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La Selva Biological Station

Listed under Birdwatching in San José, Costa Rica.

Photo of La Selva Biological Station
Photo by flickr user Charles & Clint
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By far, the very best birding site of Costa Rica... and I bet, one of the best in the entire world!Here you can get up to 100 species of birds in just a few hours, with real opportunities to some hard-to-get targets and see birds like the amazing, and almost extinct, Great Green Macaw.

This is the ideal site to get started, big time!  I recommend you to stay -at least- two nights at the at the Station itself: it's kind of basic-rustic and expensive, but you'll be considered as a resident guest, so that all trails will be open for you and the starting time will be up to you.  If staying somewhere else, the gate opens at 7 am and they'll let you in for a few hours.

In the gardens outside the reception all action gets started, with some classic Caribbean species and some awesome birds coming and going from the rainforest, representing a perfect chance for clean spottings and even photography if the light conditions are right.

Something pretty important to consider here is how La Selva is connected to Braulio Carrillo National Park by a corridor, what gives a perfect chance for wildlife to have all that awesome attitudinal migration and creates La Selva as an oasis of biodiversity.  This oasis is connected with the rainforest in Nicaragua by the San Juan - La Selva Corridor, which brings an amazing opportunity for species like the Great Green Macaw to come and go by in protected greenery.

There are 25 kilometers of trails in this research station, and one should also consider spending -at least- a day in the primary forest... less birds, yes, but each and everyone you find would be a great prize to your list.

Written by  Alex Vargas.

Comments, reviews and questions by other travellers

La Selva -OTS- Biological Station

At the confluence of the Puerto Viejo and Sarapiquí rivers, La Selva packs about 420 bird species, 460 tree species, and 500 butterfly species into just 15 square km (6 square mi). Spottings might include the spider monkey, poison dart frog, agouti, collared peccary, and dozens of other rare creatures. If you want to see wildlife without having to rough it, skip Rara Avis and come here. Extensive, well-marked trails and swing bridges connect habitats as varied as tropical wet forest, swamps, creeks, rivers, secondary regenerating forest, and pasture. The site is a project of the Organization for Tropical Studies, a research consortium of 63 U.S., Australian, and Latin American universities, and is one of three biological stations OTS operates in Costa Rica. To see the place, take an informative 3 1/2-hour morning or afternoon nature walk with one of La Selva's bilingual guides, who are some of the country's best. Walks start every day at 8 AM and 1:30 PM.

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