La Marta Wildlife Refuge

The ULACIT Foundation runs the first private biological reserve in Costa Rica, La Marta Wildlife. It is located only 5 kilometers from the center of the Pejibaye District, Province of Cartago, 2 hours away from downtown San José.

La Marta Wildlife Refuge has an approximate extension of 1500 hectares of very humid tropical forest. Approximately 40% of the territory is primary forest and the remaining 60% is covered by secondary forest in different stages of natural regeneration.

Management of the Area

This paradise of tropical rainy climate is part of the La Amistad-Talamanca Biosphere Reserve, considered Natural Heritage of Humanity by the United Nations, and it was the first private wildlife refuge in the country. Its territory limits with the La Amistad and the Tapantí-Macizo de La Muerte National Parks. Its hydric and geological wealth is of great importance. In the interior of the refuge, we find a formidable fluvial system with rivers of fresh and clear water, waterfalls and millenary mineral formations. 

Flora and Fauna

La Marta Refuge has an extraordinary biological wealth, in an altitudinal grading that goes from 750 m.o.s.l. to 2000 m.o.s.l; this allows the abundance of lichens, mosses, plants, birds, mammals and butterflies, among which one can find the ant bear (Tamandua mexicanus), the marten (Photos Flavus), the jaguar (Felis Onca), tapirs (Tapirus Bairdii), the "Espejito" (Little Mirror) butterfly (Ithomia Bolivari) and many others that are fundamental characters of the refuge.Through the administration of the Refuge La Marta, the university has undertaken the mission of preserving natural ecosystems of great importance for the knowledge, enjoyment and strengthening of environmental awareness of future generations.

Historical Resources

Currently, you can still observe the farming infrastructure that was developed at the end of the XIX century, such as the remains of the old "burrocarril" (donkey train), the "beneficio" (processing yard) for stripping the pulp from the coffee beans, the old sugar mill or "trapiche" for the production of raw sugar blocks, the saw mill, the dairy farm and the hydroelectric plant that was used for local consumption.   

Infrastructure and Services 

In the refuge, there is a lodge that offers sleeping facilities. Also, La Marta has camping areas near its natural pools, roofed shelters, 14 KM of natural and historic trails, lookouts, a hanging bridge, a river tram and trails. Visitors can also find a large variety of attractions for a healthy enjoyment of the rain forest marvels and take tours such as the historical tour, the natural history tour, the bird-watching tour and the night tour, among others. 

Visit to find out more!

For more information, please contact the Global Education Office at or call +506 2523 4041.