The Bosque Alegre National Wildlife Refuge was created on February 15th, 1994, by Executive Order No. 22847-MIRENEM, in order to protect a lacustrine wetlands, primary and secondary forests, as well as groundwater recharge areas surrounding the zone of Cariblanco in Alajuela. The refuge is part of the Central Volcanic Cordillera Conservation Area.
The Bosque Alegre National Wildlife Refuge is home to the Congo Volcano (dormant for many years) and three beautiful lagoons Congo, Hule and Bosque Alegre, framed in a subsided volcanic caldera located on the northern slope of the Central Volcanic Cordillera. Among the major rivers in the area are the Hule River, Tercero River and Lapas watershed.
The soils are deep volcanic origin, characterized by the presence of a broken relief, with narrow valleys, peaks and narrow ridges. The slopes are very strong, exceeding 50%. They have good organic matter content, but weather conditions and topography are very susceptible to erosion, they need to maintain a dense cover of vegetation which serve to protection.
The Bosque Alegre National Wildlife Refuge temperature is usually between 18°C and 27ºC (65ºF and 80ºF), with an average annual rainfall of 4500mm (180 inches) of rain per year.
The life zone of this region is tropical wet forest, so here flora is very varied, within which we can mention the Botarrama (Vochysia ferruginea), Campano (Gordonia fruticosa), Spanish Cedar (Cedrela odorata), Red Ucuubat (Virola sebifera) and Oil Tree (Pentaclethra macroloba).
In the primary and secondary forests covering a good part of this refuge, life howler monkeys (Alouatta palliata) and white-faced capuchins (Cebus capucinus) as well as several types of birds such as Great Green Macaw (Ara ambiguus), Highland Tinamou (Nothocercus bonapartei), Tiny Hawk (Accipiter superciliosus), King Vulture (Sarcoramphus papa) , Three-wattled Bellbird (Procnias tricarunculatus) and many others. In Hule lagoon, there are five species of fish, including the Guapote (Cichlasoma dovii )and the Mojamarra (Cichlasoma lyonsi).
An ecological committee currently produces medicinal plants for use in shampoos and herbal teas, which has the added benefit of cultivating and supporting the butterfly population and diversity in the area. This ecological committee has a camping area with bathing facilities, 2 private cabins for rent, and a restaurant overlooking Hule Lagoon. The shop sells medicinal plants, teas, organic shampoos and butterfly art. Other national parks nearby include Poas Volcano National Park, Grecia Forest Reserve and Juan Castro Blanco National Park.
Getting to Bosque Alegre National Wildlife Refuge:
From San Jose, take the road toward Puerto Viejo de Sarapiqui, passing through Alajuela, Carrizal, Varablanca and Cinchona until you reach the town of Cariblanco. A dirt road goes from the Cariblanco gasoline station to Hule lagoon. During the rainy season, it is highly recommended to use a 4×4 vehicle. Driving time from San José is about 1.5 hours.
You can take a bus from the route San José – Puerto Viejo de Sarapiquí (Empresarios Guapileños, 2222-0610), which takes about 2.5 hours making the stop at Cariblanco.
Location: 6 km from Cariblanco in Alajuela, Costa Rica.
Cariblanco GPS Coordinates: 10.264619,-84.182647 (10°15’52.63″N, 84°10’57.53″O)
Size: 850 ha (2,100 acres)
Altitude: from 300m to 750m (990ft to 2,460ft) above sea level
Central Volcanic Mountain Range Conservation Area (ACCVC) Telephone: +(506) 2268-1587 / 2268-8091
INFOTUR Tourist Information: 1192