The Palo Verde National Park is located just north of the Gulf of Nicoya in the northwestern part of Costa Rica. More than 279 species of birds migrate to this area during colder months elsewhere. Herons, Storks, Roseate Spoonbills, Grebes, Ibis and Egrets, to name a few, are seen here in abundance between December and May. There are also many tropical native birds living here year around, like Curassows, Toucans and Macaws.
You’ll be picked up from your hotel in Samara and driven by air-conditioned transport through a scenic route of dry forests, small local villages, rice farms and sugar cane fields before reaching the remote area of Palo Verde National Park. One way from Samara to the National Park is an approximate 1.5 to 2 hour ride through the Costa Rican countryside.
Upon arrival, your group will board a covered boat and take a gentle, slow winding 2 hour sightseeing trip down the river. Your knowledgeable guide who has a true knack for finding creatures hidden within the forest canopy, will point out any wildlife he may find. It is good to wear sunscreen, sunglasses and a hat even in the covered boat as the sun can be very bright in the more open part of the river.
The Tempisque river is a vital part of this wetland ecosystem, as it provides the only water source throughout the dry season when there is little rain. During this time you can see a strong density of birds congregating on Isla de Pajaros or “Bird Island”, a small islet that sits in the middle of the river. You may also see crocodiles because where there are birds here, there are also crocodiles!
The trees in the forest survive during the dry months by shedding their leaves in order to preserve water. Similar to autumn in colder climates, as these trees prepare for the dry season, they burst into beautiful bright colors of blooming flowers before the leaves and flowers are shed. If you are lucky enough to visit at this time, you may see a colorful forest surrounding you as you glide by on the river. If the leaves have already shed, then the bird viewing becomes so much easier.
Due to the delicate balance of wetland habitats, migrating birds and wet to dry seasonal changes, the park is also an exciting place for biologists to conduct research. The Biological Research Center located within the park conducts many ongoing studies to learn about the local wildlife, their behaviors, habitats and needs for survival. It is confirmed that this park hosts the largest number of Jaguarundi (wild cats) in Costa Rica, and contains 75% of all the wildlife species that exist in the country.
On your tour it is possible to see iguanas, snakes, crocodiles, monkeys, coati, dear, bats and many of the bird species mentioned earlier. It is rare to see the wild cats as they are nocturnal but occasional sightings have been made by tourists.
After your boat ride you will be provided with a hearty lunch to enjoy before returning back to Samara. You may like to bring along your own bottle of water to keep yourself hydrated throughout the day as well as a camera and binoculars. Please wear lightweight clothing, running shoes or hiking boots. Combined total time of the tour including round trip transportation can take between 6.5 and 7.5 hours on this full day nature adventure.
The Palo Verde National Park Tour is available from Nosara, Punta Islita, and Samara and Carrillo
Latitude: N 10° 19' 14.38"
Longitude: W 85° 18' 40.47"
Great day - saw crocs and loads of other wildlife. Would have liked to have walked in the park as well.