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The Pacuare Lodge

Reserva Pacuare

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Reserva Pacuare
The Pacuare Nature Reserve, or Reserva Pacuare, was established by the Endangered Wildlife Trust in 1989 and protects 800 hectares of lowland tropical rainforest and six kms. of deserted beach on Costa Rica's Caribbean coast. It is located about 25 kms. north of Limón and lies between the sea and the Tortuguero canal.

The special mission of the reserve has been to protect the Leatherback Turtles, which nest along its beach - one of the most important nesting sites in Central America for this critically endangered species. March to June is the nesting season for these giant turtles and from June to September Green turtles also nest here, though in lesser numbers.

The Reserve is rich in wildlife, and is home to about 20 species of mammal and many reptiles. Monkeys are plentiful and Howler monkeys regularly provide a dawn chorus. With beach, forest and freshwater habitats, the reserve has a wide variety of birds, with 210 species listed. One of the lagoons within the forest is the only known nesting site in Costa Rica of the rare and beautiful Agami heron.

Visitors to the Reserve are free to walk the trails or take a boat-ride along the Tortuguero canal where caimans, freshwater turtles and many wading birds can be seen. They are also encouraged to participate fully in the turtle program and to patrol along the beach at night with the biologist, research assistants and beach guards. Nobody ever forgets the sight of their first giant leatherback.

Accommodation at Reserva Pacuare
Volunteer Accommodation
Accommodation for volunteers to the turtle program is in simple but comfortable cabins with two or three to a room. All rooms are mosquito-screened and there is a communal block with showers and flush toilets.

There is no electricity in the reserve. Candles and lamps provide light. Refrigeration and cooking are by gas. Meals are taken together in a dining area, which also serves as a lecture room.

Lodge Accommodation
As well as cabin accommodations, there is a comfortable lodge overlooking the beach for visitors who would like more comfort and privacy.

It has three double-bedrooms, sitting room, kitchen and two toilets. A broad balcony around three sides of the house has tables, chairs and hammocks. It can be rented as a whole or room-by-room. Meals can be taken in the lodge or in the communal dining room.

From mid-March to the end of September experience the Turtle Programme, which attracts volunteers and groups from around the world.

Under the supervision of marine biologists, the beach is patrolled every night by small groups of volunteers, a guide and beach guards. Each turtle met is tagged (if not already tagged), measured and examined for any special features or signs of injury.

If the turtle has already laid, volunteers disguise the nest from poachers. If she has still to lay, eggs are collected in a bag while she lays and then are placed in an artificial nest dug nearby and which can be more easily camouflaged from poachers. This is also done when the turtle has chosen to lay too near the sea as seawater will kill the eggs by making the shell non-porous.

At the end of the season all the tag numbers and information are sent to a center in the US where it is stored and used for learning more about the turtles' nesting and migratory habits.

All visitors can participate in the beach work, helping to measure a turtle or read a tag or count the eggs as they fall. The patrolling of the beach takes place in groups throughout the night, with each group always accompanied by a guide or biologist. A typical patrol may take from three to five hours, depending on the number of turtles coming to nest. The beach guards patrol the beach all night.
A baby sea turtle heads for the ocean

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
Holding a baby sea turtle

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
White water rafting on the Pacaure River

Costa Rica Quest

8 Day Itinerary
  • Observe nesting sea turtles
  • Hike in the rain forest at night
  • Raft the Sarapiqui River
  • Explore nearby Arenal Volcano
Volcanoes! Turtles! Whitewater rafting! This 8-day tour has it all. Explore Tortuguero National Park and visit one of the most important nesting sites for the green sea turtle in the western hemisphere. Then raft down the beautiful Sarapiqui River. Finish this Costa Rica vacation with a visit to Arenal, one of the world's most active volcanoes!
Activities: Land, Rainforest Exploration, Whitewater Rafting, Wildlife Viewing, Zip Line
Places: Central America & Mexico, Costa Rica, Arenal, San Jose, Sarapiqui, Tortuguero
Tour Details
Toucan relaxing in the tree
Save $450

Panama to Costa Rica: Monteverde, Arenal, and Tortuguero

15 Day Itinerary aboard Sea Lion
  • See Pacific & Caribbean Costa Rica
  • Transit the Panama Canal
  • Kayak, snorkel, swim, and hike
  • Hike in mist-shrouded Monteverde
  • Relax in hot springs near Arenal
  • Tour remote, car-less Tortuguero
An extraordinary, holistic expedition - experience all the wildness and beauty of Costa Rica and Panama on a sweeping 15-day adventure through the canal, along the coasts, and inland to a mist-shrouded cloud forest, volcano, lake, and a car-free, jungle village.
Activities: Expedition Cruises, Horseback Riding, Kayaking, Land & Sea, Snorkeling, Stand Up Paddle Board, Wildlife Viewing
Places: Arenal, Barro Colorado, Colon, Golfo Dulce, Isla Coiba, Los Suenos (Herradura), Manuel Antonio, Monteverde Cloud Forest, Osa Peninsula - Golfo Dulce, San Jose, Tortuguero
Cruise Details
Beach Costa Rica Trip


3 Day Itinerary
Enjoy this three day excursion to the Tortuguero region, passing Banana plantations and traveling through lush tropical rainforest. Take a scenic boat ride on La Suerte River and through the Tortuguero Canals, offering lovely views of the Costa Rican forest and mangrove swamps. Enjoy two nights on the Tortuguero's coastline which is considered …
Activities: Fishing, Kayaking, Land, Rainforest Exploration, Village Visit, Wildlife Viewing
Places: Central America & Mexico, Costa Rica, San Jose, Tortuguero
Tour Details
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Beyond expectations! Then again we weren't sure what to expect. Lovely stay at the lodge, met other like-minded travelers (many had their trips planned by Adventure Life) and the owner was a gracious hostess. It felt like you were one happy family, visiting with a favorite aunt.
Nancy Sin

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