The various habitats of Rancho La Merced Wildlife Refuge make it both fascinating and educational. Here you’ll see waterfalls and over 300 species of birds. Whale-watching and horseback riding are also popular activities.

Rancho La Merced Wildlife Refuge: Where Nature Flourishes

A Lush Tropical Paradise

As you step into Rancho La Merced, you'll find yourself immersed in a lush tropical paradise. The refuge is characterized by dense rainforests, meandering rivers, and vibrant wetlands, creating a harmonious blend of diverse ecosystems. Towering trees, including the majestic Ceibos and Guanacastes, create a green canopy that provides shade and shelter for a multitude of life forms below.

A Haven for Wildlife

Rancho La Merced is not just a refuge; it's a haven for wildlife. The refuge is home to an incredible array of mammals, with sightings of howler monkeys, white-faced capuchins, anteaters, and agoutis being a common occurrence. Birdwatchers will be delighted by the opportunity to spot numerous avian species, including toucans, scarlet macaws, and resplendent quetzals. If you're lucky, you might even catch a glimpse of a jaguar or ocelot, two of the elusive big cats that roam the area.

Trails and Adventures

Exploring the refuge is an adventure in itself. A network of well-maintained trails winds through the forest, offering hikers an opportunity to witness the natural beauty up close. The 'Waterfall Trail' leads to a pristine cascade, perfect for a refreshing dip, while the 'Canopy Trail' allows you to experience the forest from a bird's-eye view. For the more adventurous, there's 'The Challenge,' a demanding hike that rewards with panoramic vistas of the Pacific coastline.

Conservation at its Core

Rancho La Merced isn't just a place of beauty; it's also dedicated to conservation. The refuge actively participates in research and conservation efforts, contributing to our understanding of Costa Rica's ecosystems. Visitors can engage in educational activities and learn about the importance of preserving the delicate balance of nature.

Eco-Friendly Accommodations

For those who wish to immerse themselves completely in this natural wonderland, Rancho La Merced offers eco-friendly accommodations. Rustic cabins and lodges nestled within the forest provide a unique opportunity to connect with nature while enjoying comfortable amenities.

Plan Your Visit

Whether you're a wildlife enthusiast, a hiker seeking adventure, or simply someone looking to escape into the tranquility of nature, Rancho La Merced Wildlife Refuge welcomes you with open arms. It's a place where the beauty of the natural world takes center stage, where every rustling leaf and birdsong tells a story of life thriving in harmony. So, plan your visit to Rancho La Merced and discover the magic of Costa Rica's wilderness in its purest form.

Weather and packing list

The South Pacific is a region of vast contrasts in weather. Temperatures remain the same nearly year round with average day time highs in the upper 80s to low 90s and night time lows in the upper 70s. Precipitation varies by month with the months of December through April being the driest.

Visitors should pack a bathing suit, towel, shorts, tee shirts, appropriate shoes, rain gear, sun block, and insect repellent.

Costa Ballena translates to Whale Coast. The area is named this as humpback whales from both the northern and southern hemispheres congregate to this area to rear their calves.

Nearby Destinations

Uvita1 km
Dominical18 km
San Isidro50 km
Manuel Antonio65 km
Sierpe60 km


Latitude: N 9° 11' 17.74"
Longitude: W 83° 45' 19.08"

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