The Treewolf- Costa Rica Rain Forest Experience 2015 trip will be a one-of-a-kind 16 day exploration trip visiting three distinct tropical forest environments with experienced and knowledgeable tree climbing and naturalist guides. We will spend time in high elevation oak cloud forest, mid- elevation pre-montane forest and tropical rain forest by the Pacific Ocean. Please join us to climb trees, explore the forest canopy up close, learn about the environment, have fun and contribute to conservation and research.
Talamanca Mountain Range
Our first location will be in the high elevation cloud forest in the Talamanca Mountain Range in a virgin oak forest that is part of the largest protected natural zone of Central America. This area, which includes parts of both Costa Rica and Panama, has been designated a World Heritage Site. The large native oaks grow to a height of 70 meters and rival the largest lowland tropical trees in size. The range is home for many endemic plants and animals and is habitat for five species of big cats: pumas, ocelots, margays, jaguars and jaguarundis. There are 600 species of birds including the three-wattled bellbird, bare-necked umbrella bird and resplendent quetzal. The quetzal is generally considered the most spectacular bird of the Americas. Our visit will coincide with the quetzal nesting season, the birds nest in tree cavities and there should be good opportunities to observe and photograph them from adjacent trees.
We will stay at the Savegre Nature Reserve in a very comfortable and pleasant lodge owned and operated by the Chavez family, a local family who were the original settlers in this area. They recognized the importance of conserving this unique beautiful forest and the role of eco-tourism to make this happen.
There are large wild old growth trees to climb and explore in the forest and also smaller trees with lower branches for novice climbers.
Optional activities at this location include a nearby zipline, horseback riding, fly fishing for trout and a visit to the spa.
Savegre Cloud Forest. 8000 feet elevation.
Cloud Forest Oak, Quercus bumelioides
II Las Cruces Research Station
The next stop after the cloud forest will be Las Cruces Research Station, Wilson Botanical Garden and the town of San Vito in an environment of mid elevation (3900 feet) pre-montane primary and secondary forest as well as restoration forest and agricultural areas with coffee being the primary crop.
Las Cruces Research Station in operated by the Organization for Tropical Studies, a non-profit consortium of about sixty universities and research institutions around the world. It is a key site for studies in restoration ecology and biological corridors. We will visit primary and secondary forest and explore the Wilson Botanical Garden which has an extensive collection of palm and a self-guided tree walk with tropical trees from around the world. There will be opportunities to interact with researchers and field station staff if interested and of course trees to climbs. The arborists in the group can take part in a volunteer project to do a detail canopy reduction for a view from their observation tower.
The town of San Vito was founded by Italians (good pizza), you may see the indigenous Ngobe people and members of the local Mennonite community in town. If you are so inclined this is good chance to go out and meet some locals Friday night. Word has it we should be able to find a place with live music.
Other optional activities at this location include a coffee tour, river rafting, and a cave tour.
Motmot at Las Cruces
Ngobe indigenous people masks
III Osa Peninsula
Guaria de Osa. From San Vito we will drive to the Sierpe River by the Pacific Ocean and travel by boat to Guaria de Osa, our paradise home on the Osa Peninsula operated by our enthusiastic host, Jonathon[E1] Miller Weisberger. Jonathon is an ethno-botanist with extensive knowledge of medicinal plants and traditional practices. He has created a remarkable eco-resort on this beach just north of Corcovado National Park. We will stay in cabins in the ethno-botanical garden. This area has some truly great trees both inside and outside Corcovado Park, thought to be the largest trees in Central America. Corcovado also contains the largest primary forest on the American Pacific Coast. National Geographic has called it “the most biologically intense place on earth in terms of biodiversity”. Notable species are scarlet macaws, howler, capuchin, spider and squirrel monkeys. There are tapirs and jaguars and an abundance of other species. We will take part in the turtle conservation project and have an evening bat program. We will catch and release bats using mist nets in the canopy, record the species and learn about their natural history.
Optional activities available at Guaria include scuba diving, snorkeling, horseback riding, a dolphin tour and surfing.
On this trip there will be lots of opportunities to learn and have your questions answered. Our Costa Rican guide, Carlos Chavarria is a very knowledgeable naturalist, he has a degree in forestry and is experienced in managing eco-tourism. Jonathon at Guaria is an expert on local natural history with a specialty in medicinal plants. You can expect to learn to identify a limited number of tropical trees, birds and mammals including common bats and the four species of monkeys native to Costa Rica. You will learn some about conservation policies and eco-tourism. The learning is as casual or involved as you desire, for example the presentations at Savegre Lodge will be in the loungeJ.
There will be lots of tree climbing but also plenty opportunity for other activities and relaxation. This group is for adult responsible climbers of all levels who come together to enjoy nature and share new experiences with friends. You will decide your own activities and level of involvements within some general guidelines subject to the instructions of the guides. The large old forest trees generally have no lower branches, the canopy structure is high. The “first ascent” of the wild trees requires experienced climbers with guides. Beginners can start with guided climbing of “tamer” trees with a lower branch structure. The trip will have a ratio of 4 guests to one climbing guide. Please consult with a guide before the trip regarding your experience, climbing methods and equipment as well as guidelines to follow.
Contribution to Conservation.
We will stay at places that actively work for conservation and research. Savegre Lodge is undertaking forest and habitat restoration and a major focus of the research at Las Cruces is best practices in restoration. Guaria has a successful ongoing turtle conservation project. The amazing large ancient turtles travel extensively through the world’s ocean and return to their beach of origin to lay eggs in the sand. Prior to Jonathon’s arrival and creation of Guaria it was common for people to collect the turtle eggs for human or even pig consumption. Through education and work with the local community and school this practice has been stopped. In addition the local turtle project protects the nest from predation by dogs and releases the newly hatched baby turtles to head for the ocean and begin their epic journeys. Our visit coincides with the turtle season and there is a good chance we can take part in releases.