Tirimbina Rainforest Center, located in the community of La Virgen de Sarapiquí, is an internationally recognized non-profit organization dedicated to providing environmental education to the local community, international students and eco-tourists as well as accommodating tropical science research. This private wildlife refuge protects over 850 acres of mid-elevation tropical forests. Ninety five percent of the forest is maintained as a reserve and provides home for a remarkable 300 species of birds including the Royal Flycatcher, Slaty-breasted Tinamou, White-necked Puffbird, and Golden Wing Warbler. Other birds such as the Sunbittern, White-fronted Nunbird, and Snowy Cotinga have been recorded at Tirimbina in addition to the 50 species of reptiles, 43 species of amphibians, and 95 species of mammals that have been identified here. It is important to note that Tirimbina is considered an official Wildlife Refuge as well as an animal rehabilitation center.
The Tirimbina reserve features more than 9km (5.5 mi.) of hiking trails that are laid out so that visitors can observe different habitats such as old cacao plantations, secondary forests, wetlands, river banks and primary rainforest. Visitors can walk to Tirimbina Island in the middle of the Sarapiquí River, and go swimming in the areas where natural pools have formed in the river. No hike would be complete at Tirimbina without traversing one of their amazing suspension bridges. One bridge is 860 feet long and takes you across the Sarapiquí River while the other bridge is a “canopy bridge” and provides an exciting tree-top canopy view within the primary forest. Tirimbina is also famous for their cacao plantations Chocolate Tour and evening bat programs.
Hikes can be guided or done on your own and there are many ways to personally tailor your experience at Tirimbina, including where you spend the night. Stay at the Tirimbina Lodge and enjoy 15 rooms with A/C, private bath, hot water, Wi-Fi, restaurant, souvenirs shop, parking, library, meeting room and laundry facilities. For those who would like to have a little more contact with nature, the Field Station is the perfect place. The Field Station is a 60 minute hike from the main offices, but is also accessible by road. There is room for up to 35 people in the Field Stations’ 10 rooms. The station is equipped with bunk style rooming, full bathroom with shower, a dining room and kitchen with stove. Electricity is provided through a solar power system. It is an ideal destination for travelers with a spirit for adventure and provides great access to Tirimbina’s superb forests.
Tirimbina is near three other Costa Rican Bird Route sites: Albergue el Socorro, Selva Verde Lodge and La Selva Biological Station.
Tirimbina Rainforest Center can be reached via telephone in Costa Rica at 506-2761-1579, fax at 506-2761-1576 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. More information on TRC can be found at http://www.tirimbina.org.
(N 10° 26' 40'', W 84° 5' 38'')
From the airport area take the paved road to Poás Volcano (there are no signs, so you may need to ask someone where this road is). You will pass the Court House, Itiquís and San Isidro. Drive for 18km until you see the intersection at “Jaulares Restaurant.” Turn right and drive for 3km then turn right toward Vara Blanca and drive until you see the gas station in San Miguel. Stay right, go left past the gas station and head downhill to La Virgen. Continue 1.6km to Tirimbina. The Tirimbina sign is on the left side of the road and the parking lot and property are on the right.
From downtown San José take the main highway to Limón, which passes through Braulio Carrillo National Park. Drive, for about 1 hour. Turn left at the first main intersection and continue on this road for 33 km until you get to the main intersection of Puerto Viejo/La Virgen. Turn left toward La Virgen, drive 17km, and you will see the Tirimbina sign on the right and the parking lot on the left.
Bus service leaves from the Caribbean Bus Station via both routes on a daily basis.