Suscribe Newsletter / Suscribase Boletin Facebook twitter YOUTUBE Idiomas: Languajes:
Costa Rica Explorer Guide
Costa Rica's best
online magazine
Costa Rica Articles News Cultural Agenda About us Rent a Car Advertising & Services Red Cultura Main
  • General information
  • Recomendations
  • How to get there?
  • Nearest hotels
  • Make your comments
Piedras Blancas
General information


It is located in the Pacific coast of Costa Rica, in Golfito, southeast from the Osa Peninsula, in Puntarenas. It limits south with the Golfo Dulce and is 300 km from San Jose.
Conservation Area:
Osa Conservation Area (ACOSA)
14.000 land hectares and 1.200 marine hectares
Schedule: every day from 8:00am to 4:00pm
When to go?

Dry season: March and April

Conatct information
(00506) 2775-2620
Regional Office:
(00506) 2775-1210
(00506) 2775-2110
Send mail
Web Page:
Visit Wen Page
Camping permissions:
General information
This area is a biological and ecological corridor in the Golfo Dulce that has a great diversity of species, which makes Piedras Blancas National Park an important natural reserve. With deep, magnificent green forests, it is home to the fantastic jaguar and also serves as migration zone for birds that come from North and South America.

The Piedras Blancas National Park is formed by a high-altitude evergreen primary forest. Also in this territory you can find beautiful beaches and deserted bays (north from the Gulf), as well as waterfalls and rivers.

It protects the only rainforest left in the low lands of the tropics of Golfo Dulce due to the agricultural zones that surround it, except for the small forests that belong to the Guaymi Native Reserves. You can also find the basin of Rio Esquinas in this territory.

It has a great diversity of flora and fauna species and high indexes of endemic plants, birds and insects. However, this place is well known worldwide for being a meeting point for many birds that come from North and South America.

This park is part of the ecological arch that surrounds the gulf along with the Golfito National Wildlife Refuge and Corcovado National Park, which is a corridor of important biological and ecological diversity.

There have been found archaeological pieces of the pre-Hispanic period in the park, showing evidence that it was home to many native tribes of Costa Rica.

This area has very high humidity and an average annual rainfall that ranges from the 4.000 mm to 6.000 mm. The average temperature is 28°C.
Rainy season: May through February

This park shelters more than 500 species of trees, forming mainly an evergreen primary forest.

The forest has three levels: the canopy, with trees that range from 40 m to 50 m in height, such as the wild cashew (Anacardium excelsum), the ceiba (Ceiba pentandra), which can reach 70 m in height, the shortleaf fig (Ficus sp.), the javillo (Hura crepitans), the golden fruit (Virola surinamensis), and the red guacimo (Luehea seemannii).

In the midstory, the typical species are the guabas (Inga spp.) and the chaparnos (Lonchocarpus spp.), and there are platanillas (Heliconia spp.), zainillos (Dieffenbachia spp.), bijaguas (Calathea spp.), royal palm trees (Atalea butyracea) and the viscoyol (Bactris spp.) in the understory.

There are many mosses and epiphyte plants in the trees, as well as a large variety of ferns.

This park is the most important meeting point for birds that come from North and South America. There are 360 different species of birds, such as the white hawk (Leucopternis albicollois), the two-colored toucan (Ramphastos swainsonii), scarlet macaws, quetzals and the short-beaked pigeon (Columba nigrirostris).

There are also clay-colored thrushes (Turdus plebejus), hummingbirds (Amazilia tzacatl), black guans (Chamaepetes unicolor), crab-eating hawks (Buteogallus anthracinus) and brown pelicans (Pelicanus occidentalis).

There have been identified more than 140 species of mammals, like howler, white-faced, spider and squirrel monkeys, the raccoon (Procyon lotor), the coati (Nasua narica), the paca, the jaguar, peccaries (Tayasu tajacu), Central American agoutis and ocelots (Felis wiedii). In the park you can also find around 53 species of bats.

There are also 100 different types of amphibians and reptiles, with the little red poisonous frogs as the most common, and thousands of insect species. In the marine areas of the park you can find spots of coral reefs.

Services and facilities on the Park
Shelter for park rangers and volunteers
Drinking water
El Bonito operations center
Three short trail circuits (close to El Bonito operations center)

Inside the Park:
Visiting the beaches
Visiting the rivers and waterfalls
Going through the Rio Esquinas (5 km), starting from Golfito’s pier
Visiting El Bonito operations center

Outside the Park
Horseback riding
Kayaking and other sports at sea
There are hotels, restaurants and marketplaces in Golfito
Visiting or volunteering in Naranjal operations center (Golfito section) or Rio Esquinas operations center
Visiting La Gamba Biological Station

Piedras Blancas
  • Recomendations
  • Interesting data
Tips para el viajero
Access recommendations
The schedule of the park is every day from 8:00am to 4:00pm.

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.

Clothes and accessories recommendations
Bring comfortable clothes, ideal for rainy weather: raincoat, umbrella, rubber boots.
Bring mosquito repellent, flashlight, binoculars and photo camera.
Bring sunscreen and sunglasses.

Stay recommendations
There’s a shelter for park rangers and volunteers.

Recommendations for a responsible tourist
Do not disturb or touch the wild animals.
Do not take with you any elements that belong to the natural environment of the park, such as rocks, seashells or plants.
Do not feed the wild animals.
Please do not litter; pick up the garbage and throw it away properly.
Firearms of any kind are not allowed.
Please remain inside the marked trails in order to reduce the erosion caused by the visitors’ tracks.

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:
There are three short trail circuits that are close to El Bonito operations center. From these trails you can see the typical biodiversity of the park, as well as creeks and an impressive tropical rainforest.

From its total land surface (14.025 hectares), 1.895 hectares are altered and designated for forest exploitation, agricultural activities, and livestock breeding. Other lands are covered with bushes and shrubs.

Historical review and others
The Piedras Blancas National Park was created by the government of Costa Rica and the Austrian professor Dr. Michael Schnitzler.

After the creation of the park, Dr. Schnitzler founded the non-profit organization named “Forest of the Austrians” (“Regenwald der Österreicher”), with the purpose of fundraising in order to buy properties. This organization has also made some donations to the Corcovado Foundation, for hiring park rangers, and to Zoo Ave and Pro Felis, for the reintroduction of scarlet macaws and wildcats to the forest.

By the year 2006, about 15.000 people (most of them Austrian) had donated more than 2.000.000 euros, allowing the purchase of around 34.7 km² of tropical forest. With the help of Costa Rica’s government, Tenaska (international power development company) and The Nature Conservancy, 65% of the forest of Esquinas has been acquired, and the funds keep being raised.

The Piedras Blancas National Park is also known as Esquinas or the Rainforest of the Austrians.

La Gamba Biological Station
In 1993, the NGO “Forest of the Austrians” bought a small territory in La Gamba in order to build a study center to examine the rainforest’s biodiversity, which invited Costa Rican and Austrian biology students.

It is an institute of investigation, instruction and expansion of studies that aims to contribute to the investigation of tropical forests and to awaken the interest for their conservation. It is located in the Buffer Zone of the Piedras Blancas National Park.

Many endemic species have been discovered here and it’s a fact that the rainforest of Esquinas has the densest biodiversity of trees in Costa Rica.
The station has a shelter named Albergue Bosque Esquinas, which has space for 15 people and is equipped with a lab, computers and a library. It is ideal for student groups that make educational trips.
It also has a botanical garden with many different species of orchids, tropical plants and fruit trees. It is currently managed by the University of Vienna.

Albergue Bosque Esquinas (Esquinas Forest Shelter)
The Republic of Austria showed awareness about the importance of having sustainable options, and about the destruction of tropical forests. Therefore, it decided to finance the Albergue Bosque Esquinas as part of its Development Help Program. This program was created in 1994 and helps out the residents of the community of La Gamba.

In 1998, the Austrian government officially donated the shelter with the purpose of giving all the benefits to the community. Some of the improvements achieved by these donations are the completing of the local school, the building of a medical station and the establishment of a handcraft center that is managed by women from La Gamba.

Except for the Management and other departments in the office, all the employees at Albergue Bosque Esquinas are from La Gamba.

It is a small town in the Golfo Dulce that used to be a very important pier for banana exportation, until the United Fruit Company left the area in 1984, creating a local economic chaos. Because of this, the government built a free-trade deposit where you can buy many duty-free products.

Piedras Blancas
como llegar?
How to get there?
Transportes Tracopa (San Jose, Street 5, Ave. 18-20)
From San Jose to Golfito:
Every day: 7:00am and 3:30pm
Extra trip on Fridays: 10:15pm
From Golfito to San Jose:
Every day: 5:00am and 1:30pm
Office phone number: (506) 2221-4214

From San Jose, take the route #2 in direction to Golfito, heading south, passing through Palmar Norte until you get to the community of Briceño. Once here, take a right turn for the exit for La Gamba, and keep going for 6 km through forests and rivers, finally arriving to El Bonito operations center, inside the park.

Other kind of transportation


Piedras Blancas
Sus comentarios son importantes para mejorar la calidad de nuestra publicacion. Muchas gracias
Comments See all comments
Find the best services to enjoy your vacations in Costa Rica
Where to go?
Piedras Blancas National Park
The Piedras Blancas National Park is formed by a high-altitude evergreen primary forest. Also in (...)
Boruca Indigenous Reserve
The Boruca Native Reserve is located south from the canyon of the General River; it is crossed by (...)
Curre Indigenous Reserve
Around 631 people from the Boruca native population live in this reserve where they can maintain (...)
Dominical is one of the favorite destinations of the most experienced
The community of Golfito is located in the southwest end of Costa
Osa Peninsula
The Peninsula of Osa is a land extension surrounded by the ocean that
Sierpe is a small and peaceful town that produces banana and is