I want to preface that this is not a five star hotel, but it delivers a five star experience.
The lodging is simple. We (2) got a room with 2 sets of bunk beds and a private bath. The layout of the room and the bathroom is very nice. If you have t share a room with another party, there is enough room in the bathroom for privacy. There is also enough space for toiletries and for hanging things.
The station manager, Gevanny, and his wife, irolina work very hard to provide the best experience. The food is simple, nutritious, and very good tasting. Gevanny volunteered to take us out at 4:45am to look for umbrella birds. He also worked around other schedule to take our luggage up the muddy dirt road.
The view here is incredible. We could see the Arenal volcano as well as the lake. Birding of course, is the special feature of the biological station. On a rainy day, we could see birds dancing and taking baths around the porch. On our way out, we saw the white hawk, which is very special. We were also lucky enough to see the umbrella bird while we were lost and walking around in circles.
The hike to the station is about 2 miles. First part of it, about 25 minutes, is muddy and wet. Second part of it, about 25 minutes, has lots of loose rocks. The last part, which is the short cut, about 20 minutes, is a nice trail. I would not recommend getting the ATV to carry you as it is extremely bumpy. It is good to have the atv carry your luggage, if you are like us, with lots of camera gear.
The other guest's at the station were also birders and the environment fostered a kind of camaraderie among us. There were research students, serious birders, avid photographers. I have never seen my husband this sociable before as he is in his elements.
The only one thing that was a shock to me is that there is no hot water. I should have read the description more carefully. However, don't let this deter you from staying here. It is an overall wonderful experience, and it is a place that we will consider going back again.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- The San Gerardo Biological Station is located on the Atlantic slope on the Tilarán mountain range at 1,200 above sea level, and within the BEN. The station can accommodate 32 people and offers facilities for students, tourists and researchers. There are 6 rooms on the second floor each with a private bath and 2 bunk beds. The second floor balcony provides a spectacular view of Arenal Volcano, Arenal Lake and the surrounding forest. The first floor consists of a kitchen, dining area, rooms for guides and group leaders, and a meeting/lecture room.The nearby areas of the Station offer trails along primary and secondary forest as well as regenerating pastures. The forest type in the zone is catalogued as Premontane Rain Forest, which is an evergreen forest, with a canopy at 30 to 40 meters in height, abundant epiphytes, and a dense understory. The annual rainfall is over 4000 mm and the duration of the short dry season could be 0 to 2 months.If you enjoy bird watching, we recommend visiting the site between April and June when a great portion of the species are very active due to their breeding season. The birds songs are melodious and the courtship displays of the Bare-necked Umbrella Bird (Cephalopterus glabricollis)are simply spectacular.How to get there: Take the Pan American Highway from San José to the gas-station turnoff in Sardinal, and take the road to Monteverde. From there drive 35 km (20 miles) until you arrive in Santa Elena. From the town of Santa Elena, drive to the Santa Elena Reserve parking lot. It is a 3.5 km (2 mile) hike to the station. ... more less
- Also Known As:
- San Gerardo Biological Station Monteverde, Costa Rica - Santa Elena