San Gerardo Station
- Location : 2 miles from the Santa Elena Reserve
- Altitude : 3,300 feet
- Hours : 7 a.m.-4 p.m.
- Telephone : 2645-5851/2645-5200
- Entrance Fee : $12 adults; $8 students
Trek in to the rainforest along the Caribbean slopes of the continental divide at San Gerardo Station; set in a small clearing inside the largest reserve in all of Costa Rica, The Children's Eternal Rainforest. The station is one of Monteverde's best kept secrets, to get there you'll have to pass through the Santa Elena Reserve, walk past a sign that says 'do not cross' and continue two miles down a dirt road taking the first left along a trail toward the station.read more close
Six miles of pristine hiking surround the station veering along mountainsides, dropping through valleys and ratcheting up over hills. Each of the six hikes leads visitors through the lesser-sampled beauties of the region's old-growth rainforest, secondary rainforest and regenerating meadows where old pastures are slowly being taken back by the rainforest.
The Sendero Quebrada, the longest of the trails around the station, twists more than a mile long through untouched, primary rainforest leading to a 40-foot waterfall. Along the way you'll step over the lattice-work of ancient tree roots, on wide trails that funnel into narrow routes that cut into the side of a mountain; on one side a drop into the river valley below, the other a wall of dirt, moss and underbrush.
The second longest trail, Sendero Tabacon, weaves through leagues of secondary and primary forest before cutting back through an open meadow brimming with tall grasses, butterflies, and lone cicropia trees. Climbing through the hills inside the forest, guests will hear the melody of crystal clear brooks, the crunch of dry leaves underfoot and the songs of a hundred different birds chirping in the forest canopies.
For visitors looking for a longer trek, hire a guide and step onto Sendero Cano Negro, a six-mile journey straight through the Children's Eternal Rainforest from Monteverde all the way to Rancho Margot near Lake Arenal. En route you'll pass through the Cano Negro river at least five times, so come prepared with waterproof gear and an extra pair of socks.