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Macaw Recovery Network

Tours daily at 7:30 am and 4 pm (except Saturdays) Reservations required *Ask about the availability of photography workshop tours.
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Just south of Playa Carrillo is Punta Islita, home to the Macaw Recovery Network (previously The Ara Project), a conservation organization dedicated to the survival of Costa Rica’s native macaws. Previously extinct in this area of Guanacaste, the Scarlet Macaw is now back! The Great Green Macaw, only found in the Caribbean low lands is in much worse shape. Due to poaching and deforestation, populations have declined to less than 1,500 individuals worldwide and could disappear forever.

The site in Punta Islita is home to the organization’s Macaw Refuge and Breeding Center, where rescued or injured birds from both species that can not be released are kept for breeding purposes. Their young are then released into the wild. Over 50 Scarlet Macaws have been released, creating the now-famous Wild Scarlet Macaw Reserve, a must-see when visiting the Nicoya Peninsula.

When you visit, you will fully emerge in the extensive efforts of an important international organization doing amazing conservation work, having made a crucial impact for nearly thirty years. Although the Refuge is not open to the public, you will have the incredible experience of seeing fully wild, released Scarlet Macaws flying free to enjoy their afternoon snack! The visitor center is full of interesting information and there is a small gift shop with all proceeds going to this worthy cause and local artists.

This is an amazing experience for the whole family and a great learning opportunity, not to mention the wonderful photo ops. Don’t just do a regular tour, make a real difference, visit and support this project, you will come away with a new understanding and appreciation for these charismatic birds.


  • Wildlife Conservation Program
  • Education Center
  • Breeding and Repopulating
  • Non-profit
  • Volunteer Program