Costa Rica Wildlife & Eco Tours
Luna Lodge is located on an isolated peninsula in the southern part of Costa Rica. This area is one of the most bio-diverse spots on the entire planet, and has been described as “…the most biologically intense place on Earth.” by no less an authority than National Geographic Magazine. The main feature of the Osa Peninsula, and that which makes it famous throughout the world, is the 42,000-hectare Corcovado National Park, home to almost 400 species of birds, 140 species of mammals, 116 species of amphibians and reptiles, over 500 species of trees, and more than 6,000 species of insects. With 13 major ecosystems, the park protects endangered species such as the jaguar, puma, crocodile, tapir, poison dart frogs, and the harpy eagle. The expansive beaches of the Osa, especially those near Carate, where Luna Lodge is situated, are also major nesting sites for several varieties of sea turtles. If you really want to experience a lowland tropical rainforest in its most natural state, yet also enjoy an outstanding tropical beach environment, this is the place to do it.
All tours at Luna Lodge are an experience designed to raise your awareness and to educate you about the lowland tropical rainforest. Our guides will do their best to share their knowledge and interpret the great diversity of life forms and natural settings in the rainforest. The commitment to saving Mother Earth is part of the mission statement at Luna Lodge. As one author wrote:
“Give people an ecotourism experience for a day and they will be impressed; teach them about ecotourism and it can change their life.”
Guided tours available:
All tours are conducted with educated guides and begin at the reception desk.
- Waterfall Tour
We have three amazing waterfalls on the grounds of Luna lodge. This guided tour is an introduction to the rainforest. During this one hour hike you will encounter a great variety of plants, trees, birds, insects, mammals, and, of course, fresh pure water. We recommend going with a guide for an interpretation of the rainforest, however if you prefer to go alone, our clearly marked waterfall trail will keep you on track. If you’re lucky, our dog “Osa” will want to join you- she knows the way and LOVES to take people on the tour!
- Golden Trail Hike
To start the Golden Trail you leave from the hotel and walk down the road to the wooden bridge. Our guide will introduce you to the wild animal and plant life found in the surrounding area along the trail. This is a beautiful walk where you will see lots of trees such as the cow tree, monkey comb, and black crocodile. You will also find the much utilized “suita palm” which has been the most common palm for thatching roofs in the local area and that can also be appreciated on our bungalows.
There will also be the opportunity to see some mammals such as monkeys, sloths, coatimundis, tayras, armadillos… who knows!! At the end of the walk you can ask the guide to take you to the Lookout Point and then walk down ending by the main lodge where one of the employees will be waiting for you with a refreshing glass of cold water.
- Primary Rainforest Ridge Hike
This is a very special custom tour that Luna Lodge offers which gives you the opportunity to experience several local microenvironments all in the same day. Your guide will take you deep into the primary rainforest along a protected ridge high above the Pacific, where you will look for three species of monkeys, two types of peccaries, and the many other diverse species of wildlife that may present themselves. After descending along the trail through several levels of varied terrain, you emerge into the wide open spaces and fine volcanic sands of Carate beach, where, after a delectable picnic lunch on the shore, it’s your call for the rest of the day. Swimming? Body surfing? Beachcombing? Frisbee? Fishing? After indulging in your choice of seaside pleasures, you can return either by truck or foot to the lodge depending on how much more excitement – and exertion – your body can take.
- Corcovado National Park Tour
You leave the Lodge by car to Carate and walk on the beach for half an hour to the Park entrance. Hike with your Guide through the tropical lowland rainforest and arrive at the beautiful Madrigal River. Take a dip in the river and meander down the river to arrive at the beach. Leisurely walk back along the beach or duck back onto the trail along the coast to get away from the sun. Arriving back at Carate, someone from Luna Lodge will be waiting to take you back to the Lodge.
- Sirena Station Hike
This tour consists of taking a charter flight from Carate to the ranger station in Sirena which is completely surrounded by secondary and primary rainforest. The day consists of walking on the impressive trails of Corvocado that are surrounded by forests that are some of the most privileged in all of the Peninsula de Osa. In this majestic place you will have the opportunity to observe the majority of the flora and fauna in all of Costa Rica.
We have approximately 5000 species of plants of which over 600 are trees that reach to exurbanite sizes like the shoemaker or pilon, guapinol, chilamate, capulin, guasimo, jobos, and many more. These trees are a huge importance for the diversity of the fauna in this area of which there are over 100 species of mammals which can be identified as the tapir, peccary, white-nosed coati, margay, puma, nine-banded armadillo, ant eater, sloth, and jaguars. You also have the possibility to see all four species of monkeys here which are the white-face monkey, howler monkey, spider monkey and the squirrel monkey.To conclude the tour on the trails in Sirena we will have a rest at the park station. The airplane will pick us up here and than take us on an amazing flight over the rainforest that we just walked in Corcovado National park. When we arrive in Carate the Land Rover will pick us up and take us back to Luna Lodge.
- Secondary Rainforest Wildlife Tour
This tour is guided along an excellent trail where you will have the opportunity to observe a variety of mammals like the squirrel monkey, howler monkey, white face monkey, and coati mundi, and several bird species such as the scarlet macaw, toucan, and spectacled owl. On this trail almost the entire walk is in the fresh shade below the marvelous trees which are also the principal element of the food source for the animals and birds. Some of the different types of trees are the fichus, royal palm, guava and lemon tree. A portion of this tour is along an old jungle road called Shady Lane, which is a tranquil walk ending up along the beach. At the end of this tour you will be picked up by our Land Rover and brought back to Luna Lodge where the waiters will be waiting with a smile and a cold glass of water.
- Early Bird Watching Tour
Rise and shine to the fresh early morning air to find hundreds of birds already awake. We have two different loop trails that are available. For keen birders and animal lovers, the tour will be a special treat. Breakfast will be waiting for you when you return.
We have compiled a comprehensive list of almost 300 birds in the area surrounding Luna Lodge along with their sighting frequency. Avid birders can check off birds as they are seen during their visit. Download the PDF document below.
Luna Lodge Bird Checklist (268 KB) Adobe Reader required
- Sunset Bird Watching Tour
Around 3:30pm we will start walking around the grounds of Luna Lodge looking for birds with impressive colors and marvelous melodies and songs. Within moments we will encounter different habitats and also a grand diversity of Birds, like Short-Billed Pigeon, Scarlet Macaw, Red-Crowned Woodpecker, Bright-Rumped Attila, Fiery-Billed Aracari and many more species. With the help of our experienced guides it will be much easier to find them. For the lovers of nature and especially birds this excursion is an excellent option for your appetite.
- Lagoon Kayaking
This adventure provides you the opportunity to observe nature in and around the lagoon. Upon arrival you will enter kayaks and begin your peaceful journey through tranquil waters. The lagoon is a great place to see many different animals including crocodiles, white faced monkeys, spider monkeys, Jesus Christ lizards, and many more. In addition, numerous types of fish are frequently seen in the lagoon such as red snapper, Pacific Jack, and snook. Aquatic bird species are also abundant around the lagoon. Great blue heron, roseate spoonbill, and osprey are commonly spotted in this incredibly diverse ecosystem. Lagoon kayaking is a great way to experience firsthand the abundant life on the OSA Peninsula.
- Learn to Surf – Pollo Surf School
GUARANTEED TO STAND UP & have the most fun since 1995. Learn to surf on the Osa Peninsula! The water is a wonderful 85 degrees year round. Lessons are taught at Pan Dulce Beach. The wave is a perfect right-point break for beginners. It is a forgiving wave that makes learning fun without any hazards. Whether you are 8 or 78 it’s a dream wave to learn on.Our style of instruction is easy and adjusts to your ability level. In the first lesson you will learn to stand up and ride the wave and after that you’ll be catching your own waves and turning. We use Soft Top boards and provide a rash guard for each student.
Oldemar Fernandez, otherwise known as “Pollo” (pronounced poy-yo) of Pollo Surf School, grew up in the area and is known for his big wave surfing and new age tricks. He’s the best and most qualified instructor on the Osa Peninsula. He has been teaching surf lessons since 2001. He is a very enthusiastic instructor and he’s great with kids. If you want to see some cool surf tricks ask Oldemar to do a hand stand while riding a wave or a nose ride 360 spin.Certified in CPR and First Aide Response and a licensed guide by the Costa Rican Institute of Tourism. For more information, visit www.pollosurfschool.com.
- Horseback Riding
You and your guide will ride along a shady trail in the depths of the tropical rainforest observing the wildlife and eventually return to the beach to ride alongside the gently crashing waves. You will have the opportunity to see waterfowl, possibly a crocodile, and even a beautiful sunset.
- Gold Panning
At the end of the 19th century gold was discovered on the Osa Peninsula. It was rumored that more gold existed on the Osa than in California during the great gold rush. Despite the large amount of gold, gold miners often worked alone and by hand. Using a sieve or screen, miners sort through sand and gravel searching for the valued substance. Rio Madrigal, Rio Tigre, and Rio Carate are all major rivers for gold mining on the Osa Peninsula and located close to Luna Lodge. We are happy to offer you the opportunity to learn the mining techniques used for many years in these rivers with a local gold miner. Take your chances and see what you can find!
A sampling of other activities available at or near Luna Lodge include:
- Self-Guided Hiking
- Rainforest trails to explore the old growth rainforest
- River and waterfall trails to see the waterfalls
- Beachcomb and surf just a few minutes away at Carate Beach
- Take a refreshing dip in the small, secluded swimming hole fed by a waterfall
- Relax poolside
- The night sky is amazing and there are no light sources for miles to hinder your view. Our telescope is always pointed skyward and guides or books are available to help spot specific constellations.
- Boogie Boarding
- Miles and miles of untouched waves peel off every day on the Osa Peninsula. Boogie Boards are available for some fun in the sun.