Refugio de Los Angeles is perhaps best enjoyed by way of its extensive trail system which was designed with functional and recreational uses in mind. There are wide trails which allow efficient access to maintain the trails and to replenish the plantings that attract birds, bees and butterflies. Mid-size trails are used throughout the property for recreation, exercise, and for breathtaking views. Finally, a latticework of practically maintenance free narrow trails crisscrosses the sloping terrain for solitary use.
All of the recreational trails incorporate extensive switchbacks to mitigate the steepness of the natural slope of the hills that climb to a bird’s-eye-view of the Pacific. This network of trails makes hiking a pleasure and provides a path to peak fitness.
Trails create easy access to prolific herbs and medicinal plants that grow everywhere on the farm as well as ornamental gardens and trees laden with edible fruits. Fragrant herbs are planted throughout the trail system, suffusing the air with nature’s aromatherapy.
Reforestation and erosion control were initiated when the current owner bought this property in 1993. These two environmental initiatives were essential to create and maintain the fertile soil that has created the healthy biodiversity that now is present at Refugio de Los Angeles.
Trails are bordered primarily with four varieties of plants that have strong root systems that hold the soil in place during the heavy rains that come to the region in September and October.
- Chrysopogon zizanioides: Common name Vetiver grass. A perennial grass that has been used for centuries in India and Thailand for soil and water conservation. Vetiver has a thick root system that penetrates vertically deep into the soil and binds together forming a lattice work curtain effective for storing water and moisture.
- Dracaena Fragrans: Common name “Corn Plant.” A popular houseplant because of the ribbon-like green leaves with a broad, yellow stripe down the center.
- Sansevieria Trifasciata: Common name “Snake Plant” or “Mother-in-Law’s Tongue.” Architectural plants with 3 to 4 feet tall leaves that grow in variegated designs which make ideal trail borders. Hardy, erosion resistant and dramatic visual markers for hikers.
- Yucca Gloriosa: Common name “Spanish Dagger.” In this region of Guanacaste, it is called “Itabo.” A regal trail border for landscape design and erosion control. Edible white clusters of flowers appear in the dry season to provide nourishment to human inhabitants.
This system of trails distinguishes Refugio de Los Angeles from many other large mountainous properties because it makes approximately 80% of the total land area easily accessible for both recreational and productive uses.