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Kekoldi Reservation

Kekoldi Reservation

Quick Facts

  • Location : 3 miles north of Puerto Viejo
  • Altitude : Sea level
  • Area : 12,350+ acres
  • Telephone : 2257-6465
  • Entrance Fee : Free

Pound the woody China root into a pulp and mix it with the sap of carano tree to make a potent tea the color of red wine. It's said to cure everything from diabetes to leukemia and for the Kekoldi, this is only one remedy in an entire rainforest of medicinal herbs, ripe fruit and construction materials.

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The Kekoldi people were once part of the Bribri tribe, but formed their own, separate group years ago. Today, they live at the base of the Talamanca Mountains, in a wildlife reserve spanning more than 12,000 acres of primary and secondary forest home to migratory birds of prey, green iguanas, colorful frogs, agoutis, ant eaters, two- and three-toed sloths among an entire ecosystem of rainforest flora and fauna.

Before hiking into the Kekoldi Reservation, you'll need to hire a local guide – often of Kekoldi or Bribri descent.  Your guide will take you deep into the reservation through cacao forests into the jungle while divulging the rainforest's secrets: medicinal herbs, poisonous plants, delicious fruit and the best hardwoods to build houses.

Guided hikes offer the best way to get a first-hand look at Kekoldi life. The Kekoldi have no central village and instead live in homes among the rainforest often miles from their closest neighbors.  The Kekoldi live off the rainforest, using its wood to build their homes, its plants to weave their roofs. Interestingly, Kekoldi women are given the laborious task of roof weaving, each generation passing the tradition down to their daughters.

Kekoldi Reservation is a popular bird-watching destination especially during the migratory season, September through January peaking in October, when 17 species of eagles as well as hawks and falcons visit its mountains. In fact, the Kekoldi Reservation is one of the best places in the world to view migrating birds of prey– up to three million birds are counted each year, with up to 60,000 flying overhead each day.

In addition to the above tours, the Kekoldi Reservation is well known for its invigorating waterfall and nature hike. After a mile hike through primary and secondary forest, visitors reach the 722-foot high watchtower, which looks out over Puerto Viejo and the Caribbean. From there, the route continues along strenuous trails to a 130-foot waterfall and swimming hole where hikers are rewarded with a cool, refreshing dip before hiking back out of the reservation.

Contact Information

The best way to visit the reservation is with a local tour company, which will provide transportation and a knowledgeable guide.

Kekoldi Reservation in Pictures

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