We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.
We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

“beautiful, simple, soulful” 5 of 5 stars
Review of San Gerardo Biological Station

We can't find prices for this accommodation
Our online travel partners don't provide prices for this accommodation, but we can search other options in Santa Elena
Check In mm/dd/yyyy Check Out mm/dd/yyyy
San Gerardo Biological Station
Save Saved
You added San Gerardo Biological Station to your Saves list
3.5 km from the Santa Elena Reserve, Santa Elena, Costa Rica   |  
Hotel amenities
Seattle, Washington
Top Contributor
64 reviews 64 reviews
36 hotel reviews
Reviews in 39 cities Reviews in 39 cities
52 helpful votes 52 helpful votes
“beautiful, simple, soulful”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 27, 2013

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.

Room Tip: All the rooms upstairs are the same, with private bathrooms.
See more room tips
  • Stayed April 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 2 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Write a Review

11 reviews from our community

Traveler rating
    9
    2
    0
    0
    0
See reviews for
5
2
Solo
0
Business
0
Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    4 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    3.5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (3)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Any
English first
Berlin, Germany
Contributor
11 reviews 11 reviews
6 hotel reviews
Reviews in 8 cities Reviews in 8 cities
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 22, 2013

The view on the Arenal volcano is outstanding! The one hour hike to the lodge is worth the atmosphere of this biological station, off the touristic trails. We enjoyed the great food (full board). You can even hire a guide for a tour (we went on a night tour), who will come to the station.

  • Stayed February 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Arlington, Virginia
Contributor
13 reviews 13 reviews
7 hotel reviews
Reviews in 12 cities Reviews in 12 cities
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 18, 2012

We came back to this beautiful rustic place in the rain forest. The view of Arenal Volcano - just prop your pillow and you can see it! The sounds of the howler monkeys, sunset, sunrise, birding, hiking the trails, etc.. The food tastes better there - as does the piping hot coffee! Good to know staying there supports the Monteverde Conservation League and the Children's Eternal Rainforest - Costa Rica's largest private reserve. Can't wait to go back!!

  • Stayed August 2012, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
St. Peters, Missouri
Contributor
14 reviews 14 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 10 cities Reviews in 10 cities
7 helpful votes 7 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed September 4, 2012

A clean and comfortable "cabin" atmosphere. The married couple that host you are wonderful and the food is great. We went closer to the rainy season (August) and unfortunately did not see as much wildlife as we would have liked, but the view from the station of the volcano and the overall atmosphere is great. A group of college kids on a tour came through on our last day and were a bit noisy one night, so don't go expecting total privacy. Cold showers and quite a hike to the station.

  • Stayed August 2012, traveled with friends
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Evergreen, Colorado, United States
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 3, 2012

Really nice way to stay deep in the forest without needing to worry about logistics. The views are outrageous... the night we were there we saw a sunset with a double rainbow, amazing colors reflecting in lake arenal, lightening lighting up the volcano from behind, fireflies, bats, owls, and great stars. Lots of birds and wildlife during our stay. The trails and forest are great, and the balcony is worth hanging out on all day. The rooms are minimal but absolutely fine and clean with screens and all. Food was plentiful and very good and the service was friendly and warm. We stayed in Monte Verde for 6 months and this was one of my favorite places there.

Room Tip: All the rooms are great.
See more room tips
  • Stayed April 2012, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Virtnam
Senior Reviewer
8 reviews 8 reviews
6 hotel reviews
Reviews in 8 cities Reviews in 8 cities
8 helpful votes 8 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 19, 2012

We had a fantastic time at San Gerardo Station. The walk in is an adventure in itself, the views are spectacular. The family who look after you, Giovanni and Ivana are very friendly, and even though our spanish is not great, Giovanni still gave us lots of info about the station and the animals that inhabit the rainforest. Ivana is a great cook and you will not go hungry!!. Their son Andre is a real sweetie and gave us spanish lessons. He is 4! I would reccommend this accomm if you want to get off the beaten track and see a truly beautiful unspoilt part of this country. I love the fact there are no curtains and the first thing you seee in the morning is the first light over volcano Arenal. What more could you want?

  • Stayed March 2012, traveled with friends
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Santa Ana, Costa Rica
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 3, 2011

The station is an hour walk down a gravel road followed by a narrower trail. The walk offers views of Volcan Arenal and then you arrive at the San Gerardo Station. It is a refugio; four bunk beds per room, a large eating/sitting area, a beautiful balcony with hammocks upstairs; an amazing but simple place to escape the touristy Monte Verde. The couple who live there and are in charge of the station are super friendly and great hosts. Each meal was different and special wishes were accepted. The trails are well marked and we even saw Umbrella birds. This is a great spot for birdwatchers. You can't beat the price which includes all three meals. I would highly recommend this off the beaten path spot!

  • Stayed April 2011, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Hotels you might also like...
mm/dd/yyyy mm/dd/yyyy
Price Your Stay

Been to San Gerardo Biological Station? Share your experiences!

Write a Review Add Photos & Videos

Additional Information about San Gerardo Biological Station

Address: 3.5 km from the Santa Elena Reserve, Santa Elena, Costa Rica
Location: Costa Rica > Province of Puntarenas > Monteverde > Santa Elena
Amenities:
Free Breakfast Free Parking
Hotel Style:
Ranked #14 of 25 Specialty Lodging in Santa Elena
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
Number of rooms: 19
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

Owners: What's your side of the story?

If you own or manage San Gerardo Biological Station, register now for free tools to enhance your listing, attract new reviews, and respond to reviewers.