observatory (Sarapiqui). It's just a matter of time, but this place will become the #1 nature photography destination in the Caribbean slopes of Costa Rica.
Sin duda alguna, este sitio se convertira en el principal destino del Caribe para fotografiar Aves, Amfibios y reptiles. Si usted solamente tiene un dia para fotografiar aves en Costa Rica, este es el lugar. Es dificil garantizar cuantas especies de aves se pueden fotografiar en un dia, sin emabargo, en el Eco-Observatory las posibilidades de obtener unas 15 especies o mas son reales.
I had a great shoot at the Eco-Observatory David! Just on the plane home now and will go through my images when I get home. I know there are some winners in the computer. I shot 1500 images the half day I was there. I'm coming back next time for toucans and aracari! I hope the brown headed parrot and crimson collared tanager come out good...! Thank you for the best photo experience I had in Costa Rica.
Shawn McCully, http://shawnmccully.smugmug.com/
Tras un golpe de suerte, al encontrarnos a un par de fotógrafos de verdad, los acompañamos al Eco-Observatorio en La Virgen de Sarapiquí, donde pudimos apreciar a esta bella especie, entre otras. Un día muy emocionante, donde la suerte nos fue cambiando poco a poco, para terminar siendo uno de los mejores días de observación de aves.
After a stroke of luck, we met 2 real bird photographers that invited us to join them a the Eco-Observatory, located at La Virgen de Sarapiquí. Here, we could watch this beatiful species, among some others. A very exciting day, where our luck changed progressively, to end up with one of the best birdwatching days we've had.
Luis Guzman & Andrea Obando
This convenient and well priced stop along the highway near La Virgen provides easy access to a number of bird species with excellent opportunities for photography. The grounds are well kept and pleasant with plants that attract birds. Wonderful elevated, covered platforms provide proximity to feeding stations, rain protection, and pleasing photographic backgrounds. One could easily spend several hours thoroughly exploring all the trails, covered platforms, hummingbird area, and feeding stations, but even a short stop is well-rewarded with quick sightings of several species. Considering the cost of competing tours, the ease of access, and the investment in covered observation areas, the entrance fee is a bargain. Nice work, David!
Sarapiqui Eco-Observatory is a very unique place for many reasons. Be it bird-watching, bird photography or if you just want to stroll around a beautiful botanical garden that has been well cared for. There is also a great 15 minute hike to the river which is also a nice place to watch some interesting shore birds like Sun Bittern, Tiger Heron etc.
I was there for Bird photography and was amazed at the number of species I saw and David (owner) an amazing and knowledgable guide was able to help me with more information about them which I do not find in guide books.
Especially being in the edge of Tirimbina eco station, you are guaranteed to see many species from the covered observation deck and still keep your expensive camera equipment dry. Interesting and rare species of humming birds like White Necked Jacobin was frequent to the feeders. Toucans, Oropendolos, Saltators, Tanangers...I guess you are going to see more than you bargained for.
Overall its a must visit place......
A week or so ago I stopped by the Eco-Observatory as I knew it was newly opened and I had heard that it was great for birds and photo ops. All that I heard was true. This place is right off the main road, which you may think is bad...but here it isn't. A short walk from the road and the property gardens open up and road noise is all but canceled out. A walk of 100m or so (with birding possibilities all around) leads you to the observation platform where road noise is virtually absent. The platform itself looks out over the grounds and there are some feeding stations right in the photographic (and viewing) sweet spot down below. The trees around the platform can be very birdy too.
If you are heading through Sarapiqui and looking for birds and pictures, I highly recommend a stop at the Eco-Observatory...just make sure your batteries are charged.
"A new spot for birdwatching and photography has become a National Geographic Expeditions destination." Article in the Tico Times by Dorothy MacKinnon (Click here to read the full article)
"Thanks for a great first visit. Looking forward to many happy returns"
Richard Garrigues, author of the best selling Costa Rica bird guide "The Birds of Costa Rica"
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