Kekoldi Reservation Hike
- Learn about rainforest fruit and medicinal herbs
- Look for wildlife
- Visit the 130-foot Kekoldi Waterfalls
- Location : Puerto Viejo
- Hours : 8 a.m.
- Price : $55 per person half day with transportation from Puerto Viejo; $75 per person w/lunch and transportation from Puerto Viejo
It's one thing to walk through the rainforest and witness the massive tree trunks and dense canopy, but it's another thing to know the rainforest. Join a guided tour with a Kekoldi native and unravel the rainforest, learn to see the rainforest as a garden filled with fruit and medicinal herbs, home to all manner of creatures from frogs the size of fingernails to two-toed sloths lumbering between branches.read more close
Hikes through the Kekoldi Reservation aren't for the faint of heart, full-day tours last six to eight hours on a six-mile trek through the rainforest to the Kekoldi Waterfall. Make sure to bring plenty of water, as well as comfortable hiking shoes, a bathing suit and mosquito repellant.
From the side of the road just outside Puerto Viejo venture into the cacao forest with your Kekoldi guide. The forest was once part of an old cacao farm abandoned after a fungus began to attack the cacao fruit, now it's regrown into a secondary forest and barrier to the outside world. Some 200 Kekoldi families make their homes among the 7,000 acres of the Kekoldi Reservation. Each family lives in seclusion with no roads and no immediate access to the outside world, though the families do communicate with one another at monthly gatherings.
Walking through the forest with your Kekoldi guide is something like a visit to the supermarket. Each tree, vine and bush serves a different purpose. "This leaf?" your guide remarks, "We fold it to make cups and plates. That tree's sap we use to make tea to cure stomachaches." It seems everything is useful in some way or another. Along the way, taste a variety of fruits and vegetables like the golden hobo fruit, raw cacao, heliconia heart (don't worry that's a plant) and many more.
After a 2.5-mile trek into the reserve, you'll reach the Kekoldi Falls, a 130-waterfall that plunges over a sheer rock face into a pool below – an ideal place to cool off after your trek. Relax and swim in the cool waters for a time, then head back out along a different trail to a traditional Kekoldi home for lunch. For large groups, a local Kekoldi prepares lunch using food collected from the rainforest. Smaller groups visit a nearby research station for a casado-style lunch with fried chicken, rice, beans and tomato.
From the Kekoldi home/research station you'll head another mile through some Kekoldi farms, past the cacao forest back to the main road to conclude the adventure.
Departure & Return
- Departure point : Tour departs from all major hotels in Cahuita, Puerto Viejo Limon, Cocles, Punta Uva and Manzanillo
- Departure time : Hotel pickup is between 20 and 50 minutes before tour start time depending on hotel location.
- Return details : Tour returns to original departure point between three and four hours after tour start time