Service Stations in the Coto Brus Valley can be reached via the city of San Vito, 267 kms. from San José. Park headquarters are at Progreso, on the edge of las Tablas Protective Zone and can be reached via Vito- Sabalito- Unión- Río Negro- Lucha- headquarters (25 kms.).
This Park, known known as la Amistad or Friendship Park, is the largest wilderness area in Costa Rica. It covers 193,929 hectaries of rainforest and paramos, very moist forest and cloud forest in the Talamanca Mountain Range. It climbs from 150 meters above sea level on the Caribbean side to 850 meters on the Pacific side and finally to 3,554 meters on Kamuk Peak, close to the continental divide.
The park protects a wealth of flora and fauna and also the upper and middle watersheds of extremely important rivers. These include the Estrella and Sixaola, which flow into the Caribbean, and the Térraba, which feeds the waters of the Pacific. Above 3,200 meters the predominant vegetation is stunted forest and chusquea stands, typical of the paramo. Below 2,800 meters is the realm of the cloud forest, rich in oaks and shrubs. Further down are the high forests wreathed in epiphytes, palms, tree ferns and baboo stands. Some common species are the sweet cedar, cramantee, nargusta, small cypress, magnolia, alder, white oak, mountain cypress elm and lancewood.
The wildlife is very rich. The park provides shelter for endangered species such as the jaguar, cougar, jaguarundi, ocelot, Harpy eagle and tapir, the latter with the largest poulation in the country. The rainforest also is home to collared peccaries, solitary eagles, resplendent quetzals, orange-breasted falcons, sulphur-winged parakeets, hummingbirds, clay-colored robins, and many other species.
The biodiversity of the park is explained in part by the changes of altitude and the range of rainfall. Average temperatures vary from 25°C in the lowlands of the Talamanca Valley to 6°C at the summit of Kamuk Peak. The average annual rainfall ranges from 3,000 -8,000 mm. As a result of the earthquake that took place in 1991, there were mayor landslides in parts of the park that uncovered lodes of mother rock and caused heavy erosion and silting in the rivers.
La Amistad International Park has its counterpart in Panama and forms part of the Amistad Biosphere Reserve, which also includes Chirripó National Park, Las Tablas Protective Zone, Barbilla Protective Zone, Hitoy-Cerere Biological Reserve and 5 Indian reservations. The various National Parks Service stations are located in the Cot Brus Valley.