National Park lies along the top of the Talamanca
Mountain Range and is some 20 Km NE of San Isidro
de El General. Founded in 1975, it covers an area
of 50,150 hectares and contains Chirripo Mountain,
the highest point in Costa Rica(3,820m). Bordering
on the South with La Amistad International Park and
on the North with other conservation areas, the park
is part of one of the most important biological complexes
on the planet.
course, this park is dominated by Chirripo Mountain
and its surrounding lakes and cirques, all carved
out by glaciers about 25,000 years ago. Although this
area receives frequent freezes and little ponds and
puddles will ice over, there has been no report of
snow in recorded history, principally because it only
goes below freezing on clear nights. The area is usually
very wet but becomes quite dry from January to April,
when fires often destroy areas of the park.
There are extensive areas of paramo, that high elevation,
low, tangled, shrubby vegetation region so typical
of the high Andes. Also there are areas of forest
with considerable of the cane bamboo, Chusquea. There
are great numbers of epiphytes, including brilliant
red bromeliads. These must be admired in place as
when transplanted to lower altitudes, they rapidly
become a palid light green!
One of the most startling of plants there are the
huge Puyas, those great, terrestrial members of the
Bromeliad or pineapple family normally found only
in the high Andes. This park is the northern-most
range of these plants with their inflorescences much
taller than a man.