We are located off route 245, three-minutes drive from downtown Puerto Jimenez. From the main street of PJ, turn right at the BM supermarket going toward Matapalo/Carate. Take the second street on the right (the gym road), go down the little hill and to the end of the road. Your guide will meet you at the green bench (before the road takes a sharp left) at the sign for Osa Interactive Gardens. We are next to Cacao Monkey Lodge. You can find us on WAZE or ask us about courtesy in-town pick-up for tour clients.
Rayner Francisco Araya M.
Osa Interactive Gardens Founder and Director
Rayner Araya’s passion for Costa Rica and the environment evolved from growing up on the Caribbean coast and his 15 years working and guiding in the Osa Peninsula. Although he has degrees in biology and tourism, his most influential classroom has been in the forest. Rayner has worked as a registered naturalist guide since his early twenties and as a research assistant at the Organization for Tropical Studies in Sarapiqui (OTS), a world-renowned tropical biology research station. In 2012 he founded Osa Interactive Gardens Environmental Education Center and Reserve. He has worked with thousands of local and international students and ecotourists over the years, including many trips and projects with O2 for Life Rainforest Foundation and Wild Planet Tours.
Colleen L. Spurlock, PhD
Osa Interactive Gardens Student and Volunteer Coordinator
Colleen has a Masters and PhD from the University of California-Davis in Horticulture and Agronomy focused in plant genetics. She teaches for Osa Interactive and Academy Naturalista de Osa programs, manages the volunteer program, and guides wildlife and night tours. Colleen also works as a consultant for Green Diamond Resource Company in Korbel, CA for their Coast Redwood genetic research program.
Reinaldo Aguilar Fernández
Osa Interactive Gardens Project Leader and Expert Botanist
Aguilar is a renowned botanist of the Osa Peninsula, recently honored by Costa Rican President Luis Guillermo Solís for his botanical inventory in the Osa. Reinaldo began documenting plant diversity in Osa in 1991 and collected over 7,000 specimens, processed and dried for herbariums and over 100,000 scientific digital photos on flickr, as well as the ArteFloradeOsa project. Reinaldo has been collaborating with the Herbarium of The New York Botanical Garden since 2008 and lead author of the Vascular Plants of the Osa Peninsula. Reinaldo leads plant collection expeditions for Osa Interactive, site botanical inventory, and consulting. He teaches botanical classes including plant identification for all levels, plant uses including medicinal, fibers, and inks, and courses for Osa Interactive Gardens collaborative program Academia Naturalista de Osa.
“Our mission is to share butterflies and the tropical rainforest with the next generation.”
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.