Children’s Eternal Rainforest

Monteverde, Costa Rica

Text©Beatrice Blake-New Key to Costa Rica

The Children’s Eternal Rainforest Children from all over the world have been inspired by the efforts of a group of Swedish fourth-graders who organized the first Children’s Rainforest campaign in 1987, in response to a presentation at their school by a biologist who talked about growing deforestation in the Monteverde area. Since then, schoolchildren and adults from 44 countries have raised money to buy more than 56,000 acres of rainforest on the Atlantic slope to the east of the Monteverde Cloud Forest reserve. This land, now the largest private reserve in Costa Rica, is called the Children’s Eternal Rainforest (Bosque Eterno de los Niños, or BEN) in honor of the children of the world who have helped protect this special place. So far, 707 species of birds, reptiles, and mammals have been identified in the BEN, representing over half of all species found in Costa Rica.

Two rustic stations in the forest offer lodging for groups of students or tourists. The San Gerardo Station (private bath, cold water), at 4000 feet above sea level, offers a breathtaking view of Arenal Volcano and Lake Arenal. It can be reached in an hour’s downhill (3.5 kilometers) hike from the Santa Elena Forest Reserve. The station has comfortable bunkbeds and sleeps four to a room. The trails, and the chances of seeing the volcano, are best in the dry season. Recommended for those who enjoy hiking. Birders will enjoy San Gerardo from April to June when the melodious songs and courtship displays of the Bare-necked Umbrella bird are at their peak. The Poco Sol Station (dorms with shared bath), 2350 feet above sea level and accessible from La Tigra, south of La Fortuna, is near a waterfall, hot mudpots, and a mountain lake, with excellent hiking and wildlife observation opportunities. To get there, drive 13.5 kilometers from the BEN office, across from the police station in La Tigra between San Ramón and La Fortuna (four-wheel drive only). Contact Poco Sol (2468-8382; e-mail: or San Gerardo (2645-5003, fax: 2645-5104, for reservations ($47/person; students and volunteers, $30/person. All rates include meals.

The only section of the Children’s Rainforest currently open to walk-in visitors is the Bajo del Tigre Trail (open Monday through Saturday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Sunday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.; admission $8, students with ID $5; children under 12 free). The entrance is down a side road on the right about 100 meters past Stella’s Bakery and CASEM as you enter Monteverde—watch for the sign. Our favorite is the Murciélago trail, which goes along the canyon’s edge. Bajo del Tigre has a Visitors Center, with a spectacular view of the Gulf of Nicoya. Next door is the one-room Children’s Nature Center (open daily, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.), painted inside to look like a rainforest. Here you’ll find magnifying glasses, fossils, puzzles, interactive games, and examples of different animal tracks. The BEN offers a guided twilight tour from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. ($20, $22 including roundtrip transportation,. Make reservations at 2645-5923).

Amenities & Features

Website & Contact

phone: (506)2645-5003, 2645-5200 fax 2645-5104

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Nearby Activities & Attractions

Nearby Hotels & Lodges

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

The nearest town is Monteverde, 0.5 km away and Aeropuerto Arenal airport is 31.8 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 exact gps map coordinates of Children’s Eternal Rainforest are latitude 10.3055, longitude -84.81205. (exact GPS coordinates are accurate to within a few meters, gps data labeled approximate is within a few hundred meters)