Amphibian populations have declined and disappeared in protected and apparently undisturbed areas around the world, especially in montane areas of the tropics. The amphibian chytrid fungus, Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis has been implicated in many of these declines. In Costa Rica most declines occurred in the highlands. We examined an amphibian collection made in Braulio Carrillo National Park in 1986 for the amphibian chytrid fungus B. dendrobatidis, prior to the well documented amphibian declines in Monteverde, along an altitudinal transect from 100 to 2600 m elev. Skin from the pelvic patch of 202 specimens corresponding to 30 species was examined histologically to determine whether the disease was present in the highlands of the park before amphibian populations declined. For comparison, in 2002 we collected and examined 18 specimens of seven species of Eleutherodactylus and Craugastor from two other lowland Caribbean sites. The chytrid fungus was present in almost all altitudes in 1986, including lower areas. The pathogen was also found in both species that later declined and in species that did not do so. We detected chytrid fungus on amphibians collected at almost all altitudes in 1986, including those sampled at 280 m. B. dendrobatidis was abundant in frogs collected in the 2002 survey, and seems to be endemic in most of Costa Rica. More retrospective museum surveys are needed in order to determine whether it can be found in the area before 1986.