Fodor's Expert Review La Amistad National Park

San Vito Park (National/State/Provincial)

At more than 1,980 square km (765 square miles), La Amistad is by far the largest park in Costa Rica. However, it's a mere portion of the vast La Amistad Biosphere Reserve that stretches into western Panama. Altitudes range from 1,000 meters (3,280 feet) to 3,500 meters (11,480 feet). There are miles of rugged, densely forested trails and plenty of wildlife (two-thirds of the country's vertebrate species live here), but because access is extremely difficult, it's not worth visiting the park unless you plan to spend several days, making this a trip only for experienced hikers. To get to the official park entrance at Altamira (4WD essential), drive 31 km (20 miles) west from San Vito along the road to Paso Real. Turn right at the park sign at Guacimo (also known as Las Tablas), near two small roadside restaurants. Then drive about 20 km (13 miles) uphill on a rough road, very muddy in rainy season. The last couple of kilometers are on foot.

ASOPROLA, a local tourism cooperative,... READ MORE

At more than 1,980 square km (765 square miles), La Amistad is by far the largest park in Costa Rica. However, it's a mere portion of the vast La Amistad Biosphere Reserve that stretches into western Panama. Altitudes range from 1,000 meters (3,280 feet) to 3,500 meters (11,480 feet). There are miles of rugged, densely forested trails and plenty of wildlife (two-thirds of the country's vertebrate species live here), but because access is extremely difficult, it's not worth visiting the park unless you plan to spend several days, making this a trip only for experienced hikers. To get to the official park entrance at Altamira (4WD essential), drive 31 km (20 miles) west from San Vito along the road to Paso Real. Turn right at the park sign at Guacimo (also known as Las Tablas), near two small roadside restaurants. Then drive about 20 km (13 miles) uphill on a rough road, very muddy in rainy season. The last couple of kilometers are on foot.

ASOPROLA, a local tourism cooperative, organizes package tours (www.actuarcostarica.com) that include guided hikes and lodging at a rustic lodge near the Altamira park entrance, with both private and dormitory rooms with hot-water showers ($12), as well as an organic restaurant run by a local women's cooperative. You can also arrange a homestay with a local family. The alternative is rustic campsites for $6 per person. Reserve space about a week in advance. Check the website for exact directions, since very few maps show these roads or Altamira de Biolley.

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Park (National/State/Provincial) Green

Quick Facts

31 km (20 miles) west of San Vito, then 20 km (13 miles) uphill
San Vito, Puntarenas  Costa Rica

-2200–5355-national park

Sight Details:
Rate Includes: $10 per day

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