Sarapiquí is definitely full of surprises. We could not leave here without first visiting the Tirimbina Biological Reserve. Once you visit, you will never want to leave!

If you want to escape from the monotony and really connect with nature, you have to visit Tirimbina.

Our first activity was the Chocolate Tour, one of the most acclaimed attractions at the reserve. We learned so much about chocolate over the ninety-minute tour! We learned about the cacao plant, and the history and preparation of chocolate. Best of all, the tour included an interactive portion where you can combine the same chocolate with ingredients like cinnamon, brown sugar, nutmeg, among others. The tour was not only educational, it was also delicious! So be ready for a dose of sweetness.

After the tour, we had the opportunity to talk with Mr. Pedro González, general manager of Tirimbina. He told us about the mission and vision of the reserve as we walked along the suspension bridges.

Biological Reserve is a hotspot for scientific research and environmental education

Mr. González explained that Tirimbina is not just a tourist destination, it is a center for environmental research and education. In this way the Tirimbina foundation seeks to share their knowledge and motivate more people to understand the importance of caring for our natural resources.

This reserve protects 345 hectares of forest, and is classified as a Private National Wildlife Refuge.

In fact, only a third of Tirimbina’s forests are used for environmental ecotourism. Most of the reserve is untouched. There are 9 km of trails available for visitors so that they can get an up-close experience with forest life.

The great thing about Tirimbina is that it is a non-profit foundation; all of their profits are re-invested to continue promoting research and environmental education. The tours, the lodging and the restaurant were established in order to finance these objectives, all while providing employment to 42 family partners that work in the reserve.

Thanks to this organization, Tirimbina now receives academic groups from foreign and national universities who complete their field placements or research trips and help to further develop the scientific mission of the reserve.

Tirimbina has a great variety of activities for you to enjoy: the Chocolate Tour, a Natural History Walk, self-guided hikes, bird watching, a night hike, a bat program and 25 rooms to enjoy the tranquility of the forest.

In addition, another of its most interesting attractions are its suspension bridges. Currently there are 2 bridges in the reserve, including the longest suspension bridge in the country at 262 meters long and 22 meters high. As you cross the bridge, look out and admire the grandeur of the Sarapiqui River and the rainforest.
The smaller bridge is 110 meters long and is located within an area of primary forest at a height of 35 meters. From that bridge you can access one of the least explored parts of the rainforest. Can you resist?

More than a decade of “Open Houses” at Tirimbina

Another reason that makes Tirimbina unique is its social “Open House” program, which has been around for more than 10 years. Once a year, Tirimbina opens its doors to the community for free. During the open house, visitors can enjoy the Chocolate Tour, guided walks and exhibitions at no cost.

According to Don Pedro, the last “Open House”, drew approximately 700 visitors from the community. The guides and all the staff on the reserve are at your service to ensure that you receive the best service at the reserve and truly get to know the forest up close.

Tirimbina also works with 8 schools in the area as well as one public school, with the aim of transmitting all their forest research knowledge and good conservation practices to students. Children can visit them up to 3 times a year to receive hands-on science classes.

After hearing the wonderful story of the reserve, and since it was getting late, we followed the beautiful melody of a marimba into the reserve restaurant and enjoyed the musician’s varied repertoire.

We know you’ve already added Tirimbina to your bucket list. Don’t wait to check it off!

  • Hours of operation: 6:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
  • Tour duration: from 1 to 2 hours (may vary)Time from San José to the Tirimbina
  • Biological Reserve: 2 hours.
  • What to bring?: hat or cap, sunscreen, sunglasses, insect repellent, fresh clothes, closed-toe shoes, a camera, water and an appetite for adventure.
  • Prices: * Children under 5 years enter for free.
    Special rates are available for students. Contact the hotel by email to
  • Find out more information about their rates at:
  • Minumum attendance for the tour: 2 people.
  • Address: La Virgen, Sarapiquí, Heredia.
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  • Telephone: 4020-2900 / 6139-4587