La Amistad International Park
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Encompassing an area of 765 square miles, La Amistad International Park is the largest natural reserve in Central America. The park is located in the Talamanca mountain range and is equally split between Costa Rica and Panama. While exploring this massive park, visitors will find two thirds of all the species existing in Costa Rica. Visitors will want to keep in mind that the trails within the park can be rather difficult; elevations reach heights of up to 11,480 feet, so it is recommended that visitors be experienced hikers.
La Amistad International Park has more virgin forest than all other national parks in Costa Rica combined. Within the forest are all six species of neo-tropical cats and over five hundred different species of birds. The quetzal, emerald toucanette, bell birds, trogons, parrots and toucans are all common bird sightings. Jaguars, monkeys, anteaters, margay, sloths, raccoons and puma are some of the many mammals that call the park home. There are also 1,000 fern species and over 500 tree species in the park.
If visitors are so inclined, they can camp out at some of the isolated camping grounds located in the park for about $5 with reservations. Park entrance fees are 10USD. A guide is highly recommended in general just to ensure safety and usually equipped with binoculars and telescopes that make it easier to spot wildlife.
Weather and packing list
Located mostly in the cloud forest, the weather in Braulio Carillo is fairly predictable. Expect cool and damp conditions and dress for rain. Daytime temperatures average in the mid 70s with night time lows averaging in the upper 50s. The most consistent rain is experienced between the months of May through November with the heaviest rains September through November.
Visitors should pack shorts, tee shirts, appropriate shoes, rain gear, sun block. It is also advised to bring at least one pair of pants, a long sleeve shirt, and even a sweat shirt or light jacket.
Fun Fact: La Amistad International Park was declared a World Heritage Site in 1983.