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La Amistad International Park

This park is situated in the mountain range of Talamanca, a mountainous system, covered by the country’s biggest unaltered tropical forest and with elevations of about 100 meters above sea level; comprising the Kámuk Hill with a height of 3,549 meters and the Dúrika Hill with a height of 3,280 meters.  

The park was created by the executive decree no. 13324-A, on February 4, 1982, and comprises an area of 193,929 terrestrial meters.

It is called an ‘international’ park, because it borders on the neighbouring country of Panama, in whose territory the park comprises 207,000 hectare.

The park is surrounded by the Indian reserves of Chirripó, Tayní, Telire and Talamanca on the Atlantic slope; and by the Indian reserves of Ujarrás, Salitre and Cabarga on the Pacific slope of the Talamanca’s mountain range. In 1982 the UNESCO declared the region the Reserve of the Biosphere La Amistad and in 1993 it was declared a World heritage Site, due to its exceptional universal value, both from the scientific point of view and for the conservation of the natural beauty.

The park comprises very humid forests, rainy and cloudy ones, as well as regions coronated with mountain peaks and rocky massifs, where you will find cold swamps in small areas at a high altitude.

As for the Holdrige’s classification of habitats, there are seven different habitats and six transition areas in the park.

This feature and the fact that Costa Rica is part of the biological bridge and filter between South- and North America, constitutes this park’s great value, featuring a great biodiversity in which we can find an extraordinary number of habitats, product of the differences in height, soil, climate and topography, such as high moors, swamps, oak wood, arbutus groves, fern groves and mixed forests.

The mixed forests or cloud forests, high and humid, cover the major part of the park’s territory and comprise extensive oak woods, whose branches are full of epiphytes.

The fern groves consist in their major part of the Lomaria sp fern, which can grow up to 2 meters high, and of the sphagnum moss.

Some of the biggest trees are the oak, the sweet ceder, the amarillóm, the tirrá, the candelillo, the ira rosa (Spanish for: “rose anger”), the lorita cypress and the cerillo.

More than 263 species of amphibians and reptiles have been registered in the park, the most common ones are the lizard, the salamander and the anuros. The most common mammals in the park are for example the tapir, the puma, the jaguar, the cariblanco ape, the ocelot, the cacomistle, the tolomuco and the león breñero (a species of wild cat).

The bird life on its part is represented in 400 species, for example the quetzal, the crested eagle, the black turkey, the careto woodpecker and the harpy eagle.

Another important point is that the PILA protects the medium-sized and big basins of the rivers Ceibo, Cabagra, Mosca, Guineal, Singri and Canasta, whose principal collector is the river Grande of Térraba on the Pacific slope. On the Atlantic slope the most important rivers are: Banano, Telire, Coen, Lari and Urén, whose main collector is the river Sixaola. The capacity of these rivers in providing drinking water for the adjoining towns is undeniable, above all if you consider that the population increases quickly.

Likewise it must be considered that the orographical system favors the incursion of humidity coming from the oceans, a phenomenon causing that the rainfalls are very constant and torrential, boosting the risk of precipices and floods. That implies the great value of the park and justifies its creation and existence.


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