Tapanti National Park
- Area : 12,500 acres
- Telephone : 2206-5615 / 2771-3155
- Hours : 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.
- Entrance Fee : $10.00
- Location : Orosi Valley
- Altitude : 8,400 feet above sea level
The park is located in the Orosi Valley, a 90-minute drive from San Jose. It is surrounded by the Macho River Forest Reserve. The river El Rio Grande de Orosi runs through the middle of it. The river provides hydroelectric power and drinking water for some areas of San Jose, and, more importantly, provides some great places to swim and picnic. Some 150 waterways begin their trek to the sea from here in the Orosi Valley.read more close
This is one of the rainiest places in all of Costa Rica with an annual rainfall of 250 to 300 inches. The heaviest rainfall occurs between May and October, usually in the afternoon.
Hiking and bird & wildlife watching are popular activities for visitors. Trout fishing is allowed from April to October, but visitors must first purchase a fishing license from the park rangers.
The Park has two ranger stations, each with facilities. The Pittier Station has basic facilities and there are trails leading to scenic overlooks and picnic areas. The La Esperaza de El Guarco station has a biological field station run by INBio. There is lodging with restrooms, showers and electricity.
Hikers will enjoy the many trails here, most of them short and wooded. The Camino Principal trail is 2.5 miles long and takes you to Puesto de Quebrada Segunda, 7.5 miles from Orosi. Three heavily wooded roads branch out from this trail: El Sendero Natural Arboles Caidos, a thickly forested nature trail to the east, and the Senderos Oropendula and Pantanose to swimming holes in the west. It'll take you about one and a half to three hours to hike these trails.
Sendero La Pava leads, finally, to the Rio Grande de Orosi and a spot offering hikers a good view of the waterfall.
Flora & Fauna:
The park has two main life zones: the lower montane rainforest and pre-montane rainforest (lowlands skirting the lower slopes). The forests are home to forty-five species of mammals, including tapir, paca, red brocket deer, eastern cottontail, kinkajou, raccoon, white-nosed coati, white-faced monkey, mountain hare, agouti and ocelots.
You'll also find some 260 kinds of birds here: quetzals, sparrow hawks, hawks, goldfinch, doves, hummingbirds, parrots, and falcons, etc. From the ranger's cabin, a quetzal nesting site can be seen.
There are twenty eight species of reptiles in the park, among them are lizards, basilisks and snakes, such as the "lora bocaraca." In addition, there are twenty eight species of amphibians: toads, frogs and salamanders.
The park is also home to a large variety of insects, many of whom have never been properly introduced. Keep your eyes open, you might catch a glimpse of the thysania agripina, the largest butterfly found on the American continent.
The most common plants: oaks, magnolia, ira, poor man's umbrella, bromeliads, "lluvia de oro" (golden tear) orchid, Panama tree, cafecillo, ferns, moss and orchids.
Where to Stay:
Call the National Park Service to make advance reservations to stay at the Puesto. Outside the park, you might want to stay at the Kiri Lodge, well known for its trout fishing trips to the many nearby rivers, and for its tasty trout lunches.
Driving: After taking the Inter-American Highway from San Jose to Cartago, follow the main road southeast out of Cartago towards Paraiso and follow signs for Orosi. From Orosi, go through town, turn right at Beneficiadora Renex (coffee factory), go 6.2 miles until it ends at the park. You can also take a 4WD taxi to the park.
Bus: From Cartago take the bus to Orosi, get off at the last stop, and walk 6 miles to the national park.