Hitoy-Cerere Biological Reserve, Limón

Postman Butterfly at Hitoy-Cerere Biological Reserve
Postman Butterfly at Hitoy-Cerere Biological Reserve
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A rare and captivating biological haven, the Hitoy-Cerere Biological Reserve is a treasured secret in Limon Province. Unspoiled and lush tropical forests with a variety of vegetation and streams with abundant waterfalls await you. The park is located approximately 36 miles 60 km south of Puerto Limon and is southwest of the La Estrella Valley in Limon province. The Indigenous reserves of Talamanca, Tayni, and Telire are adjacent to the reserve.

Part of the Cordillera de Talamanca

The Hitoy-Cerere Biological Reserve gets its name from the Indigenous Bribri word hitoy, meaning wooly, and cerere, meaning clean water. Literally, the place of the clean water by the wooly moss. UNESCO declared this reserve a World Heritage Site in 1993. This reserve is part of the La Amistad Caribe Conservation Area.

A Rainforest of Epic Proportions

Thinking of the ideal tropical rainforest? Hitoy-Cerere is it. The pre-mountain pluvial forest of the reserve is humid and tropical which makes it an optimal place for all types of vegetation to grow. The reserve is host to approximately 380 plant species, several of which are only found on Earth in this location. Trees can get huge here, with the tallest measuring up to 100 to 160 feet tall. It is best to walk along one of the many streams when exploring the park as the forest canopy can be extremely thick and impassible in some places.

Abundant Growth

Plant growth appears everywhere in this rainforest, including on other plants themselves. Trees have moss, orchids, lichens, and epiphytes growing on them, and tree ferns abound. Palms and vegetables also grow wild here as well. There are even sturdy vines that hang from the trees, almost inviting the passersby for a swing. You will definitely feel when you visit that you have entered another place and time. Here is an idea of what you will be able to see in the Hitoy-Cerere Biological Reserve.

Many Mammals

More than 40 mammal species live at Hitoy-Cerere. While monkeys, deer, opossums, squirrels, agoutis, and Jaguars make their homes here, there are also endangered species you may encounter on your visit including the silk anteater, three-toed sloths, ocelots, the tapir, the neotropic river otter and the Pecar.

A Rich Avian Habitat

The verdant habitat of Hitoy-Cerere is a protective habitat for the over 300 bird species that live there. Birdwatchers can find a panorama of bird types here including the spectacled owl, the Montezuma oropendola, green kingfishers, keel-billed toucans, turkey vultures and more.

Amphibians and Reptiles

If amphibians, insects, and reptiles are your thing, make sure to visit this reserve. Look among the greenery for beetles, bullet ants, spiders, metallic-colored bees, leaf-cut army ants, red butterflies and gigantic dragonflies. Many frogs and toads life here, including the poison dark colored frog. Snakes, chirbalas lizards, Gallegos iguanas, and cherepos geckos also inhabit the reserve.

Plan Your Visit

It is best if you can come during the dry season of February through April so that it is easier to hike through the park. Facilities are minimal and include a ranger station, parking lot, bird observation areas, trails, swimming area, fresh water, and restrooms. Information and first aid are available at the ranger station.

To get to Hitoy-Cerere Biological Reserve from San Jose, take the main highway to Limon, then travel south to Cahuita. The reserve is a short drive from this town. If you like guided tours of the park are also available.

Hitoy-Cerere Biological Reserve is worth traveling to as it is the underappreciated gem of nature reserves in Costa Rica. If you would like, you can arrange for a guided tour of the park when you make your travel arrangements. Views of unspoiled tropical nature are yours when you visit the most beautiful reserve in Limon Province.