When arriving in the sleepy riverside hamlet of Sierpe, travelers have literally reached the end of the road – to continue beyond is possible only by boat. Our caretaker will await you in Sierpe – typically at Las Vegas restaurant – where you can enjoy a meal and refreshments while looking out over the lazily flowing river. When you’re ready for the final stage of your journey to Casa Roja, you will board our boat and begin to motor downstream for a 45-minute ride.

Our 360-degree video above gives you a feel for the entire river journey – drag the screen to enjoy the view from any angle! The trip begins slowly at first, until you leave the waterfront buildings and boat docks of Sierpe behind you. Then the throttle opens up and you begin to cruise at a faster pace, past palm plantations and riverside fincas (ranches). Depending on the water level and the season, you may be able to spot basking crocodiles on the muddy banks, monkeys foraging in the trees, or an array of other wildlife. Our caretaker has a keen eye for these difficult-to-spot critters, and may slow the boat from time to time to point them out to you.

After about 20 minutes, the riverscape becomes increasingly dominated by mangroves (manglares). These “walking trees,” easily recognized by their exposed, stilt-like roots, are always an indication that the ocean is nearby. Mangroves are able to tolerate living in saltwater by extruding salt through specialized glands. The impenetrable thicket of mangrove roots, clearly visible during low tide, provides a nursery area for countless species. Mangroves also protect adjacent lands from erosion, help maintain water quality, and absorb carbon from the atmosphere. A vast network of canals permeates the mangroves like a maze and connects the Sierpe River to its neighbor to the north, the Río Grande de Térraba, Costa Rica’s largest river. Together, they form the Térraba-Sierpe National Wetlands, one of the largest protected mangrove systems in Central America.

As you get closer and closer to the ocean and Casa Roja, the river widens noticeably, stretching nearly a mile from shore to shore. As you round one of the last bends in the river, a gap in the otherwise green horizon announces that you are mere minutes away from the ocean – and Casa Roja. You have arrived!