Santa Elena Forest Reserve

Cerro Plano, Costa Rica

Text©Beatrice Blake-New Key to Costa Rica

The 765-acre Santa Elena Forest Reserve (open daily, 7 a.m. to 4 p.m) is located six kilometers northeast of Santa Elena, has 12 kilometers of trails, with one leading to an 11-meter observation tower that overlooks forest canopy; on clear days, you have a view of Arenal Lake and Volcano. Guided tours ($15 plus admission) start at 7:30 and 11:30 a.m. daily . You can rent boots and ponchos there. Owned and maintained by the Santa Elena high school, this reserve helps to fund courses in environmental education, biology, language, and tourism. The Santa Elena Forest Reserve is an inspiring, community-run effort that should be a model for conservationists trying to integrate sustainable development with wilderness preservation. It is usually less crowded than the Monteverde Preserve. Volunteer opportunities are available. Daily shuttles leave the Camino Verde Information Center (2645-5296) on the main street in Santa Elena for the reserve at 6:30, 8 and 10 a.m. and at noon and 3 p.m., returning at 11 a.m., 1 p.m. and 4 p.m.

Amenities & Features



Website & Contact

phone: (506)2645-5390 fax 2645-5390

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Recommended Near Santa Elena Forest Reserve

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Nearby Activities & Attractions

Nearby Hotels & Lodges

Rancho Makena
Sunset Hotel
El Sapo Dorado
Rustic Mountain Lodge
Cabañas Los Pinos
Arco Iris Eco-Lodge
Trapp Family Lodge
Rancho Margot
Arenal Observatory Lodge
Lost Iguana Resort
Arenal Lodge
Tabacón Lodge
Kioro Hotel

The nearest town is Cerro Plano, 3.8 km away and Aeropuerto Arenal airport is 28 km.

Please note that distances for nearby hotels, attractions, activites & other points of interest are in a straight line. Distances by road may be significantly longer!

The approximate gps map coordinates of Santa Elena Forest Reserve are latitude 10.344, longitude -84.796. (exact GPS coordinates are accurate to within a few meters, gps data labeled approximate is within a few hundred meters)