The Agua y Paz (Water and Peace) Biosphere Reserve is characterized by mountain ranges and plains. The reserve is comprised of eight core zones that are protected wildlife areas. Its natural riches include wetlands, navigable rivers and tropical humid forests.
The Agua y Paz (Water and Peace) Biosphere Reserve is characterized by mountain ranges and plains and comprises a territory of 916,000 ha (2,263,000 acres). In the mountainous zones are the volcanoes Miravalles, Tenorio, Arenal, Chato and Platanar, among others. In the plains area are lakes, flooded forests and swamps; some of which are Ramsar sites, such as Lake Caño Negro.
The reserve is comprised of eight core zones that are protected wildlife areas legally constituted in the country and that are administered through the National System of Conservation Areas (SINAC). These include Juan Castro Blanco National Park, Caño Negro National Wildlife Refuge, four biological corridors and an indigenous community
SINAC divides the country into 11 conservation areas, of which three are included in the Agua y Paz Biosphere Reserve. These areas are: the Arenal Huetar Norte Conservation Area (ACAHN), the conservation area of the Arenal-Tempisque Biosphere Reserve (ACAT), and Cordillera Central Volcanic conservation area (ACCVC).
The Biosphere Reserve completely covers the cantons of Los Chiles, Guatuso, San Carlos and Alfaro Ruiz, and partly the cantons of Upala, Grecia, Sarapiquí, Tilarán, Cañas, Puntarenas and Montes de Oro. The estimated population in the territory covered by the Biosphere Reserve is 299,350 people representing about 7% of the total population in Costa Rica. Of this population, the vast majority is considered a rural population.