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For information on upcoming workshops, please scroll down and click on the eye next to Workshops and Blitzes. To contact Fiona, click on Read More, below. 

forest and river.jpg

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. For information on upcoming workshops, scroll down to Workshops and Blitzes, and click on the eye!

- Fiona (Sylvan Founder) 


Tropical Sketching Workshop has some space available! 

Last year's group enjoying the gardens. For more info go to Tour with us.


I really enjoyed the entire experience of the workshop!  You, your staff and your facilities/ property  made the experience that much more special.  Glad I was able to expand on my birding skills. I look forward to  a return trip to Sylvan in the future

- Workshop participant 

We have many repeat guests, check it out!

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  • 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.
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