Costa Rica’s Top Spots for WIldlife
- The Best of Costa Rica
- Costa Rica’s Top Spots for WIldlife
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- Costa Rica’s Best Beaches for Wildlife
- Best Surfing Beaches in Costa Rica
- Costa Rica’s Unique Retreats & Resorts
- Surf’s Up in Costa Rica
- Off-The-Beaten-Path Eco-Adventures
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- Adrenaline Rush
National parks, wildlife refuges, and biological reserves are found throughout the country. They range from swampy wetlands to dry-forest environments, and from lowland rainforests to high-mountain cloud forests.
Sign up for guided natural-history excursions or hire a local naturalist guide. You’ll see many times more critters in the company of an eagle-eyed guide.
Barra de Matina/Parismina: Leatherbacks, greens, and hawksbills come ashore at this private sanctuary.
Corcovado National Park: This remote and dense rainforest is one place you may be able to spot tapirs and jaguars, and scarlet macaws are a dime a dozen.
Curú National Wildlife Refuge: Three species of turtles come ashore at this private refuge.
Gandoca-Manzanillo National Wildlife Refuge: Turtle lovers are sure to spot leatherbacks (Apr.–May), greens (July–Sept.), and hawksbills (Mar.–Aug.).
Jungle Safari on the Tárcoles River: Guaranteed close-up sightings of giant crocodiles.
La Paz Waterfall Gardens: This splendid park has a fabulous aviary plus snake, butterfly, hummingbird, and frog exhibits.
Manuel Antonio National Park: This popular park offers easy wildlife-viewing from wide-open trails.
Monteverde Cloud Forest Biological Reserve: Monteverde draws bird-watchers keen to spot a quetzal.
Ostional National Wildlife Refuge: This 248-hectare refuge protects the major nesting site of olive ridleys.
Palo Verde National Park: This national park is known for its vast flocks of waterfowl and migratory birds.
Playa Camaronal: Olive ridleys nest year-round and leatherbacks nest March and April.
Los Quetzals National Park: Your chances of seeing quetzals are vastly improved at this national park.
Tortuguero National Park: This is my favorite place for wildlife-viewing. You may see river otters, caimans, and even manatees. Turtle-viewing at night is icing on the cake.
© Christopher P. Baker from Moon Costa Rica, 8th Edition