The Reserve

Pacuare’s coastline is hugged by dense jungle forest. What was once logged for timber or grazed by cattle is now a protected home for a wide variety of wildlife – more than 32 species of mammal, including jaguar, ocelot, and three species of monkeys, and many reptiles call Pacuare home.

With beach, forest and freshwater habitats, Pacuare is also home to a wide variety of birds – we currently have 230 species listed! The rare and beautiful Agami heron nests in a small lagoon within the Reserve. It is the only nesting site in Costa Rica and the only accessible nesting site in the world.

Our main trail (also a bicycle path) runs the length of the Reserve, through the forest behind the beach. Other, shorter trails lead to areas of special interest, making observation of our incredible array of flora and fauna species easy and enjoyable.

Our Turtle Visitors

Pacuare’s 6km (4mi) of coastline comprise the most important nesting beach in Costa Rica for the vulnerable leatherback sea turtle and the fourth most important leatherback nesting site in the world.

Twenty-five years ago, 98% of Pacuare’s turtle nesting sites were impacted by predation – both human and natural. Today, less than 2% are affected, thanks to the work of our researchers, local students, educators, and supporters, and international visitors.

Visitors can witness the leatherback nesting season from March to June and the green turtle nesting season from June to September. Beginning in May, visitors will commonly see tiny hatchlings emerging triumphantly from their sandy nests and can join our night-time turtle censuses throughout the season.

Our Location



Our Founders

In 2013, John and Hilda were named Sustainable Travelers of the Year by the National Geographical Society. Watch as John and Hilda Denham share their story of the founding of Pacuare and why they felt it was important to engage local Costa Rican youth in the conservation work happening in their own backyards.