Starting at $132 per adult


The Palo Verde National Park tour is a bird watcher’s paradise! Considered to be one of the most important wetlands in the world, this nature reserve with its seasonal flooding contains an abundance of migratory and native birds species alike. On this tour, you’ll journey down the Tempisque River on a covered sightseeing boat searching out a variety of wetland wildlife.

Your trip will begin when you are picked up from your hotel and taken for a leisurely drive in air-conditioned vans through farmlands and small villages until you reach the national park. Upon arrival, your bilingual guide will introduce you to the park and lead you to the river’s edge where you will step onboard a covered boat with open sides allowing you to fully appreciate your surroundings.

The biggest attraction of Palo Verde National Park is birdwatching. If you are a birder you will likely tick off many bird species on your list. But you can also enjoy this cruise just for the thrill of being out on the water and seeing the amazing diversity of tropical wildlife. Your knowledgeable nature guide will help you identify many colorful birds as well as spot other river dwelling creatures.

One of the most popular birdwatching places is right in the middle of the Tempisque River. “Bird Island” known locally as “Isla de Pajaros” is the main nesting grounds and resting place for birds of many different species. During your approach to Bird Island keep your eyes open for Roseate Spoonbills, Green-backed Herons, Great Egrets, Wood Storks, Anhingas, and Black-crowned Night-Herons. Where there is a large concentration of birds, there may also be a crocodile or two lingering around the area waiting for an opportunity to seize a good meal!

In the rainy seasons, this river gets so full that the water overflows the riverbed, expanding into marshes providing ideal environments for migratory wading birds seeking temporary refuge from the cold winter months up north.

While during the dry seasons, the river does just the opposite: water becomes so scarce that the marshes dry up into small pools and puddles, with dwindling reserves of water for both flora and fauna. Luckily, this reinforces the natural migration of visiting birds to fly back home, allowing the native birds and other wildlife to flourish with little competition for local resources. This provides an excellent opportunity to see a concentration of wildlife congregating around the limited water sources.

Another interesting dry season phenomenon is that the trees on this Palo Verde tour lose their leaves during certain seasons as a way to preserve water. At these times viewing the dry forests may remind you of a crisp autumn day, with barren trees and colorful fallen leaves - only in a much hotter and dryer climate. With fewer leaves on the trees you’ll have a greater chance for spotting birds, iguanas, and other dry forest creatures.

Your guide will help you see any visible wildlife while leisurely exploring the shoreline. You might see Howler or Capuchin Monkeys, Variegated Squirrels, a Collared Peccary or a White-nosed Coati. Additional birdlife typically seen within the park include the White Ibis, Snail Kite, American Widgeon and Northern Shoveler, to name a few.

This tour includes a professional bilingual nature guide, park entrance fee, boat tour, drinks and transportation from Flamingo, Riu, Tamarindo and the Papagayo area. One way transportation by air conditioned bus can take between 1 and 2 hours from your hotel to the National Park depending upon your pick-up location. Combined time of this tour with round trip transportation can take between 5.5 and 7.5 hours. You will likely be most comfortable wearing lightweight clothing plus bring rain gear in the rainy seasons. It is also recommended to bring sun screen, insect repellent, camera and binoculars for up close viewing.

What to Bring

  • Lightweight Clothing
  • Camera
  • Binoculars
  • Sunblock
  • Insect Repellent
  • Rain Gear If Rainy Season

Location and Availability

The Palo Verde National Park Tour is available from Central Guanacaste, Jobo, Papagayo Peninsula, Playa Hermosa, Coco, Southern Papagayo, and Tamarindo

Tour Times

  • 7:00am
  • 12:00pm

Tour Type

  • Nature
  • Learning Family
  • Safari Cruise

Cancellation Policy

Cancellation Policy


Latitude: N 10° 19' 14.38"
Longitude: W 85° 18' 40.47"


  • Overall 89.3% (87 Guest Ratings)
  • Experience: 89.3%
  • Expectations: 87.5%
  • Guides: 92.2%
  • Logistics: 88.3%
  • Value: 88.9%


One of our favourite days. Lunch at Coyote Ranch was amazing and going to see Jesus working his pottery magic was a great way to interact with local artisians.


Such a fantastic experience. Our guide, van driver and boat driver were all excellent. We were floored by our guide's extensive knowledge as well as his personal interest in making our trip so great. Lots of wildlife to see. Definitely one of our best experiences during our Costa Rica vacation.


great information and guides went out of their way to make it a great day


The guide and driver on this tour were great. We learned the most from this tour guide. He was very knowledgeable and was excited to share information about his country with us. His Costa Rican pride shined through and we felt it.


The description for this tour says that we will go to Bird island - we did not go that far (the guide took a note of this)


Excellent tour. However the guide suggested that we mayhave more wildlife sightings with a morning tour (we did an afternoon tour). We ended up with a private tour with just 2 guides and ourselves - which was great.


Rodrique and the boat pilot had very sharp eyes for spotting well hidden wildlife, were very knowledgeable, and maneuvered the boat for good viewing. We saw several species, including Jabiru Stork and Boat-billed Heron.


This was a bumpy ride. We were the only ones on tour. I also thought it would be like a big National Park Visitors Center. It was a education boat ride and saw many species. Tour guide/driver was knowledgeable. Went out of way to show us a giant iguana in Fiidelphia. Provided water for trip.


Not fault of anyone, did not see many animals other than crocs


It was a rainy day so we didn't see as much as we had hoped.


long drive very short trip on the water but did get to see some animals


Although we enjoyed the croc sighting and the fact that we were the only people on the tour, this wasn't the season for the tour (even the tour guide said we probably wouldn't see much in terms of wildlife). Probably would have been better suited to do a different activity during this month. The tour guide and boat driver were really nice


Tour was great! Loved the guides and driver.


This was ok. It was a pretty far ride for what we got. But we did get to see animals so that's good.


We didn't know enough about the tour to properly prepare for it. The guide, Christian, took us for lunch to Rancho de Coyotes, an unexpected side trip that turned out to be our favorite part of the trip. Watching local artisans create pottery was fascinating, and the foods was delicious. The river cruise was interesting.


Long ride to the tour, otherwise quite excellent! Loved the guide.


Pick up on time. Fluent in English. Very knowledgeable about wildlife, Costa Rican history. AAA+


Long dusty drive to river. Saw lots of crocodiles but not all that interesting otherwise. Could have skipped this one.


Wonderful guides and we saw lots of wildlife. It was so wonderful.


I think going in the afternoon made it too hot and there wasn't much to see. The drive out there was very long


Amazing experience on this tour. My partner and I had the whole tour to ourselves. The tour guides were funny and friendly and spoke English well. We stopped at this great place for lunch. They said it was not generally apart of the tour that day but for 20 bucks American we can get a lunch. The lunch was amazing for what we spent. Local cooking in the back country at its finest. The chicken "iguanna" (inside joke) was so beautifully seasoned and they just kept giving us as much as we wanted to eat!
The tour down the river was fantastic! We saw monkeys, huge black iguanas, the "Jesus Christ" lizards, parrots, tons of crocodiles and mini crabs! I felt like I was I Jurassic park! Just amazing!


Another fun day! I have never been so close to a wild crocodile!!! That river runs so fast! Crazy!!!The drive to Palo Verde and the ATV tour was really neat. Probally the flatest land that I saw all week!!! Lol Del Monte could do some tours of there plantations.


Best of experiences. Had. Guide and driver to ourselves and because we loved birds they kept stopping to show us different ones. Fantastic trip. Couldn't fault it


A very long drive from the resort and if we would have known this we may have booked a different excursion. Guide and boat driver were excellent, along with the bus driver, river cruise was very nice.


Guide incorporated a visit to a local potter as my wife had asked him about where to buy ceramics. Was a really cool side trip.


Wonderful experience great guide and driver. Saw many animals they identified


Im guessing that the time of day, and the time of year had a major effect on our experience. We did see some wildlife but really not as much of what I have heard from others. The biggest disappointment was the distance of travel both directions for the length of the actual tour and what we saw made took a day out of out trip I would have rather spent doing something else.


Expected to see more animals but our guides did their best to find them. Still a fun experience though.


Again, this tour should be early morning, not mid-afternoon when everything is hidden or asleep.


Wildlife: As far as this goes, the tour met my expectations. I saw two types of monkeys, Capuchin and Howler, crocodiles, birds and green iguana. I could always see more of course! But I came away feeling grateful that I was able to see what I saw. So thank you!

Guide/(s): We had one guide that went with us on the boat and a driver who stayed back for the duration. The guide was knowledgeable and helpful. The reason I gave a '7' for the guides was that when we stopped off at a pottery shop in an nearby village, they went off and had coffee or some beverage with the hostess/ store owners while we were sitting inside the vehicle waiting for them. This was after they saw that I didn't buy or care to buy any pottery from them and we were ready to leave. That was unprofessional and seemed rude.