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.