Macaw Mountain Bird Park

Lonely Planet review

Around 2.5km out of town is an extensive private reserve aimed at saving Central American macaws. There's plenty of them in evidence, along with toucans, motmots, parrots, kingfishers and orioles, all flying around in spacious, humanely constructed cages. A favorite for many is the 'Encounter Center' where uncaged birds fly onto your shoulders or hands and you can pose for photos with them.

If caged birds give you the willies, bear in mind that nearly all of these birds have been donated to the park by owners who didn't want them anymore or were confiscated from bird smugglers. Even if you're not a bird freak, it's a lovely place to wander around, with plenty of walking trails weaving through the lush forest and over boardwalks to lookout points and swimming holes. The entrance ticket – which includes a guided tour in English – is valid for three days and there's a cafe-restaurant on the property. To get here, catch a tuk-tuk for L20 per person. If you buy your ticket in advance at Café ViaVia, they'll throw in the tuk-tuk for free.