Location : E of Zarcero between Poás Volcano and Juan Castro Blanco National Park ; 1 ½ hours NW of San José.
Rates : day tours from $65, including transport from San José, guide, trail walks, and lunch; without transport, $35. A two-day, one-night visit is $100 per person, double occupancy, including lodging, meals, trail walks, and local guide.
Information / Reservations : (506) 234-6676, telephone/fax (506) 255-0203; e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org, Web site www.expreso.co.cr/bosque.
Bosque de Paz, Forest of Peace, has centuries-old trees, waterfalls, orchids, valleys, mountains and rivers. Birdlife is abundant : frequently seen are the quetzal, red-headed barbet, emerald toucanet, black guan, collared trogon, green violet-ear hummingbird, and golden-browed chlorophonia. More than 17 miles (18 km) of well-built trails take visitors into the forest to see forest-dwelling species such as the black-faced solitaire, ruddy-capped nightingale-thrush, red-faced spinetail, and eight of the country’s 12 breeding species of warblers, including the endemic flame-throated warbler. Monkeys are here, too : the spider, howler and white-faced capuchin. The 988-acre (400-ha) private biological reserve serves as a corridor between two national parks : Poás and Juan Castro Blanco.
Visitors may choose among various trails. The short, easy Natural Garden Trail is between two rivers whose pools offer crystal-clear water for bathing. Forest Canopy Trail, 1.8 miles (3 km), allows observation of the crowns of ancient trees. The Waterfall and Poás Volcano Lookout is for those in good physical condition. Benches along some trails allow perfect places to absorb the peace, for which this place is named. The Pinto family, owners of Bosque de Paz, believe that intimate contact with nature transmits peace, and they offer it as a sanctuary. The hospitality they provide in this rain and cloud forest is unsurpassed.
While most visitors come to Bosque de Paz for a one-day tour, the farmhouse has two charming rooms, each with private bath and double and single beds for overnight guests. Four new rooms are in the works. Reservations necessary.
By car : from Zarcero, east through Palmira and follow signs, 20 minutes; from Sarchí, follow road NE to Toro Amlarillo.
Source: Costa Rica Adventures in Nature by Ree Strange Sheck, John Muir Publications, Santa Fee, New Mexico.