The Central Volcanic Cordillera Forest Reserve was created on June 26th, 1975, by Executive Decree No. 4961-A, in order to conserve and manage the hydrological and ecological potential that surrounds the National Parks Braulio Carrillo, Poas Volcano, Irazu Volcano and Turrialba Volcano, in the Central Volcanic Cordillera.
The objectives of its creation were based on the need to protect watersheds, to maintain hydropower production and to ensure safe handling and use of forest resources. In general, it should be noted that the Central Volcanic Cordillera Forest Reserve has an important hydrological network, as with the Braulio Carrillo National Park are the main recharge area that supplies water to the Central Valley and a considerable drainage network, which flows into the plains of the North Atlantic region of the country.
Originally the Central Volcanic Cordillera Forest Reserve comprising an area of 104.300 hectares, however, in the course of time was segregated and giving land to the Braulio Carrillo National Park among others, so that today covers 60.100 hectares. In fact, nowadays, this reserve is distributed by sectors surrounding the areas of Varablanca and Sacramento in Heredia, and the areas of Turrialba and Guápiles in Cartago and Limon.
Forests in this forest reserve are of extraordinary importance, not only for the protection they provide to the vast system of river basins that exists here, but also because it is a biological corridor that connects the Braulio Carrillo, Poas Volcano, Irazu Volcano and Turrialba Volcano National Parks. Two species characteristic of these forests are tree ferns (Cyathea fulva) and Poor Man Umbrellas (Gunnera insignis), with enormous size leaves. Some roads from Sacramento and Rancho Redondo let in a little bit in the southern part of this reserve.
The Central Volcanic Cordillera Forest Reserve has several life zones that correspond to tropical wet forest, montane rain forest, lower montane rain forest and montane rain forest. Thanks to this variety of life zones, the Central Volcanic Cordillera Forest Reserve has a vast collection of flora and fauna. It can be determine that 62% of the reserve is covered by forests, with a 3% in the process of recovery, while the area occupied by crops, grasses and trees covers approximately 14% of the reserve, such as the Aguacatillo (Persea caerulea), Oak (Quercus seemannii), Cedar (Cedrela salvadorensis), Cabbage Tree or Carne Asada (Andira inermis) and Cristobal (Guatteria oliviformis), Lengua de Diablo (Anthurium scherzerianum), Cacho de venado (Oreopanax standleyi) and Quina (Ladenbergia brenesii), among others. Similarly, the reserve has a variety of bromeliads, orchids, ferns, epiphytes and mosses.
Among the mammals that abound the reserve are the howler and white faced monkeys, tapirs, raccoons, sloths, porcupines, coatis, pacas, coyotes, peccaries, rabbits, foxes, squirrels, pocket gophers, juaguars, pumas, ocelots, margays and the jaguarundi. In addition, the Central Volcanic Cordillera Forest Reserve has some 500 species of resident and migratory birds, among which highlights the Resplendent Quetzal (Pharomachrus mocinno), Bare-necked Umbrellabird (Cephalopterus glabricollis), Black-crowned Antpitta (Pittasoma michleri), Golden-browed Chlorophonia (Chlorophonia callophrys), Long-tailed Silky-flycatcher (Ptilogonys caudatus), Flame-throated Warbler (Oreothlypis gutturalis), as well as variety of hummingbirds, toucans, eagles and parrots.
There are no public facilities at the Central Volcanic Cordillera Forest Reserve. Other nearby Costa Rica parks includes the Braulio Carrillo National Park, Poas Volcano National Park, Turrialba Volcano National Park and Tapiria National Wildlife Refuge.
Getting to Central Volcanic Cordillera Forest Reserve:
To get to the Varablanca surrounds Sector, from San Jose, take the Pan-American Highway towards the Juan Santamaria International Airport and then take the Alajuela exit. Continue straight on this road for 19km (12 miles) following the signs for Poás Volcano. At the dead end three-way intersection, where you see Jaulares Restaurant, take a right. Proceed for 1 mile to the town of Poasito and make another right at the intersection where it says Heredia – Varablanca – Sarapiqui. Make a left at the gas station in Varablanca and proceed for 5km (3 miles). Driving time from San José is about 1.5 hours.
To get to the Sacramento surrounds Sector, from San Jose, drive through Heredia, then turn north and drive through Barva, San José de la Montaña, and Sacramento. Driving time from San José is about 1.5 hours.
To get to the Guapiles surrounds Sector, from the Juan Santamaria International Airport drive for about 8 km in direction to San Jose. On your right hand the Hospital Mexico will appear.After the Hospital Mexico, you must take the exit to La Uruca (on the rotonda, the third exit). Turn right at the traffic lights and follow to San José (keep the middle lane as much as possible) until you get to Shell gas station at a Y-junction, keep left. Take the exit Guapiles-Limon and follow the road (nr. 32) to Limón, passing through the Zurqui bridge and the Braulio Carrillo mountains. It is likely that you will encounter fog and rain. Please drive with your lights on. After the mountains the road to Limon is practically straight with no hills.. Driving time from San José is about 3 hours.
To get to the Turrialba surrounds Sector, from San Jose, drive to Cartago and continue on Highway 10 following signs to Turrialba, which is about 40 km west of Cartago. Pass through the towns of Paraiso, Cervantes and Juan Viñas. Driving time from San José is about 3 hours.
Location: in Heredia, Cartago and Limon provinces, Costa Rica.
Varablanca GPS Coordinates: 10.168117, -84.156164 (10°10’5.22″N, 84°09’22.19″O)
Sacramento GPS Coordinates: 10.109086, -84.123036 (10°06’32.71″N, 84°07’22.93″O)
Guapiles GPS Coordinates: 10.202261, -83.795883 (10°12’8.14″N, 83°47’45.18″O)
Turrialba GPS Coordinates: 9.905747, -83.683928 (9°54’20.69″N, 83°41’2.14″O)
Size: 60,100 ha (150,000 acres)
Altitude: from 450m to 1,800m (1,480ft to 5,900ft) above sea level
Central Volcanic Cordillera Conservation Area (ACCVC) Telephone: +(506) 2268-8087/2268-9150
INFOTUR Tourist Information: 1192
Address map: Click here to view directions from Juan Santamaria International Airport (SJO), Alajuela, Costa Rica TO Central Volcanic Cordillera Forest Reserve in Heredia, Cartago and Limon, Costa Rica at Google Maps