The Tirimbina Biological Reserve, located in the area called “Sarapiqui”, is one of our favorite places to take our customers because of several reasons. Even though Sarapiqui is not one of those touristic attractions that one would see all over the internet, it is a very good place to see the real-not so touristy Costa Rica, because the reserve is close to the village of “La Virgen de Sarapiqui”, a very small town with hardly any tourism there. The reserve itself is a non-profit organization that invests all of the funds they generate in scientific research mainly in mammals, bats and butterflies. That’s another reason we like to take our customers there, because we are actually taking our visitors to a very beautiful rainforest that we know they will like and at the same time, we are contributing with science studies; that’s what we would call in Costa Rica “killing 2 birds with one stone”.
Another reason is because the place is VERY good for the observation of rainforest animals; it is very common to see howler monkeys, white faced capuchin monkeys, sloths, LOTS of toucans (we call Sarapiqui “toucan land”), iguanas, colorful frogs among others, and I’ve even seen the biologists capturing kinkajous, bats and other rare animals with their traps in the reserve, to be able to do studies on them.
Another good reason is that the Tirimbina Biological Reserve has the best chocolate tour in all Costa Rica. When I say chocolate tour, please don’t think of the Hershey’s or Nestle’s factory, please don’t. The chocolate tour there is more like a rustic experience, where you would learn everything about chocolate in a time frame of 2 hours, focusing more into how our native Costa Rican tribes used the cocoa fruits, their rituals because cocoa was very important and spiritual for them, since they believed that it was a representation of the son of their gods. Besides the history of cocoa during pre-Columbian times, you would also learn how it was introduced in Europe during the colonial time and of course, we’ll tell you how it was turned into chocolate. You would even have the opportunity to grind your own chocolate and during the tour you would be able to taste it in different ways: as a drink like our natives prepared it during their rituals, as powder mixed with sugar and cinnamon which is my favorite and of course as chocolate bars.
One last interesting thing about the Tirimbina Biological Reserve, is that in order to enter the reserve you would have to cross a very large 264 meters (800 feet roughly) hanging bridge over the Sarapiqui River, a great place to take pictures and if you are lucky, you might see some wild animals at eye level on the trees next to the bridge, or monkeys right on the bridge, which is something very common!