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Agua y Paz Biosphere Reserve, Costa Rica

The Agua y Paz (Water and Peace) Biosphere Reserve is characterised by mountain ranges and plains. In the mountainous zones are the volcanoes Miravalles, Tenorio, Arenal, Chato and Platanar, among others, and in the plains area are lakes, flooded forests and swamps, some of which are Ramsar sites, such as Lake Caño Negro. 

Designation date: 2007


Regional network:  Red de Comités y Reservas de Biosfera de Iberoamérica y el Caribe (IberoMAB) 

Ecosystem-based network: 




    Surface : 916,120 ha 

    • Core area(s): 149 959.7 ha 
    • Buffer zone(s): 338 818.9 ha
    • Transition zone(s): 427,342.1 ha

    Location: 10°36’48.29” N, 84°35’54.55” W

    Administrative Authorities

    Marco Antonio Corrales
    Plan de Acción para el Desarrollo Sostenible de la Reserva de Biosfera Agua y Paz
    Del MAG, 50 metros oeste. Penúltima oficina, mano izquierda. Ciudad Quesada
    San Carlos
    Costa Rica

    Tel.: N/A


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    Ecological Characteristics

    The reserve is comprised of eight core zones that are protected wildlife areas legally constituted in the country and that are administered through the National System of Conservation Areas (SINAC). This agency divides the country into 11 conservation areas, of which three are included in the Agua y Paz Biosphere Reserve, these areas are: the Arenal Huetar Norte Conservation Area (ACAHN), the conservation area of the Arenal-Tempisque Biosphere Reserve (ACAT), and Cordillera Central Volcanic conservation area (ACCVC) . 

    In addition to this administrative division, Costa Rica is politically divided into Provinces, which are divided into Cantons, and these in turn Districts. The Biosphere Reserve completely covers the cantons of Los Chiles, Guatuso, San Carlos and Alfaro Ruiz, and partly the cantons of Upala, Grecia, Sarapiquí, Tilarán, Cañas, Puntarenas and Montes de Oro. 

    Socio-Economic Characteristics

    The estimated population in the territory covered by the Biosphere Reserve is 299 350 people representing about 7% of the total population in Costa Rica. Of this population, the vast majority is considered a rural population.






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    Last updated: March 2019