Discovery of Hotel Selva

On the outskirts of Tamarindo, on a dead end road, a faded green sign reads, “Hotel Selva.”

The once-hidden sign, now visible due to construction, has been there for more than 40 years, leading surfers to this unique boutique hotel.

In-the-know surfers come from around the globe to surf the waves of Tamarindo and Hotel Selva has become the go-to hotel for them. They come to this idyllic, lush, enchanting place to focus, to meditate, to feed the toucans, and feel the magic of this former vacation hideaway owned by one of Central America’s most notorious sugarcane farmers.

Love Story

You see, Hotel Selva is where Don Ruben kept his long-time mistress, Carmen del Rosario.

Carmen was a beautiful young woman with long black hair and wide black eyes, who reciprocated the passion for Don Ruben, even agreeing to be hidden away in a large mansion near the jungle, at the edge of the beautiful sea.

Whenever he could steal away he would bring her gifts, swim with her in the ocean, and make love to her under the starlit skies at their private hideaway. That is not to say she did not have company while alone, as she was surrounded by a menagerie of jungle wildlife, in particular one Toucan named Santiago, or “Santi” for short.

Sadly for Carmen, she could not have children, and as time went by, her looks faded and Don Ruben stopped coming. Soon she was alone, wandering the home with only her toucans with which to chat.

A Tradition is Born

Carmen died alone, from a broken heart, with Santi by her side. Her grave is marked with a headstone, carved with the dates of her birth and death, and a little toucan, made by the people of the village.

Years later, a developer, who was also an avid surfer, fell in love with the property and restored Hotel Selva. He was filled with the magic of the place and often felt the ghost of a woman watching over him in a loving way, and that she helped him survive many wipeouts.


We invite you to join in this magical all-inclusive boutique hotel escape near the beaches of Tamarindo, Costa Rica. At Hotel Selva, you’ll wake up to the songs of paradise birds, enjoy the freshest local fruit, count the million stars in the cobalt sky and refresh yourself in the ocean waters.

As we preserve the rich history of Hotel Selva, you will experience the original daiquiri, from the late rum maker Don Ruben - by muddling fruits into a bowl and adding rum, the Bayunco was born. Named after the rambunctious resident toucan, the cocktails are available throughout the hotel and on-demand 24 hours from room service.

About the Hotel Selva


Centrally located on Tamarindo Beach in Costa Rica

Room & Design Inspiration

Hotel Selva is the natural elegant hideaway, combining innovative design with stylish local artisan touches throughout the earthy hotel. Each of the 15 rooms and suites command magnificent views of the unsurpassed jungles and beach. In-room hammocks are perfect for afternoon nap, bathroom amenities from Verso, The Good Patch, Moon Bath, & Lebon & 24 hour room service are just a few things to enjoy during your stay.

Dining & Drinking while on Staycation

The blend of Costa Rican and Mexican cuisines created by Chef Edgar Vasquez showcases his best seasonal cuisine including grilled fish for lunch & dinner and cacao crepes or the Surf's Up Acai bowl from our garden for your morning breakfast. If you prefer a more rustic experience, check out the Toucan Clubhouse for a dining experience you'll write home about.

The Cacao Communal is a place where community is found, from sun lovers, chefs, local artisan, yogis, surf babes to writers exchanging hotel stories, cocktail recipes and world events. After your staycation is over, your cocktail diary follows you with The Bayunco Daiquiri recipe for future enjoyment.

While on staycation at the Selva, check the following out!

Jungle Bartending

Canadian born, Costa Rica based Liz Furlong has quietly become one of Central America’s most prominent mixologists, using a style she calls, “jungle bartending.” Her training comes from working in Toronto, Montreal + New York, among a few other destinations where she was lucky enough to work and train amongst the top of the industry. Learn more about Liz and her opinion on all things cocktails below!

IG - @misslizfurlong

Pura Vida Culinary Exploration

Recipes from Costa Rica offers you the opportunity to learn how to cook like a local. From delectable ceviche and salsas to fish in a savory tomato and onion sauce, Meli has you covered. Born and raised in Costa Rica, Meli has the cooking skills to turn you into a Costa Rican chef. Her recipes are online and she offers virtual classes at very reasonable prices.

IG - @recipesfromcostarica

For Your Listening Pleasure…..

Get into the vibe of the Pura Vida life with our exclusive Hotel Selva playlist. Featuring the likes of Weezer, Sublime, Foster the People and more, the music is all about good vibes, good friends, good surf and sandy beaches.

The Music of Hotel Selva

Selva Concierge Picks for Virtual Activities

Pedro’s Surf Shop

Pedro’s is the go-to place in Tamarindo for all things surf - be it lessons for both beginners and those that have hit the waves several times before. One of the founders is originally from the area and Pedro’s prides itself on getting both locals and tourists into the beautiful ocean. However, for those of you that would rather do some retail therapy versus getting out in the waves, Pedro’s offers up very cool logo’ed t-shirts and trucker hats for kids and adults as well as custom surf boards. Watch them make custom boards here -

Explore a Cacao Factory

Attention chocolate lovers! Who out there has ever been to a cacao farm, the humble beginnings of those delectable sweets we love?? For those who haven’t checked out the IG handle @cbcacao for a sneak peak of Crush Boone’s cacao farm in Costa Rica which is producing cacao. Crush is also an amazing photographer and we thank him for contributing photos to the Hotel Selva experience! will be live soon!

Toucans, Sloths and Jaguars Oh MY!!!!

The Toucan Rescue has been around since 2004 caring for sick and injured animals in Costa Rica. Through their virtual tour experience, you have the opportunity to interact with their knowledgeable guides and learn more about toucans, sloths and other animals that are indigenous to the Costa Rican jungles. No bug spray and hiking boots on this tour - just ZOOM and a computer screen is needed in the comfort of your own home!