The Camaquiri Conservation Intiative (CCI) is a new field station located in the Caribbean Lowlands of northeastern Costa Rica well off the beaten tourist path. The refuge encompasses 500 acres of older secondary lowland swamp forest with many scattered primary trees remaining throughout a forest containing streams, lagoons and swamps. A well-maintained network of trails provides access to all parts of the reserve and connects interior portions of the property with a one kilometer length of El Zota river frontage and an equal length of farm road traversing hilly pasture land with scattered trees and lagoons.
Although only open for a year, Camaquiri’s official bird list already tops 170 species and is growing. Nearby properties with a much longer history of keeping bird records have close to 300 species and that is what we expect the Camaquiri list to reach in the not- too-distant future. Regular sightings include Great Curassow, Blue-throated Goldentail, Bronze-tailed Plumeleteer, Purple-throated Fruit Crow and Snowy Cotinga to name a few. Agami Heron and Boat-billed Heron have each been seen several times on the property. If there is a representative flagship species, it would have to be the Great Green Macaw whose entire Costa Rican breeding population is centered in the vicinity of Camaquiri where macaws are commonly sighted. It is an excellent location to see typical Caribbean Lowland birds including 6 additional species of parrots, 2 species of motmots, 3 toucan species and numerous other suboscine and oscine passerine birds as well.
While you may be out concentrating on birds, there is a wealth of other wildlife to see; 16 species of mammals, including large numbers of all three primate species in the area (Brown-mantled Howler, White-faced Capuchin and Central America Spider Monkey), Tamandua, peccaries, Red-brocket Deer and Grison, 20 species of amphibians including 3 species of poison dart frog and 23 species of reptiles including caimans, iguanas, basilisks and 11 species of snakes. See www.camaquiri.com for a complete checklist of vertebrates plus a very preliminary list of butterflies as well. The checklist is a compilation of species seen nearby at Estacion Biologica El Zota. Those species highlighted in gray have been seen at Camaquiri to date, those not shaded in gray are to be expected on the property based on nearby sightings. There is plenty of opportunity to add new species to the lists, always very exciting!
Facilities include basic cabins, each with a tiled bathroom including a cold shower, dining room, laboratory and an excellent, extensive and well-maintained trail system with numerous bridges spanning swamps and wetlands scattered throughout the property. The food is excellent consisting of typical Costa Rican fare prepared by local cooks.
A most attractive aspect to Camaquiri, other than its birds and wildlife, is its location in a part of Costa Rica not frequented by many tourists that provides an authentic Costa Rican experience. We are proud to source all of our needs locally providing jobs and economic opportunities for local people and businesses. Facilities are not luxurious but are certainly comfortable and located in a very relaxed atmosphere in the beautiful Costa Rican countryside. Please come and visit us soon, we would love you to come to Camaquiri!