The Cerro Dantas Wildlife Refuge was created on February 16th, 1998, to protect and contribute to initiatives, programs and research to preserve and maintain the natural resources surrounding the Cerro Chompipe in Heredia.
Cerro Dantas Wildlife Refuge wants to help create awareness about the importance of environmental protection, through the development and introduction of strategic educational programs to schools and visitors related to the investigations and research held by researchers at the refuge, enabling general and specific education to the country and its future generations, placing emphasis on the conservation of the countries and planets natural environments and resources.
With 57 hectars, the Cerro Dantas Wildlife Refuge has primarily and secondary cloud forests, which hosts many research projects of the varying disciplines, as well as university monitoring programs, located within the Central Volcanic Forest Reserve, at the south west borders of the Braulio Carrillo National Park.
The Cerro Dantas Wildlife Refuge is a rain forest with evergreen vegetation, with an abundance of epiphytes and mosses. It contains about 4000 different kinds of plants, among which stand out the Oak (Quercus costaricensis), Aguacatillo (Ocotea mollifolia), “Chile Muelo” (Drimys granadensis), “Arrayán blanco” (Weinmannia pinnata), “Lengua de Vaca” (Miconia tonduzii) and Poas Magnolia (Magnolia poasana). The topographical area consisting of hills and cliffs with various trails in which you can hike and appreciate the diverse types of trees, orchids, birds, springs and waterfalls.
Probably the most representative group of wildlife at Cerro Dantas Wildlife Refuge are birds, such as the Grey-breasted Wood-Wren (Henicorhina leucophrys), Sooty-capped Bush-Tanager(Chlorospingus pileatus), Common Bush-tanager (Chlorospingus ophthalmicus), Black-cheeked Warbler (Basileuterus melanogenys) and the Ruddy Treerunner (Margarornis rubiginosus). There are also other less common species such as the Collared Trogon (Trogon collaris), Black-faced Solitaire (Myadestes melanops), Golden-browed Chlorophonia (Chlorophonia callophrys), Tropical Kingbird (Tyrannus melancholicus), Brown Jay (Psilorhinus morio), Rufous-collared Sparrow (Zonotrichia capensis).
Similarly been reported several species of mammals such as the Brown-throated Sloth (Bradypus variegatus),Tayra (Eira barbara), Common Opossum (Didelphis marsupialis), Red Brocket (Mazama americana), Jaguarundi (Puma yagouaroundi), as well as Kinkajou (Potos flavus) and Variegated Squirrels (Sciurus variegatoides). In regards to amphibians and reptiles, the sectors located on the slopes of Cerro Chompipe, researchers have found some interesting species, including jungle-runners (Ameiva), as well as the endemic Holdridge’s Toad (Bufo holdridgei), which also is included in the official list of wildlife species with small populations.
The Cerro Dantas Wildlife Refuge has an average temperature of 23ºC (75ºF), receiving some 3000 mm (150 inches) of rain annual average, which is distributed unevenly throughout the year. The precipitations are scarce during the dry season which lasts from December to April and has an average minimum rainfall during the month of January. On the other hand, rainfall increases during the rainy season which covers the period from May to November, being October the wettest month.
The Cerro Dantas Wildlife Refuge’s staff will feel glad to welcome the visitors who want to take the adventure of hiking this beautiful area. Due to regular climate changes it is recommend to always bring a rain coat and change of clothing, good hiking shoes, binoculars or a camera, water bottle and a plastic bag.
Cerro Dantas Wildlife Refuge offers the public a variety of activities to do such as ecotourism and educational activities, guided trails to waterfalls, Natural History Workshops (art with waste, art from the forest, open space classes about biodiversity and ecosystems, etc). Besides, with previous planning you can arrange activities for groups and special events such as weddings, company employee development and scouts training.
Cerro Dantas Wildlife Refuge has an administrative house, 6 rooms with capacity for up to 36 people, restrooms, showers with hot water, electricity and cell phone communication which can be limited due to weather conditions, as well as a dining area with fully equipped kitchen. Other nearby Costa Rica National Parks includes Jaguarundi Wildlife Refuge, La Paz Waterfall Gardens Nature Park and Wildlife Refuge and Braulio Carrillo National Park.
Getting to Cerro Dantas Wildlife Refuge:
From San Jose, take the highway to Heredia City. From Costa Rica’s National University head north approximately 2 Km to San Rafael. From the NW corner of the towns main church, again head north for 5 km, past El Castillo country club and continue approximately 1 more kilometer. To your right look for a large wooden sign that says Refugio de Vida Silvestre Cerro Dantas, and continue NE for another 3 km. At this point there are places where your car can be left. There is one 3.5 km from the refuge, if you plan to stay the whole day or to sleep. The next place, located 700 m closer to the refuge, is a public area ideal if staying just a couple of hours.
The refuge must inform that they are not responsible for cars left here, but generally is a safe place to park. If you visit with a 4WD vehicle and are an experienced driver, you can continue down the trail towards the refuge 1.25 km further to the first gate you see, or rather back before the first bridge is fine.
Take a local bus from San Jose or Heredia to San Rafael (Buses Heredianos, 2222-8986), or take Ruta nº 424 bus from San José – Santo Domingo – San Pablo to San Rafael de Heredia (Transportes Rutas 407, 2261-8766). From San Rafael take another bus to Monte De La Cruz. You can catch this bus next to the big yellow church.
Take a bus from Heredia directly to Monte De La Cruz. This bus stops next to the National University. These buses come every hour and are bright purple and have Monte De La Cruz written on its front. You can also take a bus from the university to San Rafael and then go on to Monte De La Cruz from there.
Location: 20 km NE of the National University in Heredia, or 7km NE from el Monte de la Cruz, district: Varablanca, canton: Heredia, province: Heredia, Costa Rica. Zone postal code: 40105.
Cerro Dantas Wildlife Refuge GPS Coordinates: 10.094386,-84.058647 (10°05’39.79″N, 84°03’31.13″W)
Cerro Dantas Wildlife Refuge entrance GPS Coordinates: 10.086671,-84.070988 (10°05’12.01″N, 84°04’15.55″W)
Size: 57 ha (141 acres)
Altitude: from 1500 to 2100 ( 4,920 to 6,800 feet) above sea level.
Cerro Dantas Wildlife Refuge Telephone: + (506) 2274-1997
Cellphone: + (506) 88354-9271 / 8866-7380
Central Volcanic Cordillera Conservation Area (ACCVC) Telephone: +(506) 2268-1587 / 2268-8091
INFOTUR Tourist Information: 1192