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Holbrook Family of Services
WORLDWIDE LEADER IN ECO-TRAVEL
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.”
Rainforest Ecology at Selva Verde Lodge
COSTA RICAN RAINFOREST LODGE
Jungles 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.
Selva 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.
Protection 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.
Costa 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.
Tours 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.
WORK IN PROGRESS
Work in progress
Rainforest Plants Tour
COSTA RICA ECO TOURISM WITH SELVA VERDE
Selva 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.
Selva 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.
The blue-gray tanager
The blue-gray tanager (Thraupis episcopus) is one of about 230 species of tropical and subtropical tanagers, and one of the most common and unmistakable birds in Costa Rica. It is a generalist frugavore (fruit-eater), found in a great variety of different habitats, most often in pairs.