This was my second time at the Lodge (+ a trip 25 years ago stayed at La Selva Biological Station). I came with a friend who is only partially interested in birds and generally a light sleeper. I suppose this lodge is not for everyone, but if you love birds, tropical flowers, frogs, etc and are a bit flexible, it is terrific, and my friend and I look forward to when we can come back again.
As noted elsewhere, there is no air conditioning and it is hot & humid. It is the tropics. You are part of it. A bit uncomfortable, but certainly not terrible, and I suspect the right choice. We already create a big enough carbon footprint without A/C. It is also noisy. The road right in front of the lodge apparently is on the main route from the coast to Nicarauga and the trucks seem to exercise their air brakes in front of the lodge all night. Bring ear plugs. And then there is the roar of the howler monkeys very early in the morning, and right over our cabins. About as loud as the trucks, but a joy to hear!
OK, that's all the bad stuff. The rooms were quite comfortable. The grounds are lovely. The buffet food upstairs was fresh, local, and quite wonderful. We looked at the more expensive a la carte food downstairs, but were not tempted. The cooks and serving people were exceptionally friendly and quite proud of their food, deservedly so. We thoroughly enjoyed the meals, expressed this repeatedly to the staff who were very grateful.
As far as wildlife, the lodge has more than a dozen? feeders along the covered paths, and there was activity at different feeders all during the day. You could sit in the dining room with your cup of coffee and rack up a very impressive bird list with fellow birders helping you on the tricky identifications. I understand and agree with the Lodge's decision to allow folks to go on their land across the river only with a guide. I have come across venomous snakes frequently in CR, and caution is definitely called for with respect to tourists unfamiliar with the local snakes. (Two weeks later on the west coast we came within 15 feet of a fer de lance snake lying next to the trail who was so camouflaged that one never would have seen if the guide had not pointed it out. The snake had bitten, and apparently killed a local the previous day.)
The lowlands are not the place to see hummingbirds in CR, but the Lodge had two species of Hermit hummingbirds which were huge and spectacular. In our 2 1/2 week trip birding in Costa Rica, it was one of the very best places we stayed at for birding.
By all means have them book you in advance a guided tour at the La Selva Biological Station. Any place that got 583? species on their Christmas Count is going to have some new birds for your list/camera! Also we thoroughly enjoyed the river trip on the Sarapiqui (?) River past the Biological Station - caimans, Basilisk lizards, Tiger Bitterns, Anhinga, Sungrebe, etc.
I want to comment on the staff who were consistently very, very helpful, patient and friendly. BEFORE I got to the Lodge, I had had $4,000 of camera equipment stolen out of our car in Fortuna (near Arenal) while we were having lunch (and thought we were watching the car adequately). Theft can happen anywhere. The Lodge staff helped us call the police and translate for us. A local photography instructor helped enormously in finding a replacement camera for me. It was all insured, so it ended up being a lesson on both how badly people can behave and how very nice they can be.
After checking out, we drove into town to fill up on fuel. Unfortunately, the new, young employee at the service station put gasoline in our diesel rented SUV. We drove back into town before the SUV died. We saw a Selva Verde Lodge van and asked if they could help. The next thing we know, the manager of the Lodge came into town, arranged to have a friend tow the SUV back to the service station, and talked at length to the owner to make sure that the fix (draining the gas tank, removing the gas tank, new fuel filter, 2 hours of labor) was all done immediately and at no cost to us. This was so above and beyond the call of duty to guests who had already checked out, but typical of the helpfulness of the staff at the lodge and Costa Ricans generally. How can you not love a place that handles accidents with such grace and kindness.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Selva Verde is more than a lodge and more than a rainforest reserve. It is your gateway into a magical world of towering Almendro trees, Mantled Howler Monkeys, and Keel Billed Toucans. Immerse yourself in tropical nature as you hike through deep green forest or reflect quietly in a comfortable hammock. Discover something new as you encounter Selva Verde's amazing wildlife and vibrant people. Rekindle your sense of wonder and experience the out-of-the-ordinary. Experience Selva Verde! Located just 2 hours from San Jose, Selva Verde provides easy access to the wonders of the rainforest. For over 30 years, we have been a haven for nature enthusiasts from around the world. Our abundant biodiversity, comfortable rainforest lodge, and exciting activities are ideal for adventure seekers, bird and wildlife watchers, students, and families. Come explore Selva Verde's 500 acres of vibrant tropical nature in the heart of Costa Rica's Sarapiqui Canton. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Selva Verde Hotel Sarapiqui
- Selva Verde Lodge Costa Rica/Sarapiqui