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La Amistad International Park

Amistad means friendship in Spanish. This international park extends across the border into Panama, for that reason it is international. The Panamanian portion is 207,000 hectares in area while the Costa Rican part has 193,929 hectares. The United Nations has declared it and surrounding protected areas, as a biosphere reserve (1982) and later (1983) as a World patrimony site.

This park merges directly with Chirripo National Park, along the top of the Talamanca Mountain Range, which in turn borders other protected areas, making it part of a really big complex of protected areas covering major parts of the two countries. It is also bordered on the Caribbean side, by the Chirripó, Tayní and Telire indian reservations; and the Ujarrás, Salitre and Cabagra reservations on the Pacific side.

The park's area include some very wet forest as well as cloud forest, paramo and bare rocky peaks. According to the Holdridge Life Zones Classification, there are 7 different life zones and 6 areas in transition. This area lies right on the land bridge between the North and South American Continents, and as such, is biologically of great value. There are examples of Canadian flora growing side by side with the northern most examples of the great Andean Puyas.

Among the habitants in the park, there are hectares of high elevation fern swamps filled with Spagnum moss. There are impressive stands of the great Costa Rican oak with branches bowed down with masses of epiphytes. With its many poorly explored areas, La Amistad Park is a fantastic resevoir of abundant wildlife. It contains the watersheds of numerous important rivers and will be a source of water for future populations down in the coastal areas.



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