Just outside the bustling town of Puerto Viejo de Sarapiqui are the calm waters of Lago Jalapa. The lake and surrounding forest is now managed together by the Ministry of Energy and Environment and the community of Rojamaca to protect these natural resources. Members of the community still work their own farms, however, they have also invested time and energy into making Reserva Lago Jalapa a special place for visitors.
With funds from a series of grants a rancho has been built where visitors can come have a meal cooked by local women. Kayaks allow visitors to explore the shores of the lake in a serene and peaceful manner. Here kingfishers, anhingas, and herons make their livelihoods.
Members of the community conducting trail maintenance in the new forest and some are training to become licensed guides. This area was once clearcut for cattle and agriculture. Now, as the forest has returned over the last 20 years, it has become home for species like the Chestnut-backed Antbird, Black-throated Trogon, and Bright-rumped Attila. It is also home to one of the most beautiful species of bats in the world; the powdery Honduran White Bat. These little white bats, which roost under palm leaves during the day, have become a source of pride for the community. With a little luck and one of the local guides you should have a good chance of seeing how beautiful these bats actually are.
Visitation is by reservation only and a local guide is required to enter the reserve. Lodging accommodations are available in nearby Puerto Viejo de Sarapiqui or at other Costa Rican Bird Route Sites.
To make a reservation at Tapiria National Refuge contact Gerardo Zamora via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 506-8317-2436 or 506-8817-0452. Additional information and photos are available at http://www.lagojalapa.com.
In Puerto Viejo go left at Banco Nacional. Reset your odometer here. Cross bridge and head out 1.3 km to a dirt road. Continue straight through intersections at 4.8 km and 5.6 km. At 9.4 Km from the bank go right at the Y. At 10 km go left (straight) as the main road veers to the right. The refuge entrance is 1km from this intersection.