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San Vito, South Puntarenas

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Wilson Botanical Gardens at the Las Cruces Biological Station

The canton of Coto Brus is located in southern Puntarenas, bordered by Panama to the east and the canon of Buenos Aires to the north. Nestled among lush forests and spectacular mountain ranges, the canton's capital of San Vito is an ideal base of operations for travelers hoping to explore the verdant rainforests of Costa Rica.

Commercial development

Like much of Costa Rica, the canton of Coto Brus was originally inhabited by indigenous Indians. The area remained largely undeveloped until the 1940s, when planned construction of the Pan American Highway attracted foreign investment. The villagers were dependent on agriculture and the project was welcomed enthusiastically by the locals, as the construction of the highway would facilitate trade with other urban centers. However, the civil war of 1948 halted development of the road until the early 1950s.

Many Italian immigrants arrived in Coto Brus during the 1950s, and with them came additional investment in the region's agricultural infrastructure. Today, due to its elevation and climate, Coto Brus is an important center for the growing of coffee, which remains one of the area's most valuable exports.

Explore the riches of nature

San Vito is perhaps best known as the home of the Las Cruces Biological Station and the Wilson Botanical Garden. The Wilson garden is home to some of the most exotic plant species in Latin America, including rare specimens in the aroid, bromeliad, cycad and maranta families. The gardens feature extensive trails and paths that overlook the stunning scenery of La Amistad International Park, of which the Wilson Botanical Garden is a part.

The Wilson gardens are considered to be among the finest in Costa Rica. The facility is divided into themed areas, and unlike some other botanical gardens, every specimen and genus is clearly marked, providing visitors with a fascinating and educational experience. The Wilson Botanical Gardens are also one of the best places to go bird watching in Costa Rica, and the facility attracts thousands of amateur ornithologists every year.

La Amistad International Park

No trip to San Vito is complete without exploring the lush rainforests of La Amistad International Park. Set amid more than 472,000 hectares of protected land, this national park is home to thousands of species of plant and animal, and features breathtaking views of the region's rolling hillside. On a clear day, visitors can see across the border far into Panama, making a trip to La Amistad International Park an unforgettable experience.