+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




Costa Rica Adventure Vacation


Thank-you to our guests for sharing your memories with us! For those of you new to Selva Verde Lodge & Rainforest Reserve, read below to see what past guests and publications have had to say about us. Also, check out our Guestbook and on Trip Advisor entries for more great info on Selva Verde.

We love hearing from you, and invite you to tell us about your visit, either through e-mail (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.) or on our Guestbook.


Feedback From Past Guests

a"Selva Verde is a wonderful place - beautiful, nice people, good food, and great birding!"
April 2004, Phil & Anne Lewie





"Selva Verde was the best place we visited… We saw a lot of birds, including a hummingbird with two babies sitting on a nest right next to the stairs leading to the dining room. We also saw iguanas, lizards, howler monkeys, and my favorite - a sloth. We enjoyed walking around the adjacent area and on the trails surrounded by beautiful tropical flowers."
May 2004, John & Betty Anderson


a"We enjoyed Selva Verde immensely. Graciano was a superb host to us - thank you!"
May 2003, Eva Niedzielski





"After 4 days here, we now consider Selva Verde our second home! Gilbert, Sadi, Alex, Graciano…all are the most excellent staff imaginable. We look forward to our return next year; maybe we can sign on to teach at the learning center (Sarapiquí Conservation Learning Center)!"
May 2003 Brian & Bernadette Gamboa


a"What a wonderful place to celebrate nature in all its glory!"
April 2004, Yoam Lindgram





"The rooms were well prepared and modest for the rainforest setting. Staff and guides were very attentive and friendly. The guides were very knowledgeable and eager to teach us about the rainforest and birds."
January 2004, The Gopal Family


a"We very much enjoyed our stay at Selva Verde. The facility is beautifully laid out and the staff was courteous and helpful."
April 2003, The Ingram Family





"Thanks for your efforts in creating the Sarapiquí Conservation Learning Center and forest reserve. Costa Rica is no ordinary country and Holbrook is no ordinary company! We didn't want to leave…"

January 2004, Catron Family


"The guide, Giovanni, who led the morning bird walk was excellent!"
December 2003, Tracy Nagakura & Randy Hassom


a"The river rafting level was suitable for our grandchildren ages 6, 7, and 9. We saw the best wildlife on the river!"
August 2003, Robert & Barbara Hauptfuhrer





"Our guide, Alexander was wonderful and really knows his birds, amphibians, and reptiles! We had a great time during our hikes with him."
March 2004, McLuckie Family


"We would go back to Selva Verde in a heartbeat! Beautiful grounds, helpful front desk staff, awesome food!"
January 2004, The Williams Family



Excerpts From Travel Guides

"This private reserve protects 475 acres of lowland rainforest…Miles of trails and boardwalks penetrate the dark forests, where snakes and poison-arrow frogs abound. Bird cries explode like gunshots in the murkey stillness. Blue-and-gold Tanagers, jacamars, motmots, parrots, and toucans are numerous. Selva Verde also offers canoe and horseback trips, plus elegantly simple accommodations."
National Geographic Traveler Costa Rica, 2003


"Selva Verde Lodge is a complex of covered walkways leading to a riverside dining room, and open, airy lounging area with hammocks and a conference room. Its comfortable cabins are raised on pillars to jungle (and bird's nest) level. Selva Verde's owners, long concerned with the well-being of the local community, have established the Sarapiquí Conservation Learning Center, with the only library in the area, a day-care center, and English and environmental education classes."
The New Key to Costa Rica, 2002


"Well over half of Selva Verde's approximately 200 hectares are forested; the rest contain the lodge buildings on attractively landscaped grounds. The main lodge (the River Lodge) has 40 rustic but comfortable double rooms with private hot showers. Large communal verandahs have hammocks and forest views."
Lonely Planet, Costa Rica, 2002


"These are without a doubt, the nicest rooms in the area. They are connected by covered walkways that keep you dry even though this area receives more than 150 inches of rain each year. Meals are served buffet-style in a lovely large, dining room that overlooks the river; they are well prepared and filling."
Frommer's Costa Rica 2002


"Selva Verde ... the Botanical and Butterfly Garden is a delightful resting spot after a long hike."
Traveler's Costa Rica Companion, 2001


"One of the premier rainforest lodges in Costa Rica, if not the Americas ..."
The Rough Guide, 1999


Selva Verde has received a Green Rating from the New Key to Costa Rica for its commitment to environmental education and community support.



Naturalist Guides

our Resident Experts at selva verde


We are very fortunate at Selva Verde to have two excellent naturalist guides, who share their knowledge and appreciation of the flora and fauna of the rainforest with our guests to provide a true connection with Costa Rican nature and culture. We would like to present our local resident naturalists, Ronald and Iván.



ronald tour guia 300x200Ronald G. JimenezRonald G. Jimenez

My name is  Ronald G. Jimenez Saborio, I am 27 years old, I love nature to work as a naturalist tour guide is thrilling, I like to teach and show to the visitors our beautiful flora and fauna that Selva Verde has to enjoy and watch. I speak Spanish and English. I have just one year being a guide. My father was a hunter and now he is not; so, my mission is to educate the tourists about nature and how we can protect it. I started working at La Fortuna (Volcan Arenal) as a Canopy tour guide then doing different activities such as hikes, ATV tours, ect. Actually I work at Selva Verde and It is a really good place to do it. In my free time I like to take pictures, play footboll, run, read books and walk.



Ivan 300x200José Ivan Castillo GomezJose Ivan Castillo Gomez

José Iván Castillo Gomez grew up in Río Frío de Sarapiquí in Costa Rica's Heredia province, where he attended school surrounded by a banana plantation. After completing high school, in 2003 he trained as a bartender and waiter while also learning English. This course was key for Iván in starting his career in ecotourism; that same year, he began working in Selva Verde's Selvita bar. Five years later, he started working toward his degree in Sustainable Tourism Management. At that time birding was already his favorite hobby, so much so that he was chosen for the naturalist guide training program offered by the Organization for Tropical Studies La Selva Biological Station, where he learned a great deal about the rainforest's natural history. Thanks to this course and his love for nature, he became a member of the freelance guide staffs at La Selva, Tirimbina Biological Station, and Selva Verde.

While working in the Selvita bar, Iván had the opportunity to further his knowledge by engaging with professional naturalists and taking additional natural history courses. In January 2013, he was appointed the head of Selva Verde's naturalist guides. Now he enjoys what he does even more, and learns something new in the forest every day. His pastimes include birding with his wife and friends, nature photography, reading natural history and mountain biking.


Sustainability at Selva Verde 

our mission, policies and practices

Conservation of the rainforest and its inhabitants remains paramount in the mission of Selva Verde. Working with organizations such as the Sarapiquí Conservation Learning Center (SCLC), the San Juan-La Selva Biological Corridor and others, Selva Verde has retained its focus on ecological conservation and education.

arenal 1Arenal Volcano


Selva Verde Lodge strongly supports the Certification for Sustainable Tourism (CST) program because it believes properly implemented certification is one of the most promising ways to provide a real incentive to the tourism industry to practice sustainability. By building brand awareness around certification, consumers have an easy and identifiable way to determine which organizations are taking steps to ensure sustainability. Certifcation programs are a based on the idea that travelers value a companies’ efforts to be sustainable in some cases choosing a property that makes these efforts. 


logo turismoCertification for Sustainable Tourism ProgramWHAT IS CST PROGRAM?

The Certification for Sustainable Tourism Program (CST) was created by the Costa Rican Tourism Board (ICT) to differentiate businesses of the tourism sector, based on the degree to which they comply with a sustainable model of natural, cultural and social resource management. CST sets a standard for lodges in key aspects of sustainability including environmental impact, community impact, and increasing environmental awareness. This program is monitored by the Costa Rican Institute of Tourism. Selva Verde Lodge is categorized with three of the five leaves (levels) of sustainability.



birdFauna tn 300x200Green Classroom program, Selva Verde Lodge


At Selva Verde Lodge, conservation and preservation of our natural resources requires minimizing the impact of our and our visitors impact on the environment. 

Additionally we are committed to responsible tourism; finding ways to minimize negative impacts on the local environment and maximize positive effects on the surrounding community in Sarapiquí.  


Some of the good practices we have implemented are:

  1. A compost system to recycle organic waste, mainly from our restaurant.
  2. Solar panels to heat the water and provide energy in the rooms.
  3. Recycling of solid materials such as; glass, paper, cartons, aluminium and other products.
  4. The use of sunlight to dry laundry.
  5. The usage of biodegradable cleaning products with no environmental damage or minimum impact.
  6. Refillable soap dispensers in the bathrooms to avoid waste.
  7. We do not use chemicals, pesticides, herbicides or fungicides, instead we use a natural fertilizer and derived from compost in our gardens.
  8. We created our Green Classroom program in which children learn about sustainability and preserving natural resources of the region.
  9.  Visitors are prohibited from feeding any of the animals, including direct or indirect feeding of any species.
  10. The souvenir shop at Selva Verde Lodge supports local artisans and does not sell products harmful to the environment.
  11. Selva Verde Lodge uses recycled paper and paper products, to prevent unnecessary felling of trees.



A Conservation Pioneer


At the time Giovanna Holbrook purchased the property that would become Selva Verde, land use in the Sarapiquí region was already experiencing intense competition between mostly large monoculture plantations such as banana and later pineapple, small farms, and ecotourism. Through the establishment of Selva Verde Lodge,300+ acres of primary rainforest and 200+ acres of secondary rainforests are intact and thriving. Your visit to Selva Verde contributes to the ongoing conservation of this rainforest sanctuary and to the sustainable development of the region!  


ecology60Green & Black Poison Dart Frog, endrobates auratus, Selva Verde Lodge, PRESERVING PATHWAYS FOR WILDLIFE

Selva Verde’s conservation mission gained new purpose with the establishment of the San Juan-La Selva Biological Corridor. Through this initiative, Selva Verde became part of a much larger conservation initiative linking natural areas from Mexico to Panama as part of the Meso-American Biological Corridor. Selva Verde's 475 acres of rainforest provides critical habitat for rainforest wildlife – but it is not enough. We are actively working with our neighbors to connect Selva Verde to other rainforest reserves in the region. 


birdFauna tn 300x200Summer tanager, Piranga rubra founding of the SARAPIQUÍ CONSERVATION LEARNING CENTER (SCLC)

To further the conservation of the region, Selva Verde founded the Sarapiquí Conservation Learning Center (SCLC) in 1993. Together with the vision of Giovanna Holbrook and Bertha Carter, Selva Verde's first manager, the SCLC established links to communities for conservation through community development and rural tourism. The SCLC is now a fully independent nonprofit working to achieve a sustainable future for the people and wildlife of the region.

Selva Verde’s status as a Conservation Pioneer can be seen in many ways. First and foremost is the fact the business supports a Private Reserve that is part of the National Registry of Private Reserves in Costa Rica. Additionally, its role in the establishment and on-going support of the Sarapiquí Conservation Learning Center, a non-profit organization focused on connecting communities with conservation through community development and community rural tourism. Finally, Selva Verde is part of the local committee of the San Juan La Selva Biological Corridor.


Rates at Selva Verde 2016 - 2017

River Lodge Room Rates ( per room )






Costa Rica Rainforest Bungalows rates ( per room )





La Casona Rainforest Suite rates






See our accommodations page for information on our rooms.
Check in: 2:00 PM, Check out: 12:00 PM - noon.



Meal Prices
(per person, per meal)
Breakfast $10
Lunch $18
Dinner $19
We are family friendly!
(rates per child include breakfast & taxes)
0-5 years old* Free lodging and meals.
6-11 years old* $10
12 and older Standard adult rate.


*Children 0-11 years old must share room with an adult.


(Click on activity for more details)
Per Person
Guided Nature Hike $25
Sarapiquí Wildlife Boat Ride $35
White-Water Rafting $56
Horseback Riding $30
Zipline Canopy Tour $56


Reserve here.


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.