La Amistad International Park

Travel Guide Central America La Amistad International Park

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Introduction

La Amistad International Park is a Transboundary Protected Area in Central America, management of which is shared between Costa Rica (Caribbean La Amistad and Pacific La Amistad Conservation Areas) and Panama, following a recommendation by UNESCO after the park's inclusion in the World Heritage Site list.

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Geography

The park area is equally split between Costa Rica and Panama. It covers 401,000 ha of tropical forest and is the largest nature reserve in Central America; together with a 15-kilometre buffer zone, it represents a major biodiversity resource at a regional (about 20% of the region's species diversity) and global level. This is recognized in its strategic position in the Mesoamerican Biological Corridor and its designation as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

As a consequence of the difficulty of the terrain, the park is relatively unexplored and the only substantial scientific explorations deep into the park have been led by the Natural History Museum London, INBio and the University of Panama since 2003. In 2006 the UK's Darwin Initiative funded a three-year collaborative project led by the Natural History Museum, London, INBio (Costa Rica) and ANAM (Panama). The aim of the Initiative was to generate baseline biodiversity information for the park and a map of the biodiversity. This involved a series of seven multi-disciplinary and international expeditions to remote parts of La Amistad during which over 7,500 plant, 17,000 beetle and 380 herpetological collections were made and deposited in the national collections of Costa Rica and Panama. These expeditions also led to the discovery of 12 plant species, one dung beetle species, 15 amphibian and three reptile species new to science.

Five species of big cats roam the park: pumas, ocelots, margay, jaguars, and jaguarundis. It has 600 species of birds, including the three-wattled bellbird, resplendent quetzal, yellow-green finch, and bare-necked umbrellabird. Three indigenous tribes – the Naso, Bribri, and Ngöbe-Buglé – also live within the park. These indigenous groups live in small, traditional villages.

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Sights and Activities

  • Panama Verde trail - Short and well marked trail showing Panamanian forest. edit
  • La Cascada trail - Moderately difficult trail until La Cascada viewpoint, from there to waterfall is very steep with a lot of poorly maintained wooden steps

Trails can be muddy even during dry season. If possible, walk with somebody else, because some trails are in poor condition and mostly without cell phone signal to call help. After returning to hotel, check yourself for ticks.

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Opening Hours

The park is open year-round, but it is best to visit during the dry season from December til May.

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Cost

Price for adults is $5.

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Getting There andAround

The best access is from a few areas in Panama, for example at Las Nubes. There are buses from David to Cerro Punta (price from David is around $4.30, from Volcán around $1.30) from where you should take a taxi to Las Nubes for $3. Some buses are driving around the crossroads Cerro Punta - Las Nubes - Guadalupe and from there you can walk 6 kilometres to park entrance.

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Eat

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Drink

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Sleep

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This is version 1. Last edited at 8:51 on Dec 28, 15 by Utrecht. 4 articles link to this page.

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