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Independent Research

Photo: Batsú Estudio

With so much wildlife and biodiversity in an area of only 688.6 hectares, the Pacuare Reserve is an excellent location for research. Visiting Biologists often conduct research projects at Pacuare and we welcome applications from qualified researchers who wish to take advantage of the wide variety of wildlife in the Reserve.

The goals of Pacuare Reserve are:

  • To protect and preserve biodiversity for the benefit and enjoyment of present and future generations.

  • To promote environmental education of visitors and surrounding communities.

  • To promote scientific research on a tropical lowland rainforest and to serve as a facility for training future researchers.

We are pleased to know that you want to develop your research Project in Pacuare Reserve and we are looking forward to your visit.

Researchers might be required to apply for various permits and obtain different permissions in order to conduct their work in Pacuare Reserve. This is an essential requirement for researchers that will work with human subjects or collect biological specimens. This process can be done directly by the researcher with SINAC, MINAE and CONAGEBIO. The Pacuare Reserve can help you obtain the necessary permits for a fee (this fee doesn't include any fee that SINAC, MINAE or CONAGEBIO may ask for the permits). This fee will vary depending on the number of permits you will need and the type of research project. Please contact the scientific coordinator for more information about this process and Pacuare Reserve visitors rates:

To facilitate your research and to maximize use of your time in the Reserve, you will need to complete several steps.  Approval of step 1 is needed before proceeding to step 2.

Step 1: Submit the Research Project Proposal Application

Submit the application form on the button above, and then send the Research Project Proposal Application to the scientific coordinator, Claudio Quesada, at The Project Proposal Applications should include (not to exceed five pages):


  • Title, location, name of the main researcher, name of research assistants, academic institutions associated

  • Theoretical framework

  • Justification

  • Main and specific objectives

  • Methodology and materials

    • Study area

    • Type of samples to collect: parts or full organisms; secretions or body samples; taxonomic groups; place of release; sanitary measures, amount of samples (mention maximum amounts).

    • The methodology must be as detailed as possible. It needs to explain the need to collect samples, the impact on the populations, damages to the ecosystems, etc.

    • Use of the collected material: including analysis and processing of the samples.

    • Destination of the samples: if applicable, specify the institution or organization where the samples are going to be sent or collected.

  • Expected results

    • Emphasize on the applications and practical value of the research, as well as the impact on the scientific and conservation fields.

  • Local dissemination plan (communication strategy)

  • Timeline

  • Budget and funding resources

  • Bibliography

Researchers wishing to use elements of our long-term studies as a basis for their research can apply for access to our data.
When your proposal is accepted, you can proceed to read the information about the scientific permit(s) you will need from the government of Costa Rica so you can carry our your project. You will receive an answer from us within 10 working days.

Step 2: Read all the requirements to get the permits from MINAE, SINAC and CONAGEBIO (if needed).

Proceed to read all the requirements to get the permits from MINAE, SINAC and CONAGEBIO (if needed). Pacuare Reserve does not issue permits. In general, the Costa Rican authorities require 45 working days (63 calendar days) to evaluate and process your permit and they have the final decision regarding the issuance or not of a permit

While your permits are in process, we can help you with logistical support and advice from our staff. We can often find the most competitive rates for local services as well as provide our local knowledge and experience to help make your limited fieldwork time as productive as possible. Please be aware that until your research permits are granted by the Costa Rican authorities, you will not be able to start fieldwork.


Any research that requires the removal of samples will require export and import permits in addition to the above mention research permit. This can lengthen the process of obtaining permits and should be planned for.

Step 3: Pacuare Reserve Agreement

While the permits are being processed, we will send you an agreement to abide by Pacuare Reserve policies. To sign it and send it back before you start is a requirement to do your Research Project.

A detailed discussion will occur regarding: equipment and logistics; transportation needs; need for in-field assistance from station staff, a local guide or use of our equipment, etc.

We need to consider any scheduling changes that might be required so that we can coordinate all projects and personnel accordingly.

An overview of research permits required in Costa Rica

Research permits are required by the Costa Rican government (Ministerio de Ambiente y Energía, MINAE) and its subagency SINAC (Sistema Nacional de Areas de Conservación) for any research projects involving the observation, capture, handling, transport and/or import/export of plants, animals or microorganisms conducted anywhere in the country. If the research involves collecting genetic, molecular or biochemical samples a permit will be required from MINAE CONAGEBIO (Comisión Nacional para la Gestión de la Biodiversidad).

Researchers from the University of Costa Rica are also required to obtain permits from MINAE SINAC. If the UCR research involves the collection of genetic, molecular or biochemical samples, a CONAGEBIO permit is not necessary; however, such research requires approval of an agreement between UCR and Pacuare Reserve regarding potential commercial use of any products of such research.
For research projects in national parks, review and approval by the relevant office of the conservation area under MINAE SINAC (Sistema Nacional de Areas de Conservación) is provided as part of the research permit approval.

If research is to be conducted on private land (Pacuare Reserve), evidence of permission from the landowner where the research is to be conducted must be included with the application to MINAE. Pacuare Reserve requires that all research conducted at its field stations undergo a technical review by the scientific staff of the stations to ensure that environmental impacts are compatible with station management and to safeguard other research projects from possible impacts. Owners of other private property must provide a letter of permission for research on their land.

Courses engaged in observational, non-destructive research projects are also required to obtain a permit. A scientific passport will be required for students working with existing projects. Students conducting independent projects will need to obtain Reserve's approval, a MINAE permit and a scientific passport.
Additional MINAE permits are required for export or import of biological material and for research involving genetic or biochemical sampling. Pacuare Reserve can provide a service to facilitate the permit process to researchers who wants to conduct projects for a fee (this fee doesn't include any fee that SINAC, MINAE or CONAGEBIO may ask for the permits). On the link below, you will find more information about these regulations and obtain the permits appropriate to your project, including those from Pacuare Reserve, SINAC, MINAE and from CONAGEBIO.

Information on institutions

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