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Los Cusingos Bird Sanctuary

Los Cusingos Bird Sanctuary

Quick Facts

  • Location : San Isidro del General
  • Altitude : 2,700 feet
  • Area : 192 acres
  • Hours : 7:00 a.m.-4:00 p.m. Mon-Sat; 7:00 a.m.-1:00 p.m. Sunday
  • Telephone : 2738-2070 or 8659-2228
  • Entrance Fee : $10 adults & $2 children

In 1941, Dr. Alexander Skutch, a botanist and naturalist, purchased the land that would become Los Cusingos Bird Sanctuary. The farm, which is named after the fiery-billed aracari, inspired Dr. Skutch to write more than 30 books and hundreds of papers on Costa Rica's biodiversity and orinthology.

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In 1993, the Tropical Science Center acquired Los Cusingos from Dr. Skutch. Today, the Alexander Skutch Los Cusingos Bird Sanctuary forms part of the Don Alexander Biological Corridor, which extends into Chirripo National Park. The refuge is home to pre-montane wet forest that protects sloths, white-faced monkeys, butterflies, armadillos, agoutis, and tayras, and many bird species including hummingbirds, warblers, falcons, and parrots.

During his lifetime, Dr. Skutch made many contributions to the world of ornithology, including in-depth research of 300 species in the American tropics. Additionally, he investigated the area's flora, and in the process discovered many new plant species. These discoveries can be identified by the second half of their scientific name – skutchii, in honor of Dr. Skutch.

Guests to the sanctuary are welcome to visit the Skutch-Lankester House Museum, a cabin once home to Dr. Skutch and his wife, Pamela Lankester – the daughter of Charles Lankester, who founded Costa Rica's Lankester Botanical Garden. The museum pays homage to the couple's austere and simple lifestyle, and their dedication to the region's flora and fauna.

Facilities:

Los Cusingos Bird Refuge has 1.2 miles of walking trails, which weave past several archaeological sites. One of the most important has pre-Columbian petroglyphs that are decorated with native art. The refuge also has a small lodging facility with bathrooms, showers, and a communal kitchen.

Weather:

Los Cusingos sits 2,700 feet above sea level in pre-montane wet forest. Temperatures average 45-55º F at night and 75-90º F during the day. Rain is common, especially during the green season (May-November).

Getting There:

From San Jose, take the Interamerican Highway south over the Talamanca Mountain Range via the Cerro de la Muerte, following signs to San Isidro del General. In San Isidro, you will pass over two bridges; after the second, follow the off-ramp and take your next left. Continue on this road past the National University's campus until your reach the town of Rivas. Take a right on the paved road, and drive 12.5 miles south through the towns of Miraflores, General Viejo, Marsella and Hermosa. After the bridge in Hermosa, you'll come to an intersection; take the left to Quizarra. In Quizarra, follow signs to Los Cusingos Bird Refuge.

Los Cusingos Bird Sanctuary in Pictures