Also known as the San Ramón Biological Reserve, this protected area is located on the Atlantic side of the Tilarán Cordillera and its administration is the responsibility of the Western H.Q. of the University of Costa Rica. It has an altitude range from 800 to 1,500 m and rainfall is about 3,500 mm per year. The area is mountainous with steep slopes. Some of the rivers flowing across it have formed deep canyons, and it mainly consists of flows of basalt, andesitic lava, agglomerates and tufas, and autoclastic breccias.
The vegetation, typical of premontane cloud forest and lower montane forests, is a mixture of species belonging to low and high areas and, besides the arboreal vegetation up to 40 m, contains a great many palms, ferns, begonias, heliconias, lianas, bromeliads, mosses and orchids. Two outstanding species are the passion flower (Passiflora tica), a tree with attractive white flowers, and the ramonean heliconia (Heliconia ramonensis), a plant of the undergrowth with striking vivid red inflorescenses. Thanks to the presence of dense vegetation - 90% is primary forest - abrupt topography and high precipitation, the area has great hydroelectric potential.
The 57 species of mammals that have been recorded in the reserve include Baird's tapir (Tapirus bairdii), ocelot (Leopardus pardalis), three-toed sloth (Bradypus variegatus), howler monkey (Alouatta palliata) - in groups of up to 25 individuals - red brocket deer (Mazama americana), and a t least 22 species of bats. The bird life is very varied and abundant. 233 species, both resident and migratory, have so far been recorded, including the black guan (Chamaepetes unicolor), the white-tipped so¡icklebill (Eutoxeres aquila) with its curved bill, Montezuma's oropendola (Psarocolius montezuma) and the clay-coloured robin (Turdus grayi), with its very beautiful call, which has been declared the national bird of Costa Rica. 37 amphibian and reptile species, 35 beetle species, 51 aquatic insects and 274 moth and butterflies have been recorded.
This reserve has a biological station with well equipped laboratories and dormitories. It is situated in the middle of the forest in the valley of the River San Lorencito. Access to this is via San Ramón - La Fortuna - Los Lagos - Colonia Palmareña (50km). In this reserve there are three main path, one of them goes northwards, the other south of the station, and the third along the river San Lorencito. A bus service operates between San Ramón and Bajos Rodríguez with a stop in Los Lagos. For more information and to reserve places in the station, call the Western H.Q. on (506) 445-5533, extension 3303..