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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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Selva Verde Lodge Blog

Playa Papaguayo stock blog inlineJust off the coast of Costa Rica, amidst the clear blue waters lies an often overlooked and under-protected natural phenomenon: the Costa Rica Thermal Dome. Discovered in 1948 by American scientists, it’s only recently — decades later — that research is beginning to understand its importance in regards to marine biodiversity and climate. 

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“Your presence here is changing the way this country is developing. By investing your time and resources to come to Costa Rica to enjoy its biodiversity, you add value to it, and thus to the country.”

Dr de la Rosa at CRIBC by Christa Markley

Dr. Carlos de la Rosa, the director of the Organization for Tropical Studies (OTS) at La Selva Biological Station, wrapped up the inaugural Costa Rica International Birding Conference (CRIBC) with that lasting message.  During the previous three days, participants at the conference had met with experts, explored the rainforest, and came away with a greater understanding of conservation in Costa Rica – and the important role that ecotourism plays.

Today, 27% of Costa Rica’s land is protected by law, and the country is a world leader in conservation initiatives. But it wasn’t always this way: in the 1980s, Costa Rica had the highest deforestation rate in Latin America, posing a huge threat to its own rich biodiversity living among the trees.

So how has Costa Rica become a conservation success story?  Many people think about the concept in terms of planting trees and protecting endangered species, but it’s only one piece of the puzzle. Costa Rica’s conservation landscape connects business, science, agriculture, economics, and tourism, and all elements are factors in the progress the country has made since the 1980s.

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Coffee 4 by Ashley Loza

As nature lovers, many of us already take measures to protect the environment—we recycle, carry reusable shopping bags, and plant pollinator-friendly gardens—but we sometimes overlook a daily habit in our own home. If you’re ready to take the next step toward protecting your favorite wildlife, look no further than your morning cup of joe.

It’s estimated that Americans consume approximately 400 million cups of coffee every day; worldwide, the beverage is a $100 billion industry. However, the environmental implications of conventional coffee farming can include deforestation, soil erosion, runoff, and pollution.

As a result, some coffee drinkers are turning to an option that's friendlier to the planet, and specifically birds and wildlife: shade-grown coffee.

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On Saturday October 28th, the SCLC will host a memorial to honor Bertha Carter and her lasting contributions to the Center that came to life from her vision.

Bertha’s Story

The SCLC was founded in 1993 with the help and support of Giovanna Holbrook, founder of Selva Verde Lodge & Private Reserve. Bertha, a co-pioneer and close friend of Giovanna’s, played a major role in the early days of Selva Verde. Having a background in nursing and social work proved useful and Bertha became the Lodge’s first manager. During that time Bertha became well known in the communities of Sarapiquí and Chilamate as a supporter of educational opportunities for local youth as well as a voice for empowerment of women in the region. After several years of working and growing the Selva Verde Lodge, Bertha approached Mrs. Holbrook about establishing a library with the purpose of providing local people access to knowledge, information and opportunities. Mrs. Holbrook shared Bertha’s vision and agreed to build the Center on the grounds of the Lodge, where it still stands today.

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Cacao by Lindsay Taulbee blog

Cacao's Comeback | Costa Rica

New developments prove promising for the future of the cacao plant in Costa Rica

Chocolate, nature’s gift to sweet-lovers everywhere, comes from the beanlike seeds of cacao plants, which grow in abundance on the pacific inlands of Costa Rica. After an arresting halt in prosperity for nearly three decades, new breakthroughs in plant breeding show a potential comeback for cacao in Costa Rica.

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Gastronomy Fair, October 1, 2017

Selva Verde Lodge, Sarapiquí Costa Rica

SVL blog

On Sunday October 1st, Selva Verde Lodge hosted a Gastronomy Fair, as a way to celebrate varieties of organically made traditional cuisine from different restaurants in the Sarapiquí region. The event featured diverse dishes all made from locally-sourced organic ingredients. The fair, the first of its kind in Sarapiquí, was held at La Terrazza Restaurant on the grounds of Selva Verde and was open to the public. Guests had the opportunity to sample and experience locally grown organic foods from seven different vendors. 

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Costa Rica 2017 International Birding Conference
Sponsored in association with American Birding Association, Birdwatcher’s Digest, National Audubon Society, and Swarovski Optik
November 1-5, 2017

Herp1The 2017 Costa Rica International Birding Conference will be held at Selva Verde Lodge & Rainforest Reserve in Sarapiquí, located amid primary and secondary forest in the Caribbean lowlands of Costa Rica. Though small in geographic area, Costa Rica sits at the crossroads of two continents and is a major flyway for birds in the Western Hemisphere. More than 900 bird species have been recorded in the country, making it a hotspot for birding and a priority for conservation.

The conference is designed for birding organization leaders and representatives who focus on field programs. It features field trips, seminars and presentations on Costa Rica and international topics, such as National Audubon’s International Alliances Program, ABA’s Youth Birding Initiative, and local birding tours that promote sustainable development and community building. Come and learn about these hopeful efforts to protect and manage birds throughout the Americas, share with your peers, and gain insight for your community initiatives.

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JamesC.workshop

Taller de Fotografía de Naturaleza en Selva Verde Lodge impartido por Jaime Culebras (Septiembre  8-12, 2017)

El renombrado fotógrafo Jaime Culebras estará ofreciendo un taller en Selva Verde Lodge sobre fotografía de la Naturaleza. Por 5 días, los participantes exploraran la increíble biodiversidad de Sarapiquí, y aprenderán como capturarla en su esplendor!. adicionalmente el herpetologista Cesar Barrio Amorós, estará presente en el taller. El taller será presentado en Español.


Únete  a Jaime Culebras en Selva Verde Lodge Reserva Privada para un taller de 5 días  explorando la increíble biodiversidad de Sarapiquí y aprendiendo a capturarla en su mejor momento! Además, nuestro buen amigo, el herpetólogo Cesar Barrio Amorós, estará presente en el taller.

No se trata de ceñirse a aprender sobre el manejo de una cámara, sino llegar más allá, entrenar la mente y ojo para hacer de la fotografía nuestro mejor aliado para plasmar en pequeños instantes imborrables los mejores momentos que vivimos en la naturaleza. Se trata de visualizar la foto antes de realizarla, aprender sobre las condiciones ambientales y del medio para así poder aprovechar cada instante en el campo, marcando la diferencia entre la típica foto y una foto que rompe lo cotidiano.

Selva Verde Lodge tiene la suerte de encontrarse en un enclave incomparable, las tierras bajas de la vertiente atlántica de Sarapiquí, una región con una explosión de formas y colores naturales que le confiere un valor añadido a este taller, para exprimir al máximo ese enigmático mundo que es la fotografía de naturaleza.

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Clay Taylor 1Clay Taylor, Leader and Naturalist Market Manager for Swarovski Optik Make your reservation to see spectacular avian diversity, and then leave your binoculars and spotting scope at home. Sound crazy? Not when Eagle Optics and Swarovski Optik team up to offer you an amazing bird trip and outfit you with top-notch Swarovski binoculars. Costa Rica is famous among birdwatchers; this small country encompasses only 0.03% of the earth’s surface, yet provides sanctuary for nearly 900 species of birds or 5% of the world’s biodiversity.

Join Swarovski, Eagle Optics, and an expert Costa Rican guide to see tropical birds like you have never seen them before. With a limited number of spaces available, you should make your reservation now. Once the trip is over and you are convinced you can never go birding again without Swarovski Optiks, you have the opportunity to purchase the Swarovski binoculars at a discounted price. Sign up now for a Swarovski birding experience you’ll never forget!

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Herp1SARAPIQUÍ, COSTA RICA - The III Amphibian and Reptiles Conservation International Symposium and Field Exploration was recently held at Selva Verde Lodge & Rainforest Reserve amidst primary forest in the Caribbean lowlands of Costa Rica. The symposium featured presentations and workshops, conservation and herpetological organizations and individuals.

 

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5 Logo oficial simposio1 225x300Official Logo

Experience four days and three nights in Costa Rica—home to 5% of the world’s biodiversity—trip to one of the herpetology hot spots of Central America. The III Amphibian and Reptiles Conservation International Symposium and Field Exploration (first called The Costa Rican International Herpetological Symposium) will be held September 22-25, 2016, at Selva Verde Lodge & Rainforest Reserve in Sarapiquí, located amidst primary forest in the Caribbean lowlands of Costa Rica. Though small in geographic area, Costa Rica has one of the highest densities of herpetofauna in the world with more than 440 species of reptiles and amphibians.

The  symposium  will  feature  presentations  and  workshops  about  conservation  and  herpetology  by organizations  and  individuals. Come  and  learn  about  new  findings  and  research  from  all over  the Americas  and  beyond, or  see  how  you  can  share  your  own  work  with  conference  participants.

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10 white crowned parrotWhite-crowned Parrot

The white-crowned parrot is a small, perky and robust bird with a disproportionately large head.  It is common and widely-distributed in Costa Rica, most often encountered in semi-open agricultural areas with scattered patchy trees. The species is abundant in the Selva Verde vicinity where it is characteristically most active in the early morning and late afternoon.

These parrots are almost entirely arboreal. They virtually never forage on the ground. Their main diet comprises the seeds, nuts and fruit of palms, Inga and Erythrina, sometimes damaging orchard fruit or corn.

White-crowned parrots are extremely social birds, spending most of their time in flocks with 30-50 members. Each flock is a highly-organized social unit, lacking any specific flock leader, but having a complicated structure shaped by the necessity to detect and avoid predators.

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selvaverde small 08Robert Alison photo

The collared aracari is a small awkward-looking toucan with a prominent enormously-oversized bill. It is fairly common throughout its 500,000 square mile Latin American range, and frequently seen at Selva Verde Lodge, where groups of aracaris often visit bird feeders and forage in local fruiting trees.

All 35 members of the toucan family occur exclusively in the New World tropics. There are 14 species of aracaris, all with slender bodies, richly-colored plumage and banana-shaped hollow bills. None of them are usually found far from forested areas, and most are generally encountered in groups of 6-16 individuals.

Collared aracaris seem to do everything in groups; foraging, loafing and even sleeping together. These birds are among the 16 species of Neotropical birds that have elaborate kinship behavior that includes cooperative care of offspring by non-parents. Research in Costa Rica

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2 red lored parrot r alison 278x299Red-Lored Parrot

Sonographic analysis shows that many local vocal dialects occur within the total range of the species. These dialects are distinct and reflect the general reluctance of these parrots to venture far away from their home areas; consequently geographic vocal variance occurs within subgroups. The vocalizations are innate, but parrots that do venture into new areas rapidly learn the dialects they encounter and thereby avoid being shunned as outsiders.

Red-lored amazons (Amazona autumnalis) are about 14 inches long; the striking plumage is mainly green with red speculum, forehead and lores.

These are vigilant birds, and often quite nervous, spooking noisily at the approach of human or other intruders. But, in the Selva Verde area, most are quite approachable–except in the vicinity of nests. Recent studies confirm that one of the most critical factors contributing to the breeding success of this species is its overall shyness and wary aloofness, and in particular, its inconspicuousness around the nest site. Such behavior minimizes the chances that a nest will be discovered, and potentially destroyed by predators.

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14 keel billed toucan 2 r alison 300x201Keel-Billed Toucan

The keel-billed toucan (Ramphastos sulfuratus) is a spectacular species with a preposterously over-sized bill, and one of the most recognized of all neotropical birds. Measuring 20-25 inches in body length, it is one of the larger toucans.
 

Its rainbow-colored banana-shaped bill is its main distinguishing feature. The structure is actually hollow and comparatively weightless, its keratin skin shaped by slivers of bone. Despite its large size, the bill is used with great dexterity, to toss food items into the air; the head is then flipped upward so the food falls into the mouth. The main diet comprises fruit, the seeds of which are excreted whole; consequently, this toucan is an important disperser of forest seeds.

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Shining Honeycreeper 00Shining Honeycreeper

The shining honeycreeper (Cyanerpes lucidus) is one of two similar and strikingly-colored honeycreepers common in upper level forests and semi-open areas of Costa Rica. The bright yellow legs and feet of the shining honeycreeper are a primary distinguishing feature. At Selva Verde, it is most often encountered in pairs or small family groups.  Although its prominent curved beak is specialized for nectar feeding, its main diet comprises succulent fruit.

 

The call is an unimpressive series of sharp staccato chitters, often intermixed with high thin peets.  Researchers confirm this species illustrates the general rule that birds with elaborate colorful plumage often have inferior vocal endowments.

After pair formation, males of this species use song to stimulate females and to maintain the pair-bond. Often, song is used by both adults simultaneously, in duet fashion. Tests show that in this species, there is much individual variation in vocal components and local song dialects occur. The high degree of individuality in song is important for pair members attempting to maintain contact in thick cover.

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11 costaricafeb08 131 300x201Blue-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.

It is plentiful and highly visible at Selva Verde, where it regularly frequents bird-feeding trays. Its primary diet comprises succulent fruit from trees, shrubs and vines. Recent studies confirm it has remarkable discriminatory capabilities and can detect 0.09 percent protein variations in food.

These tanagers are restless, always on the move. Their call is a raspy squeaky twittering. In flight, they are easy to distinguish because they seem to bounce through the air, alternatively flapping their wings, then gliding with the wings tucked close to the body.

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ara ambiguaGreat Green Macaw

The great green macaw is arguably the most spectacular bird at Selva Verde. At almost 32 inches in total length and weighing close to three pounds, it is the 2nd-largest New World parrot. It is easily recognized by its robust body and long tail. It has an extraordinarily powerful bill and dexterous toes that grasp food items that are being eaten.

 Unfortunately, despite its iconic status, the future of the great green macaw in Costa Rica is precarious. In 2006, it was listed as endangered by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN), and since then its numbers have continued to decline. At present, it is believed there are no more than 200 in Costa Rica; the breeding population is roughly 35 pairs. Selva Verde is on the edge of the range of the last remaining population in Costa Rica; none of the approximately 20 known active nests are in the Sarapiquí zone, where Selva Verde is located.

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4 Rufous Motmot r alison 300x200Rufous Motmot

The rufous motmot (Baryphthengus martii) is the largest of six motmot species in Costa Rica; three others occur elsewhere. Motmots typically have short broad beaks, often decurved, and striking plumage coloration. There is no significant sexual dimorphism.  All motmots in Costa Rica  have two elongated central tail feathers; racket-tipped because loosely-attached barbs upshaft fall off, leaving much of the shaft itself bare.

These are mainly solitary birds, sometimes occurring in pairs, which usually perch inconspicuously in shade, with the tail swinging frequently like a pendulum. Foraging involves aerial sallying from a perch, capturing insects and plucking fruit from foliage.

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3 Slaty Tailed Trogon r alison 300x200Slaty Tailed Trogon

The slaty-tailed trogon (Trogon massena) is one of 40 species of trogons with similarly compact bodies, arboreal habits and colorful plumages. Most are sedate and characteristically perch upright, with the tail almost vertically downward. The flight is typically undulating, with brief spurts of rapid wing beats, and is silent. The birds perch in one location, rarely hopping or stepping from branch to branch; the feet are small and appropriate only for stationary perching.

They are among several trogon species that regularly occur at Selva Verde, often observed in clearings close to the guest lodgings and dining room, especially early in the morning. They are obligate frugivores, although they sometimes eat insects, and might even consume small lizards on occasion. They focus their foraging activities in the upper and middle levels of lowland forest, where they are especially fond of ficus and palm fruits. They often frequent the fig trees at Selva Verde.

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