When I think about great memories there is a specific place that immediately comes to mind. It is not just for the beauty of the nature to be seen there but also from the friendships I made and still keep to this day. Everything started at the cloud forest.
Yes, I am talking about my amazing job experience with the Jose Miguel Alfaro Research Station! I worked with the great group of people there for one year and that job definitely confirmed how much I LOVE nature.
I remember when I started my job as a tour guide, I used to look all around the forest and never saw anything while my coworkers would spot frogs, snakes, birds and small insects all the time.
This was very frustrating at first because I didn’t feel like a good tour guide but after only one month of practicing… it came! The perfect vision showed up like Super Man 🙂
I have become better and better at the ART of finding animals especially the small ones. It may seem like something impossible or something only done by tour guides but remember even though it may be difficult it is not impossible.
A little bit about the research station…
This place is a great example of perseverance because it depends solely on donations for their revenue.
Here is some general information:
“José Miguel Alfaro’s Research Station is an attached to the Villa Blanca Hotel and Natural Reserve. It was first created to study Lepidoptera by the National Biodiversity Institute (INBio). Today, its facilities keep collections and provide specialized equipment to tourists, students, and researchers for experience and enjoyment.
The function of this study center depends economically on voluntary donations from visitors at the hotel as well as from people’s contributions in order to purchase materials and support existing programs.”
(Taken from their website www.researchcloudforest.com)
However, this place has been an open class for anyone who would like to learn about the biodiversity of the cloud forest. From my personal experience, I remember I took several groups from a program. Every year, several schools around the area were explained the importance of the cloud forest.
I thoroughly believe in the importance of promoting these kind of activities to educate our children.
The research station is considered an attractive place for many of the tourists who visit the area. Most of travelers stay at the hotel on site as they can walk around the area into a self-guided trail or go on a tour with one of the naturalist tour guides.
The best part!
If you LOVE birds this is a great place them… When I was working at the research station; I learned a lot about them and their importance for the environment.
Every year at the Station with the Fundación Bosque Nuboso de Occidente and other contributors a Bird Christmas Count is taken.
Last year (December 2014) the amount of bird’s species increased to 256 which is 18 more species than December 2013.
Some of the new species include:
-Costa Rican pygmy owl
-Slaty tailed Trogon
In terms of birds, birds of prey are my favorite! The best one that I have seen at this área was the Ornate Hawk Eagle. I almost cried when I saw it hahaha…
Hummingbirds, tanagers, and toucans are also some of birds that can be seen there.
Click here for check the list HERE
Wondering how to get there?
The best way to get there is by driving a rental car or taking your own transportation… There is a public bus service but it does not go all the way to the research station. If you would like to go by bus; you will need to walk around 10 kilometers.
Here is a map:
Make sure to follow all the signs that lead to “Villa Blanca Hotel”. The research station is there.
Here is their Facebook page: (Click Here)
Website: (Click Here)
Phone number: +506-2461-0300