Albergue El Socorro is a fantastic hideaway for the bird enthusiast. More then one birder has come to Albergue expecting to stay one night, yet have end up staying a week. The main reasons to stay here are the terrific birding, heart-warming hosts, and the awe-inspiring ambiance. Nestled in the Central Volcanic Mountain Range, this site boasts the highest elevation of all the Bird Route sites. Because of this, the pre-montane habitats host a wide array of bird species, many of which are not found in the lowland sites.
Jose Miranda and his family own and personally operate this 175 hectare property giving it an intimate, home-style atmosphere. Here, flocks of tanagers, honeycreepers, and flycatchers bring the forest to life while the White Hawk, the symbol of the property, watches over the remnant pastures. There are many kilometers of trails to explore, including one that takes you down to the banks of the San Francisco River.
Some of the best birding can be seen from the porch of one of the site's few cabins. The melodic Black-faced Solitare and stunning Red headed Barbet are often seen near the cabins.
A former small scale dairy farm, where only a few cows remain for making fresh cheese, milk and cream, the family has turned to small scale tourism to reduce their ecological impact on the land. Whether you are here for a morning or a week, for birding, hiking or horseback riding, it will be hard to forget the great food, family and fun at this little mountain treasure.
To make a reservation at Albergue El Socorro contact Jose Miranda Mejia via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 506-8820-2160 or 506-8894-2790. There are only two cabins as of this printing, each with multiple beds, and private bathroom with hot water. There are also two other rooms for rent in the main house. Prices for lodging and meals, as well as additional information and photos are available at www.albergueelsocorrosarapiqui.com.
(N 10° 15' 41'', W 84° 9' 30'')
There are two ways to arrive at Albergue El Socorro. If coming from San Jose via Vara Blanca, there is a small right turn for La Virgen del Socorro before the Rio Angel and the town of Cariblanco. There is a sign but it is easy to miss. If you cross two large rivers, at hairpin turns, and arrive in Cariblanco you have gone past the turn off. Not to fret; if you miss the turn off, you could double back for a second effort, or you can continue on to the town of San Miguel where there is easy access to the site.
From the turn off for Colonia Virgen del Socorro, you will be 6 km from the reserve. You will follow the road up steep gravel and cement inclines staying to the left when you arrive at the sign for the hydro-plant. Keep going up, and you will eventually see a small sign for Albergue El Socorro. Here, stay to the right and shortly you will see the Albergue El Socorro sign on your right.
If coming from Puerto Viejo de Sarapique or from elsewhere in the Bird Route, you can access Albergue via the town of San Miguel. In San Miguel there is a cemetery, turn south here and head down the hill. Stay to the right as you go. There are signs that will lead you to Colonia del Socorro that you can follow. You will cross a cement bridge and again continue to follow the signs to the right. Eventually, you will begin to see waterworks from the hydro-plant. When you get to a Y in the road after the waterworks, go right and cross the bridge. Take an immediate left and Albergue El Socorro is 700 m on your right side.
NOTE: Birding on this road can be quite good. If you can, take your time on your way up or down from Albergue. However, be careful to pull as far off the road as you can, as there are blind curves and other motorists may not see you. Also, the road from San Miguel can become impassable in time of extreme rain. There is no bus service to Albergue El Socorro.