Bosque Eterno de los Niños

activities / Hiking & trekking

Bosque Eterno de los Niños information

day use adult/student US$8/5, guided night hike US$15/10, Estación Biológica San Gerardo all-inclusive US$40
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If you’ve ever felt cynical about school children asking for money to save the rainforest, then you really must see what they purchased with all that spare change. Keep in mind, however, that this enormous 220-sq-km reserve, which dwarfs both the Monteverde and Santa Elena reserves, is largely inaccessible. The international army of children who paid the bills decided that it was more important to provide a home for local wildlife among the primary and secondary forest (and to allow former agricultural land to be slowly reclaimed by the jungle) than to develop a lucrative tourist infrastructure.

The effort has allowed for one fabulous trail that hooks into a system of unimproved trails that are primarily for researchers. The 3.5km Sendero Bajo del Tigre offers more open vistas than those in the cloud forest, so spotting birds tends to be easier. The reason is that a good portion of the surrounding area was clear-cut during the mid-20th century, though there has been significant regrowth since it was granted protected status. The resulting landscape is known as premontane forest, which is unique in Costa Rica as most things clear cut stay clear cut.

Make reservations in advance for the popular two-hour night hikes, which set off at 5:30pm. The Estación Biológica San Gerardo, reachable from a rather gnarly 2½ hour trail from Reserva Santa Elena, is managed by Bosque Eterno de los Niños and has dorm beds for researchers and students, but you may be able to stay overnight with prior arrangements. If you’re looking for a volunteer program, Children's Eternal is always looking for help.