The Grecia Forest Reserve was created on December 5th, 1973, by Executive Order No. 5463, in order to protect the Poas River watershed that, and a significant patch of forest that borders the Poas Volcano National Park, which serves as a biological corridor for various species as well as for soil conservation. The reserve is also used as a recreational area to recover disturbed areas and encourage ecotourism and environmental education.
Grecia Forest Reserve is part of the Central Volcanic Mountain Range Conservation Area and is located on the southwestern slopes of the Poas Volcano, between Sarchi and Prendas rivers in Greece, Alejuela.
There are several streams that originate the rivers Prendas, Rosales, Vigia and Achiote rivers, of which, lands below use part of the water to agricultural and livestock uses, and a significant amount for human consumption. This water intakes supply drinking water the cantons of Grecia, Poas and Valverde Vega.
It also important to highlights that the reserve is an aquifer recharge area, where the major city of Grecia springs are supply, as the Patal, Amelia and ls Angeles, which satisfy the water needs of the community.
Grecia Forest Reserve has an average temperature of 16ºC (60ºF), with rainfall ranging between 3,500 and 4,000 mm (140 and 160 inches) of rain per year, with two stations clearly marked, a rainy season from May to November and a dry season from December to April.
Grecia Forest Reserve, has a very irregular and pronounced topography of volcanic origin. The soils are deep with lots of organic matter originating from volcanic ash and sand. It also has three habitat types: natural forest, pastures and conifers plantations, since it is located in four life zones: very humid low montane forest, premontane wet forest, lower montane rain forest and montane rain forest.
The flora is abundant, 75% of the area is primary forest, which in their natural forest overstory reaches 30m, while the understory is covered with moss and bryophytes, with species such as the Peine de Mico (Apeiba tibourbou), Ciprecillo (Podocarpus oleifolius), West Indian laurel (Ficus americana), Lorito (Weinmannia pinnata), West Indian cedar (Cedrela tonduzii), Ronron (Astronium graveolens), Quizarrá amarillo (Ocotea stenosaura), Ira (Ocotea ira), Aguacatillo (Persea vesticula), Coyo (Persea schiedeana), oak (Quercus bumelioides), Ratoncito (Rapanea pelleido) and cedars, while in the conifers and eucalyptus forest, found in some farms inside the reserve, including the Children’s forest, are species that were planted in the eighties, such as cypress (Cupressus lusitanica), Pine (Pinus patulata) and Alder (Alnus acuminata).
The fauna is diverse, among the most common mammals are the howler and capuchin monkeys, armadillos (Dasypus novemcintus), kinkajous (Potus flavus), coatis (Nasua narica), three-toad sloths (Bradypus variegatus), red brockets (Mazama americana), two-toad sloths (Choloepus hoffmanni), coyotes (canis latrans), porcupines (Coendou mexicanus), central american agoutis (Dasyprocta punctata), tapetis or forest rabbits (Sylvilagus brasiliensis), tayras (Eira barbara), gray foxes (Urocyon cinereoargenteus), gray four-eyed opossums (Philander opossum), variegated squirrels (Sciurus variegatoides) and red-tailed Squirrel (Sciurus granatensis), as well as some felines. Among the birds you can see the Costa Rican National Bird Clay-colored Robin or Yigüirro (Turdus grayi), as well as the Pauraque (Nyctidromus albicollis), Yellow-bellied Siskin (Carduelis xanthogastra), Groove-billed Ani (Crotophaga sulcirostris), Black Guan (Chamaepetes unicolor), Squirrel Cuckoo (Piaya cayana), Dark-backed Goldfinch (Carduelis psaltria), Brown Jay (Psilorhinus morio), Resplendent Quetzal (Pharomachrus mocino), Emerald Toucanet (Aulacorhynchus prasinus), Buffy-crowned Wood Partridge (Dendrortyx leucophrys), Red-billed Pigeon (Patagioenas flavirostris), Black-faced Solitaire, (Myadestes melanops), as well as several species of hummingbirds, wild turkeys and owls, among others.
Bosque del Niño Sector:
Inside Grecia Forest Reserve Forest is located the Bosque del Niño (Children’s Forest), which is a 40 ha farm which was purchased in 1979. It takes this name because eight hectares were reforested with pine, cypress and eucalyptus, by children from neighboring communities in September 9th, 1979, a date that corresponded to the International Year of the Child.
This sector has panoramic hiking trails with scenic overlooks of the Central Valley, and thanks to its climate, is suitable for conducting outdoor activities in harmony with nature. It has three trails: Las Carboneras, El Panorámico and Los Pinos, all with topographic features quite acceptable for all audiences.
The reserve also has a picnic and camping areas, restrooms, parking lot and information. Other national parks nearby include Poas Volcano National Park, Bosque Alegre National Wildlife Refuge and Juan Castro Blanco National Park.
Getting to Grecia Forest Reserve:
From San Jose take the Interamerican Highway to the Grecia intersection, continue 9km to Grecia downtown and from here take the road to San Pedro de Poas. Take the exit heading toward Calle Rodriguez community. From Calle Rodríguez community you have to walk 4km to Bosque del Niño Sector. Driving time from San José is about 1.5 hours.
You can take a bus San José – Grecia (TUAN, 2258-2004), which takes about 1.5 hours, and then you can take another bus route Grecia – San Isidro (making the stop at Calle Rodriguez School), or take a taxi to the reserve entrance.
Location: 14 km Northeast from Grecia in Alajuela, Costa Rica.
Grecia GPS Coordinates: 10.072419,-84.311164 (10°04’20.71″N, 84°18’40.19″O)
Calle Rodriguez GPS Coordinates: 10.096408,-84.274439 (10°05’47.07″N, 84°16’27.98″O)
Size: 2.302 ha (5,690 acres)
Altitude: from 1,600m to 2,500m (5,250ft to 8,200ft) above sea level
Schedule: from 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.
Central Volcanic Mountain Range Conservation Area (ACCVC) Telephone: +(506) 2268-1587 / 2268-8091
INFOTUR Tourist Information: 1192