Research Station Location

La Anita Rainforest Ranch is located in the northern Costa Rican rainforest, about 2 hours north of the city of Liberia. Nestled in a valley between three volcanoes, even the trip to the ranch is a chance to enjoy incredible views of the Costa Rican countryside and these three immense volcanoes.

La Anita Rainforest Ranch is situated in a valley surrounded by three volcanoes: Rincón de la Vieja, Santa María and Miravalles. This location is especially impressive because it is where three microclimates converge: tropical dry forest, tropical premontane forest, and cloud forest. These characteristics create an explosion of biodiversity of flora and fauna here at La Anita Rainforest Ranch.

Here at the ranch, we have exotic tropical flowers and ornamental foliage, cacao (chocolate) trees, heart of palm fields, and an organic garden that contains medicinal plants, vegetables, and a large variety of exotic fruit trees including the mangosteen.

La Anita Rainforest Ranch is located in an area virtually untouched by tourism, so the authentic Costa Rican culture has remained unchanged for more than 50 years. We are located in the town of Colonia Libertad, a rural community of 55 families who practice subsistence agriculture.

Over the last 15 years, we have learned more and more about sustainable agriculture and how to work in harmony with our natural environment. ​​

A Minnesota 501c3 non-profit corporation with a mission of enhancing bioscience education for high school students and creating more science-related careers.
Exposing High School science students to tropical rainforest research in partnership with:
  • The Currie Lab - University of Wisconsin
  • Biochemistry Dept.: School of Medicine at University of Costa Rica
  • Your Community Rotary
Copyright © 2018 Seeds of Change, Inc. 
A Minnesota 501c3 non-profit corporation with a mission of enhancing bioscience education for high school students and creating more science-related careers.
Contact us via email.
Costa Rica Background

It is important that participants in this program understand the rationale as to why Costa Rica is suited as the ideal location for tropical field research. Costa Rica is situated at the juncture of Central America and South America and it is a long standing democracy with strong ties to the United States. It is often referred to as the Switzerland of Central America with a stable economic and political base. The country is known for disbanding its army back in 1949 and applying the savings to medical care and education within the country. In addition, Costa Rica has taken the unusual step of setting aside more than 27% of its land mass in national parks, biological reserves, national wildlife refuges and privately protected areas, to protect rainforest, a unique effort amongst all countries on the planet.

As planet earth underwent its continental development over hundreds of million years the land mass that is now Costa Rica became the land bridge between the South American continent and North and Central America. This was the geographic corridor which merged species from the two continents. The small narrow country is divided by a chain of volcanoes that form the continental divide between the Pacific side of the country and the Caribbean side. It is this geographic phenomenon that has created a land mass with dozens of microclimates, each of which supports a series of life forms suitable for the environment of the area. It is entirely possible for the traveler to be in a tropical rainforest at one moment and twenty minutes later find ones self in a Swiss Alps setting or in the same timeframe in a Northern Minnesota pine forest or a Caribbean beach or a Sahara desert.

It is this unique set of circumstances that grants Costa Rica a biodiversity not found other places. For example there are more than 850 species of birds, more than all of North America, 9000 species of flowers, 1200 species of just orchids, and more than 35,000 species of insects discovered so far including more than 2000 species of butterflies. It is this biodiversity that provides the natural setting for discoveries of new species of mammals or reptiles or plants or amphibians. It is this setting that gives Costa Rica an incredible menu for researchers using natural science as a basis for new discoveries. Today Universities, governments and Pharmaceutical companies have basic research projects underway in Costa Rica, taking advantage of the immense natural resource base one finds in these forests and jungles.

It is in this environment that Seeds of Change has chosen to host science trips by high school students in an area which even by Costa Rica standards offers bountiful biodiversity. Our research site is on the north east slope of the Rincon de La Vieja Volcano in an area known as the Rincon Rainforest. This is an area where tropical rainforest, cloud forest and dry rainforest converge to provide an explosion of bio-diversity. It is a remote area untouched by development or tourism which flourishes in much of the country. By hosting our students in this area our students are not only in a target rich research zone, they are also in a geographic area which a simple subsistence level life is the norm for villagers, giving our students exposure to a whole new view of life we cannot appreciate in our North American mindset.