The Tapiria National Wildlife Refuge was created on September 20th, 2011, by Executive Decree No. 36 681-Minaet, to contribute to the conservation of species of plants and animals that are typical of tropical rain forest, located in Puerto Viejo of Sarapiqui, Heredia. This new refuge is part of the Central Volcanic Cordillera Conservation Area (ACCVC).
Tapiria National Wildlife Refuge also integrates the biological corridor known as San Juan – La Selva, which extends from the border with Nicaragua to Sarapiqui, and serves as a route for hundreds of migratory birds like the Great Green Macaw (Ara ambiguus), which is in danger of extinction.
This refuge was born thanks to the transfer of land made by the Institute of Agrarian Development (IDA in Spanish) to the National System of Conservation Areas (SINAC in Spanish).
The Rojomaca community, through the Jalapa Lake Agroecoturistic Association, is responsible to develop an ecotourism project that includes a guided tour through the nature trails and a boat ride on Jalapa Lake, where visitors can enjoy the scenic beauty, as well as the flora and fauna, as it has a use permit issued by the Ministry of Environment, Energy and Telecommunications (MINAET in Spanish). Indeed, these use permits are seen as a way to benefit the 12 neighboring families, who provide a service for the people who want to visit the site, and, in return, are part of a monitoring committee of natural resources that supports the work of control and surveillance. Community members who were inducted as honorary Ad-honorem Wildlife Inspectors, pledged to protect the site against the hunters and poachers.
Tapiria National Wildlife Refuge is a stronghold of tropical rain forest that protects at least 142 species of trees and 22 types of mammals, such as spider monkeys (Ateles geoffroyi), howler monkeys (Alouatta palliata), nine-banded armadillos (Dasypus novemcinctus), common opossums (Didelphis marsupialis), tayras (Eira barbara) and margays (Leopardus wiedii), among others. Likewise, provides a habitat for a variety of bird species, among which are the Great Green Macaw (Ara ambiguus), the Scarlet Macaw (Ara macao) and two species of toucans. In addition, the Tapiria National Wildlife Refuge seeks to achieve the conservation of species that have been affected by the change in land use, such as the Strawberry Poison-dart Frog (Oophaga pumilio) and Green and Black Poison Dart Frog (Dendrobates auratus).
Tapiria National Wildlife Refuge also protects an important wetland known locally as Jalapa Lake, which serves as a breeding area for several waterfowl including Anhinga or American Darter (Anhinga anhinga), the Boat-billed Heron (Cochlearius cochlearius), Green Ibis (Mesembrinibis cayennensis) and Ringed Kingfisher (Megaceryle torquata).
Other nearby Costa Rica parks includes the Bosque Alegre National Wildlife Refuge, Central Volcanic Cordillera Forest Reserve and Poas Volcano National Park.
Getting to Tapiria National Wildlife Refuge:
From San Jose, take the road towards Puerto Viejo de Sarapiqui, passing through Alajuela, Carrizal, Varablanca and Cinchona until you reach the town of Rojomaca, at approximately 11km from Puerto Viejo downtown. 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 San José – Puerto Viejo de Sarapiquí (Empresarios Guapileños, 2222-0610), which takes about 2 hours, and by Varablanca takes about 3 hours.
Location: at Rojomaca community, about 12 km (7 miles) north of Puerto Viejo, district: Puerto Viejo, canton: Sarapiquí, province: Heredia, Costa Rica. Zone postal code: 41001.
For reservations please call: (506) 8973-8488, (506) 8955-8869
Puerto Viejo of Sarapiqui GPS Coordinates: 10.455164, -84.008597 (10°27’18.59″N, 84°00’30.95″O)
Size: 129 ha (320 acres)
Altitude: from 100m to 350m (330ft to 1,150ft) 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 Tapiria National Wildlife Refuge in Heredia, Cartago and Limon, Costa Rica at Google Maps