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The guides at Rancho are bilingual, experienced, and knowledgeable birders and wildlife enthusiasts with a real passion for what they do. They strive to provide the best possible experience for visitors and are used to accommodating the wishes of each client, from beginning birders and general wildlife watchers to dedicated target listers. Each of them are passionate birdwatchers and when not guiding are most likely to be found out in the field.

The guides at Rancho Naturalista work on a freelance basis and are therefore being paid directly by the clients. Please note that the guides can be hired depending on availability.


Harry, born in England, has been a birder virtually his entire life, growing up in a birding family. Although birds are his primary focus he is enthusiastic about all aspects of nature. At the age of 14 he made his first visit to Costa Rica, which he has been visiting annually since 2007 and now calls home. Harry now has 15 years of guiding experience, with a particular interest in the Neotropics. He loves sharing the birds and wildlife of the area with visitors and helping them to seek out their most wanted species. When not guiding his greatest passion is exploring in the local area in search of local rarities and discovering and exploring new sites for birding in the region.

Mercedes Alpízar

Mercedes grew up in the Turrialba area where her passion for wildlife and love of nature began at a very early age. She graduated in Ecological Tourism and studied English at the University of Costa Rica in 2012. She started guiding at Rancho in 2016. In 2017, she embarked upon a Big Year in Costa Rica reaching 707 bird species and receiving Costa Rica Birding Hotspots “Birder of the Year”. Currently, she guides full-time at Rancho Naturalista and also runs her non-profit organization “Proyecto Niños y Aves”, developing environmental education workshops for children in rural schools of the country.

Steven Montenegro

Steven Montenegro

Growing up on a farm at Turrialba, Steven has been in touch with nature and wildlife all his life. But it wasn’t until 12 years ago when a friend introduced him to birdwatching and it turned into a new lifestyle for him. Besides years of birding, he has worked on research, doing bird banding as well as monitoring programs. Also, during college he and some friends founded a group called EUPHONIA, dedicated to teach about birding tourism and environmental education working with students and local communities. Having graduated from university with a major in Ecological Tourism, he now has been guiding for 6 years.

Fabian Torres

At the age of 15, Fabian fell in love with birdwatching and continued doing it ever since, resulting in it being his biggest passion. Studying Ecotourism at the university he is able to combine this passion together with work as a guide in Rancho Naturalista. He loves taking people around, showing them all kind of new birds and sharing information about his home country.