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General Information


La Selva has been a pioneer site in Education, Research, Conservation and Eco-tourism in Costa Rica since 1953 and one of the first private protected areas in the country.


La Selva is located in the Caribbean foothills of Costa Rica and comprises 1,614 hectares (3,988 acres) of old growth and disturbed tropical wet forest. Species diversity is spectacular, including more than 1,850 species of plants, 350 species of trees, 448 species of birds, and approximated 500 species of ants.



With its laboratories, on-line Geographic Information System (GIS), Meteorological data, Herbarium, Digital Flora Data Base, extensive trails, and large forest reserve bordering the Braulio Carrillo National Park , La Selva is one of the world's most important sites for tropical ecosystem research. Each year, more than 250 scientists from some 25 countries and thousands of international students come to La Selva to study tropical ecology. Major research projects focus on forest dynamics, biodiversity, nutrient cycling, carbon sequestering, and native species reforestation. Research at La Selva has led to the publication of more than 2,655 scientific article, theses, and books.


Moreover, 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.


La Selva Highlights


La Selva biological Station is situated at the confluence of the Sarapiquí and Puerto Viejo rivers.

  • Varied habitats: easily accessible old –growth forest, regenerating agricultural lands and an arboretum.

  • Home to more than the half of the 886 species of birds in Costa Rica.

  • Home to five of the six species of felines in the country.

  • Home to more than 70 species of bats.

  • Home to 1850 species of vascular plant flora.

  • More than 350 researchers from 25 countries visit La Selva every year to study the tropics.

  • Research conducted at La Selva had lead to more than 2.655 scientific articles.

  • Knowledgeable bilingual naturalists' lead daily nature walks to explore life in the tropical rain forest on 57 km (35 miles) of well-maintained trails, some of which are accessible to the physically challenged.


For information and reservations: visit.ots @ tropicalstudies.org


Biological Stations:
La Selva
Las Cruces
Palo Verde

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