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Costa Rica

Rain forest Lodge & Reserve


RARA AVIS is a new way to save rain forest, as well as learn about it, while you experience the richness and splendor of the most diverse environment on earth. Rara Avis was developed to show that they can make rain forest economically productive and so save it from destruction. In Rara Avis, you will be in a remote virgin jungle --- true wilderness --- bordering Braulio Carrillo National Park and the Zona Protectora La Selva. At 700 meters (2000 ft) above sea level, the climate stays cool and comfortable year-round (77degrees F or 25 degrees C). There is a lot of rain (it's a rain forest!), but mosquitoes are not a problem.


Over 340 species of birds have been found at Rara Avis, including sunbitterns, umbrella-birds, great green macaws, parrots, and toucans. There is a good chance to see monkeys, anteaters, or coatimundis if you walk silently through the forest, or to spot the tracks of tapirs and jungle cats. The treetops are festooned with vines, lianas, bromeliads, and orchids, and there are more kinds of plants, birds, and butterflies than in all of Europe.


Your trip begins in the small town of Las Horquetas de Sarapiquí, accessible by bus, car, taxi, or small plane. There you can buy your last supplies (boots, hats, rain gear, flashlights, etc.) before you board a tractor-pulled cart, for the four-hour, 15-kilometer voyage. First you cross two rivers, riding through if the water is low or crossing a swinging foot-bridge when they've risen with the rains. Rara Avis has remained pristine because of its inaccessibility: along the way you will see firsthand how rain forests have been cut down wherever they are near roads.


Soon you will arrive at El Plástico, the more rustic of the two lodges, named for an abandoned jungle prison colony where the prisoners slept under plastic tarps. The hotel offers basic lodging (bunk beds and shared bathrooms) in the administrative headquarters of the penal colony. There is a classroom for student groups and a spectacular view of the lowlands.

waterfall at Rara Avis

For those who want a little more comfort, the Waterfall Lodge lies another three kilometers through the forest at the end of a rough corduroy road. Many people choose to walk through the rain forest while their bags are delivered on the tractor cart. The Waterfall Lodge lies 200 meters from the spectacular double waterfall. Each room has its own bathroom (with bathtubs and hot water) and wrap-around balcony overlooking the rain forest and the lowlands. You can watch birds right from the balcony.


Once you are at Rara Avis, your naturalist guide will take you into the rain forest and show you the plants and wildlife and explain their complex relations. Later, you may be able to swim in large crystalline pools at the base of the waterfall. You will need rubber boots and clothes in which to get wet and muddy.


RARA AVIS offers clean and comfortable lodging, deep in the heart of the jungle, with home-style Costa Rican meals, plus an adventurous learning experience different from ordinary tourism. At the same time, you will be encouraging the wise use of the rain forest --- the reason for the existence of Rara Avis.

Because of the difficult access, they strongly recommend a minimum stay of two nights. The tractor leaves Las Horquetas every morning at 9:00 AM, arriving for lunch if all goes well. Departure from Rara Avis is at 2:00 PM, arriving in Horquetas at about 6:00 PM.


RATES 2014

Waterfall Lodge
Rates per person per night
Description High Season Green Season
Single $85.00 $80.00
Double $80.00 $75.00
Additional $75.00 $75.00
River Edge Cabin
Rates per person
per night
Description High Season Green Season
Single $90.00 $85.00
Double $80.00 $75.00
Rates per person
per night
Description High Season Green Season
Single $60.00 $55.00
Double $60.00 $55.00
Additional Person $60.00 $55.00


  • All rates are valid through November 2014.
  • The rates are per person per night and include lodging, meals, guide, the scheduled tractor ride, and taxes.
  • Children up to 3 years old FREE and from 4 – 12 years old half price, sharing room with 2 adults.
  • HIGH SEASON RATES: valid from December 2013 through April 2014
  • GREEN SEASON RATES: valid from May 1, 2014 through Nov. 30, 2014
  • Rates are subject to change without previous notice.


Transfers from San Jose area hotels or San Jose's Juan Santamaria International Airport to hotels in Limón area are $190.00 each way, for a minivan with a capacity of up to 9 passengers. Approximate time from San José to the area is approx 5 hours.

Transfer from Juan Santamaría International Airport to any hotel in San José $35, including airport assistance, for a minivan with a capacity of up to 9 passengers.

For reservations or information click here or use our Secure Booking Form

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