Central America Travel and Tourist Guide
Costa Rica Top Destinatons - 7 Natural Wonders of Costa Rica
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Costa Rica Vacation and Travel Guide
Costa Rica, officially called the Republic of Costa Rica is a Central American country. It limits to the north with the Republic of Nicaragua and to the southeast with the Republic of Panama. It has 4,889,826 inhabitants according to the latest population census.
The territory with a total area of 51,100 square kilometers, is bathed in the east by the Caribbean Sea and west by the Pacific Ocean. As for maritime boundary, bordering Panama, Colombia, and Nicaragua.
Its capital, political and economic center is San Jose, and its official language is Spanish.
The Territorial Division of Costa Rica includes seven provinces divided into 81 cantons or municipalities, and these in turn, subdivided into 470 districts Chartered.
Tourism in Costa Rica
Tourism in Costa Rica is one of the main economic sectors and fastest growing in the country and since 1995 represents the first source of foreign exchange for the economy. Biodiversity of Costa Rica is one of the attractions for ecotourism. A notable species is the green frog red eye. Label and distinctive flag Blue Flag program in Playa Langosta, at the entrance of Las Baulas National Marine Park, Guanacaste. Ecotourism is extremely popular among international tourists visiting the extensive network of national parks and protected areas. Costa Rica was one of the pioneers in this type of tourism and the country is internationally recognized as one of the few who has known true ecotourism destinations.
Volcanoes Costa Rica
Costa Rica's volcanoes are related to the crash or subduction of the Cocos and Caribbean plates, This is a list of active and extinct volcanoes in Costa Rica. In Costa Rica a great volcanism due to its location on Ring of Fire, which is known for its seismic state occurs. Costa Rica has 112 volcanoes, five of which are active, whose origin is due to the subduction of the Cocos and Caribbean plates. The country is located within the so-called "Ring of Fire", which includes most of the world's volcanoes.
Ethical Traveler Destination
Costa Rica was included in both the 2011 and 2012 lists of The Developing World's 10 Best Ethical Destinations. This is an annual ranking produced by Ethical Traveler magazine, which is based on a study of developing nations from around the world to identify the best tourism destinations among them. The benchmarking uses categories such as environmental protection, social welfare, and human rights.
Costa Rica created in 1970 Sured National Park, which is administered by SINAC has 28 national parks and several biological and forest reserves. Protected areas in Costa Rica harboring hundreds of species of mamífereos, reptiles, birds, amphibians, insects, fish, plants and fungi are being studied in many institutions worldwide, some of these species are of great importance because due to the destruction of their habitat are endangered, as several species of poison dart frogs, jaguars, two-toed sloth, snakes as bocaracá or coral, and large birds like the harpy eagle or green macaws , so strict controls to avoid affecting the number of remaining copies are needed.
7 Natural Wonders of Costa Rica
Chosen as the Seven Natural Wonders of Costa Rica in 2007 by Costa Ricans, through an open competition organized by a national newspaper, these natural sites are among the favorites of both local and foreign tourists:
Cocos Island is an island located in the province of the Republic of Costa Rica, which declared National Park Pacific Ocean. Despite being an uninhabited island in it are rangers, biologists, marine researchers and 24 hours. Since 2006 polling stations were installed for the presidential elections in Costa Rica on the island.
It was discovered in 1526 by Spanish navigator Juan Cabezas. It is located 532 km from the Costa Rican coast. Its coordinates are 05 ° 31'N 87 ° 04'W. Its land area is 23.85 square kilometers, and is 7.6 km long and 4.4 km wide, with an approximately rectangular shape. The island is one of thirteen districts of the canton of Puntarenas (Canton Central) in the province of Puntarenas. Wafer Ranger Station is located in Wafer Bay north of the island. The boat trip from Puntarenas takes about 36 hours
Natural Features of Cocos Island
For its size, isolation, and conservation status, Cocos Island is one of the privileged natural sites worldwide. With an important endemism and unique biodiversity, the island can be categorized as an ideal place for research on the evolution of species and monitoring the environment in the long term natural laboratory.
235 identified plant species, 70 are endemic. 362 insects, 64 are endemic. There are 2 endemic species of lizards. 3 species of spiders are also recorded; 85 birds, 4 of which are endemic; 57 crustaceans; 118 shellfish; more than 200 fish and 18 corals.
Deer and pigs were introduced by pirates and whalers who used the island as a store of food and wood offshore, but these species have generated Adaptations they already considered endemic.
The results of such research could provide important information on the dynamics of the planet's ecosystems and its relation to global changes in marine and terrestrial environment.
The rainfall reaches 7,000 mm per year and during intense luviosos events have been counted more than 2000 waterfalls falling into the sea, inside there is a cloud forest, rivers and waterfalls, there are even references that there was a lake which was dried looking supposed treasures, because it is said that a metaphor for this derives the origin of its name: "this island has so much water inside and a coconut", especially useful condition for pirates and whalers, who were supplied with drinking water there as only possibility for hundreds of kilometers around.
Condition: The National System of Conservation Areas (SINAC) has programs to ensure compliance with the laws of conservation of natural resources, maintaining a proper balance of the ecosystems of the island within marine and terrestrial boundaries. It is implementing the Programme for Research and Monitoring It aims to lay the groundwork for the development of scientific research in the area and encourage it according to the priorities of the park, Public Use Program, which aims to raise awareness among groups who are engaged in the activity fishing on the edge of the area, about the importance of preserving the populations of marine organisms most endangered commercial use, and a safety program for domestic and foreign visitors to the island.
As part of the protection is being infrastructure that includes cabins for park rangers, scientific laboratories and permanent positions in strategic locations for the control and monitoring of tourism as well as illegal, all under strict principles of low environmental impact and scenic, which have been recognized by bioclimatic and environmental architects Víquez Ibo Bonilla and Rafael, who have carried out projects in many national parks and protected areas.
Cocos Island in Fiction
The book's "Desert Island" (English: Desert Island) advocates the theory that Daniel Defoe used Cocos Island as a good model for his description of the island inhabited by Robinson Crusoe. However, Defoe placed the island off the coast of Venezuela in the Caribbean, in the Pacific Ocean.
Fiction novel by Michael Crichton "Jurassic Park" (English: Jurassic Park) takes place in the fictional Island To dim, belonging to Costa Rica and located 550 km (340 miles) off the Pacific coast of Costa Rica, which corresponds exactly to the location of Cocos Island.
The novel "Falling Eagle" Costa Rican Carlos Gagini develops much of its plot on the island.
One of the first films to IMAX "Shark Island" directed by Howard Hall, was shot and inspired on this island.
The Arenal Volcano Costa Rica
The Arenal Volcano Costa Rica is located in the district of La Fortuna, canton of San Carlos, in the province of Alajuela. It has a height of 1,670 meters. The volcano is located within the Arenal Volcano National Park. He began his past and present activity period in 1968, on July 29 at 7:30. Since then constantly it emits gases and water vapor, with some explosions with pyroclastic material emissions, and sometimes loud rumblings. For this and frequent activity, make this the most active volcano in Costa Rica.
El Arenal is a conical stratovolcano located about 8 km from La Fortuna. It has an area of 33 km2. It is distinguishable from a considerable distance. It can be seen from different villages in the canton of San Carlos as Aguas Zarcas, Pocosol, La Fortuna, La Palmera, Cutris, Deer, Florence and even Ciudad Quesada, Guatuso and Los Costa Ricas. Geologically it belongs to the Sierra de Tilarán and is considered the nearby Chato volcano as his brother. It is one of the volcanoes of Costa Rica best known nationally and internationally and one of the most visited.
Etymology: The Arenal volcano has had several names throughout history. Some of the legends of the Maleku Indians who inhabit the plains in its shadow, have you lived inside the god of fire. Its oldest recorded name is The Drowned (1852), but has also been called volcano in Costa Rica (1854), Rio Frio Volcano (1861), Cerro Arenal, Sugar Loaf Mountain (1896), the volcano or Canastes Pelon volcano (1925).
He is quoted as Arenal Volcano since 1922, this because their lavas suffering disintegration by physical and chemical effects, forming lithic and crystal sand deposited on the slopes of the cone, giving appearance of a mound of sand.
Volcanic activity: street Arenal eruption in 2007. It has been estimated the age of the volcano at least about 7000 years, with at least four Plinian eruptions during that period, affecting neighboring indigenous populations.
Before 1968, it is debated whether the volcano was not one of those who did not erupt because this had never given any sign of volcanic activity. He even came to be known as "Cerro Arenal", but on July 29 of that year an explosion which destroyed the villages of Tabacon and Pueblo Nuevo occurred, killing some 87 people, and created three craters.
Since then it remains active with manifestations including gas emissions, or lava flows, pyroclastic flows and eruptions Strombolian and Vulcan. The spectacle of the red-hot lava and consistency (since 1968) of the activity of Arenal, have given an important place in the global tourism community both as a scientist. Since 1984, the Arenal volcano has presented a continuous eruptive activity of Strombolian type, with effusion of lava flows, with increased activity between 1986 and 1987.4 The August 23, 1993 presented a major explosion that caused a partial collapse of the cone which drained the lava lake in the crater, causing a major landslide that reached areas pobladas.4 Between 1995 and 1996 presented alternately long and quiet activity. In 1997, only 288 explosions were recorded in the month of May. That year an ejection of ash between 5166 and 9622 tonnes per month was calculated. By 2000, the volcano showed increased activity (down lava flows, explosions, plumes of ash and gases) which resulted in the deaths of 2 people.4 in 2004 was estimated at 720 km / h the speed with which they were expelled bombs and incandescent blocks coloso.3 overall, between 1995 and 2008, the Arenal provided important both eruptive seismic activity, although with a tendency to decrease.
Chirripó is the name of the highest point in Costa Rica is part of the Chirripo National Park. The massif is located on the border between the cantons of Perez Zeledon (San Jose), Turrialba (Cartago), Limón and Talamanca (Limón). At its peak, located in the province of Limón, converge near the boundaries of these three provinces. The summit is 3820 meters above sea level (12,530 feet), and is the best known of the Cordillera de Talamanca mountain, and one of the highest in Central America. Offers visitors landscapes than in any other part of the country can be seen, including glacial lakes. From its peak, on a clear day one can see the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea looking southwest or northeast, respectively; well you can see 3/4 of the country and Panamanian territory. At its peak plains, steep points, glacial lakes, forests and a variety of nature are observed.
The only way to get to this point is to walk up a mountain about 20 kilometers, which is usually carried out in two stages. In a first stage it rises to 3,400 meters in an average time of 6 or 7 hours, where Refugio El Paramo, which has electricity services (regulated) (not heated) drinking water, cooking utensils is, two computers with limited connection to the Internet, and seats about 80 people. The second stage is usually performed in the morning on a walk 5 kilometers of moderate intensity and a time of 2-3 hours.
Facts and Trivia: With the clear sky, can be seen both the Caribbean Sea and the Pacific Ocean from its summit. The park has suffered two fires caused by human hands, which have done much damage to the forest in the area. Today these forests are in natural recovery. Every year a race up the mountain, where the best competitors finish the route to a shelter in 2 hours is performed. The minimum temperature ever recorded is -9 ° C. During the winter in the northern hemisphere temperatures can drop to -5 ° C.
The Celeste River
The Celeste River is a river of Costa Rica located in the canton of Guatuso in the province of Alajuela, in the Tenorio Volcano National Park, Conservation Area Arenal-Tempisque. It is formed by the confluence of the Quebrada Agria Buena Vista and in the Tenorio Volcano. Due to its particular color, the result of an optical effect produced by the scattering of sunlight due to the high concentration of aluminum silicates which have their water, is an important national and international tourist destination in the Central American country.
Caption: A local legend, the waters of the river Celeste have that color because, when God finished painting the sky, he washed the brushes in the water of this river.
Celeste River Attractions
Among the main attractions of the Rio Celeste, they are: cataract; The Teñideros, at the confluence of its tributaries and the water is observed in shades ranging from aqua, blue, turquoise to deep blue; The hot springs;
The views of Tenorio Volcano; The tropical forest is around; The blue lagoon. The Bloominista Academy. The fauna found in the region includes peccaries, white-tailed deer, ocelot and birds.
Tortuguero National Park is located north of the village in Tortuguero and Parismina South, Costa Rica. It is located within the Tortuguero Conservation Area (act). It has 31,187 land hectares and 52,000 marine hectares. Channels are famous introduction to Tortuguero. Impressively they were created with natural lakes and rivers. The climate is humid; annual rainfall reaches 6000 mm in the northern part of the park. It is one of the rainiest areas of the country. No exite the dry season, but it is a fact that it rains less in February, March and October.
Flora and Fauna: Tortuguero is famous for turtle nesting on its beaches. There are also numbers of monkeys, frogs, iguanas, fish, crocodiles, manatees, pumas and many other species of animals.
Poas Volcano National Park
Poas Volcano National Park is a national park in Costa Rica that covers an area of approximately 65 square kilometers (16,000 acres); the maximum height is 2,708 meters. One of its main attractions is that it is easily accessible even by the earthquake in Costa Rica in 2009, only some roads were free. The volcano is located within the conservation area of the Cordillera Central. The main crater is 300 m deep and a diameter of about 1.7 km, is the largest crater of the world1 geyser and one of the largest craters in the world.2 and remains active today, with small emissions gases and an acid lake.
The last major eruption was between 1952 and 1954. The volcanic massif is made up of an older crater called Botos in reference to the original living in the area, which is not active and has a lake in the center. The Botos is a green color lake with water due to the amount of sulfuric acid in water and has a diameter of 365 m. The park has well marked to visit these places trails, and you can see lots of birds that inhabit the rainforest.
The park has a wide variety of wildlife such as squirrels, several kinds of birds, peccaries and dozens of orchids. In the last decade the park has had to be closed several times due to high emissions of gases that have been sporadic since. There are a number of indications that the volcano is slowly showing signs of activity that can become a new eruption.
The province of Puntarenas in Costa Rica has a great natural attraction that makes the region a pole receiver of foreign and domestic tourists. There are numerous landscapes formed by long beaches, some covered mountainous cloud forest, valleys, river basins and a rich fauna. Emphasizes in this regard the remarkable tourism around the Manuel Antonio National Park, the second most visited country after the Poas Volcano National Park and the biological Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve, which receives more than 70,000 domestic and foreign tourists annually.
The Central Pacific is one of the main destinations of domestic and foreign tourism. Its natural and scenic wealth, the existence of numerous conservation areas, and its relative proximity to the Central Valley make it one of the main poles of tourist attraction in Costa Rica. In the last decade there has been a significant development of infrastructure that can be seen in places like Jaco or Sunday, which are sites of interest mainly to foreigners, initially attracted by surfing.
Beaches Puntarena have mostly with hotels, lodges and cabins. Some of them are among the top 10 in Central America as they are Manuel Antonio Beach, selected as the best beach in Central America as travelers and Hermosa Beach, at No. 8.
In the province of Puntarenas are seven national parks (two of which are World Heritage according to UNESCO), three biological reserves and two wildlife refuges, part of the National System of Conservation Areas of Costa Rica. In addition, the Monteverde Cloud Forest Biological Reserve, a private nature is. see more
Among the most important destinations of Puntarenas in Costa Rica, we can name:
Corcovado National Park
Located on the Osa Peninsula, was described by National Geographic as "the most intense place on Earth, biologically speaking" and it is estimated that anywhere in the world, possessing a similar extent, greater biodiversity is housed. Corcovado is home to endangered species such as the giant anteater, jaguar, tapir and armadillo vulture, has preserved 41,788 shallow lagoons, mangroves, rivers, rain and cloud forests, and numerous animal species in danger of extinction, attracts many tourists, scientists and researchers each year. Around the park, which is accessed by a ferry between Golfito and Puerto Jimenez, on the east coast of the Osa Peninsula, there are some hotels include private reserves.
The Cocos Island National Park
Heritage Site according to UNESCO, is one of the most biodiverse places in the world where we have identified 235 plant species (70 endemic), 362 insects (64 endemic) and 2 endemic reptiles; 3 spiders, 85 birds including marine (4 endemic), 57 crustaceans, 118 marine mollusks, more than 200 fish and 18 coral. The French explorer and researcher Jacques-Yves Cousteau, considered living on the island of Coco the most beautiful in the world. With an area of 5,375 marine ha, the Marino Ballena National Park is recognized globally because of the humpback whales during their journey to reproduce.
Carara National Park
In the canton of Garabito, it retains the basin of the Rio Grande de Tarcoles. Has the last remnant of transitional forest in the country, where the dry forest in the Mesoamerican region and the characteristic tropical rain forest in the South Pacific contact. This park protects one of the largest remaining populations of scarlet macaws in the country, and is also home to the American crocodile, which groups are readily observable from the open road on the bridge that crosses over the river Tarcoles. Selected in 2011 by Forbes magazine as one of 12 most beautiful parks in the world.
Manuel Antonio National Park
Located 7 km from the city of Quepos, is one of the most visited tourist destinations in Costa Rica, due to its easy access. Overhangs the white sand beaches surrounded by rainforest, mangroves and the presence of the great biological diversity in a relatively small area (only 56 ha). Manuel Antonio grows around one bollante and tourism complex.
Located west of the city of Golfito, lies the Piedras Blancas National Park, which protects the last bit of rainforest to Golfito and the basin of Esquinas River, which is navigable. This park has a great diversity of fauna, with species such as jaguar, paca, agoutis, peccaries (Tayassu tajacu) and caucel ocelots (Margay).
Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve
The Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve is a private reserve in Costa Rica situated along the Cordillera de Tilarán between the provinces of Puntarenas and Alajuela.Su name from the nearby town of Monteverde and was founded in 1972.1 The book consists of more than 10,500 hectares of rainforest, and receives about 70,000 visitors a year. It has 6 ecological zones, 90% of which are virgin forest. Scientists and tourists have since found a very high biodiversity, which consists of more than 2,500 species of plants (including most species of orchids in one place), 100 species of mammals, 400 species of birds, 120 species of reptiles and amphibians, and thousands of insects.
Features: Monteverde Biological Reserve covers an area of biological conservation that is located in the foothills of the Cordillera de Tilarán, in the Province of Puntarenas, Costa Rica. The reserve is privately owned and covers an area of over 10 000 ha, protecting an important part of the vast cloud forests of the Cordillera de Tilarán. It also forms a biological corridor to the Arenal Volcano National Park called "Complex Arenal-Monteverde cloud forest." The area is visited annually by more than 70,000 tourists who come mainly to observe birds and to contemplate the cloud forest. It is located 5 km east of the center of Santa Elena, in the Monteverde district (province of Puntarnenas).
Private Reserve: The area relates entirely to a private reserve owned by the Tropical Science Center (TSC), a Costa Rican scientific and educational non-profit NGO, founded in 1962. The reserve as such, was established in 1972 and immediately took CST administration.
This wildlife area was created to protect the flora, fauna and water resources, and to carry out both scientific studies and environmental education programs.
Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve covers eight different biological zones, covers an area of about 10,522 hectares. It is home to over 2,000 species of plants and trees, 100 species of mammals, over 400 species of birds and some 1,200 species of amphibians and reptiles. Among the species are the bell bird, jaguars, pumas, monkeys and frogs. As for its flora, it is also home to over 300 species of orchids and 200 species of ferns.
History of the Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve
Arrival of the first farmers to the area: In 1951, several dozen Quakers who try to live as farmers moved and bought land in Costa Rica, 3 primarily to avoid the Korean War Project, an obligation contradicts the ideology of pacifist Quakers.
Start biological research: Biologists began to take note of Monteverde in the 1960s Despite the lack of infrastructure and housing with which to carry out scientific research, these early biologists have documented ot only continuously new species, but continue living in Monteverde.
In 1968, Dr. Joseph Tosi, who worked for the Tropical Science Center, a foundation for tropical conservation, accompanied Dr. Leslie Holdridge on a trip to Monteverde. The visit was part of a study of the northern region of Costa Rica, requested by the National Planning Office of the government. There, he met with Mr. Hubert Mendenhall, leader of the Quaker community at the time, which led them to see ancient forests surrounding the community.
At the end of his visit, Holdridge and Tosi recommended the Quaker community that native forests to be preserved as much as possible in order to protect their water sources and, given the strong wind that whips the area, using forests as windbreaks to protect their fields and homes.
Conservation efforts Monte: The years passed, and in 1972 a young graduate student, George Powell, visited the Tropical Science Center in San Jose. He lived in Monteverde while doing doctoral research on birds in the area, and found that wildlife and habitats were ideal for research purposes.
Surprised by the extraordinary biological richness of the cloud forests, including the habitat of the endemic golden toad, and alarmed by predation by hunters and squatters, Powell received a promise of Guacimal Land Company to donate 328 hectares of land, if he could build or find a civil association to sponsor him to take over the property. George used his personal funds to pay them several squatters, hoping to establish a small biological reserve in the region. In these forests more than a hundred species of mammals, more than four hundred species of birds and more than two thousand plant species have found their home. That's why the preserve has been acclaimed as one of the most spectacular wildlife refuges in the world. They found more than 10,000 species of insects in the area. To access there you can take the bus (two daily) from the city of Monteverde. For those who does not love insects, keep in mind that more than tens of thousands of insect species found here! To get here Monteverde way is very easy as there are buses twice a day from the city center.
At that time, there were few national parks in Costa Rica, and TSC had a program to create private reserves research and teaching of biology, each represent a different ecological reserve area of the country. Immediately, the TSC was interested in offering Powell and began the process that led to the acquisition of 328 hectares in April 1973. The cost of the farm was a symbolic one colon (less than 1 US dollar). Along with Powell, Costa Rican biologist Adelaide Chaverri and wildlife specialist Christopher Vaughn promoted the creation of this private reserve, a less popular idea. In fact, Adelaida Chaverri became a sponsor, along with Dr. Joseph Tosi and other members of the TSC, in what is now the Monteverde Cloud Forest. They provide continuity to the interest expressed by Dr. George Powell, when he obtained a grant from the first piece of land to the reserve.
In 1975, 431 visitors came to the reserve in the making, most of them scientists and birdwatchers. Two years later, there still was no accommodation available for visitors to the community, but Mrs. Wood, a local Quaker, was a small bed and breakfast in your own home where casual visitors could stay overnight. The number of foreign visitors increased from 2700 in 1980 to over 40,000 in 1991. The book grew in size over the years, but the best known of the reserve endemic species, the golden toad, as well as 40% of the population Monteverde amphibians died, possibly due to global climate change. The gradual loss of species occurs as a result of forest fragmentation. Until 2009 Biological Reserve Monteverde Cloud Forest was visited by over 70,000 people every year to learn about the biodiversity found within.
The Reserve has buses running twice daily out of Monteverde, a cottage which houses up to 47 guests, a small restaurant, a gift shop, information center "Nature Center Monteverde" and butterfly gardens.
Flora: The epiphytes, which represent 29% of the flora with 878 species, are the richest form of life among the flora in Monteverde. The Monteverde region is also known as the site with the largest number of orchids in the world. The total number of known species exceeds 500, and of these, 34 species discovered in the reserve are new to science.
Fauna: The herpetofauna of the area consists of 161 species of amphibians and reptiles. Monteverde is known worldwide as the habitat of the golden toad (Bufo periglenes), a species that disappeared in 1989.
91 (21%) of Monteverde bird species are long-distance migratory birds that breed in North America and pass through Monteverde during migration or overwinter in the area. Three of these species Swallow-tailed Kite, Legatus leucopahius and yellow-green vireo, are reproduced in Monteverde and migrate to South America during the non-breeding phase.
The resplendent quetzal (Resplendent) moves in nesting season high elevation to the lowest on both sides of the continental separation elevations. The beginning of the migration of bell birds (Procnias tricarunculata) is similar to the quetzal, but reproduction occurs near the Continental Divide, from March to June, and is followed by a post-reproductive movement down the slope Pacific during the months of August and September.
Most bird species are primarily insectivorous Monteverde, since the plants in the region offer a wide variety of fruits where they grow many insects. Epiphytes are important resources for both insectivores frugívoros to Monteverde. Globally, the Monteverde cloud forests are home to ten species of birds that are considered endangered by Birdlife International worldwide because of its very restricted habitat.
Monteverde mammals include representatives from South and North America as endemic species. The mammal fauna of the region includes 6 species of marsupials, 3 muskrats, at least 58 bats, 3 primates 7 edentates, 2 rabbits, 1 pig of land, 3 species of squirrels, 1 species of spiny mouse, at least 15 species of rats and mice long (family Muridae) tail, a kind of porcupine, a sort of agouti, one of pacca two canines five mustélidos, four species of procionides six cat species, two species of wild pigs, two species of deer and tapir species.
Map of Costa Rica