Rara Avis is a more than 1.000 hectare big, private rain forest reserve on the Eastern border of the Braulio Carrillo National Park; a private initiative managed to turn it into a protected area. The biological research station is one of the first examples proofing that the protection of the rain forest and its economical use can be combined with each other. In Rara Avis more than 330 species of birds have been discovered; countless types of lianas, bromeliads and orchids can be seen, next to monkeys, anteaters and coatimundis. Even though the marks of tapirs and wild cats are spotted regularly, those animals are rather seldom seen as the area offers sufficient space to hide from “intruders”. In order to visit the area, at least one night in the associated “Waterfall Lodge” is necessary as the journey includes a 4-hour tractor ride from Horquetas. The starting point, the village of Horquetas, can be reached via the Braulio Carrillo highway or via the Poás volcano and the small river port of Puerto Viejo de Sarapiquí. The drive from San José to Horquetas takes about 1.5 hours.
The “Waterfall Lodge” ** in Rara Avis offers 8 rustic rooms and is located in the heart of the reserve. Each room offers a private bathroom; there is hot water and a wrap-around balcony. The lodge is about 200 m (660 ft) away from a waterfall. Packages from/to San José including full board and tours are available.