La Amistad International Park
Dry season: Almost none
Distance from San Jose: 410 kilometers
La Amistad International Park (PILA) is in the Talamanca Mountains. With an area of 193.929 hectares, is called the “International” because of the fact it extends to Panama, where in its territory to protect 207.000 hectares. A large part of PILA in the Talamanca region, which was refuge in the colonial period for the indigenous population of Talamanca and other tribes, which allows to escape from the Spanish colonizers’ oppression. The isolation of the region during this time allowed its residents to protect, almost intact, preserving their traditional way of life. They still have many of their customs.
They also have a stunning nature and culture, shared between the Borucas, Cabecar, Guaimies, Bribris Terrabas and indigenous people, peasants, and with Italian and Chiricano immigrants. The park is surrounded by indigenous reserves Chirripo, Tayni, Telire and Talamanca in the Atlantic watershed, the indigenous reserves Ujarras, Salitre and Cabagra to the Pacific watershed. They are small reserves that the necessary structures are created, so that these communities were able to adequately participate in the management of resources, this has not only long-term benefits they secured, but communities can also develop and modeled by the benefits of conservation.
There are seven life zones in the park and six transition zones. This is because Costa Rica has as part of a biological bridge and a filter between South and North America with this great parks value, outlined with a rich biodiversity, where we find an extraordinary amount of habitat, a product of differences in height, soil, climate and topography, as the paramos, swamps, oak fields, madroña trees, fern fields and mixed forests.
Its surface contains very humid forests, rain and cloud forests, and regions, crowned with peaks and rocky outcrops with limited cold swamps to small areas at high altitude. The mixed forests or cloud forests, high and very wet ones, covering most of its territory.
Some of the largest trees in the park are the oak, mahogany, nargusta, a tropical hardwood, Mexican elm, Dandy, Moena, alpine / snow totara and West Indian tree. Were observed more than 263 species of amphibians and reptiles, among the most common lizard and salamander anuran. Mammals we find the tapir, caougar, jaguar, white-faced monkeys, ocelot, Central American Cacomistle, Tayra and jaguarondi. Avifauna, on the other side is represented by 400 species, the most notable is the quetzal, black guan, crested eagle, harpy eagle, and the acorn woodpecker.
We must mention that the PILA protects upper and middle basins of the rivers Ceibo, Cabraga, Mosca, Guineal, Singri and Canasta, whose main collecting river is the river Grande de Terraba on the Pacific watershed. On the Atlantic coast watershed, we mention the rivers Banano, Telire, Coen, Lari and Uren, whose main collecting river is the Sixaola. With watershed’s ability to provide drinking water to neighboring populations is not to be denied, especially if you take in consideration that the population is growing rapidly.
Likewise you should consider that the topographic system favors incursion of oceanic humidity, which means very constant and torrential rainfall, increasing the risk of landslides and floods. Thus it’s great value, justifying the creation and existence of this park; and free from its main threats as are:
You should also consider that the incidence of the oceanic system topographic moisture, which is very constant and torrential rains, increasing the risk of landslides and floods. So it is very valuable to justify the creation and existence of this park, and free from major threats are:
Advance of agricultural frontier.
Forest fires have affected the ecosystems of the savanna, paramos, marshes and oak areas, including communities of fungi, lichens, mosses and epiphytes.
Presence of settlers with unsustainable production methods.
Constant-pressure on natural resources by external national and international representatives.
Scarce participation of communities in park management.
The population increase.
Lack of sustainable development, long-term plans.