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Guanacaste
General information

Location:

It is located in Guanacaste, north region of Costa Rica, 36 km from Liberia and 280 km from San Jose.
Conservation Area:
Guanacaste Conservation Area (ACG)
Size:
34.651 hectares
Schedule:
IMPORTANT: You must make reservations prior to arrival.
When to go?

Dry season: January through March.

Conatct information
Reservations:
Regional Office:
(00506) 2666-5051
Phone:
Fax:
E-Mial:
Send mail
Web Page:
Visit Wen Page
Entrace:
Citizens:
Adults:
¢1100
Children:
¢500
Toursits:
Adults:
$10
Children:
$1
Camping permissions:
¢
$
General information
This park has a great biodiversity because it is part of a biological corridor that is very important for many different animal species. It has three investigation stations for scientists, biologists, and parataxonomists, among others.

Description
The Guanacaste National Park has three sections: Maritza section, Pitilla section and Cacao section, where the biological stations are located (for groups of scientists).

In its territory you can find different types of forests: very humid tropical forest, humid tropical forest, cloud forest and dry tropical forest. The high-altitude areas of the park are represented by the massifs of the Orosi and Cacao volcanoes (higher than 1.700 m). Many streams begin their flow from the Cacao Volcano, such as the Ahogados and Colorado rivers. These streams, along with other ones, form the Tempisque River, which is Guanacaste’s main river.

Many species of insects, birds and mammals migrate through this park; therefore it is a biological corridor. During dry season, the animals migrate to high-altitude areas. This park as well has the largest herd of mountain peccaries in the Guanacaste Conservation Area.
This park is located in front of the Santa Rosa National Park (both held under the Guanacaste Conservation Area), and the route #1 of the Pan-American Highway divides them.

Weather
The average annual temperature ranges between 18,5ºC and 21,7ºC, but can also get as low as 10ºC from December through February. The average annual rainfall goes from 2.000 mm to 3.000 mm.
Rainy season: May to November.
Dry season: December to April.

Flora
The evergreen humid forest in this park has a great biological diversity because of its extension, weather variety and location (Atlantic and Pacific slopes). Here you can find about 3.000 species of plants.

There are different types of forests: very humid tropical forest, humid tropical forest, cloud forest and dry tropical forest.

In the highest areas of the Orosi and Cacao volcanoes you can find the primary forest, with epiphyte plants like bromeliads and orchids as the most common ones, and also ferns, aroids and mosses. The most common species are the maria, the tempisque, the cork tree, the capulin, the calabash tree, the danto and the golden-fruit tree.

The west section of the mountains is covered by green vegetation forests, where you can see tall trees that reach 30 m in height, like the santa maria and the tempisque.

The deciduous dry forest has 240 species of trees and bushes like the Guanacaste (national tree), the gumbo-limbo, the cocobolo, and the mahogany (threatened species). The tree Ateleia herbert-smithii is endemic of this region.

Fauna
This park has a great diversity of birds, with 300 different types, like the guan, the goldfinch, the Montezuma oropendola, the collared aracari, the king vulture, the spectacled owl, the three-wattled bellbird, the bare-necked umbrellabird, the magpie and the northern caracara, among others.

Among the 140 species of mammals, you can find pacas, deer, jaguars, white-faced and howler monkeys, pumas, tapirs, coatis, peccaries, armadillos, tayras and two-toed sloths. This park has the largest herd of mountain peccaries in the Guanacaste Conservation Area.

According to some estimates, there are around 5.000 different kinds of butterflies and moths, and 100 types of amphibians.

Services and facilities on the Park
Trails
General information
Drinking water
Restrooms
Meeting room
Places to stay
Meals for investigators

Activities
Inside the Park:
Walking through the trails
Visiting El Pedregal viewer
Birdwatching and studying insects
Enjoying the panoramic views of the Lake of Nicaragua and Santa Rosa
Observing the Pacific Ocean
Staying at the Biological Stations

Outside the Park
Visiting the Santa Rosa National Park
Restaurants, hotels and drugstores in Liberia

Guanacaste
  • Recomendations
  • Interesting data
Tips para el viajero
Recommendations:
Access recommendations
You must make reservations prior to arrival.
You must check in at the park rangers’ station.
During any time of the year you should make your trip in a 4-wheel drive vehicle in order to get to the Biological Stations.

General recommendations inside the park
In case you need any help, go to the park rangers, they will be more than glad to assist you.

Health recommendations
Keep yourself hydrated to prevent any possible discomfort when visiting the park.

Clothes and accessories recommendations
Bring comfortable clothes and shoes, water bottles and mosquito repellent.
Bring hat or cap, sunglasses and sunscreen.

Stay recommendations
You can stay in the Biological Stations of the park.

Recommendations when walking through the trails
Be careful if it rains; check the water level of the river and the objects it carries before crossing it. High rainfall can loosen the soil, and large amounts of muddy water can wash away everything on their path.
Try to make your tours along with authorized guides.

Food recommendations
Bring drinking water.

Recommendations for a responsible tourist
Please remain inside the marked trails at all times.
Do not interfere with the sample-taking processes or the recollecting sites.
Please do not litter, pick up the garbage and throw it away properly.
You should NOT scratch or write with chalks or dyes over the lines of the petroglyphs.
Do NOT bathe in the rivers; it could affect the investigations that are taking place in them.
Do not take with you any animals, plants or other things from the park, as the law forbids it.

Recommendations with the animals
Some of the animals may be hard to find because of different reasons, like the fact that they're night creatures, their reproductive or migratory behavior and the forest's density.









Datos interesantes
Datos interesantes:
Cacao section:
This section has a transitional forest that goes from dry to humid and a cloud forest of low altitude in the top part of the Cacao Volcano. You can climb to the highest part of the volcano with previous authorization, which is a great spot for birdwatching.
The cloud forest has short vegetation less than 10 meters tall, trees with trunks and branches that were bent by the wind and many lichens, mosses, orchids and bromeliads.

It has a viewer: El Pedregal

Cacao Volcano: this is a cone-shaped volcano with an altitude of 1.659 m (stratovolcano), located in the volcanic massif known as Orosi-Cacao. Its slopes are covered by evergreen humid and cloud forests with short vegetation. Here you will find the Cacao Biological Station.
This volcano also shows a depression that destroyed the southwest side, with cliffs higher than 200 meters. It has remained inactive for thousands of years.

Cacao Biological Station: from here you can see the humid and cloud forests of the Pacific. When you climb the Cerro Cacao you can spot the Lake of Nicaragua, the Pacific coastline and the Santa Rosa plateau. At the Biological Station you can find some rooms that can be rented for courses or groups. It has dining room, bedrooms for 30 people, lab, trails, water, horses for equipment carriage and radio communication; it is very rustic.

IMPORTANT: There is no electricity.

Maritza section:
In this section is where the volcanoes and the plains formed due to the accumulation of pyroclastic sediments. There are many spring waters, creeks and streams, which allow the study of aquatic insects. This site is also ideal for birdwatching.
This section has gallery, dry and dry-humid transitional forests, and the Biological Station is located at the base of the Orosi Volcano. Close to the station some rivers begin their flow, such as the Tempisque River (flows into the Pacific Ocean) and the Sapoa River (flows into the Lake of Nicaragua and then reaches the Caribbean sea).

The Maritza section and especially the place known as El Pedregal, has hundreds of petroglyphs (graphic representations in carved stones, made by native ancestors) that are more than 1500 years old. These carvings are spread throughout a large area.

Maritza Biological Station: it is located at the base of the Orosi Volcano. It has facilities for 32 people, lab, dining room, electricity, radio communication, trails and drinking water. This station has a lab for the study of aquatic insects. There is no camping area.

Petroglyph trail – El Pedregal: it has public access.

Orosi Volcano: it is cone-shaped and has an altitude of 1.466 m. This volcano has remained inactive for thousands of years. There are dense humid and cloud forests in its slopes, and dry and gallery forests in its low areas.

Pitilla section:
Here you can appreciate the rainforest of the Atlantic region, which has a great biodiversity. Most part of the forest is primary, with a few spots of secondary forest. This place is great for birdwatching, and you can also see the Lake of Nicaragua.

Pitilla Biological Station: it has enough space for 20 people, food service, trails, radio communication and drinking water. It also has a lab and many bedrooms with some beds. There is no camping area.


Trails:
Cacao section:
Cerro Cacao trail: it is a straight trail that is perfect for hiking and goes through the humid and cloud forest. You can see birds and insects, the short forest and appreciate panoramic views. This trail is 2 km long and takes about 3 hours to go over it. It begins in the east side of the lab and ends in the top part of the Cacao Volcano, where you will find the short cloud forest.

IMPORTANT: This trail has a very steep slope that requires a lot of effort so you must have a good physical condition.

Cacao – Maritza trail: it is a straight trail, ideal for hiking, that goes through forests, rivers and natural creeks. It is 12 km long and takes about 4 hours to go over it. It begins in the Cacao Biological Station and ends in the Maritza Biological Station.
This trail descends through the woods and connects the Cacao and Maritza sections. These lands have steep areas and also some rivers that you must cross.

Pedregal trail: it is 836 m long and takes you to the Cerro Pedregal, in front of the station, where you will find an observatory for the detection of forest fires. The visitors are allowed to use this observatory.

Los Naranjos trail: this trail guides you to the entrance of the Cacao Biological Station, which goes through the primary forest and is 1 km long.

Maritza section:
Petroglyphs – El Pedregal trail: it is a straight and cultural trail with public access. It has hundreds of petroglyphs that you can see, and also offers a panoramic view of the Orosi Volcano, the Pacific coastline and the dry-humid transitional forest. It takes about 2 hours to go over it, with a maximum height of 480 meters. This trail begins in the north side of the Maritza Biological Station and ends in El Pedregal.

It has rivers and streams and also savannah vegetation (grasses) with lots of volcanic rocks, in which you can find the petroglyphs (about 800).

Cacao – Maritza trail: this trail guides the visitors from the Maritza section to the Cacao Biological Station passing through different types of forests. Part of this trail goes uphill.

Pitilla section:
Fila Orosilito trail: it is a straight, natural trail that is perfect for hiking. Here you can enjoy the beautiful scenery, where you will see the humid and cloud forest, birds and other animals. It is 1.120 meters long and takes about 6 hours to go over it. It begins in the Pitilla Biological Station and ends in Cerro Orosilito (1.210 m).
IMPORTANT: This is a recollecting site for parataxonomists.

Guanacaste
como llegar?
How to get there?
Buses:
Buses:
Transportes Deldu S.A. (San Jose, Ave. 1-3, Street 22)
Direct service
From San Jose to Peñas Blancas (border with Nicaragua):
Every day: 4:00am and 7:00am
From Peñas Blancas to San Jose:
Every day: 10:30am and 1:30pm
Regular service
From San Jose to Peñas Blancas:
Every day: 3:30am, 5:00am, 7:45am, 9:30am, 10:30am, 1:30pm, 4:15pm and 7:00pm.
From Peñas Blancas to San Jose:
Every day: 3:00am, 4:45am, 7:15am, 9:30am, 10:45am, 12:00md, 1:30pm, 3:30pm and 5:30pm.
Office phone number: (506) 2282-8283, (506) 2203-7162, (506) 2203-7163
Website
Email: info@transportesdeldu.com
IMPORTANT:
To Maritza section:
Let the driver know that you will get off at the bus stop of the park’s entrance, and then you should walk to the Maritza Biological Station. This section is located at the base of Orosi Volcano, 59 km from Liberia and 37 km from La Cruz, northeast of Guanacaste.

To Cacao section:

Get off in the nearest bus stop to the community of Potrerillos. Then you can either walk or rent transportation (horse, bike or 4WD) to continue in direction towards Quebrada Grande, and then turn for the Cacao Biological Station.

Car:
Cacao section:
From San Jose, take the route #1 on the Pan-American Highway, in direction towards Liberia. Once here, keep driving for 42 km more, heading northwest, until you get to an intersection in the town of Potrerillos. From here you must take an exit for about 9 km on a paved road, where you will arrive to the community of Quebrada Grande. Keep going for 18 km more on a gravel road until you arrive to the station, at the base of Cacao Volcano. You must make your trip in a 4-wheel drive vehicle in any time of the year.
IMPORTANT:
During dry season, the closest the vehicles can get is 300 meters from the Biological Station, where the trail begins.
During rainy season, the farthest the vehicles can go is to the section of Gongora River, 5 km before the Biological Station.

Maritza section:
From San Jose, take the route #1 on the Pan-American Highway, in direction towards Liberia. Once here, keep driving for 42 km more, heading northwest (15 km before La Cruz), until you get to an intersection that goes to the community of Cuajiniquil. Here you will find an 18-km road that guides you directly to the Maritza Biological Station, at the base of the Orosi Volcano (east side). You must make your trip in a 4-wheel drive vehicle in any time of the year.
IMPORTANT:
The access is very difficult during rainy season.

Pitilla section:
From San Jose, take the route #1 on the Pan-American Highway, in direction towards Liberia. Once here, keep going on the same highway for about 58 km heading northwest, 1 km before arriving to the town of La Cruz. Take a right turn, where you will pass through the community of Santa Cecilia (35 km). Keep going for 1 km more and take the gravel road that is on your right hand (heading south). Once here, you should drive for about 7 km uphill towards the base of Cerro Orosilito (1.100 meters above sea level), where you will find the Pitilla Biological Station. You must make your trip in a 4-wheel drive vehicle.

Other kind of transportation

 

Guanacaste
 
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