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Selva Verde Lodge »
Located just 2 hours from San Jose, Selva Verde Lodge provides
easy access to the wonders of the rainforest. For over 30 years, it has been a haven for nature enthusiasts from around the world. The abundant
biodiversity, comfortable rainforest lodge, and exciting activities are ideal for adventure seekers, bird and wildlife watchers, students, and
families. Come explore Selva Verde's 500 acres of vibrant tropical nature in the heart of Costa Rica's Sarapiqui Canton.
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When Giovanna Holbrook took on the challenge of leading two University of Florida science professors and a group of
naturalists to the Galápagos Islands in 1971, she had no way of knowing the lasting impact that experience would have on
her life and on the lives of those traveling with her. Foregoing some creature comforts, the group journeyed throughout
the archipelago aboard a retired navy vessel, propelled by their spirit of adventure and thirst for knowledge.
At that time, the Galápagos was just celebrating its twelfth year as a national park, conservation work at the Charles
Darwin Research Station was still in its infancy, and tourism in the islands was virtually non-existent.
Spurred by memories of her pioneering voyage to the Galapagos, a lifelong love of travel, and close ties to the local
academic community, Giovanna embarked on a mission to design travel programs that were both educational and affordable.
Her tireless efforts led to the birth of Holbrook Travel a few years later in 1974. Taking its first baby steps, Holbrook
Travel focused on creating and running natural history programs for professors and students from the University of Florida
and Santa Fé Community College in Gainesville, Florida. The company continued to grow and mature throughout the ensuing y
ears, building relationships with a variety of organizations throughout the U.S. and overseas, and increasing its selection
of travel destinations and program offerings.
In 1984, during the course of running a birding program in Costa Rica for the Pittsburgh Aviary, Giovanna Holbrook came
across a large forested property in the Sarapiqui region that was in danger of being timbered. The owners wished to sell
the 500 acres of mostly old growth forest and had already begun cutting some of the trees for lumber. When Giovanna saw a
felled 900-year-old tree lying on the ground, she realized that appreciating nature and sharing its wonders with others was
no longer enough—she also had to play a part in protecting and caring for it.
It took almost one year to raise the money, but by 1985 Giovanna was able to return to Costa Rica and buy the land. The
once endangered forest became a private rainforest reserve and one of the country’s first eco-lodges, the Selva Verde Lodge
and Rainforest Reserve. Selva Verde now plays an important role in the San Juan-La Selva Biological Corridor and the
greater Mesoamerican Biological Corridor initiative, a proposal to create a corridor of protected habitats extending from
Mexico and Belize all the way to Panama.
More than thirty years later, Holbrook Travel continues to serve the needs of teachers, students, academic institutions,
and nature lovers. Although many changes have taken place over the years, Holbrook Travel has taken great care to remain
true to its roots. As news of environmental concerns and world conflicts continue to fill the airwaves, it seems more
important than ever to help people gain a better understanding and appreciation of the natural world and other cultures
through first-hand experiences. In the words of Andrea Holbrook, president: “Our goal is to try to continue the great
work my mother started.”