On your next Costa Rica vacation, you should go on the Bushmaster Adventures rainforest wildlife tour. This is one of your best bets in the Central Pacific region of Costa Rica to see an incredibly diverse array of wildlife.
Private or group guided tours visit the coastal rainforest at Portasol Rainforest & Ocean View Living, located between Manuel Antonio National Park and the surf town of Dominical. Tours by Bushmaster Adventures also are available from Dominical to the Osa Peninsula and Golfo Dulce.
Portasol is a residential eco-community that has Costa Rica vacation rentals, set on 1,300 acres of pure rainforest a few miles from the beautiful uncrowded beaches of Playa Linda and Playa Matapalo. The sustainable community’s property spreads up the narrow Portalón River Valley to high ridges of primary rainforest that are protected in Portasol’s private biological reserve. An incredible range of plant and animal species live in the area.
“There is an abundance of biodiversity in Portasol. It is one of the best areas in the whole Central Pacific from Manuel Antonio to Dominical to see wildlife,” said Bushmaster Adventures owner and naturalist guide, Gary Kritzinger. “It’s really old forest and I’ve had great luck at finding lots of different species of animals here.”
You can choose either a day or a night tour that will take you hiking on Portasol’s well-kept trails. On the day hike, Kritzinger said people have good chances to see birds such as hawks, parrots, toucans, tanagers and trogons, along with squirrels, tayras, white-faced and howler monkeys, peccaries, iguanas, coatis, and lots of different kinds of snakes. People can go for a swim in a crystal clear creek halfway through the two to three-hour tour; or Kritzinger said he can extend the tour to visit Portasol’s Cazuela Waterfall area for swimming and more wildlife viewing.
The night tour is particularly fascinating since most people don’t usually see what comes to life at night in a rainforest. Kritzinger said he usually spots assorted snakes, spiders, frogs, toads, salamanders, night hawks, owls, agoutis raccoons, and if very lucky an ocelot or an anteater.
The private guided tours cost $65 per person (both the day and night tours). Kritzinger supplies drinks and snacks, and for night tours: headlamps, flashlights and rubber boots. Bushmaster Adventures has never had any incidents but for those who are timid of snakes and want peace of mind, he has snake-protective chaps that you can wear over your pants for protection. Bushmaster Adventures can tailor any tour to suit guests' schedule and interests. Kritzinger is an accomplished nature photographer and is always happy to help people with their photos during his tours.
Bushmaster Adventures was born out of Kritzinger’s love for nature and wildlife. He traded the concrete jungle of Johannesburg, South Africa for the rainforest jungle of Costa Rica two years ago along with his wife, Shayne Mrazek, and their two dogs and two cats. Kritzinger specializes in herpetology (the study of reptiles and amphibians). He and Mrazek kept 18 snakes in South Africa, and both are certified there for venomous snake handling and snake removal from houses and other establishments.
“I fell in love with Costa Rica two years ago while on vacation from my home country of South Africa,” explained Kritzinger. “I chose Costa Rica specifically as it is well known for being one of the best places in the world to find a wide variety of snakes, birds and other animals. As a child, I always wanted to experience the jungle first-hand, and so with my research, Costa Rica ended up being the perfect place.”
The couple own four acres of rainforest with ocean views at the sustainable eco-community of Portasol Living; they plan to build a home there. In late 2013, the couple operated an impromptu rescue project for the red-eyed tree frog at Portasol.
Other Costa Rica nature and adventure tours offered by Bushmaster Adventures include a mangrove kayaking tour, a cave tour, and a boat tour to see dolphins, whales and sea snakes. Bushmaster Adventures also has longer rainforest expeditions between two and four days.
Contact Portasol Rainforest & Ocean View Living eco-community or Bushmaster Adventures to reserve a tour. Stay for a vacation in one of Portasol’s Costa Rica vacation home rentals, or stay forever on your own rainforest property in Costa Rica.
Article by Shannon Farley