Puerto Viejo de Sarapiquí Surroundings
Many interesting natural attractions are found around Puerto Viejo de Sarapiquí. In this area are many noteworthy rainforest reserve lodges offering accommodations and activities.
Selva Verde Lodge is set among approximately 200ha/494ac of premontane tropical wet forest. The lodge grounds feature several walking/hiking trails, a medicinal plant garden and a landscaped butterfly garden. Horseback riding and mountain biking are popular activities, and several excursions are offered from the lodge.Bilingual guides offer hikes to observe wildlife such as frogs, reptiles, small mammals and several species of birds. Tours of the Saraquipí River are also available. This lodge is owned by an American travel group and is often used by large groups because conference facilities are available.
La Selva Biological Station
This biological station is run by the Organization for Tropical Studies (OTS) and features laboratories, experimental crops, a herbarium and a library. Of all the OTS sites, La Selva is the biggest and most frequently used for graduate courses in ecology as well as long term and ongoing biological experiments.The La Selva area protects 1,600ha/3,952ac of premontane wet tropical rainforest. La Selva borders Braulio Carrilllo National Park (46,000ha/113,620ac) so the large area attracts a diverse amount of wildlife. Over 400 species of birds, 120 species of mammals and thousands of insect species have been recorded at La Selva. The area features 1,900 varieties of vascular plants including orchids, philodendrons and legumes.60km/37mi of trails are found at La Selva, ranging from jungle hikes to cement or boardwalk-lined trails. The trail system is very well developed, creating excellent opportunities for bird observation. Education is the primary goal of the research station, and guided hikes are excellent.
This remote, private reserve covers 1,335ha/3,297ac of tropical rainforest on the northeastern slopes of the Cordillera Central. The elevation in the reserve ranges from 600m/1,968ft to 700m/2,296ft, and it borders on the eastern edge of the Braulio Carrillo National Park. Amos Bien, an American biology student who arrived in Costa Rica in 1977, founded the reserve. Rara Avis features an extensive trail system offering excellent birding and wildlife observation.Over 500 species of trees have been identified on the property. 350 species of birds have been recorded, including the snowcap hummingbird and the blue-and-gold tanager. Common mammals sighted include three species of monkeys, coatis, anteaters and pacas. Jaguars and other elusive mammals are also present, but more difficult to see. A hiking trail leads to an impressive 55m/180ft waterfall.
Sarapiquí Neotropical Center
At the time of its inception in 1997, the establishment of Sarapiquí Neotropical Center, was decreed as a "Project of National Interest". Set in a 350ha/865ac rainforest reserve, the grounds feature a lodge, museum, orchards and a botanical garden.Gardens and orange groves precede the lodge, which is modeled after a 15th C pre-Columbian village. Animation, displays and audio presentations within the museum chronicle the history of the rainforest. A 250m/820ft suspension bridge leads from the museum into the rainforest reserve.The on-site restaurant serves pre-Columbian indigenous meals incorporating fruits and vegetables grown in the surrounding gardens. There is also a research center available to all visitors.
El Gavilán Lodge
This former cattle hacienda is now a lodge set amid a private 100ha/247ac reserve. Surrounded by attractive gardens, there are good birding opportunities among the tall trees. The grounds of El Gavilán offer 5km/3mi of trails that are enjoyed either on foot or horseback. El Gavilán offers several excursions including river trips (single or multi-day), guided rainforest hikes and trips to nearby national parks.
La Quinta de Sarapiquí Lodge
This attractive lodge set on the banks of the Sardinal River offers many activities. Horseback riding, fishing, mountain biking and birding are the most popular. La Quinta de Sarapiquí Lodge features a nearby river swimming hole, butterfly garden, a "frog land" trail (poisonous dart frogs commonly spotted), and games room.
La Virgen, Costa Rica
This tiny community offers budget accommodations in the area.
Artisans specializing in Tiffany-style stained glass own this rustic lodge. Windows, glass hangings and lampshades are on display and for sale in their studio/workshop. Rancho Leona is known for their guided kayak tours (designed for all ability levels) to nearby rivers.Several hiking trails in the area lead to nearby riversides and waterfalls. Apart from bunk-style accommodations, Rancho Leona also offers a geodesic dome in the rainforest (10km/6.2mi from the lodge) with a loft and 360 degree view.