La Selva has been a pioneer site in education, research, conservation and eco-tourism in Costa Rica since 1953 and was one of the first private protected areas in the country. The station is located in the Caribbean foothills of Costa Rica and comprises 1,600 hectares (3,953 acres) of old growth and new growth tropical wet forest. Species diversity is spectacular, including more than 2,080 varieties of plants, 420 species of trees, 467 species of birds (representing more than 50% of the species in the country), and approximately 700 species of ants.
La Selva is one of the world’s most important sites for tropical ecosystem research. The Organization for Tropical Studies (OTS) aims to ensure that natural history visitors have a high-quality experience and learn about La Selva and OTS’ mission. OTS also works to guarantee that local people benefit from the ecotourism in Costa Rica.
Knowledgeable bilingual naturalists lead daily nature walks to explore life in the tropical rain forest on 16 km (26 miles) of paved well-maintained trails, some of which are accessible to the physically challenged. Overnight visitors can walk by themselves anytime. It is mandatory that day visitors are accompanied by a guide on one of our daily tours.
While temperature variation is slight year round, daily temperatures can fluctuate from 19°C (66°F) to 31°C (88°F). The climate is tropical wet with an average annual rainfall of 4 meters (13 feet). Although rain nourishes the forest throughout the year, the rainiest months are July, November, and December.
If you want to know more about the species list of our Research Stations, please click here.
Zone: Puerto Viejo de Sarapiquí, Heredia, Costa Rica.
Distance from San José: 80km. Only 1.5 hours driving.
Getting there: Take the Guápiles Highway through Braulio Carrillo National Park. After approximately 35-45 minutes of driving, you will pass over the Río Sucio. Continue for 7 km, turn left following the sign to Puerto Viejo and continue for approximately 30 km more. The La Selva entrance is 3 km south of Puerto Viejo de Sarapiquí. For public buses, call Transportes Caribeños (Gran Terminal del Caribe), (506) 222-0610, Central Street, between 13th & 15Th ave. Buses leave San José to Puerto Viejo de Sarapiquí approximately every two hours between 6:30 a.m. and 6 p.m.
Phones: San José Office, Tel. + (506) 2524-0607 (ext. 1340), Fax. + (506) 2524-0608
La Selva Reception, Tel. + (506) 2766-6565, Fax. + (506) 2766-6535
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