The Tapanti National Park is approximately 35 kilometers away from San Jose. It is close enough to San Jose to bee seen in a day and still offer you plenty of time to get back to the city. It is easy to reach if you possess a rental car, it is possible to travel to Orosi by public transport, but from there on you will need a taxi. By car you drive to Cartago from San Jose and than drive on till Orosi. There are signs that show the way from Orosi to Tapanti, in case of doubt just ask the locals, they will be pleased to help you.
The Tapanti National Park was founded in April 23. 1992. The park offers the visitor to explore the rainforest on various trails. This is one of the areas with the highest precipitation in Costa Rica, a reason for the lush vegetation. The Rio Grande de Orosi flows through the park like many small creeks that form numerous cascades. ICE (the national electric power company) operates an important hydroelectric dam inside the national park. Usually the workers at the dam are happy to have some visitors and are eager to explain details about it.
There are several tracks for hiking through the rain- and cloud forest. The park is a popular destination amongst Costa Ricans. On the weekends the locals visit to do some hiking or have a nice picnic in the nature. One of the trails leads to the Rio Macho. It is possible to take a bath, though the water is very cold. In some guide books it says that it is possible to fish here. Actually in all of the national parks of Costa Rica it is forbidden to fish or to hunt. The small trails have length of 0.5 to 2.5 kilometers. They offer the possibility to explore the surroundings, but won't satisfy the ambitious hiker.
Most of the park is not accessible. Many animals (45 species of mammals and around 300 kinds of birds) call the park their home including tapirs, raccoons, coatimundis, monkeys, ocelots, humming birds, pacas, jaguars and many more. A large number of them live in the remote areas of the forest. Tapanti has its origins in the indigenes language and stands for tapir.
Birds are in abundance and you may even spot a quetzal. Some of the birds that can be observed in the park are: black-banded wood creepers, quetzals, emerald toucanets, dark pewees, black guans, golden-bellied flycatchers, sparrow hawks, trogons and many more.
The drive to the national park is itself a treat. Lush coffee plantations line the road and make the travel quite pleasant. The park is easily accessible and there are various options for lodging within a short drive. Besides the park there are many other points of interest in this area of Costa Rica. A weekend offers enough time to drive up to the Irazu Volcano, visit the cathedral and the ruins in Cartago, go trout fishing near Orosi, take a walk in the Tapanti National Park, relax in the hot springs in Orosi, drive around the Cachi storage lake and visit the Lanchester Garden. If you prefer not to hurry you could add some days to your trip, there are many hotels for every taste available. This is although an attractive tour for travelers who prefer to explore Costa Rica on a motorcycle.