Amos Bien, former director of the research station La Selva, has created the Rara Avis Nature Preserve in a 5,000 year-old stretch of virgin rain forest on the eastern edge of the Braulio Carrillo National Park. The 1,335-hectare park has become world famous in the meantime. Visitors are only admitted if they call ahead for reservations at the Rara Avis (the name means “rare bird”) office in San Jose. The visit requires a minimum of two days but provides an unforgettable adventure involving a gentle form of environmentally safe tourism.
It is possible to explore the park with or without a guide on permitted paths. Rara Avis has 330 different types of birds, including macaws, hummingbirds, toucans and quetzals. This is where American biologist Donald Perry did his research on the jungle canopy, which he later described and illustrated in his book Life on the Roof of the Jungle – A Researcher in the Canopy of the Rain Forest. The park is also where he first tried out his cable car system, which would later be the model used for the Aerial Tram, located further south on Carretera 32. Secured by ropes, it is possible to learn to “climb” trees and visit Perry’s tree house in the park.