+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



Birding at Selva Verde



Keel-billed Toucans, Great Green Macaws, Wood Thrushes, Grey-necked Wood Rails, Sunbitterns and Violet Crowned Woodnymphs are just a few of the birds that inhabit the Selva Verde Rainforest Reserve. For decades, Selva Verde has been a birding hotspot – captivating beginner and expert alike.

Crimson-collared TanagerBirding for Beginners: Join one of our morning or afternoon bird walks and let our naturalist guides introduce you to the amazing world of tropical birds. Experienced birders are more than welcome too!

Birding Checklist: This site-specific bird list will assist both avid “tickers” and beginning birders.

Birding beyond our Borders

Take your birding to a new level and jump on the Costa Rica Bird Route – an innovative tourism project designed to promote habitat conservation throughout the Sarapiquí.

The Costa Rica Bird Route (CRBR) features twelve birding hotspots – including six established biological reserves and six newly created private reserves. Opened in April 2008, it is the first of its kind in Central America. It is organized and managed by the Rainforest Biodiversity Group, with funding from the US Fish and Wildlife Service and the Neotropical Migratory Bird Act.



selvaverde small 13Red-legged HoneycreeperSelva Verde is one of the CRBR's portal sites and serves as a base camp with comfortable accommodations, dining facilities, and excellent on-site birding opportunities. From Selva Verde, Bird Route visitors can easily access the newly created remote sites, owned by local community members. Day visits to these remote sites provide visitors with the opportunity to explore brand new, off-the-beaten-path wildlife areas. Local landowners receive economic benefits from your visit which encourages them to preserve natural habitats on their property and throughout the region.

Selva Verde is proud to be a participant in the Costa Rica Bird Route and encourages birders of all levels to jump on board! For more information on the Costa Rica Bird Route, VISIT THEIR WEBSITE.



 Birding blogGreen-Honeycreeper


Field Notes: Selva Verde's Birding Blog

Check our BLOG for some great insight into the many different species found at Selva Verde.





The Selva Verde Story

a passion to make a difference

Selva Verde exists today because of one woman's desire to make a difference.  As a pioneer in the business of ecotourism, Giovanna Holbrook traveled the world creating unique adventures for avid naturalists.  In 1982, Giovanna arranged an ornithological field study in Costa Rica for the National Aviary.  At the last minute, accommodations for the explorers fell through and they found themselves without a place to stay.  Giovanna raced to Costa Rica to rectify the situation.  A full day drive from San Jose, over barely passable dirt roads, found her deep in the county of Sarapiquí – a place that would forever etch itself upon her heart. 

holbrooks 1982Selva Verde Founder Giovanna Holbrook with her husband,, Juan Holbrook, c. 1986

The Discovery of Selva Verde

During her stay, Giovanna discovered a large tract of old growth forest that was up for sale was facing an uncertain future and may well have been purchased for logging or agricultural purposes. Never one to shy from a challenge, Giovanna placed a deposit on the property then and there on the spot and embarked on an adventure that continues to this day. Selva Verde's early days were full of excitement.  Shortly after purchasing the property, Giovanna discovered squatters staking claim to her land. She enlisted her good friend Dr. Tom Emmel and with the help of a local conservationist, confronted the squatters. After some intense and heated negotiations, a deal was struck. If the squatters agreed to vacate her property, they would be offered jobs once the project was completed.  

Over the next several years, Giovanna continued to travel back and forth between the US and Costa Rica as the dream of Selva Verde began to take shape.  Soon the original house was hosting visiting researchers and plans were underway to build additional guest rooms and a dining hall.  More than 30 years later, Selva Verde is a world renowned eco-lodge committed to advancing the practice of sustainable tourism.

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.  Through her unwavering devotion, Selva Verde is now a premier ecotourism destination, protecting the most accessible rainforest in Costa Rica, and attracting nature enthusiasts from around the globe.

 Giovanna Holbrook - Video Interview


 Photo Gallery - Our Story





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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.