Palo Verde is a large park, containing 18,410 hectares or 45,492 acres of territory. The elevation of the park ranges from sea level to 268 meters or 0 – 879 feet. It protects tropical dry forest, mangrove, and river habitats. There are several trails that lead from the station to observation points overlooking the marshland, however, the best way to get around the park is by boat.
There are many species of wildlife in Palo Verde Park. Mammals that live here include collared peccaries, deer, coyotes, howler monkeys, capuchin monkeys, pacas, agoutis, tayras, and pumas. The park is home to many reptiles and amphibians including giant crocodiles, iguanas, whip tail lizards, rattlesnakes, coral snakes and boa constrictors. Palo Verde is also home to many species of birds, with over 300 species known to inhabit it. It is recognized as one of the most important wetlands in Central America for migrating waterfowl. Species that inhabit the park include roseate spoonbill, white ibis, great egrets, wood storks, boat-billed heron, northern jacana, and much more. In addition there are scarlett macaws, long-tailed manikin, great curassow, and several species of parakeets.
Though Palo Verde is a national park, it is administered by the Organization of Tropical studies. The park is open daily from 8 AM – 4 PM. There is a ranger and administration station with public restrooms. The entrance fee for Palo Verde is $12 per person. There are basic overnight accommodations which are suitable for field biologists, though most visitors take day trips from hotels in Tamarindo, Flamingo or Papagayo.
More about Palo Verde National Park
The easiest and best way to visit Palo Verde is with a tour operator that knows the way. It will not only be a more enlightening and easier experience, but it will likely cost less in the end as well. The park is remote and requires driving an hour or so on dirt roads with limited signs.
At a glance
Closest town: Canas
Size in hectares: 18,410 (45,492 acres)
Year established: 1978
Elevation in meters: sea level to 268 (0 – 879 feet)
Private managed: yes
Government managed: yes
Rangers station: yes
Overnight facilities: yes
Public restrooms: yes
Entrance fee: $12pp
Hours: 08:00 - 16:00
Hiking trails: yes
Boat tours: yes
Average temperature range in Fahrenheit: 70 - 90
Average yearly precipitation in millimeters: 1,600 mm (63 inches)
Habitat: tropical dry forest, mangrove, river
How to get there
From San Jose, take Rt.27 west all the way past Puntarenas until you reach the intersection with Rt.1. Take Rt. 1 northwest until you reach Bagaces. Turn left on Rt. 922 and follow the dirt road and signs approximately 19 kilometers until you reach the park. From there, the administration building is an additional 9 km.
Weather and packing list
Palo Verde is located in the tropical dry forest of Guanacaste, which is one of the hottest and driest climates in Costa Rica. Day time temperatures often exceed 90 degrees and night time temperatures are normally in the mid-70s. This area receives an average of 1,600 mm or 63 inches of precipitation annually. The driest months to visit are November through August.
Visitors should pack shorts, tee shirts, appropriate shoes, rain gear, sun block, and insect repellent. Check our Costa Rica packing guide for more information.
Fun Fact: Palo Verde National Park is located in a tropical dry forest. These forests are considered to be the most endangered ecosystems in the tropics, providing essential habitat to many endangered species of wildife.