Tapantí National Park
Tapantí National Park Review
Stretching all the way to the Talamanca Mountains, the reserve encompasses 47 square km (18 square miles) of largely pristine, remote cloud forest, refuge for more than 400 bird species, including the emerald toucanet, violaceous trogon, and many of the country's hummingbirds. The rangers' office and visitor center are on the right just after the park entrance. You can leave your vehicle at a parking area 1½ km (1 mile) up the road. From here loop trails head off into the woods on both sides. The Oropéndola trail passes a picnic area and several swimming holes with cold, emerald waters. The entrance to La Pava trail begins up a steep forested hillside, about 1½ km (1 mile) from the parking area and leads down a steep hill to the riverbank. If you continue ½ km (¼ mile) past the trailhead, you arrive at a 91-meter (300-foot) stair trail leading to a lookout. Get an early start—you can enter on foot before 8 am, as long as you pay as you leave. The park clouds over markedly by afternoon and is renowned as the country's wettest national park, so be prepared with a poncho or umbrella.
To get to the park, head south of Orosi; the road becomes a rugged track following the Río Grande de Orosi past coffee plantations, elegant fincas (farmhouses), and seasonal barracks for coffee pickers before it's hemmed in by the steep slopes of thick jungle. At the bottom of the loop road, follow signs for Tapantí National Park. Though it's worth the trip for just an hour or two of exploring, you could easily fill a day in the park.
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