About Our Project
Nature Observatorio is a beautiful treehouse suspended 25 meters up on a tree in the middle of the jungle in the Gandoca Manzanillo Wildlife Refuge at the Caribbean coast of Costa Rica.
Because you are true adventurer and nature lover. To view the jungle from high above the treeline is one of the most rewarding experiences, and certainly one of the top joys of life. You will hike in and out from the jungle and climb up and down from the Treehouse fully under our supervision. We promise you one of the most enriching experience of your life.
The Amazing Treehouse and Nature Observatorio is unparalleled project in human history. Suspended on nylon straps, the Observatorio is built in place, assembled like a 'Lego' project, high in the air, without ever harming the tree in any way. The entire structure weighs only 2.200kg. Upstairs are two comfortable bedrooms, and downstairs is your viewing platform. The 360 degree panoramic vista encompasses the surrounding greenery, as well as the Caribbean Ocean stretching out to the eastern horizon, and the blue tropical sky above.
Nature Observatorio is suspended on app. 350 years old monumental Nispero tree. The plan is to keep it on our 'Nispero' tree for up to ten years. Then it will be removed, refurbished and reassembled on a different tree.
Almost zero. Not a single nail or screw is used in the Treehouse emplacement. It may also be the first house-like structure to be built from the top down. It has two floors (the first about 25 mt. from the ground), of approximately 60 square meters. It is light, modern and removable. Our goal is always to keep everything as eco-friendly as is humanly possible. Rain water is supplying the Observatorio and its modern bathroom. Solar energy is providing electricity for all the usual home conveniences.
Nature Observatorio won "Best innovation" prize at the Responsible Tourism Awards 2012, organized by responsibletravel.com. More info can be found at http://www.natureobservatorio.com/award.html.
This project is mainly for adventurers and nature lovers. If you don't want to spend the night there you can just visit it for a half or full day tour. Either or, you are up for something very special. We will be delighted to welcome you in our Amazing Treehouse.
Tours and Pricing
The whole experience starts with wonderful nature hike through primary rainforest, followed by a bit of exercise climbing up the tree with ropes, and then finally stay feel fresh air from the ocean and incredible views of trees while observing animals and birds from our canopy observation deck.
We offer four types of tours:
  • VIP Overnight Tour
  • Adventure Overnight Tour
  • Full Day Tour
  • Half Day Tour
All pricing details can be found on our booking page at http://natureobservatorio/book. You can also book through our partners, such as Unusual hotels of the World, Airbnb and VRBO, if you prefer to do so.
We accept PayPal and cash. We can also process your credit card through the PayPal interface. To secure your desired tour date, you should send minimum deposit of $100 at the time of ordering. Remaining balance can be paid before the tour starts, either in cash, Paypal or credit card. The tour must be paid off in full before it starts.
All our prices are quoted in USD (United States Dollars) which is also our preferred currency. We also accept CRC (Colones), EUR (Euros) and GBP (British Pounds) in case you wish to pay with those currencies. To calculate the amount we use daily cash exchange rate (Foreign funds purchase) of National Bank of Costa Rica, effective on the day of the tour.
There are no ATM machines in Manzanillo. Nearest ATM machines are in Puerto Viejo (12km away), dispensing cash in both USD and Colones. However, these ATMs are not very reliable and you might have problems when trying to withdraw money. Best approach is to make sure you have cash with you before entering the Caribbeans.
Unfortunately we do not have Credit Card terminal. However we can accept your credit card by using the Paypal interface should you choose to proceed with the payment of the remaining balance that way.
To ensure high availability, Overnight tours are recommended to be booked book with at least 3 months in advance. Please do not leave this to the last moment as your desired date migh not be available any more. Our real-time availability calendar is available at http://natureobservatorio/book.
Seasonal pricing is common business practice in Costa Rica. High season runs from December 15 till April 15 and low season from April 16 till December 14. Our prices are slightly higher during the high season.
Yes, Overnight tours are only for children at least 8 years old. Day tours are not age restricted, however please use your own judgement whether the tour is suitable for your child.
Yes, we offer special junior rates for children under 16 years old.
The Treehouse is not suitable for pets.
We don't offer refunds, however we do offer free rescheduling of your tour for different date, if available.
Tour Details
Overnight tours consist of guided jungle hike through primary forest with animal explorations, climbing the tree with ropes, overnight stay with beautiful views of trees, animals and birds from the canopy. Fruits and snacks and traditional Costa Rican breakfast served in the morning. VIP add-on also includes special delivery of hot dinner with one bottle of wine per couple right before the sunset.
Check-in is usually 1PM in the front of Soda Maxi in Manzanillo (at the end of the road), return to the entrance on the next morning is around 11AM.
Day tours consist of guided jungle hike through primary forest with animal explorations, climbing the tree with ropes, and time up on the tree with beautiful views of trees, animals and birds from the canopy. Fruits and snacks are provided.
Full Day tour takes app. 8 hours and Half Day tour takes app. 5 hours to complete.
Fruits, drinks and snacks are included with the all tour packages. If you opt in for VIP package for your overnight tour, you will also enjoy full dinner fare, complemented with a bottle of wine.
We usually meet in Manzanillo at Soda Maxi at 1:00 p.m. You can come earlier to enjoy the beach and have lunch. Then We drive for app. 5 min. to entrance of our reserve from where we start 45 min. hike to the Treehouse. Next day after breakfast we repel down and hike out to the car. Normally we are back around mid-day.
Most likely. Our professional tour guides are experts at spotting animals in their natural habitat. This tour provides the opportunity to watch white-faced monkeys, howler monkeys, spider monkeys, sloths, iguanas, snakes, poisonous frogs, and many other rain forest creatures. The Gandoca-Manzanillo Refuge is also home to 384 species of birds including toucans, green macaus, hummingbirds, tanagers and owls.
It starts with walk through the rainforest paths, however there are some steep paths along the way later during the hike. It can get pretty slippery, especially immediately after the rain.
Definitely hiking boots. We provide boots for you free of charge to use in case you don't have your own or you don't want them to get dirty from the mud.
Maximum amount of people for day tour is 6 for one group. For Full Day Tours we schedule one group a day, for Half Day Tours we schedule morning group at 7:30AM and afternoon group at 12:30PM.
Observatorio has two bedrooms, each equipped with queen size bed. Therefore our overnight capacity is up to 4 persons. However we do not restrict the capacity, in case of family of 5 or 6 they can still sleep in the hammocks on the first floor.
There is portable toilet and shower with rainwater up on the tree. There is also small kitchenette, including water cooler for you to use. We use rechargeable LED flashlights to supply the lightning during the night and solar accumulator can be used to recharge your cell phone or tablet.
No Wifi is installed. We believe that primary goal of the Treehouse is to watch the surrounding nature, rather than the screen of your phone or tablet. If you feel that you need to be connected, you can bring your cellphone with the data plan. We suggest to buy Kolbi pay as you go SIM card from one of the local vendors which is inexpensive and gives you great signal and data.
Yes, since it is high up on the tree within the reach of Manzanillo cell transmitter, your celphone recepcion including high speed data, provided by Kolbi and Claro will be excellent.
The structure utilizes open concept, therefore your privacy is not very high. If there are 4 people for overnight tour, we recommend that they know each other well enough that lack of privacy would not be a concern to ensure all members of the party are comfortable. We never combine 2 strange couples together for an overnight stay.
Location
It is located in Gandoca-Manzanillo National Wildlife Refuge near Manzanillo and Puerto Viejo, in the province of Limon, just off wonderful Caribbean coast of Costa Rica. The area is a mixed land (state and private), where the combination of landscapes, beaches, and ocean scenery, plus the local culture, make the site a very attractive place for visitors. GPS coordinants of the Treehouse are 9.6159 degrees N and 82.6635 degrees W.
Yes, it is very close (5 minutes drive) from the Caribbean sea, near beautiful beaches of Manzanillo, Punta Uva, Cocles and Puerto Viejo. In fact, you can see the ocean from the Nature Observatorio.
Exact distance is 203km (126 miles) from San Jose and 95km (59 miles) from Limon. If you are driving from San Jose, please reserve at least 5 hours for the duration of your drive, as the truck traffic, especially during weekdays slows the drive down significantly. You can also use the bus from San Jose to either Puerto Viejo or Manzanillo.
Yes, we offer pick-up from Puerto Viejo or Cocles for $10 / one way. Capacity of our vehicle is 4 persons. Pickup and dropoff in Manzanillo is for free.
Gandoca-Manzanillo’s land and marine environments provide an extremely diverse habitat that allows for a great variety of large tree species and monkeys as well as a diverse number of birds, amphibians, and reptiles. More info can be found at the brochure at http://www.visitcostarica.com/ict/paginas/folletos/2012/PARQUES_NACIONALES/gandoca-manzanillo.pdf.
Local climate follows the general weather pattern of the Costa Rican Caribbean, with less rain between January and April, and the end of September to the beginning of October. However there really isn't any bad time to visit the Treehouse. Although our High Season is Dec 15 - April 15, you can take advantage of less crowds and more favorable prices during the Low Season. We are open all year round.
Security and Safety
The structure utilizes modern and unique design. The treehouse is fully suspended, in order to minimalize ite ecological impact. Not a single nail is harming the tree. We use solar panels for led lights, an eco-toilet and shower with rain water. In addition to that, it is modular and can be moved to another tree if needed.
You are perfectly safe up on the Treehouse. It was projected to carry up to 20 people at the time and the structure is designed by suspension structure engineer and architect. It is completely stable and secure. It can move a little bit during high winds, but that is very normal. It will easily withstand strong winds and thunderstorms and shelter you well from all inconveniences of the inclement weather.
Everyone participating on Day or Overnight tours needs to be in decent physical condition to be able to hike and climb. It is pretty good workout to hoist yourself up to the Treehouse however 95% of people with average fitness were able to climb without assisstance. Even if you experience troubles, we pull you up. You are using more the power of your leg muscles than arms.
Yes, since Nature Observatorio Tours are classified as adventure activities, every participant is required to sign a waiver, limiting his/her legal rights. That is normal procedure during all similar activities. You may review the content of the waiver at http://natureobservatorio.com/waiver.pdf.
You will ascend 25 meters (80 feet) which is equivalent of app. 8 stories. Although pretty tiring, this experience is very rewarding and once you are up on the tree, you will feel a sense of great physical achievement.
You will be pulling yourselves by using the special technical climbing technique, utilizing mostly the strenght of your legs muscles. It was designed specifically to make the ascend much more comfortable. It is also called "Double rope technique" and you may review this technique at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4_1MTxvR3TQ.
100% safe. This technique is proven technical tree climbing method, utilized all over the world. Our tour guides are trained experienced professionals, who climbed hundreds of trees for many years. You will be fully equipped with climber's helmet and gloves, and there is always one tour guide up on the tree and one down, holding the ropes and backing you up at all times during the ascend and descend.
No problem, we will comfortable pull you up with an elevation system.
Don't worry about your fear of heights, many people who were the same made the climb easily. During the climb you are always safe, in vertical position and you don't have to look down if you don't want to.
Yes, safe and free parking for your car is included, at the entrance to the reserve, right where the hike starts.
Your big bags will be safe at your car at entrance to our reserve or if you don't feel comfortable, we can securely store them at our base lodge. For the tour, bring small backpack for overnight stay with some clothes to change, hiking shoes, water for hike and repellent.
Treehouse doesn't have safebox but it is safest place because is 80 feet from the ground and no one will be able to climb up without our assisstance. The surrounding jungle is our private property with restricted access to others than our visitors.
With its biodiversity, Gandoca-Manzanillo wildlife refuge is home also for some poisonous snakes, frogs, wild cat species, ants and spiders. Our tour guides are trained to spot them and immediately take precaution in case of a an encounter. You will be wearing high boots which reduces the possibility of being bitten by a snake. There is always one tour guide leading the group and another one at the end, and they are alert at all times.
The Treehouse is high enough for these animals to enter. It is highly unlikely for any of the dangerous animals to climb up to the Treehouse. There are ants wandering up and down on the tree, but they are completely harmless and usually don't get inside the structure. Also, you might spot some banana spiders, building their webs under the floor of the treehouse. These spiders might look large, but they are also completely harmless.
No, the Caribbean area of Costa Rica is very safe, possibility of a hurricane is extremely rare.
In case of a storm during the hike, we postpone for later hour. Our weather guarantee offers you free rescheduling for another day in case of inclement weather.
Storms and heavy rainfalls are pretty common in tropical rainforest. The structure is strong enough to resist inclement weather. Please stay calm and wait for the storm to end. In case you need to communicate with us, we also provide cell phone for you to call us.



Jungle Enterprises S.A.
- Manzanillo,  Limón, Costa Rica - Tel : (506) 8628-2663 - E-mail : info@natureobservatorio.com
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