Yesterday, we were fortunate enough to get to visit the Gaia Nature Reserve. It’s the hotels very own reserve and one they use for the protection of many species. Not least, the Scarlet Macaw.
This is a bird that I’ve wanted to see since we arrived in Costa Rica. Up until yesterday, we’d caught 2 or 3 glimpses of them, which entailed a few seconds of brilliant scarlet before they disappeared! We heard from a local bar that Gaia Hotel was the place to go to see macaws, although we weren’t really sure why, our Spanish is really, really poor! A bit of research told us that the hotel run a reintroduction program for these incredible birds.
Upon visiting the hotel, we also discovered they don’t usually (at least not at this time of year) allow non-guests to visit. What a shame, so near, yet so far! However, after explaining that I was an artist, who really wanted to paint Scarlet Macaws, they very kindly allowed us to enter, and I’m so pleased they did. The hotel runs a breeding and rehabilitation program and they have, so far, released 40 birds into the wild.
It doesn’t stop there though, the reason for the birds decline is far more complicated than a simple matter of numbers. They are also working to reintroduce the right plants and trees, to create the right habitat, supplying the birds with both nesting sites and food.
Once we entered the reserve, we were shown to a viewing platform, where about 10 scarlet macaws were putting on a show for us. They clearly have a huge amount of character, you could tell from the interactions they were having with each other and from their interest in us. Although naturally curious birds, they’re discouraged from interacting with people too much for their future safety.
All you have to do is look in their eyes to see the intelligence there.
There is one possible issue, if you happen to have a group living close to you. They make an incredible noise! I’ve always pitied people who live close to a group of rooks in the UK, but they have nothing on these macaws!!
I can’t speak highly enough of the hotel, or it’s program: They don’t earn a penny from the birds, the tours are free and they don’t sell any discarded feathers, for fear of encouraging exploitation. When you add onto all of that, a wonderful 5 star hotel experience (we stopped off for a cocktail and bite to eat whilst watching the sunset) then you have a truly unique experience, that I very strongly recommend.