THE CUERO Y SALADO WILDLIFE REFUGE
Cuero y Salado Wildlife Refuge is a haven for tropical birders and wildlife watchers. Named for the Cuero and Salado Rivers which here meet the ocean, the Refuge comprises over 35,000 acres of rivers, lagoons, mangroves, and forests that are home to diverse wildlife and a variety of birds exceeding 350 species.
Access into this wilderness is via a small motorized train, which takes us along a century old track through bird-rich ranchlands, marshlands and plantation areas, ultimately arriving at the mouth of the Salado River and the Refuge itself. Birding from the train is always exciting, as even the conductor is eager to stop and point out species of interest along the way. Depending on season, a variety of raptors, wading birds and edge-habitat species abound along the railway.
Once at the Refuge, we will explore the various aquatic and forest habitats from a small, motorized skiff. Our guides and boat handlers are superbly trained spotters and when needed, prefer to silence our boat’s motor and quietly paddle in for a better look.
Agami Heron, Boat-billed Heron, Jabiru Stork, Pigmy Kingfisher, Gray-necked Wood Rail, and Sungrebe are but a few potential highlights of a visit to Cuero y Salado. During the right season, we may also have the opportunity to visit an established Boat-billed Heron rookery, consisting of several hundred pairs of these broad billed, wide eyed, bill clapping mangrove inhabitants.
Guided birding tours of Cuero y Salado leave Rio Santiago at 6:00 AM and normally return to the resort by noon.