Snakes have always had a bad reputation. According to the Book of Genesis, a snake was responsible for the fall of man. In Greek mythology, horrific creatures such as the Lernaean Hydra and Medusa were often part snake. In modern times, the fear of snakes is one of the most common phobias. But in northern Costa Rica, the Snake Garden at La Virgen de Sarapiquí is working to change the common perception.
Owner Pompilio Campos established the Snake Garden in 2002 because he wanted to share his love and knowledge of all things ophidian. As many as 50 species are on display at the family-run attraction. Visitors can see all of the venomous snakes and the principal non-venomous snakes that are native to Costa Rica.
The collection also includes other species from around the world, such as the anaconda from South America, several pythons from Asia and Africa, and the boa constrictor, king snake, bull snake and rattlesnake from North America.
The garden features a one-way path from which visitors can observe the creatures from a safe distance and learn about their biology, habitat and behavior from the multilingual displays. It is also possible to touch some of the animals under the supervision of the owners.
Entrance to the center for Costa Ricans costs ¢1,500 ($3) for adults and ¢1,000 ($2) for children and students. For foreign visitors, the cost is $6 for adults and $5 for children and students. The center also has a gift shop.
Open daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., the Snake Garden is located 400 meters south of the Centro Neotrópico Sarapiquís in La Virgen de Sarapiquí. For more information, call 761-1059 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.