+800-451-7111 For USA and Canadian Guests

   506-2761-1800 For Costa Rican Guests

   +352-377-7111 Outside Costa Rica, USA / Canada


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+800-451-7111 For USA and Canadian Guests
+506-2761-1800 For Costa Rican Guests
+352-377-7111 Outside Costa Rica, USA and Canada


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Welcome to Selva Verde



Holbrook Family of Services


Our mission is to facilitate a true connection between our travelers and our destinations. Since 1974, we’ve taken thousands of travelers on expeditions across Latin America, Africa, and destinations beyond. We combine reliable travel support with deep knowledge to create enriching travel experiences that last a lifetime.


About Holbrook Travel

Holbrook Travel has been enriching lives through travel since 1974. The Holbrook story began when founder Giovanna Holbrook led a group of academics and naturalists to the Galápagos Islands. Building on its expertise in natural history, the company continued to provide affordable educational programs for groups and individuals around the world. In 1982, during an ornithological field study in Costa Rica, Giovanna learned of a 500-acre tract of old growth forest that was destined for the chainsaw. She purchased the land and renovated its old house to become the Selva Verde Rainforest Lodge & Reserve. See Our Story.

Spurred by memories of her pioneering voyage to the Galápagos, a lifelong love of travel, and close ties to the local academic community, Giovanna embarked on a mission to design travel programs that were both educational and affordable. Her tireless efforts led to the founding of Holbrook Travel a few years later in 1974. As the company matured throughout the years, it built relationships with a variety of organizations throughout the U.S. and overseas and increased its destinations and program offerings.

Today Holbrook Travel is a leading tour operator founded on the principles of sustainable tourism. This practice guides all of Holbrook’s trips in Latin America, Africa, Asia, the Pacific and beyond. Holbrook offers unique itineraries based on natural history, culture, birding, gardening, photography, culture, and other special interests. Holbrook continues to serve the needs of teachers, students, academic institutions, conservation organizations, and nature lovers. In the words of Andrea Holbrook, president: “Our goal is to continue the great work my mother started.”





Work in progress


Rainforest Plants Tour



plantsNature trails, Selva Verde LodgeSelva Verde’s Costa Rican Rainforest Plants Tour

Our Rainforest Reserves contain more than 500 acres of primary tropical rainforest and provides habitat protection for plant and wildlife species, such as the Almond Tree and the Great Green Macaw.

Costa Rica is home to 330 species of trees and countless plant species (estimates range from 9,000-10,000 types of vascular plants). Tropical forests are much more diverse than the temperate forests further north. In lowland tropical rainforests, such as surround Selva Verde’s Costa Rica jungle lodge, it is possible to find between 50 and 100 different tree species within a few acres. On a plant tour of the Costa Rican rainforest, you will also find a wide diversity of plants, such as bromeliads, epiphytes and vines. There are approximately 1,500 species of orchids alone.



Almendro 300x190600+ years old tree, Selva Verde LodgeSelva Verde Lodge’s Costa Rica Jungle Giant

Our Costa Rica jungle lodge property is home to an award-winning almond tree. Already a mature tree when the Spanish came to the Americas in the late 1400s, the tree is approximately 600 years old.

This enormous tree stands 54 meters (177 feet) high and 14 meters (46 feet) in circumference and in 2007 was recognized as a natural and national treasure of Costa Rica. It won the 2007 Exceptional Tree award from the INBIO, the National Institute for Biodiversity in Costa Rica.

Almendro trees, or Dipteryx panamensis, are considered guardians of the tropical rainforest and a symbol for the region. They are also a critical part of the endangered Great Green Macaw’s habitat. Our award winning tree should live for another 100 to 200 years.


Rainforest Ecology at Selva Verde Lodge



selva01Selva Verde rainforestJungles of Selva Verde

Selva Verde is located in the midst of the 500 acre Sarapiquí Rainforest Preservation Area in the lush lowlands of northeastern Costa Rica. It is a haven for nature enthusiasts, bird and wildlife watchers, scientists and students, as well as adventure seekers.

The rainforest surrounding Selva Verde provides habitat for over 300 bird species, 120 species of mammals, 48 amphibian species, 89 reptile species, more than 10,000 species of insects, approximately 1,500 species of orchids, 330 species of trees and countless plant species.

On a tour of Costa Rica’s rainforest it is possible to find between 50 and 100 different tree species in a few acres. You will also find a wide diversity of plants, birds and animals. There are approximately 1,500 species of orchids alone.



selvaverde small 18Nature trails, Selva Verde LodgeSelva Verde Lodge In the Midst of the Costa Rica Jungle

The buildings of Selva Verde Lodge are incorporated into the Costa Rican rainforest on platforms and elevated walkways that blend in with the natural environment. Our extensive network of covered walkways allows our guests to go on long walks throughout the rainforest observing wildlife, plants and birds while staying dry.





Almendro 300x200Large & old  Almond tree at Selva Verde LodgeProtection of Costa Rica’s Rainforest

Selva Verde Rainforest Reserves have been identified as critical pieces of the San Juan-La Selva Biological Corridor, part of the greater Mesoamerican Biological Corridor initiative, a proposal to connect protected habitat from southern Mexico and Belize to Panama.

This region of Costa Rica’s rainforest is important because it is the last remaining area where the Almond tree (Dipteryx panamensis) is dominant. It is the habitat for the endangered Great Green Macaw.




selvaverde small 12Black-and-Yellow Tanager, Selva Verde LodgeCosta Rica’s Rainforest is for the Birds

Costa Rica has a greater variety of bird species than all of North America and Europe. Now the Sarapiquí region is home to the Costa Rican Bird Route and Selva Verde is one of the established sites on the route.

The route consists of twelve birding sites, teaming up established and newly created biological reserves, to offer a variety of bird watching opportunities and programs in the San Juan – La Selva Biological Corridor of northeastern Costa Rica’s rainforest.

The first of its kind in Central America, the Bird Route not only gives visitors access to primary rainforest, but also gives land owners access to tourism income and an alternative income to other activities that are not as environmentally sustainable.



venado caves on the fortunaVenado caves Tour from Selva Verde LodgeTours of Costa Rican Rainforest

Costa Rica has protected more than 2.7 million acres of microclimates with 75 national parks and reserves. Many of these beautiful parks, gardens, waterfalls, volcanoes, caves, birding and wildlife habitats are located close to Selva Verde’s Costa Rica jungle lodge.

Sites such as the Braulio Carrillo National Park, the Arenal and Poas Volcanoes, and the Heliconia Island Botanical Gardens are just a few of the local attractions that are available as day trips that can be arranged by the lodge. Let Selva Verde Lodge be your Costa Rica rainforest tour headquarters.


Corridors - Pathways for Wildlife

Mesoamerican Biological Corridor


Thirty years ago, rainforest stretched from Costa Rica’s Central Valley to the Atlantic coast.  Today this area is a patchwork of small fincas, agricultural plantations, and a handful of rainforest reserves.  Selva Verde is one of those reserves – protecting an important remnant of the forests that once blanketed the area. 

parrot01Great green Macau, Selva Verde LodgeIn order to maintain optimal levels of biodiversity within the reserve, Selva Verde is working with local conservation organizations such as the Sarapiquí Conservation Learning Center and the Centro Cientifico Tropical to create forested pathways between Selva Verde and other preserves in the area.  These pathways, known as biological corridors, will allow rainforest wildlife to migrate more freely and ensure a brighter future for the area’s biodiversity.

Selva Verde’s Rainforest Reserve has been identified as a critical piece of a much larger corridor initiative known as the Mesoamerican Biological Corridor (MBC).   The MBC is an international initiative that links critical habitats from southern Mexico to Panama in an effort to conserve biodiversity and promote sustainable development throughout this ecologically fragile region. 

Great Green in Flight1 300x200Great green MacauSelva Verde sits in the middle of the San Juan-La Selva section of the MBC and provides habitat for one of the corridor’s most endangered species – the Great Green Macaw.  Less than 200 of these birds can be found in Costa Rica.  The macaw’s very existence is tied to the Almendro tree – the bird’s preferred nesting and food source.  The wood of the Almendro is also a very desirable building material and has been extensively logged throughout Sarapiquí Valley.  Selva Verde’s reserve protects one of the largest Almendro trees in the region and macaws are frequently seen in and around the preserve. 

Selva Verde is committed to working with local and regional conservation organizations to save Great Green Macaws and the Almendro trees - within our preserve and beyond our boundaries.    Protecting the Great Green Macaw’s habitat also protects habitat needed by many other rainforest birds, mammals, reptiles, amphibians, and plants – ensuring a future for rainforest biodiversity and for Selva Verde. 

For more information and maps of the San Juan-La Selva Biological Corridor VISIT THIS WEBSITE


Featured Story view all

Nigel MarvenNigel MarvenRegister for Costa Rica’s International Herpetological Symposium, Sept 6-9, 2018

SARAPIQUÍ, COSTA RICA - Costa Rica’s IV International Herpetological Symposium will be held in the lowland tropical rainforests of Sarapiquí, at Selva Verde Lodge and Private Reserve and environs. The Symposium will feature presentations and lectures about herpetology in broad sense by organizations and individuals. Come and learn about new findings and research from all over the Americas and beyond! 

Participantes de habla hispana: Vea el programa completo aquí

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Birding at La Selva by Christa Markley

Trip Report: Understanding Costa Rica’s Conservation Success Story

Participants at CRIBC in November learned more about Costa Rica's pioneering ecotourism.


NEWS ( View All )

Bats SVL

The Rediscovery of a Species at Selva Verde Lodge & Reserve

It has been 44 years since Furipterus horrens, aka the Thumbless Bat, has been documented in Costa Rica—and today we are sharing the groundbreaking news of its reemergence at Selva Verde Lodge.

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holbrooks 1982 ourstory idx

The Selva Verde Story

Selva Verde began with one woman's dream of preserving nearly 500 acres of endangered tropical forest and the multitude of species that call it home.