- The Best of Costa Rica
- Costa Rica’s Top Spots for WIldlife
- Costa Rica’s Most Beautiful Beaches
- 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
- Costa Rica Family-Friendly Adventures
- Adrenaline Rush
Puerto Humo is a small village on the west bank of the Río Tempisque, about 12 kilometers north of Barra Honda and most easily reached from the town of Nicoya (26 km). The bird-watching hereabouts is splendid. Puerto Humo is a gateway to Palo Verde National Park, across the river.
The dirt road continues about five kilometers to the hamlet of Rosario then peters out three kilometers farther along at the entrance (no facilities) to Mata Redonda National Wildlife Refuge (Refugio Nacional de Vida Silvestre Mata Redonda).
Tempisque Safari Ecological Adventure
This wildlife sanctuary (tel. 506/2698-1069, www.tempisquesafari.com, 10 A.M.–5 P.M. daily, $20 pp), hidden off the beaten track a kilometer beyond Rosario, is part of a working cattle ranch. Its highlight is an animal rescue and breeding center where snakes, monkeys, peccaries, tapirs, and cats such as the jaguarundi and margay are displayed in large cages.
The crocodile lagoon is the real thing, and you’ll be surprised to find yourself accompanied along the paths by free-strutting deer, rheas, and emus! There are even ostrich, capybara, and bison.
A three-hour guided tour ($50 pp, minimum four people) is offered with a cart pulled by water buffalo, followed by a boat tour of the river. If the gates are closed, the custodio (guard) who lives opposite the entrance will open up.
El Humedal Corral de Piedra
To the south of Puerto Humo, Coral Stone Wetland (tel. 506/2659-8190) protects 2,281 hectares of wetlands adjoining the Cipancí National Wildlife Refuge, at Palo Verde National Park. Most lie within private haciendas. It was created in 2002 to protect the critically endangered jabiru stork.
Rancho Humo (tel. 506/2233-2233, www.ranchohumo.com), to the east of Puerto Humo, offers a chance to explore the wetlands and go bird-watching at this private reserve on the riverbank. In 2011 it opened an excellent visitors center with a lookout over the wetlands; it has spotting scopes. A museum was in the making. The 1,093 hectare (2,700-acre) facility offers a chance to hike various ecosystems, including dry forest, or take a guided tour using electric golf carts along 14 kilometers of manicured trails.
Aventuras Arenal (tel. 506/2698-1142), in Puerto Humo, offers boat trips ($45 pp with lunch).
Getting to Puerto Humo
A bus serves Puerto Humo daily, departing Nicoya township at 10 A.M., 3 P.M., and 6 P.M.
© Christopher P. Baker from Moon Costa Rica, 8th Edition