rugged, resplendent Costa Rica
As naturalist, author, and wildlife illustrator, I'd love to share my Costa Rican home with you. Come swim in Sylvan's waterfalls and let me guide you through over 60 hectares of rain forest. It's perfect for a day visit, or longer.
- Fiona (Sylvan Founder)
The entire experience was unforgettable, from driving across a suspension bridge, off-roading through rivers, hiking the jungle, to swimming in the most beautiful waterfalls. Fiona’s wealth of knowledge was impressive ... It was an honor to spend time with a Costa Rican biologist, and a pleasure to be around such an adventurous, passionate, and radiating woman!
I've been waiting for years to find a community in which to build my dream treehouse. I've finally found it here in one of the most beautiful places in Costa Rica.
- Community Member
I'm Fiona, a naturalist who's made the unspoiled Costa Rican South Pacific zone my home. I own over 60 hectares of rural rainforest, with some of the most exquisite waterfalls in the region. This is where I blog about my adventures to preserve this land, build a field station for wildlife enthusiasts, and even establish a small community to enjoy this with. Follow me and hashtag #escapetosylvan .
Sylvan is near the Osa Peninsula's beautiful surfing beaches, neighbor to the Corcovado National Park, and half an hour from Golfito airport. We're the perfect stopover for exploring the region. Walk our trails, be coached by Fiona on how to spot local wildlife, and swim in astounding waterfalls. Freshen up and enjoy a home-cooked meal before continuing on, or stay the evening in one of our rustic field station cabins. For those without transport, we can organise airport/hotel pick-ups/drop-offs.
Fiona's been leading wildlife tours all across the globe for over 30 years, even authoring a book or two on Costa Rica. See what tours are happening in and around Sylvan, for an authoritative experience like no other. Looking for something a bit more bespoke? Drop us a message and let's see what we can do, from night excursions to multi-day tours.
How do I get to Sylvan?
We're easily reached via a turnoff from the Pan American Highway just outside of Rio Claro town. From the turnoff we're a 15 minute drive down dirt roads until you reach the Sorpresa river from which your guided tour begins. Details of how to find us will be sent when you book. If you'd like a pick-up/drop-off from Golfito airport, your hotel, or Rio Claro, please allow us at least three days to organise this for you.
How many waterfalls are there?
Over ten and counting! Three large waterfalls with deep swimming holes are easily accessible.
What kind of wildlife can I expect to see?
What you are likely to see depends on the time of day and the season of your visit. Squirrel monkeys and coatis are often seen, especially when trees are fruiting. Numerous water birds will be seen along the river. River otters and sloths too, if you're lucky. We have three species of poison dart frogs that are mostly seen after a rain. Litter toads breed along the edges of the falls and are hard to miss. As part of your visit, Fiona will coach you on wildlife spotting.
What should I wear?
You will be walking through the Sorpresa river and swimming in waterfalls. We recommend swimsuits, quick drying clothes, and shoes that can get wet. We don't recommend loose sandals. For overnight visitors and those wanting to explore trails further from the river, please contact us about the availability of rubber boots.
I see I can book an overnight stay. Can I stay more than one night?
Sure! For now we have basic cabins at the field station for our day visitors and tours based out of Sylvan. That means limited solar power, limited WiFi, and ambient temperature showers (some of which are en suite). Over time, we plan to do much more to better accommodate multi-day visitors.
Is it safe for children?
As with all of the rain forest here in Costa Rica, we have our fair share of things that bite and sting. When not in the river we have well cut trails that are safe and easy to walk. Crossing the river is rarely more than knee deep, but the river can be very boisterous after rain, and the rocks slippery. We ask that parents carefully consider if their children are up for what the river and rain forest may throw their way.
Can I request a more bespoke tour for a few of us?
Yes, we are always open for special trips and events: visiting the falls at night; camping under the stars in the forest; trips focusing on wildlife in the early or late hours and swimming at midday, to name a few. Please email us with your special requests.
Can I volunteer?
We will be looking for volunteers in the near future to help us develop a small organic farm and to help guide day visitors. A love of nature is important, and the ability to stay in a small isolated community. Please email us for more information.
Are you selling land?
Some lots will be for sale at Sylvan. Possible buyers will need to stay a week or more to see if there is a good fit with our community. If interested please email us.