© 2018 Ocean Forest Ecolodge

Rainforest and Ocean Discovery Tours and Adventures

Tours and Adventures at the Lodge

White Hawk Nature Trail

A beautiful half day rainforest and ocean vistas walk behind the lodge.

Duration: 3 to 4 hours. Two options: 9 AM – 12:30 or 2 PM – 5:30 PM                                                 

This half day trek loops up a steep ridge within the rainforest hills behind the lodge.  This trail reveals panoramic views of San Josecito Beach, the majestic Pacific Ocean and the mysterious Caño Island.  This tour departs through the botanical gardens, up past secondary forest and reaches the primary rainforest up on the ridge where canopy trees reach over 160 feet tall!  Birds and wildlife can be seen on this trail. Toucans, tanagers, manakins as well as many other small colorful birds, as well as the majestic White Hawk.  Coati, Agouti, howler monkey, spider monkey and or white faced capuchin monkey oftentimes show up to greet you along your way. This adventure is for the well fit as it climbs some relatively steep slopes.

Rio Claro – River and Rainforest Fun

A beautiful half day rainforest and ocean vistas walk behind the lodge.

Duration: 3 to 4 hours. Two options: 9 AM – 12:30 or 2 PM – 5:30 PM                                                 

This half day trek loops up a steep ridge within the rainforest hills behind the lodge.  This trail reveals panoramic views of San Josecito Beach, the majestic Pacific Ocean and the mysterious Caño Island.  This tour departs through the botanical gardens, up past secondary forest and reaches the primary rainforest up on the ridge where canopy trees reach over 160 feet tall!  Birds and wildlife can be seen on this trail. Toucans, tanagers, manakins as well as many other small colorful birds, as well as the majestic White Hawk.  Coati, Agouti, howler monkey, spider monkey and or white faced capuchin monkey oftentimes show up to greet you along your way. This adventure is for the well fit as it climbs some relatively steep slopes.

Night Tour

The rainforest is most mysterious at night!

Duration: 2 hours (7:00 – 9:00 PM

At night the rainforest takes on an enchanting energy. Many kinds of creatures dormant during the day emerge to roam the forest. Different species of tree frogs can be seen, and the trees reveal their true mystery in the shadows of flashlights and candles we carry into the majestic rainforest.  The tour walks along the beach to see phosphorescent plankton, and then winds up a trail into the rainforest in search of reptiles, glass tree frogs, and more!

Horseback Riding

Trot along the beach, then visit the rainforest on well trained horses.

Half day tour, departs at 9 AM returns by 1PM

To ride a horse along the beach and into the rainforest is an amazing way to look around. Our horses have been well trained and are suitable for all types of riding experience. If you like, you can also take them for a galloping ride down the beach! There are several tour routes, that can be taken, our favorite tour is a trip up to the edge of Corcovado National Park, to see the giant towering canopy trees, including a huge Ceiba tree considered my many indigenous people’s communities to be symbolic of the Mighty Tree of Life.  You can also ride to the Rio Claro, along a coastal trail to arrive at the green river, up through the ancient rainforest and then back along a country road to the school house, and conclude with a galop down the beach back to the ecolodge.

Ethnobotanical Walk

Learn the hidden wonders and potent attributes of useful plants!

Duration: 3 to 4 hours. Two options: 9 AM – 12 Noon or 2 PM – 5 PM

The Ethnobotanical and Permaculture Gardens at Ocean Forest Ecolodge harbor a

large collection of rare and endangered ancestral ethnobotanical treasures from all over Central and South America. Many of these plants have an amazing amount of lore and legends that have been handed down over generations regarding their uses and origins. On this garden tour, you can meet and learn about all kinds of useful, edible, medicinal and entheogenic plants. Our permaculture gardens produce a cornucopia of food and herbs, shared with guests in meals and teas. Storytelling, an emphasis on botanical mythology and the sharing of this cultural heritage makes for a wonderful, educative and unique experience.Learn about the most prominent and important local medicinal flora. Meet these plants first hand by smelling, touching, preparing and drinking them.

Ocean Discovery Tours

The Island – Caño Island

Caño Island can be seen right in front of Ocean Forest Ecolodge, from where it can be easily reached by a 40-minute boat ride. The Caño Island, known among the local indigenous Brunka people as “The Floating Butterfly,” is a mysterious and beautiful island that can be seen as if “floating” amidst the pristine royal blue sea directly before the lodge. The island was declared a marine reserve in 1976, it is 790 acres in size and protects an oceanic region spanning an area over 17,000 acres. The vivid blue waters surrounding the island are abundant with oceanic life. Encounters with dolphins and pseudo orcas, whales of different species, sea turtles, sea snakes, and large schools of fish earn the Caño Island its reputation as the one of the best pelagic dive sites in the Costa Rican Pacific.

Archeology at Caño Island: The majestic Caño Island was once an important ceremonial center and burial site of the ancient oceanic navigators of the Diquis civilization. Hundreds of pre-Columbian, golden artifacts were periodically looted from indigenous burial sites, up until the 1970’s before adequate measures of protection and preservation were enforced. Today, remains of rock mortars and one ancient petro-sphere testify the significance of this unique archaeological site. As the trails on the island have been closed by the park service, only snorkeling and scuba diving are currently allowed.

Scuba Diving at Caño Island

The most epic scuba diving near mainland Costa Rica

Departs at 7:00 AM, returns by 1 PM for lunch.

Includes equipment and certified PADI guide. 40 min boat ride

Outfitted to Caño Divers

Caño Island is considered among the best diving sites along the Costa Rican mainland Pacific coast. Guests at Ocean Forest Ecolodge are welcome to scuba dive at the Caño Island with Caño Divers. Divers will certainly encounter both pelagic (open ocean) and Pacific reef fish during their outings. Many species found at the Caño reef also dwell by the Galapagos Islands, such as dog snapper, barracuda and dolphin fish! In addition, two-meter long white tipped reef sharks are common sighting. Manta rays and lesser-devil rays are often seen leaping from the water. Divers especially enjoy meeting the free-swimming moray eels, which can reach a length of up to two meters! Finally, marine turtles, such as the juvenile Hawksbill sea turtle, feed in the area, and oftentimes accompany divers in their underwater adventures! Every once in a while those most fortunate divers have up close encounters with the world’s largest and most notable fish, the Whale shark!

Snorkeling at Caño Island

The most epic snorkeling near mainland Costa Rica where coral shelves harbor rich oceanic life.

Departs at 7:30 AM, returns by 1 PM for lunch.

Includes equipment and qualified guide. 40 min boat ride

Outfitted to Caño Divers

Guests at Ocean Forest Ecolodge are welcome to snorkel at the Caño Island with Caño Divers, who will provide transport and gear. At Caño Island you can see many kinds of ocean life, often times dolphins and lesser devil rays can be seen jumping out of the water. Whales too are often seen breaching, during the months of June through December. A snorkeling trip here often reveals many kinds of ocean life, such as big eye jacks flashing their silvery colors. Gorgeous angel fish and purple and green parrot fish are common sighting.  Many more fish are seen such as, the crocodile needlefish, puffer and cornet fishes, Moorish idols, and other aquatic animals such as sea turtles, eagle rays, moray eels and white tip sharks.  Your skilled naturalist guide will lead you to the best snorkeling locations.

Dolphin and Whale Encounters

Get a unique, close up view of these most majestic giants of the sea.

Departs at 8 AM, Includes lunch, returns between 1 and 2:30PM

This tour is outfitted Divine Dolphin

The waters of the Osa Peninsula are unique, being that two distinct populations of Humpback Whales arrive to breed and raise their calves. From July – Sept arrive the southern populations, they have white on the underside of their flippers and from October through December arrive the northern population of Humpback whales. The Costa Rican dome, a region located some distance from shore, has been mentioned by National Geographic magazine as one of the most important waters the world-over for whale populations of many species. Whale watching is seasonal, from July to December. Pseudo Orcas and Pilot Whales are full-time residents of these waters. Dolphins such as the Pacific spotted, bottlenose and spinners also call these waters home.

Surf Tour at Rio Claro

A point break in a gorgeous and remote location. Great for experiences and beginning surfers.

Includes board and instructor

Board rentals are $15 per day

A 45-minute walks north of the lodge is the amazing Rio Claro surf break. Here you’ll find a slow yet powerful and well-formed wave, great for all types of surfing. The best times to catch waves here are at mid tides. In Sept and March, you have to be a very good surfer to know how to get in those waves, but most of the time it is perfect for beginners and those wanting to learn.

The primary rainforest comes down right to the beach next to Rio Claro, and the gorgeous clear green river is perfect for washing off and swimming after the surf. Rio Claro is by far the best spot surfing spot in our area and one of Osa Peninsula’s best kept surf spots!

The tour Includes board rental and an instructor. This trip needs to be planned with the tides, this because the waves are best for surfing during the middle tides. This is a half day tour and is possible only when the surf is up!

Rainforest Discovery Tours

Corcovado National Park

Corcovado is the crown jewel of Costa Rica’s National Parks. Known as well as the “Little Amazon by the Ocean!” Rainforest covered mountains, beautiful rivers, cascading waterfalls, and lagoons, straddling a sparkling Pacific Ocean, are reason why Corcovado is considered by National Geographic to be among the top ten nature destinations on Earth! The National Park protects over 120,000 acres of lowland tropical rainforest, and is surrounded by the Golfo Dulce forest reserve, that is even larger. The region is rich in biological diversity, hosting an impressive array of flora and fauna. Home to the mighty “Mother of the Rainforest” herself, the Panthera onca, the elusive, yet ever potent forest master, the spotted jaguar. Not to mention five other species of wild cats, alongside a rare abundance of wildlife, such as troops of white lipped and collared peccaries, all four species of Costa Rican monkeys, such as Howler, White Faced, Spider and Squirrel monkeys. Tapirs, and forest deer, curassow, guans and hundreds of bird species, make for epic wildlife and nature encounters.

There are three primary destinations we recommend visiting in Corcovado National Park. These being, Sirena Ranger Station, San Pedrillo Ranger Station and Llorona wilderness area. Each are unique and different in their own way and highlight the diversity of this natural wonder.

Corcovado National Park – Sirena Ranger Station

Among the most remote and wildlife filled spots in Costa Rica, accessed only by boat.

Departs at 6:30 AM back at the lodge by 3:30 PM

50-minute boat ride, then an epic wildlife observing walk

For 8 or more our own specialized guides will lead the tour

For less than 8 people guests tour will be outfitted to Pirate Cove

Sirena is located between two fertile rivers where multitudes of animals make their home. Here the rainforest is in its full glory, each and every visit to Sirena is unforgettable rainforest and wildlife experience. One frequently encounters tapir, or troops of either of the two Costa Rican species of peccary, or any or all of the four Costa Rican monkey species, and a whole lot more! Sirena is the home to many species of forest cats as well, on several trips we have had the good fortune if encountering the beautiful mountain lion, know locally as the puma or león.

After an early morning breakfast at 6:00 am, we walk to San Josecito beach, and hop a panga for a one-hour boat ride to Sirena. Following the coastline to the south, we experience the majesty of the pristine, lush wildlife. We pass the Llorona waterfall, seen cascading over 100 feet to the beach. Here often pods of Pan-tropical Spotted Dolphins can be seen alongside flocks of ocean birds. Depending on the stamina of the group, we have the option of walking one or two trails. We share a picnic lunch, explore the area, and return.

Corcovado National Park – San Pedrillo

Find here the tallest trees in the new world tropics reaching up over 190 feet!

Departs at 6:30 AM back at the lodge by 3:30 PM

20-minute boat ride, then rainforest walk

Walk distance: 5 - 10 km (3 to 6 miles)

For 8 or more our own specialized guides will lead the tour

For less than 8 guests tour will be outfitted to Pirate Cove

The towering rainforest along the San Pedrillo waterfall hike, boasts the highest canopy in the Neo tropics, with trees reaching heights over 190 feet. The trail winds down to a large waterfall then follows the creek to the ocean. Depending on the stamina of the group, we have the option of walking one or two trails. The second trail is to the Rio Pargo. The trail passes through beautiful gallery rainforest, where some of the most giant trees in Costa Rica live. We arrive at the Rio Pargo, and from there walk back along the coast to the ranger station.

After an early morning breakfast at 6:00 am, we walk to San Josecito beach, and hop on a panga for a 20-minute boat ride to San Pedrillo ranger station. We share a picnic lunch, explore the area. Departure from the park is at 2:30 PM. For those who prefer a shorter boat ride, San Pedrillo is your option.

Goddess Jacuzzi

Water gushes in from all sides, to arrive there the walk isthrough towering rainforest.

9 AM to 4 PM, picnic lunch at the pools. Includes round trip taxi fare.

This rainforest and waterfall excursion adventures to the most beautiful waterfalls and pools in the Rio Claro headwaters.  This destination leads to where clear pure water cascades and gorgeous bubble filled pools abound.  Just upstream two gorgeous waterfalls splash into a large swimming hole in the river and are magnificent for the more adventurous who wish to jump off about 15 feet into the pool.  You will explore superb primary rainforest along this trail.  This secret location is a destination and trail not commonly taken.  We depart after breakfast for an approximate 20-minute walk along the beach to the local school house.  A 4 x 4 jeep taxi will then take us to the country village of Los Planes.  From Los Planes we continue by foot to trek along paths leading to primary rainforest while we continue to Rio Claro’s Goddess Jacuzzi at the river’s headwaters. We will find a beautiful spot for a picnic lunch and return to the lodge at approximately 4 pm.

Complimentary activities to do while at Ocean Forest Ecolodge

Enjoy a book from our library

You’ll find here a vast library of books on different topics, from novels, to spiritual topics, nature books, ethnobotany topics and bird and wildlife guides. The downstairs of the main lodge, called the Dharma Hall is a cool in the hot tropical day and makes for a great place to rest in the hammocks and read a book. Also, arts n crafts are available and there is a large table there perfect for making mobiles, drawing or seed, shell and bead necklaces. 

 

Explore the botanical garden

The ethnobotanical garden at Ocean Forest Ecolodge harbors over a hundred species of medicinal plants, rare and endangered heirloom botanical treasures from indigenous communities of South and Central America, fruit trees and culinary herbs have been thoughtfully planted and can be learned about and appreciated here first hand! Take to the ethnobotanical tour to learn in-depth some of the secrets of these botanical treasures, or simply wander and enjoy on your won and let the plants whisper to you. 

 

Kayak in the Ocean

We have two kayaks, one is a single and the other a double. The ocean is a great place here for Kayaking and there is a rock outcropping before the lodge that can be visited. The clean unpolluted deep blue water is on a league of its own! The main challenge is getting past the wave break, that at times can be an adventure in and of itself. Once past the waves, the ocean is calm and inviting. Most of the time though, the coastlines waves cease for a while giving one a window of opportunity to dart out to sea.  

 

Labyrinth 

Given the stark reality of many of the earths wildlife species, many facing extinction, many undergoing habitat loss and succumbing to poaching, we have built an “Endangered Species Labyrinth.” The labyrinth is also devoted to our endangered local sea turtle population that comes to nest on our beach each year during the rainy season, between the months of June and November. The labyrinth is directly in front of the main lodge. We mustn’t underestimate the power of thought, a walk through the labyrinth in contemplation that these species, and that they might have a chance for survival, might just have a profound impact on their livelihood. The view of the Lapa Lapa lodge, harmoniously tucked into nature, from the center of the labyrinth, takes one back in time and space, to a vision of humanity living in harmony with nature. 

 

Practice yoga on our supreme “foot candy” Yoga floor

The yoga hall on the second floor of the Lapa Lapa Lodge, has an epic yoga floor, we call “Foot Candy,” it’s highly polished hardwood floor boards, when walked across barefoot, is a treat to the sole! The Yoga hall is available outside scheduled classes for guests to practice on their own.

 

Rest and relax

Modern life has people always on the go, we like to say, that “to do less, is to do more.” If you’re looking to rest and relax you’ve come to the right place. Hammocks are everywhere. Sway in the breeze on the beach by the ocean and let each cell in your body be renewed! With the greatest medicine of all, Rest and Relaxation! 

 

Rio Claro

After a 45-minute casual walk from the ecolodge, along epic wilderness coastline, you arrive to the Rio Claro (Clear River). Along the trail there is a spot we call the Blow Hole, where water shoot up, when the waves crash against to rocks. The setting is most beautiful and giant tree stands firm overhead!  The Rio Claro, is a gorgeous green river and makes for a most incredible day in paradise. Here you can swim in the refreshing green water. The beach has a phenomenal left point break and is a great spot to learn to surf. There is a small gift shop there as well, where a canoe tour up the river to a nearby waterfall is offered. 

 

San Josecito Beach – Swim and Snorkel

San Josecito beach, also known as Paradise Bay, is a most beautiful protected cove, just 20-minutes casual walk north from the ecolodge. It is a great place to swim, sun bath and enjoy tropical paradise! There is also a reef here and it is one of the best spots on mainland Costa Rica for snorkeling. Tropical fish of many kinds abound and at times Hawksbill sea turtles, eels, puffer fish and lobsters can be seen! We do have some equipment at the ecolodge and plenty of fins, we suggest  best bringing your own mask and snorkel.

 

Surf

There are three surf breaks nearby. In front of the ecolodge at mid tide, at times a beach break forms that can get really good! Beach breaks though, are a fast wave that can be challenging for beginners. To learn to surf, there are two other locations. The Rio Claro a 45-minute walk to the north has a great point break, a slower wave, that is better formed for an unforgettable and exhilarating surfing adventure! At the southern end of our beach, some 15-minutes walking, is a spot the locals call, El Bajo, here, just past high tide, a well formed, but relatively small, point break emerges, that is a great spot for beginning surfers. There is a collection of boards that can be used at the lodge, all you need to do is fill in a “Equipment Release” and your set to go. 

 

Swim in the Ocean

The ocean in front of the ecolodge is great for swimming and the water temperature is sublime!  Fortunately, there are no undertows or riptides here, yet at times though, there can be strong waves. Once you get out a little past the wave break it is a gorgeous calm ocean most of the time. You have before a paradise pristine people friendly wilderness beach to enjoy and explore. Tie your hammock up in the shade, find some shells, soak up the good life! At night and at low tide, we highly recommend as a group event, to all hold hands and wade out past the wave break. This is in order to witness the phosphorescent plankton, its literally like swimming through the stars. When you move your arms through the water, millions of speckled lights swish around! It’s Amazing! During whale season, from August to December, all you need to do is submerge yourself into the water and listen. The songs of the whales can be heard from miles away, allowing one to witness first hand that the ocean, in truth, is a giant aquatic auditorium of the Cetaceans! Lifejackets are also available for those who are still learning to swim. Also, always swim with a buddy! 

 

Wildlife and bird observation 

The Osa Peninsula is in the pulsating heart of the Mesoamerican biodiversity hotspot, the second most diverse region on the planet! Our area is not exception and wildlife of many kinds are easily seen, on the trails and around the lodge. Almost daily troops of White-faced Capuchin monkeys swing through. Scarlet Macaws are seen daily as well as Toucans that frequently visit, not to mention an abundant array of bird life. On the nature trails agoutis, like a large guinea pig, and coatis, a type of long tailed raccoon, can be seen. At night often times, Crab Eating Racoons, owls of different species and the playful arboreal Kinkajou can be seen. On the beach flocks of pelicans flying in V formations are prevalent on the migratory routes south then back north, the great frigate bird, great blue and tiger herons are commonly seen, among so many more species. 

 

White Hawk Nature Trail

Winding up behind the ecolodge is an easy to follow trail nature trail. The trail climbs up to breathtaking ocean vistas, as it winds through the permaculture gardens and fruit tree orchards and enters the rainforest. This trail reveals panoramic views of San Josecito Beach, the majestic Pacific Ocean and the mysterious Caño Island, and the ridge top lookout is a great spot to watch the sunset. Bring a flash light for the walk back down! At the top of the hill an ethnobotanical garden has been planted and is being cared for. There is a meditation lodge there and hammocks make an epic place to soak up the deeply nourishing peace found here. Bird watchers will love an early morning walk up the hill, as myriad colorful birds can be seen, such as various species of tanagers, red-legged honeycreeper and other small colorful birds, Ant birds, various species of woodpeckers, jacamar, cuckoo bird, toucans, parrots, scarlet macaws and the elegant white hawk, among so many more. Wildlife that can be seen on this walk are white faced capuchin, howler and spider monkeys, agouti, coati, and often times the elusive tayra. The trail returns down a beautiful rainforest covered valley.

 

Walk to the Bat Cave and beyond

A 30-minute walk to the south, past the end of the beach, one arrives to spot we call the bat cave. Here at 5 pm thousands of bats can be seen flying out. The walk, especially when low tide occurs in the afternoon is beautiful beach walk to where the trail enters the coastal forest. The end of the beach is very beautiful spot to explore reef pools at low tide. Views of the rainforest clothed peninsula and the Caño Island that can be seen as if floating, 6 miles out towards the west. Let the essence of the walk back along the beach, as the sun sets, with the fresh ocean breezes permeate your each and every cell! 

 

Walk to Drake Bay

From the ecolodge it is a 2-hour walk to Drake Bay, our closest small town where you’ll find restaurants and shops. The walk goes past San Josecito bay, then the Rio Claro, and passes gorgeous rainforest covered oceanic cliff sides, small beaches and secluded coves. After enjoying the town, a thick fruit juice and a lunch, you can get a 45 min. taxi or quad ride, that takes you up into the country side and back to the San Josecito school house for $30.  You can see first-hand the beautiful country side of the region, where people still traverse regularly on horseback. 

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