Central America Travel News

Look to the skies in Palo Verde National Park

It is hard not to be enamored by the wildlife that is present on Costa Rica tours. Animals, ranging in size, color and habitat preferences, seem to appear at every turn in this wondrous country. For birds, however, few spots can compete with Palo Verde National Park.

Covering 198 square miles, the park is made up of dry, deciduous forests, rain forest and seasonal wetlands. The variety of habitats provide a range of homes for birds, and give visitors the chance to see a wide range of winged animals on their trip.

The seasonal wetlands see the widest variance throughout the year. After the rainy season, several thousand migratory birds flock to the park, including a number of wood storks, jabirus and herons. The temporary aquatic habitat is also home to some giant reptiles - most markedly, crocodiles - so guests should keep their eyes and ears open when visiting these marshy areas.

The rainforests have some of the most vivid species in the park, including one of the only permanent colonies of Scarlet Macaws in the dry forest.

Beyond the birds, the park is also home to many monkeys, lizards and snakes. The exotic peccaries and coatis can also be spotted quite often in Palo Verde's thick rainforests.

The flora of the diverse ecosystems is nothing to bat an eye at either. The dry forests here are remnants of a woodland that once extended the entire Pacific Coast, and is home to several endangered tree species. Some particular beauties that hikers may see include the cannonball tree - a tree that produces bowling ball-size fruit that is, unfortunately, inedible - as well as the Panama redwood, rosewood and sandbox trees.

The park's wonderful location puts guests at an arm's length from several refuges worth seeing, as well. The Capanci National Wildlife Refuge is south of Palo Verde and protects a mangrove ecosystem. Dr. Rafael Lucas Rodriguez Callabero Wildlife Refuge and the Lomas Barbudal Biological Reserve are also nearby. Both have a complex of trails that give hikers access to several other examples of the region's finest flora and fauna, and provide travelers with more chances to see wildlife that they missed in Palo Verde. 

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