Piedras Blancas National Park
The Piedras Blancas National Park, formerly called Esquinas National Park or Corcovado Section II, was established in 1992 as an extension of the Corcovado National Park. In the east the park borders the Golfito Forest Reserve and connects in the west with the Corcovado National Park by the forest corridor of Rincon, which unfortunately is highly threatened by illegal logging.
The Piedras Blancas National Park covers 30’000 acres of undisturbed humid tropical lowland primary rainforest and 5’000 acres of secondary forests, pasture land and rivers consisting primarily of hills of varied steepness, over one hundred stream valleys, a river plateau and coastal cliffs and beaches.
The streams carry auriferous sands, fortunately with relatively low yields, thus gold mining has been only artisanal and has not inflicted serious damage to the environment. A common feature of the area is the abundance of ground water, sometimes found as shallow as 5 or 6 feet.
The seasons are not clearly defined, although most of the rain (100“ to 150“) falls during the rainy season (April to November). The average yearly temperature is around 80F (26.6º), with min. and max. oscillating between 70F and 90F. The humidity remains at relatively high levels, permitting the growth of a large variety of ferns.
Private scientific projects have chosen the remote area of the Piedras Blancas National Park for the
- Re-introduction project by Zoo Ave of highly endangered scarlet macaws (Ara macao) to establish a third self-sustaining population within the next years to add to the two existing groups in the Corcovado and the Carara Biological Reserve and
- Release project by Profelis of confiscated wild cats (ocelots, margays) formerly held as pets in domestic households or hotels who were confiscated by the National Park Authorities and brought to the Profelis sanctuary for release. Due to insufficient funding this project unfortunately no longer exists.
The flora, among the richest on the planet, encompassing several thousand different species of plants and hundreds of trees, some very rare and in danger of extinction, is very similar to the Corcovado National Park. A scientific study by Austrian biologists of the Biological Station La Gamba revealed that the diversification of tree species counted on different areas of 10‘000 sq.m each even exceeds the variety of trees found in the Corcovado area.
The fauna is composed by approximately 140 species of mammals, 350 species of birds, over 100 amphibians and reptiles and several thousands of insects:
- All 5 species of felines: puma, ocelot, margay, jaguar and jaguaroundi,
- 4 species of monkeys: howler monkey, spider monkey, white-faced capuchin monkey and the endangered squirrel monkey,
- raccoon, coati, kinkajou, skunk, anteater, four-eyed opossum, collared peccary, paca, agouti, red-brocket deer, tayra and long-nosed armadillo, etc.
- various species of birds – so far 340 have been identified by specialists in the different ecosystems of our private reserve and the adjacent National Park,
- various reptiles including the caiman, the American crocodile, fer-de-lance snake, bushmaster snake, several coral snakes, various species of poisonous dart frogs (including the endemic
- Golfo Dulce Dart Frog), different glass frog species, several kinds of basilisks, ctenosaurus, common iguana, etc.