Cordillera de Talamanca

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Talamanca Mountain Range
Cordillera de Talamanca CRI 07 2016 7470.jpg
Aerial view of the Cordillera de Talamanca
Highest point
Peak Cerro Chirripó (Costa Rica)
Elevation 3,820 m (12,530 ft)
Coordinates 09°29′02.7″N83°29′19.2″W / 9.484083°N 83.488667°W / 9.484083; -83.488667
Native nameCordillera de Talamanca
CountriesCosta Rica and Panama
Range coordinates 9°30′N83°40′W / 9.500°N 83.667°W / 9.500; -83.667 Coordinates: 9°30′N83°40′W / 9.500°N 83.667°W / 9.500; -83.667

The Cordillera de Talamanca is a mountain range that lies on the southeast half of Costa Rica and the far west of Panama. Much of the range and the area around it is included in the La Amistad International Park, which also is shared between the two countries.


This range in the south of Costa Rica stretches from southwest of San José to beyond the border with Panama and contains the highest peaks of Costa Rica and Panama, among them Cerro Chirripó with 3,820 m, [1] and the more accessible high peak of Cerro de la Muerte. Much of the Caribbean areas of the range are still unexplored.

Exploration & classification

The range is covered by the Talamancan montane forests to elevations of approximately 3000 m. Much of it is covered by rainforests. Above elevations of 1800 m these are dominated by huge oak trees (Quercus costaricensis). Above 3000 m, the forests transition to enclaves of sub-páramo, a sort of shrub and dwarf bamboo Chusquea dominated scrub, above 3,400 m this becomes Costa Rican páramo, a tropical alpine grassland. The sub-páramo and páramo vegetation are subject to regular frosts at night, temperatures above 3200 m can reach 0 degrees Celsius or below, the lowest recorded temperature was -9 Celsius at the Mount Chirripó base camp (the second lowest ever recorded in Central America). The region has been extensively studied by paleolimnologists to reconstruct the changes in climate, vegetation and fire frequencies (see also Sally P Horn).

The range is of global importance as it is a centre of endemism for many plant and animal groups and as an important habitat for many large mammals (Baird's Tapir, Puma, Jaguar) and birds that are now threatened in much of their range. An intended hydroelectricity project threatens the existence of the Tabasara Rain Frogs. [2]

View of Cordillera de Talamanca range at Estacion Biologica Cuerici. Cord talamancas.jpg
View of Cordillera de Talamanca range at Estación Biológica Cuericí.

National parks

Several national parks and reservations are located in the Talamanca mountain range, including Chirripó National Park. The Cordillera de Talamanca and La Amistad national parks have been designated by UNESCO a World Heritage site It is also the first binational biosphere reserve. The two parks comprise 2,400 square km of land.

Important elevations

See also

Related Research Articles

Geography of Costa Rica

Costa Rica is located on the Central American Isthmus, surrounding the point 10° north of the equator and 84° west of the prime meridian. It has 212 km of Caribbean Sea coastline and 1,016 on the North Pacific Ocean.

Mount Chirripó mountain in Costa Rica

Mount Chirripó is the highest mountain in Costa Rica with an elevation of 3,821 meters. It is located in Chirripó National Park and is noted for its ecological wealth. The mountain was named "Chirripo," meaning "land of eternal waters", by Native Americans because there are many lakes and streams around the mountain. The high peaks in Chirripó National Park and La Amistad International Park host important areas of Talamancan montane forest and Costa Rican Páramo with high endemism and an extremely high biodiversity. The peaks of these mountains constitute sky islands for many species of plants and animals. Snow has not fallen on the peak in the past 100 years or so, according to the University of Costa Rica, but hail is sometimes reported.

Páramo high-altitude wet tundra in South America

Páramo can refer to a variety of alpine tundra ecosystems. Some ecologists describe the páramo broadly as "all high, tropical, montane vegetation above the continuous timberline". A more narrow term classifies the páramo according to its regional placement in the northern Andes of South America and adjacent southern Central America. The páramo is the ecosystem of the regions above the continuous forest line, yet below the permanent snowline. It is a "Neotropical high mountain biome with a vegetation composed mainly of giant rosette plants, shrubs and grasses". According to scientists, páramos may be "evolutionary hot spots" and among the fastest evolving regions on Earth.

Cerro Punta, Chiriquí Corregimiento in Chiriquí, Panama

Cerro Punta is a city and corregimiento in Tierras Altas District, Chiriquí Province, Panama. Cerro Punta is located in Panama's western highlands at an altitude is 6,500 feet, just south of the Continental Divide. Many of the inhabitants of the village and the surrounding areas are indigenous Native Americans. The climate, like the rest of Panama, is tropical with a short dry season and rainy season that extends about 9 – 10 months of the year. Night time temperatures are often cool due to Cerro Punta's relatively high elevation. During the 1970s much of the land was used for cultivating strawberries; households also maintained small mixed-vegetable gardens. The village can be reached by traveling north from the Pan-American highway.

Tapantí National Park

Tapantí National Park, sometimes called Orosí National Park, is a National Park in the Pacific La Amistad Conservation Area of Costa Rica located on the edge of the Talamanca Range, near Cartago. It protects forests to the north of Chirripó National Park, and also contains part of the Orosí River. The area known as Macizo de la Muerte was added to the park on January 14, 2000.

Chirripó National Park

Chirripó National Park is a national park of Costa Rica, encompassing parts of three provinces: San José, Limón and Cartago. It was established in 1975.

Barbilla National Park

Barbilla National Park is a National Park in the Caribbean La Amistad Conservation Area of Costa Rica located on the eastern slopes of the Cordillera de Talamanca. It protects forests as well as Laguna Ayil and Cerro Tigre and the Dantas River watershed, covering parts of both Cartago and Limón Provinces. It was initially established in 1982.

Cerro de la Muerte mountain in Costa Rica

Cerro de la Muerte is the highest point in the Costa Rican section of the Inter-American Highway. Its name means "Mountain of Death" or "Summit of Death," since in the past crossing the mountains from the Valle Central meant a three- or four-day journey, on foot or on horseback, and many ill-prepared travelers succumbed to the cold and rain. However, the peak is now easily accessible since the highway runs close by.

Talamancan montane forests

The Talamancan montane forests ecoregion, in the tropical moist broadleaf forest biome, are in montane Costa Rica and Panama in Central America.

Cerro Kamuk mountain in Costa Rica

Cerro Kamuk is a mountain in the core of the mountains of La Amistad International Park, in the Cordillera de Talamanca, between the mountain ranges of northern Panama and southeastern Costa Rica. These are one of the highest and wildest mountains of Central America. The diversity of species in this area is unequaled in any other similarly sized reserve in the world. The area protected comprises four national parks clustered together that became La Amistad Biosphere Reserve. UNESCO declared it a natural World Heritage Site in 1983. It is part of the Mesoamerican Biological Corridor, UNESCO's project shared by eight Central American countries to help protect the remaining pristine mountain forest and wildlife of Central America

Costa Rican páramo Natural region in Costa Rica and western Panama

The Costa Rican páramo, also known as the Talamanca páramo, is a natural region of montane grassland and shrubland of Costa Rica and western Panama.

Isthmohyla calypsa is a species of frogs in the family Hylidae. It is known from the southern Cordillera de Talamanca in Costa Rica, Cerro Pando in Costa Rica and Panama, and the Pacific slope in southwestern Panama. It appears to have gone extinct in Costa Rica. Prior to its description in 1996, this species was confused with Isthmohyla lancasteri, a species now known from lower altitudes only.

Pristimantis altae is a species of rain frog in the family Craugastoridae with a bright coral-coloured groin. It is found in Costa Rica and Panama. It is locally known as sapito de hojarasca. In 2008 the IUCN began calling it the mountain robber frog following Frank and Ramus (1995).

Pérez Zeledón (canton) Canton in the province of San José in Costa Rica

Pérez Zeledón is the 19th canton of the province of San José in Costa Rica, located in the Brunca region. The canton covers an area of 1,905.51 square kilometres (735.72 sq mi), making it the seventh largest of the 81 cantons in the country. It has a population of 134,534 as of the 2011 Costa Rican census. The capital city of the canton is San Isidro.

Dices cottontail species of mammal

Dice's cottontail is a species of cottontail rabbit in the family Leporidae. It is found in Costa Rica and Panama, in páramo and cloud forest habitats.

Cerro de la Muerte Biological Station

The Cerro de la Muerte Biological Station is one of the several field stations for biological research that exist in Costa Rica.

La Amistad International Park international park

The La Amistad International Park, or in Spanish Parque Internacional La Amistad, formerly the La Amistad National Park, is a Transboundary Protected Area in Latin America, management of which is shared between Costa Rica and Panama, following a recommendation by UNESCO after the park's inclusion in the World Heritage Site list.

Brame's Climbing Salamander is a species of salamander in the family Plethodontidae. It is found in Costa Rica and Panama, particularly the Pacific and Atlantic slopes of Cordillera de Talamanca and ranging to Cerro Pando, Chiriquí Province and Volcán Barú. Its natural habitat is subtropical or tropical moist lowland forests and has been recorded between 1,900 and 2,300 meters above sea level. It has not been commonly recorded so nothing is known about its population. No threats are known and its habitat is currently under protection by Las Tablas protected area and Reserva de la Biósfera de La Amistad.


Wikisource-logo.svg This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain : Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Costa Rica". Encyclopædia Britannica . 7 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. p. 220.