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Selva Bananito

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Bananito means little banana and is the name of the river that is born in the Private Reserve Selva Bananito. Selva stands for jungle, thus the name of this ecolodge in Costa Rica signifies the Jungle Little Banana, allusive to the natural old growth forest the lodge protects in order to guarantee the water supply of the river. Selva Bananito is situated in a pristine and natural setting, located at the foothill of the Cerro Mochila, the eastern outcropping of the Talamanca Mountain Range, in the province of Limon, Costa Rica. It will take about 3 1/2 hours driving time from the capital city San Jose to reach the pick up point Salon Delia in the town of Bananito.

What does ecolodge actually mean? Very simply, ecolodge refers to the services the lodge provides as regular hotels do, such as room and board, but it also makes allusion to the orientation toward an environmentally friendly operation as a core value of their operation. Selva Bananito is highly distinguished for its conservation efforts because they do take an active stand in conservation by directing and supporting their watershed conservation efforts through Fundacion Cuencas de Limon or Limon Watershed Foundation. In order to achieve this goal, hotel staff provides logistic and financial support to this Non Profit Organization, through revenues generated by the nature and adventure activities they offer at the ecolodge Selva Bananito.

Selva Bananito Offers
* Spacious, elegantly tiled bathrooms with solar heated water.
* A spacious Rancho (main lodge) to enjoy meals and socialize with others.
* Ample decks with spectacular views and comfortable hammocks for your siesta.
* Each tastefully designed cabin features one queen size and one full size bed, or two queen sized beds.
* Eleven individual cabins constructed of beautiful salvaged wood. They stand on stilts, following Caribbean tradition.
* Romantic, candle-lit evenings. To preserve a more natural night-time ambiance, the lodge uses no electricity. Reading lamps are provided in each cabin.
* The privilege of exploring a pristine environment in the intimacy of a small group, while also learning about human land use in the lowland tropics.

General Lodge Information
The Lodge is located at the foot of Cerro Muchilla, or Muchilla Mountain, in the Province of Limon on the Atlantic side of Costa Rica. Cerro Muchilla is part of an eastern outcropping of Costa Ricas southernmost mountain range, the Cordillera de Talamanca, much of which belongs to the enormous Costa Rican/Panamanian La Amistad Biosphere Reserve. This protected zone consists of a core -La Amistad International Park- and several surrounding wildlife and Indian reserves (which also act as wildlife reserves), adding up to a total of about one million hectares (2.2 million acres) of uninterrupted, protected land. This green belt, which spans southern Costa Rica from east to west, remains the least explored territory in the country, its biological wealth scarcely studied.
Selva Bananito Lodge is built on a family farm, of which only one third is actually used for farming.

The cabins stand on a ridge flanked by two streams. On one side of the ridge you will see the Bananito River and its valley, where the farms pastures, plantations, and reforested areas are (great birdwatching here!). On the other side your eyes will fall upon the beautiful Cerro Muchilla and the Amistad Biosphere, which the lodge's borders touch.

Selva Bananito realizes that their very existence in this environment affects it, but they try to minimize their impact in a variety of ways. Rather than building the cabins closer to, or in the forest, they purposefully erected them in an area that had already been altered by human activity. Eighty percent of the hardwood used to build the cabins was obtained from second class wood discarded by loggers from trees already cut for other purposes. As much as twenty percent of a tree is classified as second class and is normally left to waste. Selva Bananito wishes to set an example for how to maximize the use of a tree once it is cut down, because using trees efficiently is one way to reduce deforestation.

Each cabin stands on stilts, in traditional Caribbean style. This type of architecture reduces moisture inside the buildings and improves the view and ventilation. Furthermore, far fewer insects and other critters find their way inside. Even so, you may want to inspect your shoes for unwanted guests before putting them on! Without the use of electricity Selva Bananito hopes to create a quiet and relaxing environment for guests, very much in tune with the surroundings. If you need to recharge any batteries, however, it may be able to be arranged through the farm management.

Many hotels and lodges in Costa Rica use the charming palm roofing inspired by traditional Indian architecture. The excessive use of suita palm for roofing, however, has contributed to its endangerment. Furthermore, this type of roofing requires regular spraying with pesticides to keep insects out (whether hotel operators admit to it or not). The lodge therefore opted for thick tar paper roofing or synthetic roofing instead.

The main office is located in the building opposite the entrance to the cabins. Here you may leave valuables for safekeeping. If you follow the main road downhill, you will find the rancho, which has a dining area, bar, and small library upstairs, and kitchen and personnel facilities downstairs. Meals are served at the rancho. Please advise the lodge of any dietary restrictions as soon as is convenient.

History of Selva Bananito
The farmed portions of the land have a history worth telling: they were originally leased from the government in the 1920's by employees of a U.S.A.-based banana company. They harvested the primary forest along portions of the Bananito River valley while the company established mid-scale banana plantations in the nearby coastal region. A combination of factors, including a big recession in 1929, massive floods, and banana diseases, drove the company out in the 1920's and the land was left to fallow.

When the Stein family purchased the land in 1974, the former banana fields had reverted to secondary forest. They cleared the brush from this secondary growth and established a sustainable, integrated crop system combining plantain, cocoa, and dwarf coconut, all interspersed with the native tree known locally as laurel (Cordia alliodora). At first this system worked well because the plantains produced good crops. After the third year, however, the plantain succumbed to a serious fungal disease (sigatoca) and was eliminated. By the time the cocoa plants reached maturity, it became clear that the hybrid which Rudi Steins bank had required him to plant as part of the loan contract was of far inferior quality than traditional, local varieties. In the meantime, the dwarf coconuts developed a serious root disease that felled the majority of the plants, and the remainders were not worth harvesting because of poor market prices. Later, the farm produced organic bananas, which are also no longer grown on the farm due to poor market prices.

After many years of trying out other farming alternatives, the farm is today home to a reforestation project and cattle breeding program intended to produce dual-purpose breeds, i.e., cattle as useful for milk production as for beef production. Soon a moderate-sized oil palm plantation will be established. You will have a chance to learn more about the farm on a guided tour.

The Rainforest Experience
Selva Bananito Lodge and Reserve offers tranquility, beauty, close contact with nature, and the opportunity to experience the rain forest first hand. They also offer insights into agriculture in the humid tropics. Many tourist resorts in Costa Rica bring visitors in touch with the exquisite natural beauty of the country, but they are among the very few who have also taken an active stand in environmental protection. They keep the number of visitors that enter the Reserve within strict limits at any given time, and the lodge established Fundacion Cuencas de Limon, a nonprofit foundation which has become a regional leader in watershed protection and educational programs. The Foundation obtains its funding from private contributions and from income generated by Selva Bananito Lodge. By choosing to come here you have become an integral part of the conservation process, and Selva Bananito thanks you for it.

Activities at Selva Bananito

Hiking
Costa Rica hiking is simply a fantastic way to experience the treasures this country has to offer. As you explore different habitats while hiking in Costa Rica, you will immerse yourself in exuberant vegetation, observe nature teaming with life all around you and encounter wildlife welcoming you.

Costa Rica hiking is the way to experience what Costa Rican nature and biodiversity has to offer, Selva Bananito Ecolodge invites all true nature enthusiasts to commune with the pristine environments that you will explore while hiking in Costa Rica.

Hiking in Costa Rica does not get any better than doing so at Selva Bananito Ecolodge. The lodge guarantees memorable experiences while scouting out the old growth primary forests. They limit the size of any group to no more than six or eight guests at any given time on any given trail. This way there is a guarantee of the natural experience, guided by very knowledgeable guides that will explain to you the importance and significance of rain forest conservation, and will spot for you all those little and hidden life forms, that are difficult to spot on your own.

Costa Rica hiking as exemplified by Selva Bananito, guided by experienced guides in small groups and according to your fitness conditions is truly the best way to get in touch with your spirit, mind and body, surrounded by untouched nature.

Selva Bananito Ecolodge & Reserve caters for all hikers alike, from beginners to intermediate levels all the way to advanced levels of hiking. They invite you to find out for yourself why at Selva Bananito they offer the best hiking in Costa Rica. They look forward to your visit.

Horseback Riding
While traveling to Costa Rica and exploring different regions in rural areas, you will see that horseback riding is still a viable means of transportation. And above all: it is fun!

Selva Bananito Ecolodge fits right in with this equestrian tradition as they offer several horseback riding options and tours suited for all levels of experience, from the beginners to the advanced horseback riding enthusiasts!

In all of Costa Rica you will not find such a spectacular area to take part in the unforgettable horseback riding experience. Surrounded by pristine settings, far away from the crowds and off the beaten track of ecotourism, you will find that on the lodge's tame, sure footed and noble horses it is easy and at the same time memorable to follow enchanting trails and learn more about the regions history as well as low impact practices in tropical agriculture.

Selva Bananito's adventure horseback riding tour will be truly an unforgettable experience, as you enter trails that will bring you in close contact with gigantic century old trees that are to be found in our Private Reserve, Selva Bananito.

Bird Watching Tours
Birding Costa Rica offers well over 850 species of resident and migratory birds that live in this country, either throughout the year or during their migration time, avoiding the cold winters.

While birding in Costa Rica you will find that there are a variety of habitats in different life zones in which different birds are to be found for all Costa Rica birders. In the Caribbean lowlands and specifically in the Talamanca Mountain Range the raptors migration occurs twice a year. The sight of hundreds of thousands of raptors flying north or southbound is an incredible experience for all Costa Rica birders.

Birding in Costa Rica, and specially at Selva Bananito Ecolodge and Reserve, the birding is outstanding and will gratify all Costa Rica birders. Bird watching Costa Rica is best during the migratory periods, and can easily be arranged through the lodge's services.

Birding Costa Rica, offers the opportunity to see the life birds you always wanted, but without having to travel exhausting distances and in the intimacy of small bird watching Costa Rica groups. With 12 different life zones, ranging from mangrove areas to cloud forests and ranging from dry forests to tropical humid rain forests, you can be assured that birding Costa Rica is second to no other bird watching destination in Latin America.

Plant a tree
Become part of Selva Bananito's growing reforestation project. They have planted hundreds of tropical hardwoods on the part of our land originally cut down by banana plantations in the 1800s. By creating corridors back into the rainforest the lodge hopes to provide more habitat for wildlife. They will show you how to plant your seedling to give it the best chance of survival. With their recorded 91% success rate, your tree will hopefully one day become part of the tropical rainforest, contribute to the conservation of endemic and endangered species, while contributing to Fundacion Cuencas de Limon.

Intro to Tree Climbing
Learn the ropes of how to climb a 30 meter broccoli tree using a secure system of harnesses and ascenders. Climb up like an inch worm in this full-body activity that allows you to get a birds eye view of the Lodge and nearby pastures. Pace yourself during your vertical ascent, then stop and hang out under the treetop for an unparalleled view.

Adventure Horseback
Get ready for a most thrilling horseback ride to La Cristalina and into the primary rainforest. Gallop through open fields flanked by cocos, bananas, and cacao trees. Push on through challenging hills and steep descents on your way to a specialized horse trail in the lush green rainforest. A rare opportunity to view the jungle on horseback, this tour is as exhilarating as it is challenging. Requires previous horseback riding experience. Maximum rider weight limits apply.

Stop to see a massive cacha tree that has been naturally hallowed out and the immense buttresses of a centuries-old royal mahogany. Optional jungle tree climb includes a 130-foot ascent for another incredible canopy view.

Waterfall Hike with Rappel
Selva Bananito's most physically demanding tour, this all-day hike is an unforgettable journey up the Bananito riverbed and into the surrounding rainforests. While hiking upstream you will make over 60 river crossings, learn about the various micro-climates, and jump in the plentiful river pools. Visit a 600 year-old mahogany tree and learn more about rainforest ecology. After rappelling down an 80-foot waterfall (optional), you will eat a delicious lunch brought by your guides. An adrenaline-packed expedition for the true adventure seekers.

Requires very good physical condition and extensive hiking experience. May not be offered due to high river conditions.

Canopy Observation with Rappel
This tour combines a rare opportunity to view the primary rainforest from our 100-foot high platform and the adrenaline rush of zipping out to it. The cables and equipment used exceed the highest safety standards in Costa Rica and are designed to allow guests of all ages enjoy this highly popular activity. Hike half an hour through open fields and into the rainforest on part of our Natural History trail to get to the jumping off point. Then get strapped in, hold on, and enjoy the ride! Experience a true vertical descent with the optional rappel from the platform.

50 Meter Cliff Rappel
For adrenaline seekers only! Start out this activity with a beautiful hike up the Bananito River and deep into our rain forest preserve. Experience the thrill of rappelling down 5 different waterfalls in preparation to meet the biggest challenge you can find at Selva Bananito Preserve: 50 meters (165 feet) of vertical rappel down a jungle cliff.

Costa Rica Honeymoon
Honeymoon in Costa Rica is simply a fantastic way to begin with the celebration of life as a couple having chosen to share ones life with another human being. Costa Rica is an incredible diverse and beautiful country, in which nature and amenities come hand in hand.

There are a great variety of honeymoon packages available if you intend to visit Selva Bananito for your Costa Rica Honeymoon.

The Lodge has named their Honeymoon Packages after a bird, the Macua, Selva Bananito Ecolodge and Preserve which according to popular believe in Costa Rica has the power to bring lovers together for a life full of love, mutual respect and understanding.

The different honeymoon packages offered for your Honeymoon in Costa Rica differ in length and in activity levels, some being shorter in length and some being filled with more activities during your stay at Selva Bananito Ecolodge. They have differentiated your Costa Rica Honeymoon with the distinctions - active and light - and also provided you with the opportunity to stay at your hotel of choice for the first and last nights in Costa Rica.

Kayaking the Central Pacific coast in Costa Rica
$1,295
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Beaches & Rainforest

8 Day Itinerary
  • Climb a giant kapok tree
  • Raft the Pacuare River
  • Snorkel a large coral reef system
  • Hike through the rainforest
Enjoy this active and varied Costa Rica vacation that is suitable for almost any age of traveler. Plunge down the whitewater of the Pacaure River, experience the jungle adventures of Selva Bananito Lodge, and end with a couple of relaxing days on a Caribbean beach.
Activities: Beach Time, Fishing, Horseback Riding, Kayaking, Land, Rainforest Exploration, Snorkeling, Trekking & Hiking, Whitewater Rafting, Wilderness Lodge, Wildlife Viewing
Places: Central America & Mexico, Costa Rica, Pacuare River, Puerto Viejo, San Jose, Selva Bananito
Tour Details
A baby sea turtle heads for the ocean
$1,575
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Turtles & Rainforest

8 Day Itinerary
Enjoy Costa Rica's incredible wildlife with a tour of Tortuguero National Park and visit one of the most important nesting sites for the green sea turtle in the western hemisphere. Follow that with a rainforest retreat to Selva Bananito Reserve. Finish this Costa Rica vacation with an exciting whitewater adventure down the Pacuare river!
Activities: Land, Rainforest Exploration, Whitewater Rafting, Wildlife Viewing
Places: Central America & Mexico, Costa Rica, Pacuare River, San Jose, Selva Bananito, Tortuguero
Tour Details
A local fisherman pulls his boat ashore at sunset in Costa Rica
$1,895
Save $50
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Caribbean Adventure - Bocas Town

8 Day Itinerary
  • Raft down the Pacuare River
  • Hike deep into the jungle
  • Snorkel the marine-rich coral reef
  • Tour Panama's vibrant capital city
A great combination of Costa Rica travel and Panama travel highlights! Whitewater excitement and rainforest exploration in Costa Rica combine with relaxation amidst the turquoise waters of Panama for a perfectly paced vacation. Climb into the rainforest canopy, bask in the sunshine of Bocas del Toro, and fall into the rhythm of the Caribbean!
Activities: Beach Time, Horseback Riding, Land, Rainforest Exploration, Snorkeling, Urban Exploration, Whitewater Rafting, Wilderness Lodge, Wildlife Viewing, Zip Line
Places: Central America & Mexico, Costa Rica, Panama, Bastimentos Island, Bocas del Toro, Pacuare River, Panama City, San Jose, Selva Bananito
Tour Details
Getting ready to take off on a zip line tour!
$1,650
EXPLORE

Beaches & Rainforest

9 Day Itinerary
  • Climb a giant kapok tree
  • Relax on white sand beaches
  • Snorkel and kayak in the Caribbean
  • Raft the Pacuare River
Enjoy this active and varied Costa Rica vacation that is suitable for almost any age of traveler. Plunge down the whitewater of the Pacaure River, experience the jungle adventures of Selva Bananito Lodge, and end with a couple relaxing days on a Caribbean beach.
Activities: Beach Time, Fishing, Horseback Riding, Kayaking, Land, Rainforest Exploration, Snorkeling, Whitewater Rafting, Wildlife Viewing
Places: Central America & Mexico, Costa Rica, San Jose, Selva Bananito
Tour Details
Holding a baby sea turtle
$1,890
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Turtles & Rainforest Pacuare Reserve

8 Day Itinerary
  • Assist biologists on turtle rounds
  • Learn about rain forest ecology
  • Ride horseback through family farms
  • Raft down the Pacuare River
This itinerary combines Pacuare Nature Reserve with a Rainforest Retreat! Start your journey off by joining biologists to study giant leatherback turtles for two nights at Pacuare Nature Reserve. Then head to Selva Bananito Lodge for a rainforest adventure.
Activities: Horseback Riding, Land, Rainforest Exploration, Trekking & Hiking, Volunteering, Whitewater Rafting, Wilderness Lodge, Wildlife Viewing
Places: Central America & Mexico, Costa Rica, Pacuare Nature Reserve, Pacuare River, San Jose, Selva Bananito
Tour Details
Snorkel the reef
$2,725
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Caribbean Adventure

9 Day Itinerary
  • Raft down the Pacuare River
  • Hike into the jungle for a swim
  • Marvel at the Panama Canal
  • Snorkel, kayak, hike, or relax
A great combination of Costa Rica travel and Panama travel highlights! Whitewater excitement and rainforest exploration in Costa Rica combine with relaxation amidst the turquoise waters of Panama for a perfectly paced vacation. Climb into the rainforest canopy, bask in the sunshine of Bocas del Toro, and fall into the rhythm of the Caribbean!
Activities: Beach Time, Land, Rainforest Exploration, Snorkeling, Trekking & Hiking, Whitewater Rafting, Wildlife Viewing, Zip Line
Places: Central America & Mexico, Costa Rica, Panama, Bocas del Toro, Panama Canal, Panama City, San Jose, Selva Bananito, Tranquilo Bay Eco Lodge
Tour Details
Costa Rica's caribbean coast
$1,625
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Holiday 2016 Beaches & Rainforest

9 Day Itinerary
  • Climb a giant kapok tree
  • Relax on white sand beaches
  • Snorkel and kayak in the Caribbean
  • Raft the Pacuare River
Enjoy this active and varied Costa Rica 9-day vacation that is suitable for almost any age of traveler. Plunge down the whitewater of the Pacaure River, experience the jungle adventures of Selva Bananito Lodge, and end with a couple relaxing days on a Caribbean beach.
Activities: Fishing, Kayaking, Land, Snorkeling, Whitewater Rafting, Wildlife Viewing, Zip Line
Places: Central America & Mexico, Costa Rica, Pacuare River, Puerto Viejo, San Jose, Selva Bananito
Tour Details
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