Cordillera de Talamanca

Cordillera de Talamanca

[kawr-thee-ye-rah the tah-lah-mahng-kah]

The Cordillera de Talamanca is a mountain range that lies on the border between Costa Rica and 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.

Exploration & classification

This range contains the highest peaks of Costa Rica and Panama: the Cerro Chirripó at 3,819 metres, and the more accessible high peak, Cerro de la Muerte. Much of the Caribbean areas of the range are still unexplored.

The range is covered by the Talamancan montane forests to elevations of approximately 3000 meters. Above elevations of 1800 m these are dominated by huge oak trees (Quercus costaricensis). Above 3000 meters, 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 at 3200 m reaching -5 Celsius.

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.


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