Heliconias Rainforest Lodge has developed an ambitious Project proudly owned and operated by a group of ten determined local families. Heliconias Rainforest Lodge is a pioneer in ecoturism in the northern region of Costa Rica (in the zone of Bijagua between Tenorio Volcano and Miravalles).

In 1985, the land that Heliconias Rainforest Lodge now stands on was assigned for deforestation and land distribution by IDA (Instituto de Desarollo Agrario) in order to give land to families in need.

A group of twenty three families came together to protect the land from deforestation and formed a community association called ABIPA (Asociación Bijagüeña de Productores Agrícolas). With determination and commitment ABIPA was successful and stopped the imminent deforestation of 73 hectares (about 175 acres) of primary rainforest in 1991. IDA assigned the land to ABIPA as a new model of conservation in Costa Rica, whereby the rainforest is protected in private reserves and managed by local communities.
ABIPA received the support of several national and international organizations to create a private reserve and develop an eco-tourist project.

ABIPA has strong values committed to sustainable community development. We want our project to encourage other people in the area to develop incomes from means others than agriculture.
The objectives of the association are conserving the incredible biodiversity in the reserve, improving the life quality of ABIPA members and the local community, increasing environmental education and awareness for conservation in the local community, and further the field.

ABIPA’s Goals 

1. Succeeding on preserving and protecting the natural environment in the reserve and engaging in ecotourism for many years.
2. Raising the profile and importance of conservation in the community.
3. Supporting locals by providing employment and business development.
4. Opening the door for tourism to develop in Bijagua.
5. Facilitating tourism to Rio Celeste and the Tenorio Volcano National Park.
6. Working with many Costa Rican and international organizations.
7. Inspiring members from the community and tourists in regards to conservation and protection.