One of the main reasons to visit Costa Rica is to experience a tropical rainforest—savoring its solitude and marveling at its virility in producing such a wild profusion of life.
A great place to experience this is Marenco Biological Reserve, a remote
private nature preserve located on the wild and remote Osa Peninsula
of Costa Rica’s southern Pacific coast, just outside of Corcovado
The journey to Marenco begins in San José, Costa Rica’s
capital. Guests are picked up and flown to the little town of Palmar
Sur, where they continue their trip by boat down the Sierpe River, traveling
through the largest stand of mangroves in Costa Rica. At the mouth of
the river the boat enters the Pacific Ocean and follows the coastline
south to Marenco. The lodge, which is reminiscent of a jungle outpost
in a Tarzan movie, is located on the top of a hill, and guests stay in
platform-mounted thatch-roofed cabins, each having a balcony with a panoramic
view of the rainforest and coastline. In the trees surrounding the cabins
are monkeys, sloths, and colorful birds.
Marenco has jungle trails where you can wander through the rainforest,
and miles of solitary beaches, where you can swim, snorkel, stroll and
A boat ride from Marenco takes you to Corcovado National Park, which
covers more than 108,000 acres and is one of the richest, most diverse
tropical areas on earth. Corcovado is home to at least 285 species of
birds, 139 of mammals and 116 of amphibians and reptiles. Its forests
contain more than 500 species of trees, and their canopy height is almost
200 feet—the tallest in Costa Rica.
Eleven miles across the water from Marenco is Caño Island. Stone
spheres and Indian graves found all over the island suggest that in ancient
times this was an Indian cemetery. Surrounding Caño Island is
Costa Rica’s largest Pacific coast coral reef, where snorkelers
can see large varieties of fish, sea urchins, and crustaceans. On the
boat ride over from Marenco you can usually spot dolphins and sea turtles.
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