Children's Eternal Rainforest
- Location : Arenal & Monteverde
- Altitude : 1,475 to 5,900 feet above sea level
- Area : 56,000 acres
- Hours : Bajo del Tigre: 8 a.m.-4 p.m. daily; Pocosol and San Gerardo by reservation only
- Telephone : 2645-5003/2645-5200
- Entrance Fee : $12
Costa Rica's largest private reserve sprawls across the mountains and valleys dividing Arenal and Monteverde: a mat of primary and secondary growth rainforest emulsified across 55,000 acres. The last of Costa Rica's jaguars roam free under its canopies alongside 120 species of mammals, 440 species of birds and more than 700 species of butterflies.read more close
The reserve is so large that it crosses through six of Costa Rica's twelve different life zones including tropical rainforest, wet, premontane rainforest and cloud forest with a difference in altitude ranging nearly 4,000 feet. The reserve surrounds some of the country's more well-known smaller reserves acting as a natural barrier protecting the Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve and Santa Elena Cloud Reserve.
Originally founded in 1987, The Children's Eternal Rainforest is a project undertaken by the Monteverde Conservation League in partnership with the 44 different countries that have made donations to purchase the land that forms the reserve.
The reserve has three different locations for getting in touch with the cloud and rainforest, each with its own trails, inimitable habitat and animals; one in Arenal and two in Monteverde.
Bajo del Tigre (Monteverde)
Just a few miles from Santa Elena and the Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve, Bajo del Tigre is the most accessible of the entrances to the Children's Eternal Rainforest. Bajo del Tigre spans 70 acres and is not directly connected to the larger Children's Eternal Rainforest reserve. Instead, the reserve protects a rare seasonal forest that spends half the year enveloped in the clouds as a cloud forest and the other half as a wet, premontane forest. The reserve's nearly 3 miles of trails feature excellent bird watching with the chance to spot emerald toucanets, manakins and blue-crowned mot mots among the other forest critters.
San Gerardo Station (Monteverde)
The San Gerardo Station is located deep inside the Children's Eternal Rainforest behind the Santa Elena Cloud Forest Reserve in Monteverde. The station provides lodging and meals for visitors looking for a secluded wilderness adventure. Six miles of trails weave through the primary and secondary forest taking visitors over creeks, up mountains and beside waterfalls. The station itself features incredible views of the Arenal volcano and the rainforest between Monteverde and Arenal. San Gerardo also has some of the best bird watching for enthusiasts interested in spotting the bare-necked umbrella bird and the three-wattled bellbird.
Pocosol Station (Arenal)
Pocosol Station sits on the opposite side of the Children's Eternal Rainforest from San Gerardo Station close to Arenal and the town of La Tigra. This station also provides lodging and meals for guests looking to trek through its six miles of trails. Each of its trails takes guests to a different wonder hidden in the dense undergrowth of the wet, premontane rainforest; from gaseous thermal vents to waterfalls and lagoons. Sitting on the station's patio as the sunsets, visitors can watch an astounding number of birds fly around the station: humming birds, tanagers, toucans, oropendulas and more.
Average Temperature: 65 to 75° F
Annual Rainfall: 4,000 - 4,500 mm
Flora & Fauna
Besides being one of the last reserves in the country to have jaguars, the Children's Eternal Rainforest has agoutis, coatis, pacas, tapirs, armadillos, sloths and more than 110 other species of mammals, half of which are different species of bats. It also features 3 percent of the world's butterflies (700 species) and five percent of the world's birds (440 species).