The rainforest near Puerto Viejo de Sarapiquí is famous for bird watching and known for its ecotourism. It is one of the areas with the most biodiversity in Costa Rica, especially loved by adventure and nature tourists. The rainforest includes the river Sarapiquí, swamps and lush nature, which makes it an ideal spot for wildlife observation and birdwatching. The Selva Verde Lodge is situated in the small village Chilamate close to Puerto Viejo de Sarapiquí. On the privately owned 500 acres of rainforest, the lodge offers a wide variety of bird watching as well as other wildlife tours.
The early bird watching tour starts at 6 o’clock in the morning and includes a private guide and rubber boots. After a free coffee and some biscuits the walk into the jungle starts. The paths are muddy and slippery, that is why you really need the rubber boots. You can hear the many birds chirping, tweeting and croaking in the trees, there are over 300 of them in Selva Verde. However, for a newbie it is difficult to see them at first. But that is what the guide is for.
The guide will point you out the different birds, their names and their habits. Each time the guide spots a bird, he takes out his huge telescope and focuses the bird. The only thing you have to do, is to look through the telescope and get get amazed by the colourful feathers, beaks and tails. First, the tour leads you to the river region. Here you will observe birds which have their habitat close to the water. You will also see toucans and hummingbirds. Furthermore, the Sarapiquí rainforest is the preferred habitat of the famous ‘Lapa Verde’ (Green Parrot).
After walking along the river, you will have a short look at the bird watching pavilion with its huge glass window, before reaching the road. Birds prefer to fly around in open spaces, for this reason you will find many different species close to the street. After watching some more birds and observing how they build their nests, you will have a peek into the rainforest across the street. Here you are already a bit deeper in the woods. Maybe you can observe some woodpeckers at work or monkeys hanging in the trees. After two hours you will have seen around 15 to 20 different species of birds, learned about their habitat, their daily routines and their mating habits. You are a real birdie now.
Take a direct bus from San José to Puerto Viejo de Sarapiquí, but do not get mistaken with the other Puerto Viejo de Limon at the Caribbean Coast. From Puerto Viejo de Sarapiqui you take any bus with the direction La Virgen and get off at Selva Verde.