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“Great Day Trip in the Sarapiqui Area” 5 of 5 stars
Review of La Selva Biological Station

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La Selva Biological Station
Highway 4, 41001, Costa Rica   |  
Hotel amenities
Houston, Texas
Top Contributor
95 reviews 95 reviews
37 hotel reviews
Reviews in 40 cities Reviews in 40 cities
128 helpful votes 128 helpful votes
“Great Day Trip in the Sarapiqui Area”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 25, 2012

We booked an early morning tour of La Selva through our hotel. We arrived about 5:45 a.m. to meet our guide, Lenin. He was absolutely excellent and started spotting various birds right away. He carries a high-powered scope, and you can take pictures through it to get up close photos of the wildlife. We saw a lot of wildlife here including both chestnut-mandibled and keel-billed toucans, mot mots, parrots, howler monkeys, peccaries and most amazingly the deadly fer-de-lance snake. The guides mark the trails with flags or tape to indicate that they've seen a venomous snake, so be on the lookout for those. The setting along the river is very pretty, and there's a suspension bridge you can cross. Lenin mentioned that Will Smith was recently in the area to film a new movie along the river. I look forward to seeing it and can understand why they chose this beautiful area to film. While I personally wouldn't choose to actually stay on the property, it is an amazing place to explore and to see wildlife and makes an excellent day trip. The elusive puma has even been spotted at La Selva. It's really a magical, beautiful place for nature and wildlife lovers.

Stayed September 2012, traveled as a couple
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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31 people have reviewed this hotel

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Rating summary
  • Location
    5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    3.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    3 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (5)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Portuguese first
  • Any
English first
San Jose, Costa Rica
1 review
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed June 10, 2012

La Selva is one of the top research stations in the world. The forest is beautiful and wildlife is abundant. Tourists can stay at the station overnight. The rooms are comfortable and the food is good. However, a terrible issue is safety. Specially tourists and students (but also researchers) are constantly robbed. Although rooms have locked boxes robbers seem to have keys to them. Property in locked rooms is not safe either. It is awful that this happened for years and the administration did nothing to solve this issue. The station placed video cameras in the laundry rooms and this seemed to stop the clothes stealing but you still need to keep your eyes open.

  • Stayed May 2012, traveled on business
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 5
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Melbourne, Australia
Top Contributor
82 reviews 82 reviews
42 hotel reviews
Reviews in 37 cities Reviews in 37 cities
64 helpful votes 64 helpful votes
1 of 5 stars Reviewed June 4, 2012

I have always heard good things about La Selva and was disappointed when I couldn't stay there last time (no availability). I stayed elsewhere. Recently I travelled to the area again and chose to stay at my original accommodation again (good decision). We booked a private guided night walk and a private bird tour at La Selva. We did the night walk first and after we finished I IMMEDIATELY cancelled the bird tour and got a full refund. I am pretty easy going and enjoy anything in nature, BUT, for $42.00 per person, per tour I expected our guide to actually tell us something. He advised us he had worked there many years and never told us a thing about the ecology of the forest ... I found more wildlife than he did, and when he found something he would point and say things like "that's a frog, not sure what species ... frogs are hard" .. "There are some ants". PLEASE look around the area for better night walks, as I know for a fact that their are guides in the area that are still passionate and love their job. This was the only negative thing I have to say about Costa Rica after a one month trip

Room Tip: We didn't stay but they have a lot of schools etc coming through ...
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  • Stayed May 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 1 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Wales
Top Contributor
101 reviews 101 reviews
58 hotel reviews
Reviews in 69 cities Reviews in 69 cities
62 helpful votes 62 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed April 27, 2012

This is not a resort or even a hotel. It is a research station. However there are rooms you can rent. We stayed in a room 1.2k from the reception area through the jungle but on a proper path. The room was big, clean, with good bathroom and a balcony. The balcony overlooked the jungle/forest and we were able to watch lots of birds and other wildlife when we were sat there.
The walk was fine but as the previous researcher said you need torches, but we saw so much on our walks. On occasions we took the longer route along the road (more of a track) just to vary the search for wildlife.
The food served at the cafeteria was good and filling, again as the previous review said some was excellent. It is not 5 star but it is all part of the experience. No alcohol but plenty of fresh fruit juice.
We had the complimentary guided walk and were led by a knowledgable guide who gave us lots of information and pointed out stuff that otherwise we wouldn't have seen. We had prepaid for another guided walk but they disagreed with us about this. As we were quite happy to wander on our own, we did not make an issue of this.
We got up early to make the most of the sights and sounds and went to bed early. We were woken by howler monkey and a variety of bird songs.
before you choose this place you should do your research to make sure its right for you. Its not luxury, there are no pools, no bars or alternative menu choices but there is wild life, lots of birds, peace and quiet, great walks, and like minded people.

  • Stayed April 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Surrey, UK
Top Contributor
68 reviews 68 reviews
44 hotel reviews
Reviews in 47 cities Reviews in 47 cities
59 helpful votes 59 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 3, 2012

This is a working biological station so is primarily geared up to students and researchers but it is great that they let some rooms out to tourists. The setting is magical - acres of forest in the Caribbean lowlands, and the wildlife superb, and easy to access via the various trails. The room we had was funtional and a good size, with a good shower. It is a 1.2km walk from the accommodation to the canteen, so you need a torch at night as there is no lighting! However you see and hear a lot en route. The canteen, while not serving gourmet food, provides filling dishes, one or two of which (such as the Black Bean soup)were really excellent. Included in the 'package' is a walk with a guide - ours was simply brilliant.

In summary, don't go here expecting a regular luxury hotel complete with entertainment. But, if you are prepared to get up before sunrise to experience the magical sounds, sights and smells of the forest, and go to bed early, and to learn lots about the biology and ecology of Costa Rica, this is the place for you.

  • Stayed March 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Stratford-upon-Avon, United Kingdom
Contributor
18 reviews 18 reviews
10 hotel reviews
Reviews in 14 cities Reviews in 14 cities
9 helpful votes 9 helpful votes
1 of 5 stars Reviewed March 20, 2012

We were supposed to stay here for our honeymoon. I say supposed to as once we arrived and saw the site and our room we left! We thought the accommodation would be basic e.g. a hut in the middle of the rainforest with little more than a bed but with beautiful scenary. However on arrival the site seemed more like an industrial estate. The rooms felt like prison cells with big metal doors which slammed shut & locked – we were told to be careful to not lock our keys in the room which we accidently did straightaway! Our fault but then we had to go up to the armed guard and try to gesture what we had done so he could let us back in our rooms. There is a canteen type restaurant which closes early and does not serve any alcohol. There is a shop which doubles as a reception, the man serving here was so nice and understanding when we didn't want to stay (he did even let us know there was a sloth on the bridge nearby so we could go see it). In the evenings you would either have to sit in your bedroom or venture elsewhere, there is nothing else to do. I wish we had investigated this place further and not wasted anyone’s time including ours with booking here. The place is fine for students wishing to study as it is right next to a big forest full of wildlife but should not be a holiday destination.

  • Stayed December 2011, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 1 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 1 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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Additional Information about La Selva Biological Station

Address: Highway 4, 41001, Costa Rica
Location: Costa Rica > Province of Heredia > Sarapiqui
Hotel Style:
Ranked #4 of 11 Specialty lodging in Sarapiqui
Also Known As:
La Selva Biological Station Costa Rica/Sarapiqui

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