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Costa Rica Park Profiles

Costa Rica National Parks

Montervede Cloud Forest

One of the most popular reserves in Costa Rica. Famous for its high end jungle lodges, vertigo inducing aerial walkways, pristine virgin forest and stunning biodiversity. This magical tropical forest has more than 2500 plant species, 120 reptiles and amphibians and over 400 bird species. More than 100 species of mammals live in the park, including howler and capuchin monkeys, five species of cats, deer, tapir and sloths. There are five suspension bridges (part of the Sky Walk tour), canopy tours and zip-lines to let you experience a pristine rainforest like never before. The prize sightings for all birders is the resplendent Quetzal and this is the best place to see it.

Arenal Volcano

Of the 850 total species of birds identified in Costa Rica, nearly all of them, including the endangered resplendent quetzal, can be found near Arenal. Also keep your eyes open for white-faced monkeys, jaguar (very rare), deer, coati, toucans and snakes like the infamous fer-de-lance and parrot snake. While exploring the park you will see plant life which includes guayabo de monte, laurel, cirri, various species of palms, orchids, heliconias, ferns, strangler figs, bromeliads, and many others. One of the many hikes possible in this area is to pass through the park's tropical rainforest to old lava beds and then climb the Chato Volcano.

Cano Negro Wildlife Refuge

The reserve is a wildlife lovers paradise, where you can see three species of monkeys, many migratory and resident birds, sloths, caimans and turtles. The main method of wildlife oberservation is by motorised boat. During the green season, mountain water is plentiful and the banks of Río Frio overflow in Caño Negro. The entire reserve becomes a shallow lake, a wintering site for migrant American birds such as American anhinga, northern jacana, American widgeon, wood stork, white Ibis, black-bellied tree duck, northern shoveler, snail kite, green backed heron, roseate spoonbill, and blue-winged teal. This is one of the best places to see the Nicaraguan grackle, whose only Costa Rican habitat is Caño Negro.

Corcovado National Park

Also commonly known as the Osa Peninsula, encompases the only remaining old growth wet forests on the Pacific coast of Central America, and 13 major ecosystems including lowland rain forest, highland cloud forest, jolillo palm forest, and mangrove swamps, as well as costal marine and beach habitats. There is a good chance of spotting some of Costa Rica's shyest and most endangered inhabitants here; Baird's Tapirs, Jaguars, Scarlet Macaws, Harpy Eagles, Red-backed squirrel monkeys and White-lipped Peccaries.

Caño Island Reserve

Designated a Biological Reserve in 1978, Cano Island Biological Reserve is ripe with marine biodiversity. In fact, the island is surrounded by five platforms of Coral Reefs comprised of 15 species! These reefs are the host to a heap of marine life including: schools of jacks, parrotfish, damsels ,eels, lobsters, sea urchins, giant conchs and even manta rays, sea turtles and white-tipped reef sharks. The visitor will be in awe during the migrations of the whale sharks and humpback whales, seen from July and October, and again in December through March. It is important to time your Costa Rica tour precisely to maximise your wildlife encounters.

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