Surrounded by 120 acres of tropical rainforest south of the Sarapiquí River, the Gavilan lodge is a relaxing getaway from the traffic of San Jose. The lodges are located in a clearing in the center of the private reserve about a mile off the road leading into Puerto Viejo de Sarapiquí. Hiking trails weave through the reserve’s jungles and down to the nearby river. The best place to spot the wildlife; however, is sitting at the hotel’s café and common area.read more close
Throughout the day Gavilan's employees set out fruit for the approximately 450 different species of vibrantly colored birds that dwell in the forest surrounding the hotel. Among the species often seen are the cherrie's tanager, golden-hooded tanager, blue and grey tanager, green honeycreeper, clay-colored robin, house wren and the great kiskadee—though the species change with the migratory seasons.
It's about a 20-minute walk into the town of Puerto Viejo de Sarapiqui, but only a short drive. From the hotel, it's a 5-minute drive into town or to the La Selva Biological Station, which is across the main highway from Gavilan.
Guided birding tours, boat tours and night hikes are available at the hotel.
The night hikes, which are free, take guests on a tour through the rainforest around the reserve. Along the way, well-trained guides use flashlights to point out a variety of different plants and animals. On any given night, guests can encounter a litany of frogs: strawberry/black and green poison dart frogs, Valliant's frogs, little toads and pygmy frogs. In addition there are bugs like white and brown caterpillars; mammals like opossums and the 5-toed armadillo; and an occasional caiman hiding in the ponds hunting for frogs.
Besides the hotel tours, nearby tour companies offer whitewater rafting, horseback riding and zip-lining. There's also a chocolate tour, pineapple tour, serpentarium and archaeological museum in the nearby town of La Virgen. However, most of the tours in Sarapiqui will not pick guests up from the hotel, so renting a car or taking the bus from the town center is necessary.
The Gavilan has 20 rooms: 14 standard and 6 superior. Breakfast is included, in the price for the room, but lunch, $15, and dinner,$15, are not. Standard rooms, $60, are doubles with private bathrooms, hot water and fans. The rooms have screen rather than glass windows, which is nice for letting the breeze in and gives them a more outdoorsy atmosphere. They've also got a reading light, a small desk and a wardrobe with hangers. Superior rooms, $75, are a bit bigger with king-size beds, but otherwise are the same as the standard rooms.