Rancho La Merced Wildlife Refuge

Birding, Hiking and Horseback Tours

Rancho La Merced was bought by don Enrique Odio Herrera in 1970, and it used to be a cattle farm. From the beginning -with the help of their son, Walter, graduated in zootechnics in the United States, the Odio family looked for ways to preserve and enhance the natural resources of their farm. They prohibited hunting and tree felling and have planted thousands of trees over the years.

The refuge has an area of 1250 acres, which comprises a variety of habitats (primary and secondary tropical rainforest, pastures, mangroves, beach and river frontage) and 21 km of hiking trails. Rancho La Merced Nature Hikes


Walk through primary and secondary forests, and plains; giving you the opportunity to observe the protected flora and fauna.

Come and experience how insects, birds, mammals and reptiles behave in their natural habitats; and observe the great variety of tropical plants.

Some of the trails are on the hills of the reserve and the Morete River basin. Because of the vast open space and forest, this is an excellent occasion to admire wildlife.

The hike covers areas where the howler monkeys are always listened in the morning. Nocturnal walk: Nightlife in the jungle! Here, you will observe the other side of the rainforest, searching for creatures that are not seen during the day. Minimum: 2 people. Time: 7 p.m. Self-guided walk: enjoy our trails as you please. Time: any time during the day, from 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Price $6 per person


Nature Hike…………………………………………………$35.00 + $10 for Private Tour

Nocturnal Walk……………………………………………$35.00 + $10 for Private Tour

Horseback Riding at Rancho Merced

RATE: $45 / DURATION: 3 to 4 Hours

Experienced and inexperienced riders will enjoy horseback riding at Rancho La Merced. Rancho La Merced offers two options for horseback riding tours: to the waterfall or to the beach (Hermosa Beach). Longer rides by side roads connecting country villages are offered. Ask for their price. Breakfast $6 and lunch $9 can be ordered when booking your tour

Cowboy for a Day

RATE: $45 + $10 for private tour / DURATION: 3 to 4

It consists of riding with the cowboys; herding cattle, check cows and calf that are in the grass, learn to how to rope calves, and other activities proper of the Rancho. Rancho La Merced is a cattle ranch dedicated to the breeding of meat, whose production is in harmony with the ecological balance of tropical rainforest and the surrounding mangroves. Here you can be a real cowboy! Depending on the season that you visit us, you will be able to ride with the cowboys, do cattle roping, and many other tasks that are carried out by our staff; in a normal workday in Rancho La Merced.

Bird Watching Tour at Rancho La Merced.

RATE: $45 + $10 for private tour / DURATION: 3 to 4

Rancho La Merced National Wildlife Refuge is home of a great diversity of birds. More than 310 species has been counted in the refuge and its surroundings. Since 1971, the conservation of different natural habitats found in the reserve, has attracted a lot of birds, mammals, insects and reptiles. All these animals have found in Rancho, a sanctuary for feeding and breeding in the forests, wetlands and mangroves.

The trails go through various habitats, giving you the chance to spot an impressive number of birds for maximizing your birding experience in Costa Rica. Rancho La Merced proximity to the beach and the Ballena Marine National Park, gives the opportunity of observing interesting species at the seaside.

Our guides will take you to a wonderful hike, helping you to count the number of birds found in the refuge, explaining their behavior, and sharing the valuable information about this neotropical bird sanctuary with you. It is very common to observe almost 50 to 60 species in the morning and, who knows?, you could add new species to our bird list!