Friends of the Rainforest is committed to our mission of educating and inspiring children and adults to take action to protect, support, and expand the Rainforest.

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CONTACT 

T: 314.941.1257

    1.855.941.1257

F: 314.941.1257

E: info@friendsoftherainforest.org

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1324 Clarkson Clayton Ctr #312

St. Louis, MO 63011

Visit Paradise

Join us for a visit to the Children’s Eternal Rainforest in Costa Rica!

 

Looking for the perfect trip to take with your family or best friend? Or maybe you are a photographer looking for new exotic subjects? Or is the stress of everyday life leaving you hankering for a vacation? How about all of the above?

The Children’s Eternal Rainforest is waiting for you to come explore!

Costa Rica is a beautiful country of mountains, waterfalls, cloudforests, exotic flowers, colorful butterflies, and warm people. You will see fascinating animals like howler monkeys, over 100 species of birds, and much more!

Soak in a hot springs water park, climb the flanks of Arenal volcano, hike to a waterfall or bubbling thermal mud pots, float down a river spotting different kinds of wildlife in the canopy. Make your own chocolate from scratch – from cacao beans fresh from the pod! Experience the canopy from a zipline far overhead, if you are feeling extra adventurous!

Join us for an experience of a lifetime. 

Families and friends can choose their own dates and specify which activities they want included in their own custom Eco-Adventure. Our trips to Costa Rica include tropical conservation and wildlife photography, but can focus on your special interests whether birding, orchids, sustainability, etc. All trips prices have have a built-in contribution that directly benefits Friends of the Rainforest’s conservation and programming efforts. This adventure trip allows you to stay part of the time deep in the forest at one of the biological field stations (San Gerardo or Pocosol) in the Children’s Eternal Rainforest. There is remarkable hiking on forest trails and the possibility of a little rain.  Don’t worry about the rain–it’s a rainforest!

Rafting on the river

You may customize your field trip to suit the interests or needs of your group. The length of your trip is up to you. We partner with Natural Solutions- Costa Rica, an experienced ecotour company, to give you an individualized trip with expert guides. Night hikes, solos and journal-keeping all enrich the experience. Endemic species and photo ops abound. Tree planting and trail maintenance service projects add to the experience!  We want our visitors to learn about this forest with their heads, but also to feel this forest with their hearts.

Our trips draw on the expertise of local scientists and naturalists in the field. Look at the preplanned trip offering for ideas that we could include or enlarge for you.

Sample Itinerary

Day 1: Arrival   Arrive at Juan Santamaria Internationl Airport (SJO).  You should try and arrive between mid-day and late afternoon in order to make our welcome dinner in the early evening.  Your full-time, bilingual naturalist guide for the duration of the trip will pick you up from the airport and transfer the group to the capitol city, San Jose.  You will recieve a brief overview of Costa Rica’s cultural history on a quick drive about the city, or possibly (time permitting,) a brief stop at the National Museum.  Your first night in Costa Rica will be at Hotel Don Carlos, in the historic Amon district of San Jose.

             

Day 2: Craters and Chocolate   After an early breakfast we drive up to one of the most astonishing wonders of Costa Rica, the Poas Volcano National Park. En route Eduardo will enrich the beautiful drive through the countryside with an overview of Costa Rica’s geological history and biological riches.  Poas National Park maintains excellent facilities that allow easy access to the volcano`s most interesting features. A short walk will take us to the edge of one of the largest craters in the world, while the trails among the cloud and elfin forests offer you the opportunity of a first contact with the amazing biodiversity of the tropics.

            After lunch nearby we begin the drive to the Caribbean lowlands, were we will spend the night at La Tirimbina Biological Reserve. After quickly checking-in we will take an afternoon walk and experience their famous chocolate tour.  You will see how cacao trees grow, how the pods are harvested, and follow ancient techniques to create treats Indigenous Americans have known to make for centuries.  Each will have a first-hand experience on how to grind roasted cacao beans the traditional way with a metate and make your own frothy hot cocoa!  After dinner you’ll have another treat; crossing the suspension bridge over the Sarapiqui River for a guided nocturnal walk through the tropical rainforest. 

Day 3: River Cruise   Tirimbina provides an excellent opportunity for early morning, pre-breakfast birdwatching for those willing to great the rising sun with the birds.  After breakfast we will go for an early morning cruise on the Sarapiqui River to look for wildlife that hangs out along, or in, the river.  This is the region that supports a remnant population of great green macaws and there is a good chance we’ll spot a pair.  You’ll witness why this area is not only a popular destination among wildlife enthusiasts, but also begin to see why Costa Rica, per square mile, is considered among the most bio-diverse countries of the entire planet.

A couple of hours later, we’ll jump back onto the bus for our drive around the foothills of the Tilarán Mountain Range towards the Pocosol Field Station in the Children’s Eternal Rainforest. Before we head up the hill in our 4x4 transport vehicles we’ll treat you to a delicious home-made lunch with a local woman’s association.   

            Once we get to the station about 40 min. later and get checked in there may be a chance for a stroll to the small laguna before nightfall.  After dinner at the station, you’ll have the evening to relax and assimilate all that’s been seen and done over the past few days.  On the other hand we may be ambitious enough to consider going on a night hike!

Day 4: Birds Abound   Pre-breakfast birding from the porch is always optional (although the birds may not let you sleep that late anyway!).  Breakfast will be served at the station, and then we’ll have the morning for a guided exploration of the Zamia trail to the bubbling volcanic mudpots, and then loop back down to lake.  We will eat lunch at the station then enjoy an hour or two of siesta, during which you can bird from the porch, check the guide books for species you have already seen, or explore nearby on your own. This station has a network of interesting trails that include views of waterfalls, both regenerating and mature forest scattered about a varied terrain.  Hopefully that evening we can arrange for a visit by a local biologist who will teach us more about Costa Rica’s most diverse group of mammals (bats) and show us some up close, captured by mist-net.

 

Day 5: Perfection in Pocosol     From hairy wings to feathered ones our local biologist will set up the mist nets again to help bring some of the feathered denizens of the forest in for closer inspection. If you have ever wanted to hold a hummingbird in your hand, this is your chance! This will happen before/during breakfast and will last a couple of hours.  The rest of the morning is yours to work on a project or explore more of the many trails until lunch.  The lake is also available for swimmers. After lunch at the station we’ll meet to hear what everyone has discovered, and plan the rest of our afternoon.  Feel free to read or reflect in your own quiet solitude of a scenic corner of the CER, or coax your guide back out for another guided hike along an unexplored trail.    We’ll have dinner at the station and an evening of leisure in preparation for our trip out next morning. 

Day 6: Soak in the Hot Springs   After breakfast, we hop back in the 4x4s for the ride back down to our bus in La Tigra, then drive towards the Northern plains and La Fortuna (the home of Arenal - CR’s most active volcano, at least up through Oct. 2010).  We’ll stop for lunch, and a brief stroll around La Fortuna which will also be a great opportunity for souvenir shopping.  Early in the afternoon we’ll check you into your rooms at Arenal Paraiso.   Next we suggest joining your guide for a hike in Arenal National Park where you will see firsthand what happens when lava meets rainforest and even get the opportunity to climb to the top of an old lava flow.  From the flanks of the volcano, we have a magnificent view of Lake Arenal and the lower reaches of the Children’s Eternal Rainforest on the other side.  Alternatively, zip-lining is available as an option (there will be another chance in Monteverde).   In the evening we’ll take everyone to Baldi Hot Springs for dinner and a therapeutic soaking.

Day 7: Ferry to Monteverde    After breakfast, we head to the dock on the man-made dam for Arenal Lake where we catch a ferry for a leisurely ride across Lake Arenal.  On the other side, a bus picks us up and takes us into the Monteverde area, the heart of rainforest conservation in Costa Rica.  We should arrive around midday for lunch and to check into Cala Lodge a small, locally owned hotel situated next to the Bajo de Tigre section of the Children’s Eternal Rainforest.  Our hosts Franciso and Raquel are truly special people who will make our stay in Monteverde memorable.  In the afternoon we should head into “dowtown” Monteverde for some historical perspective, shopping at CASEM (a women’s crafts/souvenirs cooperative), strolling through some of the local shops, and a must-stop visit to the famous Cheese Factory for the best milk shakes in the world!  At some point during our stay in the Monteverde area we’ll hear from the Costa Rican Conservation Foundation (FCC) about local efforts to save one of the area’s most iconic species the Three-wattled bellbird.  Overall you’ll see how the Chidren’s Eternal Rainforest and FOTR relate to the greater conservation movements in Monteverde and Costa Rica.  Dinner will be at a local restaurant near Cala Lodge.

Day 8: Bats, Butterflys, & Bajo  At Cala Lodge, pre-breakfast birding consists mostly of a variety of hummingbirds visiting the gardens next to the deck.  We’ll have breakfast at Cala, then visit a nearby public school (classes should be in session) where we can deliver donations and interact in activities with the children.  Shortly after we’ll visit Bajo del Tigre, the local section of the Children’s Eternal Rainforest whose 55 acres are quite different from the other forests visited on this trip, and unique to CER given its location on the Pacific slope near the apex of the Tilaran Mountains.   In the afternoon we open things up for you to explore this magical area on your own or in smaller groups.  With this in mind we’ll probably just get box-lunches from Cala Lodge so everyone can maximize their time as they see fit.  There is so much to choose from for your options: the Bat Jungle, the Butterfly House, the Orchid Garden, the Serpentarium, zip-lines and canopy walkways, coffee and other agricultural tours (chocolate/sugar cane), and a variety of other cloud forest trails, just to name a few.   We’ll meet back at Cala in the evening for dinner. 

 

Day 9: Lunch on the Beach   This morning after breakfast you’ll have a few hours to spend as you wish.   Whether or not you want to engage in one of the optional activities missed from the day before, or just relax among the gardens of Cala.  By 11am we’ll want to be all packed and on the bus for our return trip to San Jose.  You will enjoy our country drive back to the Central Valley with views of the Pacific Ocean, the Gulf of Nicoya, and the Nicoya Peninsula.  Along the way, we should be able to make a stop at a beach-front restaurant to watch the waves and the comings and goings of ships in and out of Costa Rica’s Pacific port.  By late afternoon we should make it back to Hotel Don Carlos where you will have some time to relax, get a jump on packing, or enjoy another delicious coffee at their sidewalk café.  Before retiring for the night we’ll have a group ‘farewell’ dinner, reminisce about the trip, and check our flights for the coming day.

Day 10: Departure   Sadly today is the day we depart.  We are extremely happy you have decided to travel with us to experience first-hand why Costa Rica embodies the global conservation movement and how the beauty and magic of the Children’s Eternal Rainforest represents its heart and soul.  For 25 years the Monteverde Conservation League and its supporting organization, Friends of the Rainforest (for over 17 years) have protected this large block of rainforest, a fundamental link in Costa Rica’s conservation network.  By joining us on our trips, your participation helps us ensure that future generations of children will always have this rainforest to return to, and count on to anchor their own conservation programs.