+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



Evening Lecture Series


Ivan 300x200When he was 9 years old, Iván Castillo Gomez was bitten by a snake, the venomous “fer-the-lance”(terciopelo). Iván’s experience led him to study the nature around him and now, as Selva Verde’s head naturalist guide, he has created a series of interesting talks for all visitors – including snakes, frogs, migratory birds, and leaf-cutter ants. These can be requested at any time and are perfect for small groups.

“Frogs of Selva Verde”
In the case of amphibians, the country has about 192 species, being the anura order (frogs and toads) the most diverse, totaling 141 species. In this lecture we talk about how toads but especially frogs take advantage of all these particular conditions that Selva Verde provides to develop their life cycles, also based on their natural history we will describe the most representative species and families of our reserve and we will discuss about the role that Selva Verde plays through ecotourism in the conservation of species in the face of current threats such as global warming and habitat loss.

“Bird Migration - A Surviving History over the Costa Rican Skies”
Costa Rica is a biological bridge that joins the north and south of the American continent, reason why is favored by a great exchange of species between both Americas. An example of this is the case of the large number of birds that escape from the cold winter of their breeding grounds and venture in search of warmth and tropical food, that is how a number birds of North America establish their "winter homes" in this the Country, but a great majority continue their pilgrimage to specific places of South America. Where there are also some species that go northwards, with the purpose of nesting in conditions particularly suitable, that they will not find in the area of origin. Selva Verde’s rainforest reserve has a privileged position within the country, being on one of the main migratory routes of the continent; this can be easily noticed at the beginning of autumn with the ¨clouds¨ of raptors, as well as wrens, Orioles, tanagers and others that forage in the surroundings while they are heading south. So we have decided to make a general description of bird migration facts in order to understand in simple way, this fascinating phenomenon analyzing its migration strategy as well some challenges that could face during the journey.

“Leaf Cutter Ants”
This lecture was inspired because of the way this ants live and my curiosity went further, the result was wonderful to study this amazing insects. They are little that much that sometimes we step on they when we walk on the trails, but if we stop and observe this ants working very hard, cutting leaf fragments and transporting them to their nest, the different size of ants, their nest and some other details. The leaf cutter ant has developed a way to live together with a fungus, planting it and feeding on it. This symbiosis relationship is been taking place on earth since long time ago, if we stop and think about it, it is like humans way to produce food with crops. They produce their food thanks to their capacity to compost all the different plant material that becomes in a fungus garden like a “farmer”. The lecture introduces the guests in the crazy world of the leaf cutter ants, so talking about them in many aspects like when they reproduce, how they live and some more.

“Snakes and Production of Anti-venom in Costa Rica”
This lecture is about snakes in Costa Rica and at Selva Verde, my country is very rich in reptiles such as iguanas, caimans, turtle but most of them are snakes, close to 60% of the total reptiles in Costa Rica are snakes and most of these beautiful snakes are nom-venomous but that low percent is consider as deathly snakes because if you get bitten by one of these dangerous snakes, you will survive getting the anti-venom at the hospital to stop it. The lecture has the intention to educate people especially that in Costa Rica snakes could be so well camouflage, so when you do a hike in the forest is better to use hiking shoes or robber boots, a flashlight at night, all of these in order to avoid an accident with a snake. We also talk about how Costa Rica is a pioneer country in the antivenom production around the world. In the Clodomiro Picado institute thousands of anti-venom are produce every year and some of those bottles go to other countries like places in Africa to treat “mamba” bites.


About Selva Verde Lodge & Rainforest Reserve



The Selva Verde Story:
grounds tnSelva Verde's story begins with Giovanna Holbrook and her mission to preserve a patch of Costa Rican rainforest. At one time, Selva Verde’s future was uncertain. Thanks to Giovanna’s efforts, Selva Verde protects nearly 500 acres of tropical forest and is home to one of Costa Rica's premier eco-lodges. Read more...



Selva Verde's Nature is Legendary:
Howler monkeys, red-eyed tree frogs, mot-mots, and kinkajous are just a few of the creatures that call Selva Verde home! The Selva Verde Nature Reserve is refuge to 300+ species of birds, 120 species of mammals, numerous amphibians and reptiles, and countless invertebrates. Selva Verde has earned its reputation as the most accessible rainforest in Costa Rica. Come and experience our abundant biodiversity! Learn more...




Experience Selva Verde:
Do more! Learn more! Be our guest in this magical world. Explore our rainforest, discover our wildlife, raft on our river, and relax in our hammocks. Selva Verde offers visitors unparalleled opportunities for close encounters with nature, exciting adventure activities, and comfortable rainforest accommodations.
Find out more about Selva Verde's ...
Activities: Explore Selva Verde's wild side
Facilities: Discover our Lodge and Grounds



A Sustainable Future for Selva Verde:
What started out as an effort to protect a patch of rainforest has evolved into a vision for a sustainable future – not only for Selva Verde, but also for the people and wildlife that call it home. As a pioneer in the field of ecotourism, Selva Verde continues that tradition through our sustainability initiatives and partnerships. Find out more...

What Do Others Say About Selva Verde? View our Guest Book




Let Selva Verde be your gateway to discovery, exploration, adventure and excitement! We offer a wide variety of experiences - from quiet nature hikes to exhilarating white water rafting - designed to engage visitors of all ages and interest levels. We invite you to discover our 500 acre reserve and the creatures which call it home. Push the boundaries and explore the surrounding area on foot, by water, or on horseback. Get to know the local community with a visit to the Sarapiquí Conservation Learning Center. Come and experience the out-of-the-ordinary. Experience Selva Verde!


To reserve activities, please read below.



Our lodge is a wonderful place for discovering and learning about the abundant wildlife and biodiversity of the lush tropical rainforest. Choose from a variety of activities on our premises.





Explore the natural splendors of the Sarapiquí Region, both on the grounds of Selva Verde and in the surrounding area. Join our resident naturalists on guided hikes and discover the flora and fauna of the old growth and secondary forest in our 500 acre reserve, take a boat ride on the Sarapiquí River, and visit the nearby parks, reserves and gardens. Our lodge is a wonderful place for discovering and learning about the abundant wildlife and biodiversity of the lush tropical rainforest.




Selva Verde offers exciting adventure activities for the most energetic eco traveler! Experience the wild side of Costa Rica as you raft the Sarapiquí River, ride through the countryside on horseback, and zip line through the rainforest canopy.



family Fun

Having an adventure is thrilling, but it's even more fun to share your adventure with those you love. Share the awe of exploration and discovery with your family, and cherish the memories you will make forever. Selva Verde offers a range of activities suited for every age and that your whole family will enjoy!



culture & Community

Selva Verde is located in the heart of Costa Rica's Sarapiquí region, within the small village of Chilamate and close to the town of Puerto Viejo de Sarapiquí. This area of Costa Rica is known for its amazing biodiversity, but it is also home to vibrant communities, banana and pineapple plantations, and the Sarapiquí Conservation Learning Center. We invite you to explore the communities surrounding Selva Verde through our cultural and agro tourism activities.



Selva Verde at night

After darkness falls in the Sarapiquí, a whole new world awakens. If you've still got an itch for adventure after dinner, we've got some options for you. Take a flashlight and explore the nocturnal rainforest, study bats at a science station, or learn some Latin dance steps with local community members!



Birding at Selva Verde

Keel-billed Toucans, Great Green Macaws, Wood Thrushes, Grey-necked Wood Rails, Sun bitterns 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.





It is always best to make advance reservations for all of our activities! Most activities may be booked at Selva Verde reception with 24 hours notice. Please make advanced reservations during the high season by CONTACTING US before your visit.

Green Season (May 1 - 31st, Aug 1 - Dec 14th)
High Season (Dec 15 - Apr 30, Jun 1 - Jul 31)

Groups: Traveling with 5 or more people? Please make advance reservations by CONTACTING US.

Special Note: Tips & discretionary gratuities for guides are not included in activity costs.

For Boxed Lunches: Please make arrangements with reception at least 24 hours in advance.


Visitor Information Selva Verde

Costa Rica Travel


Here you can find answers to frequently asked questions about Selva Verde. Naturally, feel free to contact us if you have any other questions!

How do I get to Selva Verde?

Please find maps and directions here.


What is there to do in the area?

Selva Verde Lodge and Rainforest Reserve offers you a wide range of activities . Our location also gives you easy access to several national parks, research stations, privately operated reserves, and a variety of fun day trips.



Do the rooms have hot water?

logo sus smallRain or shine our solar panels provide hot water.


Do the rooms have air conditioning?

Our newly renovated Bungalow rooms are now equipped with A/C and are the only rooms with this amenity. All of our other River Lodge rooms offer ceiling fans and wrap around screens in each room providing ample ventilation and a comfortable rainforest experience.


Do you offer laundry service?

Yes, we are pleased to offer laundry services to our guests. The cost, with a 24 hour notice, is $1 per pound of laundry. Laundry bags are provided in each room for your convenience.


Does the lodge offer Internet access to guests?

Yes, on a limited basis. The speed is adequate but there can be times when it is not reliable. Currently there is one computer available for guest use in the TV/Computer room near the front desk and reservations office. Please ask the front desk for assistance.


Is bottled water available for purchase?

Yes, bottled water may be purchased at the Selvita Bar or personal water bottles may be filled at designated refill stations on lodge grounds.


Is drinking water provided?

Yes, purified water dispensers with hot and cold water are available in various locations around the lodge.


What is the weather like in Costa Rica?

All year! Expect more rainfall during afternoon showers from mid-March to early-November and drier conditions from mid-November to late-February. Temperatures remain in the mid-80s to 90s during most of the year.


When is the best time to visit?

Read about Costa Rican weather and other country information here.


Can you help me make other travel arrangements?

Absolutely! Our reservations agents are skilled at customizing your travel adventure throughout COSTA RICA and many OTHER LATIN AMERICAN DESTINATIONS.


Do you offer non-smoking rooms?

All rooms at Selva Verde Lodge are non-smoking.


Is there a conference room available for groups?

Yes, we have a conference room that accommodates 45 people comfortably. Please ask your reservations specialist to reserve a room for your group.


Can I book my room without meals?

Yes, when making reservations, specify your meal request.


Do you offer vegetarian meals?

Yes. Please mention your meal requests when making lodge reservations.


Are there discounted rates for children?

Yes, we are family friendly! Please visit this page for details.


What form of payment do you accept?

When making reservations for lodging, we accept MasterCard, VISA, American Express, Discover Card, and Diners Club in addition to personal or business checks. During your stay, VISA and MasterCard are accepted at the lodge.


How do I make an international phone call?

We have telephones in each room and a phone system which allows for credit card or calling card calls at specified rates. Additionally, pre-paid international calling cards, which may be purchased at established businesses throughout Costa Rica can be used at reception.


Do you offer group discounts?

Yes, we are happy to offer discounts to groups based on size and travel dates. Please speak with our reservation agents for more details.


Do you offer commission to travel agents?

Yes, please speak with our reservation agents about qualifying for agency commission.


What time is check in / check out?

Check in: 2:00 PM
Check out: 12:00 PM - noon


upcoming eventsview all

Puma SVL webNew Camera-Trap Station in Action

Many of our guests are well-accustomed to spotting a myriad of birds, insects, reptiles and other species throughout the 500-acre preserve. It is less common, however, to come face-to-face with some of the larger mammals. Now, thanks to Selva Verde’s new camera-trap station, we have visual evidence from images taken on the grounds of Selva Verde, featuring some of the reserve’s more elusive residents.

Read more ...


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)

Amos Bien

Update from the SCLC: Saying goodbye to Amos Bien

On November 19, we bid farewell to a pioneer in sustainable tourism, a founding member of the Sarapiquí Conservation Learning Center Board, and dear friend, Amos Bien. 


Read more ...


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.