Nosara Biological Reserve
As the sun rises over the Nosara Biological Reserve, long-tailed manikins sing the melody of "toledo", reverberating over 90 acres of 300-year-old mangroves, intertwined with Panama tree leaves dripping morning dew on the soil below.read more close
Short-lived beach hibiscus flowers bloom bright yellow in the morning, fade to burnt orange by night, and ultimately wilt to the ground by sunrise giving butterflies and nocturnal bats just enough time to pollinate, preserving the dry tropical forest livelihood.
In the wet season (April-Nov.), lush leaves of Panama and gumbo-limbo (known locally as Naked Indian) trees tarp over throngs of the reserve, nearly camouflaging birds, squirrels, howler monkeys and black iguanas climbing within. Spiny cedar trees stand tall among the mangrove developing sharp spikes as they absorb the moisture from the previous day’s rain.
During the dry season (Dec.-April), most trees lose their leaves, making wildlife easier to spot, and the river flow much lower, easing access and facilitating outdoor activities in the reserve. Especially when the reserve is more barren, you may see whole flocks of rufous-and-white wrens perching on tall Guanacaste trees - the national tree of Costa Rica - and male long-tailed manikins dancing around to attract their mates.
In total, over 270 exuberant species of wildlife including monkeys, raccoons, armadillos, snakes, squirrels, iguanas and birds frolic about the reserve.
In the late '90s, Swiss Lagarta Lodge Owners Amadeo and Regina Amacker purchased the land as they fell in love with its breathtaking views and converted it into a biological reserve to protect its wildlife, river, and the oldest government-owned mangrove forest in Nosara.
In 2012, an earthquake rocked the entire Nosara Biological Reserve, causing water levels to rise almost three feet, and mangrove roots in the area to protrude out of the soil like tiny forks stuck in a lawn.
Temperature: 73 to 87 degrees
Average rainfall: 140 inches
A two-hour private tour with one of Lagarta Lodge’s experts spotlights bird watching and the growth of plants and trees, weaving through nearly two miles of the reserve.
Stand-up paddle boarding, kayaking, horseback riding, and electric boating down the Rio Nosara and Rio Montaña explore the reserve from different angles.
Down about 160 steps with a guided railing from the entrance at Lagarta Lodge, hikers can access five different hiking trails, all fairly easy: Los Arboles, Motmot, El Pizote, Los Congos, Boca and Ardilla. Winding through nearly 90 acres of relatively flat land, the trails become slicker after heavy rains, and hikers should wear sturdy shoes. Access to the reserve is limited to minimize human impact to the grounds.
Bird enthusiasts staying at Lagarta Lodge can explore the reserve trails at any time, but early morning walks (6 a.m.) usually have the most monkey and bird sightings.