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Tirimbina Rainforest Center - BirdForum Opus

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Costa Rica

Forest at Tirimbina
Photo by njlarsen


Tirimbina Rainforest Center protects 340 Hectacres of tropical forest (predominantly primary and older seconndary) along the Rio Sarapiquí near La Virgen de Sarapiquí, Costa Rica. The site includes a lodge and a more remote field station capable of housing up to 40 persons. Highlights include two suspension bridges (one crossing over the Sarapiqui River, the other crossing a ravine at forest canopy height) and several interconnected trails in the forest.


Notable Species

To do


During February 2011 Agami Heron was found at two different locations (the giant Ceiba Tree for which the Ceiba Trail is named (encircled by a walkway) and from the boardwalk of the Theobroma Trail.

Great Green Macaws are periodically seen flying overhead.

Black-crested Coquette is reasonably regular along the Porterweed hedge best observed from the patios of the rooms just off the entry sidewalk.

White-fronted Nunbirds were regular from the Canopy Bridge during February 2011.


Birds you can see here include:

Great Tinamou, Neotropic Cormorant, Anhinga, Fasciated Tiger-Heron, Agami Heron, Snowy Egret, Little Blue Heron, Black Vulture, Turkey Vulture, Swallow-tailed Kite, Gray-cowled Wood-Rail, Gray-headed Chachalaca, Spotted Sandpiper, Red-billed Pigeon, Short-billed Pigeon, White-tipped Dove, Orange-chinned Parakeet, Olive-throated Parakeet, Crimson-fronted Parakeet, Mealy Parrot, Brown-hooded Parrot, White-crowned Parrot, Great Green Macaw, Central American Pygmy-Owl, Gray-rumped Swift, Long-billed Hermit, Violet-headed Hummingbird, Scaly-breasted Hummingbird, White-necked Jacobin, Bronze-tailed Plumeleteer, Rufous-tailed Hummingbird, Black-crested Coquette, Violet-crowned Woodnymph, Green-breasted Mango, Squirrel Cuckoo, Northern Black-throated Trogon, Gartered Trogon, Slaty-tailed Trogon, Green Kingfisher, Broad-billed Motmot, Rufous Motmot, White-fronted Nunbird, Collared Aracari, Keel-billed Toucan, Black-mandibled Toucan, Black-cheeked Woodpecker, Rufous-winged Woodpecker, Lineated Woodpecker, Wedge-billed Woodcreeper, Streak-headed Woodcreeper, Barred Antshrike, Black-crowned Antshrike, Chestnut-backed Antbird, Plain Antvireo, White-ruffed Manakin, White-collared Manakin, Yellow-bellied Elaenia, Mistletoe Tyrannulet, Piratic Flycatcher, Yellow-olive Flycatcher, Yellow-winged Flycatcher, Northern Bentbill, Common Tody-Flycatcher, Ochre-bellied Flycatcher, Rufous Mourner, Northern Tropical Pewee, Black Phoebe, Dusky-capped Flycatcher, Social Flycatcher, Gray-capped Flycatcher, Great Kiskadee, Tropical Kingbird, Rufous Piha, White-throated Magpie-Jay, Southern Rough-winged Swallow, House Wren, White-breasted Wood-Wren, Swainson's Thrush, Wood Thrush, Pale-vented Thrush, Clay-colored Robin, White-browed Gnatcatcher, Yellow-throated Vireo, Lesser Greenlet, Chestnut-sided Warbler, Black-and-white Warbler, Yellow Warbler, Kentucky Warbler, Louisiana Waterthrush, Buff-rumped Warbler, Bananaquit, Red-throated Ant-Tanager, White-shouldered Tanager, Summer Tanager, Crimson-collared Tanager, Scarlet-rumped Tanager, Blue-gray Tanager, Palm Tanager, Silver-throated Tanager, Golden-hooded Tanager, Plain-colored Tanager, Green Honeycreeper, Blue-black Grassquit, Variable Seedeater, Orange-billed Sparrow, Buff-throated Saltator, Black-headed Saltator, Melodious Blackbird, Black-cowled Oriole, Baltimore Oriole, Montezuma Oropendola, Olive-backed Euphonia

Other Wildlife

Northern Tamandua Anteater. Variegated Squirrel. Central American Agouti. Mantled Howler Monkey. Brown-throated Three-toed Sloth. Hoffmann's Two-toed Sloth. Fer-de-Lance (per the reports of local staff & guides). Strawberry Poison-Arrow Frog. Hog-nosed Pit Viper

Site Information

History and Use

This forest tract purchased in 1960 by United States citizen Robert Hunter, who worked with the American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture. He began collaborating with Dr. Allen Young of the Milwaukee Public Museum during the 1960s.

In 1986, the Milwaukee Public Museum selected Tirimbina for a permanent exhibition on the tropical rainforest ("Exploring Life on Earth"). This exhibition formed the basis for an ongoing formal relationship between the museum & Tirimbina.

In 1989, Dr. Hunter worked with with the Tropical Agricultural Research and Higher Education Center (CATIE) to establish a research plots in the Tirimbina forest.

In 1995, Dr. Hunter sold the forest to Tirimbina Rainforest Center. The sponsors for the purchase of Tirimbina were the Milwaukee Public Museum and the Riveredge Nature Center.

In 1999, the Tirimbina Rainforest Center started its Environmental Education Program, enabling thousands of students and visitors to visit and study the tropical forest. It is not uncommon to encounter groups of students from the United States visiting Tirimbina.

In 2001, Tirimbina was certified as a "Private Wildlife Refuge".

Tirimbina Rainforest Center assumed complete operational responsibility in 2005, when the Milwaukee Public Museum withdrew from its management role.

A more detailed description can be found at http://www.tirimbina.org/what-is-tirimbina/history.html .

Areas of Interest

To do

Access and Facilities

Tirimbina is located just north of La Virgen and about 14 km southwest of Puerto Viejo de Sarapiquí. Next to the main road is a parking area with a guard on duty; from there, a walkway leads to the reception and lodge area, which also includes a restaurant for the guests. Beyond the restaurant is a 262-meter (860-feet) suspension bridge (average height 22 meters, or 72 feet) over the Sarapiquí River, with a spiral staircase descending at the midpoint to the second-growth island trail. Continuing on the bridge, you reach the primary forest trail-head, leading to several loops (including a Canopy Trail with another suspension bridge at canopy height). Much of the primary forest trail system is paved with paving stones. Tirimbina reports that the entire trail system is 9 Km in length.

According to Tirimbina's website, the elevation ranges from 180-220 meters.

Visitors not staying overnight may purchase a day pass for access to the trail system.

Comfortable lodging (with air conditioning) is offered at reasonable rates. Breakfast is included with an overnight stay.

Contact Details

See website (below)

External Links