This 90-acre private reserve is a natural treasure, with trails through a huge mangrove wetland and old-growth forest along the Nosara River. A concrete walkway passes over an eerily beautiful mangrove swamp, with fantastical stilt roots and snap-crackling sound effects from respiring mollusks. More than 270 bird species have been spotted here, including long-tailed manakins. There are always crabs, lizards, snakes, and other creatures rustling in the grass and howler monkeys and iguanas in the trees. Pick up a self-guided trail map from the Hotel Lagarta Lodge when you pay your admission fee, or better yet, hire Gabriele, the resident nature guide, for a two-hour tour; call ahead if you want to hire a guide. The best times to do the hike, which takes about two hours, are early in the morning or late in the afternoon, which means you can follow your trek with breakfast, or sunset cocktails at the Hotel Lagarta Lodge.
Trailhead 168 steps down from Hotel Lagarta Lodge, top of hill at the north end of Nosara, Nosara, 50206, Costa Rica