La Selva-Selva Verde Please help with advise???

Old Mar 1st, 2010, 10:18 AM
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La Selva-Selva Verde Please help with advise???

We are planning a last minute trip to Selva Verde for next month and are very excited. They are being somewhat pushed to make reservations for guides and trips in advance and we are unsure about what to plan and if we really need to plan in advance. We know that we want to go to the La Selva but should we visit once or twice during our time in that area. We know that the morning is usually best for birding but should be also go once in the afternoon. Also has anyone done the private guided morning birding at La Selva? Also at Selva Verde do you think that it would be good to have a private guide for birding as well? Are there are any other things to do that we should not miss? We are going to do a boat float down the river that was recommended for seeing birds and animals. We have four nights in this area before heading to the Caribbean coast Any other suggestions would be greatly appreciated.
lhgreenacres is offline  
Old Mar 1st, 2010, 10:46 AM
Join Date: Feb 2003
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Selva Verde offers free birding tours early in the morning and in late afternoon--twice daily. We did one morning hike at La Selva, but you could go out multiple times there and see something new every time.

Do look into La Tirimbina's tours--we did the chocolate tour, night tour, and bat tour and enjoyed them all.

We did a float/paddle there to see wildlife and found it to be a waste of time.
RAC is offline  
Old Mar 1st, 2010, 10:55 AM
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I spent three nights at Selva Verde in November and loved it - seond time there. We signed up for a boat trip down the Sarapiqui and the Puerto Viejo Rivers once we arrived - we were the only people on the boat - saw howlers, iguanas, caimans, herons, anhingas.

We did sign up in advance for a guided hike in Selva Verde's private reserve across the river - only access is with a guide. We saw great green macaws feeding in the fruit trees and several frogs (it was pouring rain the entire morning). To be honest, you see more wildlife and birds just on the lodge grounds and across the road at the botanical gardens area, so I don't feel it is worth the money.

Selva Verde also offers two free birdwatching walks - early AM and 4:00 pm, well worth it.

We also hired a private birding guide at La Selva from 7:00 - 11:00 where we saw white collared manakins setting up a lek around a female, slaty-tailed trogon, toucans, green macaws and many other species. I haven't been there in the afternoon, but have done the morning hikes on two different trips and enjoyed both. One was natural history, one was birding and we went to different areas - same guide both years, but a totally different focus.

Tirimbina Rainforest Center has a fun chocolate tour - watch out for bullet ants on the trails there and make sure to use your bug spray. It's the only time I forgot and I got chewed up by no see'ums or something. They also have a bat tour which people seem to enjoy.

Heliconia Gardens isn't too far away - nice botanical garden and B & B on a small island.

There are troops of howlers in the trees in Selva Verde's botanical garden that often cross the road to the lodge grounds, lots of frogs on the grounds, little bronze hermit and rufous tailed hummingbirds and loads of tanagers, toucans, iguanas, basilisk lizards, honeycreepers and acaris at the different feeding stations.

The main drawback of Selva Verde is the noise from the highway when large trucks roar by. Ask for a room back by the river (furthest from the lobby) for the quietest. It's nothing that keeps you awake and the howlers will get you up by 5:00, but it is noticeable at times. I think with the destruction of the road by La Paz last year in the earthquake, that more trucks now must use this highway.

Enjoy your stay!
colibri is offline  
Old Mar 1st, 2010, 06:26 PM
Join Date: Jan 2004
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Hi lhgreenacres. La Selva was fantastic for early a.m. birding. It's been a few years, but we listed about 30-40 birds that morning (those were the beginning birding days). We also did the regular tour and both were quite enjoyable. Would love to go there again!

I had an e-mail from a friend who was at Tirimbina within the past few days--they loved it.

We've done the Sarapiqui Jungle Float trip a couple of times--it's okay if you've not done it before. It's so-so, but didn't seem like a waste of time back then (our early days in CR). I wouldn't do it now. There wasn't a tremendous amount of wildlife, but a few good water birds. The highlight of that morning was having a guide point out a tiny hummingbird nest with babies in a tree near the docking area. Amazing!

It's nice that you have plenty of days in this area. Have a great trip! Nice to see you on the board again.
shillmac is offline  
Old Mar 1st, 2010, 09:48 PM
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Thanks for the information. Shillmac- Costa Rica started us on a rainforest expedition all around the world. We have now traveled to Brazil, Peru, Belize, Borneo, Uganda and Ecuador. My heart always loves Costa Rica so I am excited as this is our 5th trip but there is something that is always so special about visiting this country. Thanks again!!
lhgreenacres is offline  
Old Mar 2nd, 2010, 04:41 AM
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volcanogirl is online now  
Old Mar 2nd, 2010, 05:52 AM
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Hey lh! Have fun! Wish we were joining you (I know you will miss us...). Next year!
janenicole is offline  
Old Mar 2nd, 2010, 04:34 PM
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lh, I think it was your report of birding in Belize at Chan Chich that caught my attention and got me started on a plan to get there, do that! Thanks--we had a fab time! Didn't stay at Chan Chich, but loved our stay at Chaa Creek. Sounds like you guys have been busy! What fun!
shillmac is offline  
Old Mar 2nd, 2010, 08:17 PM
Join Date: Aug 2003
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You'll love Selva Verde (and La Selva if you go). Perhaps it's necessary to make arrangements for La Selva in advance in order to ensure a guide is arranged etc. But for everything else, it's hard to imagine you need to schedule stuff before you get there. Seems lodges always like to get you to commit asap - it's money after all. Usually we get to the place and realize we could have arranged same trips/tours on the spot. (They must be afraid that you won't do anything other than drink in the free scenery - and why not??)

If Lenin is still working at either place, he's a wonderful bird guide! Very focused and very successful at finding birds. As previous poster mentioned, ask for a room on the river. We did this when we reserved, but when we arrived found they had given us a room closer to reception and dining area ("we thought you'd want to be closer to the dining room"). Uh well, no, or I'd wouldn't have said I wanted to be on the river. So I stood my ground and they provided the river room. It is amazing when you arrive that the entrance to the place is virtually ON a thoroughfare with lots of truck traffic. But once inside the gate and away from the entrance, all is beautiful and tranquil. Nevertheless we birded a few times just outside the entrance on the side of the highway. I couldn't believe what Lenin was able to spot across the busy road between trucks. He'd notice something and have the scope on it in moments.
glover is online now  
Old Mar 6th, 2010, 03:56 PM
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Thanks for the suggestion. We will ask for Lenin if he is available. We booked one morning at La Selva for a three hour private birding trip. The rest we are going to play by ear when we get there. Has anyone done the canopy tour in that area. We have done them a number of times in Monteverde, Arenal and Manuel Antonio and it has always been fun. Also we will be going to the Carribean beachs at Manazillo and wondering if we need to have rubber boats either at Selva Verde or in the Carribean side to go hiking in the rainforest. As it seems that it rains more often would boots like Wellingtons be helpful or just regular hiking boots. Thanks again
lhgreenacres is offline  
Old Mar 6th, 2010, 04:34 PM
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Some of the places we've stayed have supplied rubber boots, so you might check with your lodge. We definitely needed them on the Carib. side when we went.
volcanogirl is online now  
Old Mar 6th, 2010, 06:01 PM
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Thanks Volcanogirl- We are staying at Almonds and Corals. I will contact them and see if they supply the rubber boats. Anyone know if Selva Verde supplies them?
lhgreenacres is offline  
Old Mar 6th, 2010, 09:03 PM
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I don't recall seeing them at Selva Verde, it wasn't particularly rainy when I was there though.

Alexander was also a very good guide at Selva Verde, assuming he is still there. Make sure to head across the road to where the bungalows are, lots of birds and wildlife. I stayed in them and never saw another soul up there, it was a little weird, but nice and private!
tully is offline  
Old Mar 6th, 2010, 10:00 PM
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Selva Verde has a supply hut near the bridge that goes over to the Primary Forest. There were lots of boots hanging there and we were forced to use some once on a night hike. The sizes are mainly large and the boots themselves are well broken in, as you can imagine and very heavy. We wore socks but the inside of the boots still felt damp. I noticed the boots were there last June when we stayed at the lodge.

Even though that particular rainforest night hike was an incredibly short, we did need the boots but it was the only time on 4 different stays at Selva Verde - have usually managed to avoid mud or at least step around it.

That year we only had tevas, but now that we have Keens and Crocs, I would just have worn either of those.
rivet is offline  
Old Mar 8th, 2010, 09:53 PM
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You do need reservations at La Selva. Our favorite guide has retired now so I can't give you a name. For us it was interesting to see some of the work the researchers are doing. We were members for quite a while and my father in law was on the board of directors years ago so we have spent a good bit of time there.

Tirimbina is also a great place. Just walking around the main grounds will be interesting. Lots of birds.

It is good to read from so many that you have seen the Great Green macaws. They are just awesome and so endangered because of loss of habitat. We saw our first one while at La Selva and then traveled up the Sarapiqui and into Nicaragua to see more. It was an interesting trip. Traveled by indian villages where the kids run around with no clothes. The kids also go out in little dug out canoes and stun birds in the trees and put them in baskets to take home for dinner. I was so upset the first time I saw that but then realized that they were bringing home dinner.

As far as boots go, there is probably a little store in the town of Sarapiqui where you can buy some if you would prefer not wearing ones that have been on hundreds of feet. We buy them all the time and they are only a few dollars. You can donate them to the hotel or the local school when you are done. The weather has been totally unpredictable this year. We have had several inches of rain at times that we don't usually have rain. We have had lots of company and I tell everyone to be prepared for wet and dry.

As was mentioned, the actual boat tour won't have a whole lot to see. It was okay the first time. There are some really neat bats that hang on the trees and if it is mating time the iguanas can put on a show.

We stayed in a room by the river at Selva Verde -no truck noise to complain about there. It is a beautiful place to walk around in. You will see poison dart frogs in their rainforest.

We are talking about going to Brazil. A friend of ours has a New Years party down there every year in the jungle and he keeps inviting us. Did you write atrip report? Would love to read it. I haven't had much time on the boards lately because our internet was so unreliable so I am just now trying to get caught up on things.
Suzie2 is offline  
Old Mar 11th, 2010, 12:05 PM
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Rubber boots are still available at Selva Verde by the new bridge going to the private reserve.

Alexander is an excellent guide at SV, often leads the free birding tours and can be hired for guided hikes in the private reserve.
colibri is offline  
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