- Location : Puerto Viejo de Sarapiqui
- Hours : 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily
- Entrance Fee : $15 adults; $10 children & students
- Telephone : 506-2761-1059
Serpents slither and flick their tongues testing the air behind the glass of their habitats at the Snake Garden near Puerto Viejo de Sarapiqui. Among them are some of Costa Rica's most notorious snakes: Bushmaster, pit viper, fer-de-lance and the tropical rattlesnake. In all, there are more than 40 species of snakes at the garden.read more close
And it's not just snakes either; turtles, crocodiles, frogs and lizards live at the garden. Most of the cold-blooded creatures are guests; rescues passing through on their way to being released at one of the nearby biological reserves.
There's a greenhouse/garden for frogs and butterflies, habitats for the crocodiles, alligators and turtles, a snake exhibit, a lizard exhibit and a final exhibit devoted to exotic animals including two 16-foot-long burmese pythons.
For owner Pompilio, a lifelong love for snakes first started with his grandfather, a biologist who collected snakes to make anti-venom. As a third-generation snake handler, Pompilio divides his time between caring for the animals and rescuing them from the nearby hotels and homes.
Self-guided tours of the gardens are $12 and usually last about an hour. Guided, night and full-day photo tours are also available upon request.
More than 70 species call the snake garden home: 40 species of venomous and non-venomous snakes, all nine native species of turtles, three species of frogs, two American crocodiles, iguanas, basilisk lizards (that can run on water), and a caiman.
Bus: From Puerto Viejo de Sarapiqui, take a bus from the town's main bus station toward La Virgen and ask the driver to stop at Tirimbina. Buses leave every hour and the drive should take about 20 minutes to get to Tirimbina. Walk about five hundred feet past Tirimbina and there will be a sign on the left hand side.
Car: From Puerto Viejo de Sarapiqui take Route 4 west toward La Virgen for about 19km. There will be a sign for the Snake Garden about 500 feet after the sign for Tirimbina.