Located within the boundaries of the greater Gandoca-Manzanillo Wildlife Refuge, Congo Bongo is an ideal base for bird watchers. The reserve is home to some 360 species, including the keel-billed toucan, trogon, kingfisher, and highly endangered harpy eagle.
Part of what makes the reserve so rich in avifauna is a result of its habitat diversity: the reserve features lowland rainforest, a wetland, and a mangrove swamp, not to mention the adjacent ocean that features a coral reef. Besides many birds, the reserve is also home to crocodiles, pacas, West Indian manatees, caimans, tapirs, tarpons, dolphins, green sea turtles, and leatherback sea turtles.
Congo Bongo is able to accommodate your group of birders whether you plan a fully-organised gathering with shared meals, or if your participants will be responsible for their own meals outside of birding events. Our Long Dream House is spacious enough to use as your group’s meeting place for discussions, lectures, or slide shows, as well as group meals. Congo Bongo is able to accommodate groups of up to 40 birders.
Each of our houses has kitchen facilities and barbecues if participants wish to prepare their own meals, or Congo Bongo is able to arrange for catered Caribbean-style meals for your group (breakfast, lunch, and/or dinner; vegetarian is an option) on request. Please inquire about costs for this service.
The town of Manzanillo, with a supermercado and several restaurants, is a short walk (~15 minutes) away, and additional services are available in Puerto Viejo, a short taxi ride up the road.
We can help you arrange for local expertise should you desire it, including biologists or tour leaders who specialise in birding, or guides to take you through the trails of the reserve (recommended). Please inquire directly for more information about available services and costs. We can also help you to arrange for any local transport or tours that your group may require.
With access to the wildlife refuge and as a base for exploring additional birding locations on Costa Rica’s south-east coast, our family-run property is an ideal setting for your birding retreat.
Check out this TripAdvisor review:
"We have stayed at Congo Bongo twice now once in November last year and now here in February. The first time was with a group of 12 of us and the recent stay there were 6 of us. Both times we rented the Long Dream House to use as a common space for group meals and socializing. It is a spectacular house! We have also rented the River Dream House and Dream Caribbean House. All three were top notch and beautifully designed! Very clean, gorgeous hand crafted wood furniture.
Every morning we had the pleasure of waking up to the sounds Congo’s (howler Monkeys) along with toucans, green Macaws, and more! The landscaping at Congo Bongo is immaculate! They didn’t just clear cut the forest to build the homes. The houses are surrounded by large Fig Trees (Ficus trees) and other beautiful tropical plants. You can really tell they planned this design carefully. This is true ecolodge as you will see many arts and structures on the property that are made of recycled materials. There is even an easy to walk, private beach access made from recycled tires. It is only a 5 to 10 minute walk to the beach, depending on how many birds and animals you stop to look at along the way. The town of Manzanillo is only a short walk. 10 minutes by beach, maybe 15 by road. There you will find small supermarkets and restaurants, as well as a gift shop. The trailhead for the Gandoca-Manzanillo Wildlife Refuge is also in town and is a fantastic hike through beach, secondary, and primary forest. We hired Abel of Manzanillo as our tour guide. He’s great!
Daan, the owner of Congo Bongo, and his wife Marisol are the nicest hosts! They are very accommodating. Marisol prepared meals for our group during our stay and they were all fantastic! She used fresh local ingredients and it wasn’t just your typical rice and beans. The rest of the staff is very friendly. We had house keeping every day plus laundry service at no extra charge! Each house has a safety deposit box, and the property grounds have security surveillance strategically placed throughout. If you are looking for lodging that is clean, safe, beautiful, has the laid back Caribbean vibe, and is nestled in the jungle with easy access to town, this is the place to stay!" --- EpicTravelGuides (TripAdvisor)