OTS maintains three Biological Stations in Costa Rica. All three field stations are affiliated with the Organization of Biological Field Stations (OBFS) to promote interchange of professionals for biological research and education. Constant communication and reciprocal visits of scientists are also promoted between OTS field stations in Costa Rica and those from Smithsonian Tropical Research Institution in Panama.

Las Cruces Biological Station: On Costa Rica's southern Pacific slopes, noted for its extensive collection of palms, bromeliads, and endangered plants from Costa Rica and elsewhere and its mosaic of fragmented premontane rain forests. The Wilson Botanical Garden is found on this Station.
Las Cruces is located near the Panamanian border on Costa Rica's southern Pacific coastal range (8° 47' N, 82° 57' W). A mid-elevation site, the station's borders extend through an elevational range of 1,120 to 1,385 meters and encompass 235 hectares of premontane rain forest. The grounds surrounding the buildings have 8 hectares of cultivated collections and 4 hectares of fallow and experimental plots.
This Station is home to the Wilson Botanical Garden featuring beautifully diverse plantings of tropical and subtropical ornamentals, representatives of unusual plant families and rare and endangered plants from Costa Rica and elsewhere. Particularly well represented are ferns, aroids, bromeliads, gingers, heliconias, marantas, and palms. More than 1,000 genera in 212 plants families can be seen along trails that wind around palm-covered hillsides, through agave and lily beds, under rain forest canopy, through banana and heliconia groves, or to strategic overlooks on the rolling grounds.
While the Coto Brus region has been undergoing conversion to coffee plantations since the mid-50s, there are still extensive patches of forest fragments running along the ridges and bordering streams, including a patchwork of forest remnants extending from Las Cruces along the Paraguas Ridge to the Guaymi Indian Reservation, some 15 kilometers away. Courses and researchers working out of the Station can take advantage of these ready-made experimental sites for studies in conservation biology.
The Station serves as the principal center in the region for teaching, research, and on-site public education. The Wilson Hall comfortably accommodates course groups with sleeping and study quarters, and a new dining room situated a short distance away will be able to serve three meals a day to 80 or more persons. Duplex cabins are available to long-term researchers and families with children, and 12 double-occupancy cabins with private baths and balconies provide extremely attractive space for birding groups and natural history visitors of all categories. Spacious non-air-conditioned lab space is outfitted with dissecting and compound microscopes, balances, centrifuges, leaf-area meter, etc.
Robert and Catherine Wilson, to whom the Las Cruces Field Station owes its existence, embodied the spirit of all those whose genuine, and let us say innocent, passion in life was satisfied by the collection and care of wild plants. Their special joy was reserved for tropical plants, a very large category of plants indeed. They not only created a garden, but they purchased a large forest area for conservation as well. 
Though the Wilson Garden has over 2,000 native plants, including several distinctive endemics, its exotic plant acquisitions are twice the size of the native collections. 
Bob Wilson's exceptional flair with plants coincided with the lush growing conditions that cause plants to multiply in height and area with astonishing speed. Some areas of the grounds appear quite cultivated, but most are naturally wild areas with intertwining and well-built pathways that lead to heartstopping surprises of the plant kingdom. 
When you come to visit Las Cruces, come as an internationalist, come as a pilgrim to kneel at the alter of earth's wonders, come as an AMIGO of exotics! There is some solace for the native plant tribe: at mealtime, you (and the lovers of exotics) will dine on purely Costa Rican fruits and vegetables!
The climate is cool, with temperatures averaging 21°C (70°F) during the day and 15°C (60°F) at night. Elevation is about 1,100 meters (3,600 feet). Rain, generally in intermittent showers, is likely in the afternoons or evenings from April to December. Heaviest rain occurs from September through November.

Things to Take: Prescription medicines as needed, good walking shoes, sweater, insect repellent, umbrella or rain jacket, flashlight, binoculars, sun screen, film and camera extra batteries, plastic bags to keep film/paper dry.

Activities: Guided walks thru Costa Rica's premier garden and Central America's richest plant collection. Birdwatching, Hiking to the Java River, Workshops/Lectures on specific selected topics.

Day Visits
Las Cruces welcomes natural history visitors for the day. Visitors can follow self-guided trails or arrange a guided walk with a resident biologist naturalist guide. Reservations are necessary for the guided walks, which last approximately 2 hours. Lunch reservations should be made with anticipation.
Overnight Visits
Twelve guestrooms have private baths (hot-water showers) and balconies that overlook the beautiful grounds of the Wilson Garden. Meals are served family style at set hours (6:30 a.m., 12 noon, 6 p.m.) in a light-filled dining room that also has an outdoor terrace and views of the Talamanca Mountains. Food is plentiful and delicious, vegetarian offerings are always available, and box lunches can be arranged. Drinking water is from a mountain spring and is safe. Same-day laundry service is available ($8 per load, washed, dried, and folded).

Lodging and Meals

Until Dec 14, 09
Single $89.00
Double $84.00
Additional person $62.00
Children (5-12 years) $35.00

Rates per person per night . Rate includes: Lodging, three meals,
one half day guided walk per stay and local taxes.
Children under 5 years are free of charge when sharing room with parents

Guided Walks

Until Dec 14, 09
Full day adult $38.00
Half day adult $30.00
Full day children $28.00
Half day children $22.00

Rates per person per night
Guided walks are scheduled upon request.


Contact CentralAmerica.Com For Information & Reservations

Super Discount Airfares Complete Menu' Select Hotels in all areas Rental cars and 4x4s The best Tours of Costa Rica A complete section of maps World Class White Water Rafting! World Class Sport Fishing Domestic Flights - Schedules and Rates A step by step guide to help you plan your dream vacation

© CentralAmerica.Com, Inc. 2003 - 2009
All Rights Reserved.