Natural History Visitors – La Selva

La Selva has been a pioneer site in Education, Research, Conservation and Eco-tourism in Costa Rica since 1953 and one of the first private protected areas in the country.

La Selva is located in the Caribbean foothills of Costa Rica and comprises 1,614 hectares (3,988 acres) of old growth and disturbed tropical wet forest. Species diversity is spectacular, including more than 1,850 species of plants, 350 species of trees, 448 species of birds, and approximated 500 species of ants.

With its laboratories, on-line Geographic Information System (GIS), Meteorological data, Herbarium, Digital Flora Data Base, extensive trails, and large forest reserve bordering the Braulio Carrillo National Park , La Selva is one of the world’s most important sites for tropical ecosystem research. Each year, more than 250 scientists from some 25 countries and thousands of international students come to La Selva to study tropical ecology. Major research projects focus on forest dynamics, biodiversity, nutrient cycling, carbon sequestering, and native species reforestation. Research at La Selva has led to the publication of more than 2,655 scientific article, theses, and books.

Moreover, The Organization for Tropical Studies (OTS) aims to ensure that natural history visitors have a high-quality experience and learn about La Selva and OTS mission. OTS also works to guarantee that local people benefit from the ecotourism in Costa Rica.

La Selva Highlights

La Selva biological Station is situated at the confluence of the Sarapiquí and Puerto Viejo rivers.

  • Varied habitats: easily accessible old –growth forest, regenerating agricultural lands and an arboretum.
  • Home to more than the half of the 886 species of birds in Costa Rica.
  • Home to five of the six species of felines in the country.
  • Home to more than 70 species of bats.
  • Home to 1850 species of vascular plant flora.
  • More than 350 researchers from 25 countries visit La Selva every year to study the tropics.
  • Research conducted at La Selva had lead to more than 2.655 scientific articles.
  • Knowledgeable bilingual naturalists’ lead daily nature walks to explore life in the tropical rain forest on 57 km (35 miles) of well-maintained trails, some of which are accessible to the physically challenged.

Tropical forester Dr. Leslie Holdridge acquired the core La Selva property in 1953 with the goal of implementing his ideas about the sustainable, nondestructive use of tropical wet forest. By that time La Selva had already become the site of important work on tropical forest and birds by his students and fellow scientists.

Holdridge also encouraged the Organization for Tropical Studies to offer courses in tropical biology at La Selva before it became OTS property in 1968.

In 1982, President Carazo designated the narrow corridor connecting La Selva to the Cordillera Central Forest Reserve (at about 900 m elevation) as a Zona Protectora (Protected Zone). International recognition of the value of conservation area came in 1988 when UNESCO recognized Braulio Carrillo National Park together with La Selva and Irazú Volcano and Poas Volcano National Parks as UNESCO Biosphere Reserve, intended to integrate conservation and sustainable management of natural resources.

The reserve protects a large portion of Costa Rica’s biodiversity, for numerous species of birds, mammals, and insects that migrate periodically between the highlands and the lowlands. The change in elevation includes many life zones through a forest corridor that descends in elevation from 2,906 meters at Volcán Barva to 35 meters above sea level at La Selva.

Over the years in which OTS has managed La Selva, particularly during the 1980’s, La Selva has become a major tropical field station. Access is easy; new buildings have been constructed; and the reserve has tripled in size.

Climate

While temperature variation is slight year round, daily temperatures can fluctuate from 19°C (66°F) to 31°C (88°F). The climate is tropical wet, with an average annual rainfall of 4 meters (13 feet). Although rain nourishes the forest throughout the year, the rainiest months are July, November, and December.

Location

Puerto Viejo de Sarapiquí, Heredia, Costa Rica.

Distance from San José: 80km. 1.5hrs.

Getting There

La Selva is at 1.5 hrs drive from San José. Take the Guápiles Highway through Braulio Carrillo National Park. After approximately 35-45 minutes of driving, you will pass over the Río Sucio. Continue for 7 km, turn left following the sign to Puerto Viejo, and continue for approximately 30 km more. The La Selva entrance is 3 km south of Puerto Viejo de Sarapiquí. For public buses, call Transportes Guapileños ph: (506) 222-0610 Central Street, between 13th & 15Th ave. Buses leave San José to Puerto Viejo de Sarapiquí approximately every two hours between 6:30 a.m. and 6 p.m.

San José Office

Station Phones

Tel. + (506) 2524-0607

Tel. + (506) 2766-6565

Fax. + (506) 2524-0608

Fax. + (506) 2766-6535

Regular Tours

Day visits

Half day and full day guided walks schedule daily at 8:00am and 1:30pm. Excellent bilingual naturalists lead the walks that give a glimpse of the leading-edge research conducted at La Selva as well as the Natural History of the Tropical Rain Forest. A maximum group size is 12 people per guide. Each walk is approximately 3 1/2 hours, principally on cement or wood trails suitable for people of all ages. Some trails are accessible for the physically challenged.

Private Tours

Early Birding Tours

La Selva Biological Station is one of the fineness places for bird watching in Costa Rica. Our excellent trail system and our knowledgeable naturalist guides would lead birdwatchers through a variety of habitats, from dense primary rain forest to open pasturelands. Walks are offer at 5:45am previous reservation. Each walk is approximately 2 hours.

Night Tours

Lead by our excellent naturalist guides, visitors would search for bright shinny eyes, listen to the calls of frogs, and the singing of birds. Discover the variety of the night wildlife –birds, mammals, amphibians and reptiles which are also seen at late afternoon. Walks are offered between 6:00pm and 7:00pm previous reservation. Each walk last around 2 hours.

Workshops

Do not forget to consult for our workshops on different topics, created especially for groups and with the quality that characterizes us.

Boat Tours

Explore the wildlife in a boat tour on the Sarapiquí River, duration 2 hrs.

Custom-Design Itineraries

A new and exciting way of adventure… seek the thrill of exploring Costa Rica’s tropical rainforest with one of the world’s leading institutions in education and research of tropical science, the Organization for Tropical Studies.

Nearby Attractions:

  • White water rafting Sarapiquí or Pacuare River
  • Chocolate Tour
  • Pinneaple Tour
  • Canoe Rides
  • Butterfly Garden
  • Frog and Snake Gardens
  • Horse back riding
  • Canopy and rapel

Lodging

We offer cabins equipped with twin beds, private bath, fan, and balcony. We also have family houses totally equipped with kitchen, two rooms, private bath, and terrace; and dormitory-style rooms with bunk beds, and shared baths.

Food

We offer set meals in family style service. Vegetarian food is a daily option. Box lunches are also offered.

Others

Gift Shop, library, laundry and an academic center.

Prescription medicines as needed, good walking shoes, hot weather clothes, insect repellent, umbrella or rain jacket, flashlight, binoculars, sun screen, film and camera extra batteries, plastic bags to keep film/paper dry. Most of these items are also found on our gift shop.

Recommendations

  • Our dinning facilities serve meals according to a schedule and to the number of people expected to attend to each service. Please provide us with your arrival time so that we can serve you better:

  • The use of sandals or walking barefooted is not permitted on the trails for safety reasons. Entrance might be prohibited by the administration of the station if this rule is not follow.

  • Manipulating species (flora and fauna) is not allowed in our biological stations for both conservation and safety reasons.

  • Children must come accompanied by a responsible adult that must supervise them at all times.

Special Warnings

If you are hypersensitive to insects, bees or wasps, always carry a sting kit with you.

Reservation Policies 2019

Regular Season
2019 Rates US $
Valid from: December 15, 2018 to April 30, 2019; June 1 to August 31, 2019

Lodging + 3 meals + taxes (Full Board)

Rates per person per night

 

Single

$105

 

Double

$90

 

Additional person

$67

 

5-12 years children

$38

All inclusive – Family House

Rates per person per night

 

4 pax

$280

Notes: Includes: lodging, three meals, one short guided walk and taxes.
The courtesy guided walk must be coordinated upon your arrival at Reception.
Children under 5 years are free of charge when sharing room with parents.

Top

Lodging + breakfast* + taxes

Rates per person per night

 

 

Single

$72

 

 

Double

$62

 

 

Additional person

$46

 

 

5-12 years children

$26

 

Family House

Rates per person per night

 

 

4 pax

$185

Notes: Includes: lodging, breakfast*, one short guided walk and taxes.
The courtesy guided walk must be coordinated upon your arrival at Reception.
*Breakfast can be changed for another meal (lunch or dinner) prior coordination.

 

Top

Regular Guided Walk

Rates per person

 

 

Available Hours between:
– 8:00am
– 1:30pm

Walk led by bilingual Naturalist Guide

 

 

Short Walk Adults 1-10 pax
Duration: 3 hours

$35

 

 

Short Walk Children
(5-12 years old)

$28

 

 

Long Walk Adults 1-10 pax

$45

 

 

Long Walk Children
Duration: 6 hours.

$33

Notes: Give a glimpse of the leading-edge research conducted at La Selva. High quality experience, enjoy and learn about the amazing natural history of the tropical forest, its flora and fauna.
Please take into consideration that the time of the walk might change, according to weather.

 

Top

Private Guided Walk

Rate per person

 

 

Short Walk 1 pax

$80

 

 

Short Walk 2 – 10 pax

$50

 

 

Long Walk 1 pax

$90

 

 

Long Walk 2 – 10 pax

$60

 

Notes: : ALWAYS according availability. Must be coordinated with Reservations. The Regular Tours Rate Children apply also for Private Tour

 

Top

Special Tours

 

Early Birding Tour
Hour: 5:45am.
Duration: 2 hours.

Avifauna of La Selva

 

 

Nocturnal Wildlife Walk
Hour: 7:00pm.
Duration: 2 hours.

A Night Tour to watch the Station Wildlife

 

Regular

 

2 – 10 pax

$50

 

 

Children 5-12 years

$33

Top

Private

 

1 pax

$90

 

 

2 – 10 pax

$58

Notes: ALWAYS according availability. Must be coordinated with Reservations.
The Regular Tours Rate Children apply also for Private

 

Top

Low Season
Station Rates (US dollars)
Valid from: May, September, October, November & December 1 to 14, 2019

 

Lodging + 3 meals + taxes (Full Board)

Rates per person per night

 

 

Single

$90

 

 

Double

$76

 

 

Additional person

$56

 

 

5-12 years children

$32

 

Full Board- Family House

Rates per person per night

 

 

4 pax

$227

Notes: : Includes: lodging, three meals, one short guided walk and taxes.
The courtesy guided walk must be coordinated upon your arrival at Reception.
Children under 5 years are free charge when sharing room with parents.

 

Top

Lodging + breakfast* + taxes

Rates per person per night

 

 

Single

$60

 

 

Double

$52

 

 

Additional person

$39

 

 

5-12 years children

$22

 

Family House

Rates per person per night

 

 

4 pax

$156

Notes: Includes: lodging, breakfast*, one short guided walk and taxes.
The courtesy guided walk must be coordinated upon your arrival at Reception.
*Breakfast can be changed for another meal (lunch or dinner) prior coordination.

 

Top

Regular Guided Walk

Rates per person

 

 

Available Hours between:
– 8:00am
– 1:30pm

Walk led by bilingual Naturalist Guide

 

 

Short Walk Adults 1-10 pax
Duration: 3 hours

$35

 

 

Short Walk Children
(5-12 years old)

$28

 

 

Long Walk Adults 1-10 pax

$45

 

 

Long Walk Children
Duration: 6 hours.

$33

Notes: Give a glimpse of the leading-edge research conducted at La Selva. High quality experience, enjoy and learn about the amazing natural history of the tropical forest, its flora and fauna.
Please take into consideration that the time of the walk might change, according to weather.

 

Top

Private Guided Walk

Rate per person

 

 

Short Walk 1 pax

$80

 

 

Short Walk 2 – 10 pax

$50

 

 

Long Walk 1 pax

$90

 

 

Long Walk 2 – 10 pax

$60

Notes: ALWAYS according availability. Must be coordinated with Reservations.
The Regular Tours Rate Children apply also for Private Tour

 

Top

Special Tours

 

Early Birding Tour
Hour: 5:45am.
Duration: 2 hours.

Avifauna of La Selva

 

 

Nocturnal Wildlife Walk
Hour: 7:00pm.
Duration: 2 hours.

A Night Tour to watch the Station Wildlife

 

Regular

 

2 – 10 pax

$50

 

 

Children 5-12 years

$33

Top

Private

 

1 pax

$90

 

 

2 – 10 pax

$58

Notes: ALWAYS according availability. Must be coordinated with Reservations
The Regular Tours Rate Children apply also for Private

 

Top

For information and reservations
visit.ots@tropicalstudies.org
Costa Rica (506) 2524-0607 | Fax (506) 2524-0608
United States (919) 684 5774 | Fax (919) 684 5661