Las Cruces was declared part of La Amistad Biosphere Reserve by UNESCO in 1983, despite a physical separation of more than 25 km. La Amistad encompasses some 472,000 hectares of forest and buffer zones centered along the southern Talamanca mountain range and extending into Panama, making it one of the largest and least-explored parks in Central America. Las Cruces offers excellent base-station facilities for researchers wishing to explore the park by means of a satellite field station at Las Alturas that is managed by Las Cruces.
The station serves as the principal center for teaching, research, and environmental education and outreach in the southern region of Costa Rica. The station is open to researchers, courses and natural history visitors and can provide accommodations for more than 100 overnight guests and a large dining room serves three meals a day in a family style setting. The Wilson House comfortably accommodates course groups with sleeping and study quarters for up to 47 students. Researchers and natural history visitors are provided with cabins. Cabins are available for both short-term and long-term researchers and families with children; 12 double-occupancy cabins with private baths and balconies provide extremely attractive space for birding groups and natural history visitors of all interests. See the natural history visitor webpage for more information on the latter.
Las Cruces is equipped with a laboratory, a large auditorium with seating capacity for up to 80 people, two additional classrooms, and a library with more than 1,000 volumes. The herbarium is also housed in the library. See the ‘equipment and facilities’ section for more details on what equipment is available in the laboratory or contact the lab manager for additional details by emailing lcruces @ ots.ac.cr. High-speed wireless internet access is provided to overnight guests in all major buildings at Las Cruces.
Landsat (2003) satellite image showing the geographic collecting range of the Las Cruces herbarium outlined in green (elevational range 300-3240 m; area ~1,400 km2). The protected areas of Las Alturas, Las Cruces, and the Guaymí indigenous reserve are outlined in yellow. The expansive forest of La Amistad Biosphere Reserve is in the NE corner of image; the Panamanian border is outlined by a double yellow line.
Las Cruces publishes the Amigos newsletter, a biannual publication that communicates research, botanical, and general news of Las Cruces and the Wilson Botanical Garden to its friends and supporters. The newsletter is available in printed form or as a pdf file, which can be downloaded from the OTS website. For further information on Las Cruces please email us at lcruces @ ots.ac.cr.