+800-451-7111 For USA and Canadian Guests

   506-2761-1800 For Costa Rican Guests

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


flogo ylogo

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


youtube logo


Welcome to Selva Verde



History of Costa Rica

Costa Rica Eco Travel


It is good to know a little bit about its history before your trip to Costa Rica, so here is a brief history of this peaceful country.

Christopher Columbus, on his fourth voyage to the New World, landed at Puerto Limon in 1502. But because the region lacked significant resources, it escaped the ravages of the Conquistadors.

Costa Rica also avoided the semi-feudal system that so many other Central American countries suffered. Few Indians survived and most of the European settlers worked their own land creating a middle class.

In 1821, Costa Rica declared independence from Spain. They joined the Mexican Empire then the Central American Federation before its dissolution in 1838.

The country experienced several periods of internal strife, most notably in 1919 and 1948. But Costa Rica’s history has mostly been peaceful and its politics democratic, unlike many of its neighbors.


Modern Political History of Costa Rica

The Republic of Costa Rica has had democratically elected presidents since 1949 and is one of the oldest democracies in Latin America. The Executive Power is exercised by the President. The constitution prohibits any army and to maintain peace and order the Civil Guard serves as a police force.

In 1983, Costa Rica proclaimed a formal state of neutrality in world affairs. Oscar Arias Sanchez, who was elected Costa Rica’s president in 1986, was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1987 for his efforts to bring peace to war torn Central America.


Historical Influences of Costa Rica

The population is largely of Spanish descent and there are fewer mestizos here than in other Central American countries. About 60% of the population lives in rural areas, mostly on small farms.

On your trip to Costa Rica, you will see that the predominant influence is European, reflected in everything from language, Spanish, to its churches and architecture. However, the indigenous influence can still be found in everything from the typical Costa Rican meals to its art and pottery.


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.