About Us and Getting Here

Osa Interactive Gardens is Dedicated to Conservation and EducationOIG_logosmall

Rayner F. Araya M.
Founder and Director

“Our mission is to share butterflies and the tropical rainforest with the next generation.”

Rayner Araya’s passion for Costa Rica and the environment evolved from growing up here among the butterflies, birds, monkeys, waves, and waterfalls. Educated in biology and tourism, Rayner’s most influential classroom has been in the forest. “I learned what I know in the field,” he said, “people who work in the field often observe things that scientists sitting in offices don’t see”. Rayner has worked as a registered naturalist guide since his early twenties. “I get to share my passion for wildlife and conservation, and I get to explore many different ecosystems all over Costa Rica in my trips.” In addition to his work as a guide, he served as a research assistant at OTS, a world-renowned organization dedicated to tropical biology research, where he learned techniques to study the complex jungle ecosystems.

The Osa Peninsula is one of the most biodiverse places on the planet. “It is easy to be inspired in the magic of this place. OIG is my way to continue to learn, share, and teach others while also helping to protect this remote, special pocket of the world.
-RA

Butterfly farm and botanical garden site history

The Osa Peninsula is located in southwestern Costa Rica, in the Puntarenas Province. The Pacific Ocean to the west, the Golfo Dulce to the east and dense lowland jungle in between, the area attracted settlers for its natural resources of gold and timber. The farm property was logged in the early 20th century and was later established as chocolate farm. The project was eventually abandoned due to an unmanaged pathogen in the cacao trees that drastically decreased chocolate production. Once a sick, dark, closed canopy monoculture cacao plantation, the site now has been re-established as a diverse and dynamic jungle supporting hundreds of species. It is at the core a forest restoration experiment and example of the mission of Osa Interactive Gardens.