As the capital of Coto Brus Canton at the south end of Puntarenas Province, San Vito is a popular home base for visitors wishing to explore the country’s more remote mountainous wilderness. The region is the homeland of different indigenous groups, Spanish descendants Costa Ricans, and a healthy-sized ex-pat community. In the 1950s a large number of Italian immigrants settled in Coto Brus, a fact that can still be seen in the unusually high number of Italian restaurants and pizzerias.
Bounty of nature
Visitors to San Vito usually come for its vast biodiversity. The Las Cruces Biological Research Station harbors one of the largest remaining swaths of premontane forest in southern Costa Rica. It is also home to the Wilson Botanical Gardens – lauded one of the country’s most comprehensive plant collections in Central America.
The nearby La Amistad International Park covers some 4,010 km2 of mountainous territory. It is considered a Transboundary Protected Area because its management is shared by three conservation areas in both Costa Rica and Panama. The park encompasses a large tract of the Talamanca Mountain Range including the mighty Cerro Chirripó mentioned earlier. It is considered by many to be one of the most outstanding conservation areas in Central America.
The Naso, Bribri, and Ngöbe-Buglé indigenous groups have lived within the mountains of La Amistad for generations. Some villages are located deep within the park and maintain their original customs, language, and way of life. The park was included as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1983.