Location: Located in the Central Volcanic Mountain Range, 37 Km north of Alajuela on the Alajuela-San Pedro.
Importance: Poas Volcano is one of the most spectacular volcanoes in Costa Rica, the massive active crater of this 2, 708 meters high volcano regulary emits a plume of noxious steam. This park protects various types of forest containing abundant epiphytes and parasitic plants growing on the tree trunks. Poas's crater is an enormous, gaping hole one kilometer in diameter and 314 meters deep. At the bottom, there is a circular hot lake. The long-extinct von Frantzius composite cone -the oldest eruptive center on the massif, is at the north of the artic crater. Another cone named Botos is to the southwest. It was the active center until 7,500 years ago and now contains an astonishingly beautiful cold water lake some 400 meters in diameter.
Flora: The park presents four main habitats: an area of arrayans, a stunted forest, a cloud forest and areas with little or no vegetation. Example of the flora includes small cypress, tucuico, small cedar and small cypress.
Fauna: Among the mammals that this park is home for are marmots, shrews, bats, and over 79 species of bird like black guan, sooty robins, resplendent quetzal, the green tucanets and flame-throated warbler.
Location: Irazu Volcano is located around the Central Volcanic Chain, 31 kilometers northeast of the Province of Cartago. The volcano it self is located 15 miles inside the National Park. Rising 8,000 feet above the Central Valley and 11,260 feet above see level.
Importance: Irazu is an active volcano tops out at 3,432 above sea level, it is the highest volcano in Costa Rica with spectacular views of boat coasts. Its name comes from the indigenous community of Iztaru, which was located on the slope of the volcano. The word means “Peak of Quakes and Thunder”, but it gradually .changed through the years. This volcano has a long history of eruptions and eruptive cycles which activity has been characterized by the emission of large clouds of steam, ash and cinders, often accompanied by small local or regional earth tremors, subterranean noises and rumblings, and showers of small and large rocks which usually fall near the rim of the crater. Irazu summit has five craters named: Main crater (320.04 feet in diameter and 91.44 feet deep), Diego de la Haya (210.31 feet in diameter and 24.38 feet deep), Playa Hermosa and Laguna crater. This is an active volcano with fumaroles that erupt with pyroclastic flows and ash and sometimes accompanied by relatively light tremors. When the day is clear is possible to observe three of the craters including the Main one, and its sulfurous green lake at the bottom.
Flora: Around the crater one can observe some low vegetation, characterized by species like the sombrilla de pobre ( poor man umbrella, because of its large size leaves) and the pepinillo.
Fauna: Due to the altitude, agricultural practices in the past and volcanic activity , wildlife in the area isn't very abundant, larger animals are scarce. Some of the mammals observed in the upper regions are the Brazilian rabbits, red-tailed squirrel, Mexican hairy porcupine, wooly possum, Coyote, long-nosed armadillo, porcupine and weasel. The common site as far as birds concerned would be hummingbirds, woodpeckers, mountain robins and volcano junco among others.
Location: The Arenal National Park is located in the Northern region of Costa Rica at the northern end of the Tilaran Mountain Ring; managed by the cantons of Tilaran, San Carlos and San Ramon.
Importance: Considered an important replenishment region because its waters, which drain into the Arenal Reservoir, are used for the production of electricity and in fish farming projects in the Moracia Irrigation District. The area is a increasingly popular destination with its great natural assets such as the country's most active volcano, jungle lined rivers and a large lake. Arenal Volcano is the region's number one attraction, the volcano has a perfect cone and a spectacular night view activity will allow you to appreciate its splendor. Staying in la Fortuna town is a great way to move around the area, this town has something for everyone. Take your pick: enjoy of bathing in the hot springs of the Tabacon rivers, experiencing a conopy tour, horse back rides, hiking, mountain biking, visits to butterfly farms, Benado caves, hanging bridges, rafting and much more.
Flora: Its flora is varied, with species such as the mountain guayabo, frijo, rosewood, chicle tree, balsa and others.
Fauna: The are amazing mammals like howler monkeys, tyras, coatimundis, threetoed sloths, white-collared peccary, deer, jaguar, and others. The common site as far as bird concerned are white hawk, great curassow, rufous motmot, rofous-tailed jacamar, black-throated trogon, parrots, parakeets, resplendent quetzals; and some reptiles like the fer-de-lance snake, boa constrictor, basilisk lizard, glass frog and poison dart frog.
Rincón de la Vieja
Location: It is located on the Guanacaste Volcanic Mountain Range; 27 Km northeast of Liberia.
Importance: The Rincon de la Vieja National Park is a central point of the North Pacific, it's a large park (14,084 hectareas) that lies 12 miles northeast of Liberia, covers the upper slopes of a dormant volcano. This volcano rises 1,916 meters above sea level and spreads over 400 square kilometers. It was formed by simultaneous explosions of several volcanic cones that grew and merged into a single mountain.Rincon de la Vieja stands between the continental divide, which separates Atlantic from Pacific watersheds. Its height and location make it a veritable water factory. Liberia's drinking water supply comes from different sources in the mountain. In total thirty two rivers are born on Rincon de la Vieja's flanks.The park is slip in two sectors; Las Pailas and Santa Maria, due to the range of altitudes, rainfall and ages of volcanic ash fields. Since 1980, the volcano has erupted at least twelve times. However scientists believe that the abundance of fumaroles, boiling mud pots, hot springs and sulfuric steams help gradually let out enough pressure to prevent a large explosion, there are also several cones, lagoons and craters. Taking time to visit the park is certainly worth the experience, there is many activities you can do in the area like horseback, mountain bike, canopy tour, bird watching, waterfalls, hot springs, etc.
Flora: In the lower regions, trees include the Guanacaste, freijo, gumbo-limbo, bitter cedar and capulin. In the central region, between 1,200 and 1,400 meters, the most abundant trees are the cupey, mamwood, clabash, jicaro danto and didymopanax. Beginning at 1,400 meters and continuing up to near the peak, the woods are low and the densely-branched trees are covered with mosses and other epiphytes. The most common trees are the cupey, didymopanax and crespon. The peak of the volcano is covered with ash and has very sparse vegetation. Plants include the cupey and the poor man's umbrella. The tapir, highland tinamous, black guan and several cat species are very numerous in this region.
Fauna: Within the park, 257 species of birds have been sighted, including the three-wattled bellbird, great curassow, black-faced solitaire, Montezuma woodpeckers, bank swallow, emerald toucanet, elegant tragon, blue-throated goldentail, spectacled owl, white-fronted amazon and guaco. Some mammals found here include the red brocket deer, collared peccary, agouti, tayra, tapir, coatimundis, Northern tamandua, two-toed sloth, and howler, white-faced and spider monkeys. Insects are very numerous and include four species of the abundant and beautiful morpho butterflies.
Diving in Costa Rica is world-class, the abundance of sea life as well as the impressive beauty of the surroundings make for some incredible divers. We are talking about Bull Sharks…up to 12 feet long, Manta Rays (sometimes seen in groups up to 50!), cow-nosed rays (seen in schools of thousands!), eagle rays, and rainbow runners, spade fish, wahoo, pompano, and other schooling fish. You can also see white-tip sharks, turtles, starfish, octopi, horsefish and stingrays. Then there are humpback While, pilot whales. Orcas and false killer whales and spinner dolphins to be seen on occasion. Al these incredible possibilities combinated with the beauty and unparalleled scenery of Costa Rica make a diving trip here a tri to remember. Fortunately, most dive sites in Costa Rica are easily accessible and all are truly fascinating underwater paradises that offer a remarkable combination of warm water, abundance of fish and good visibility. Most diving is done at depths ranging from 6 m to 30 m, typically near rocky points along the coast. The water is pleasantly warm year round, with temperatures from 24 to 29 degrees Celsius and air temperatures ranging from 27 to 32 degrees Celsius. Both the Pacific and Caribbean coasts offer excellent diving possibilitiesHere's a short introduction to some of the most popular diving sites in Costa Rica:
Peninsula de Osa – Caño Island
A virtually untouched tropical paradise, surrounded by five platforms of low coral reefs, 15 km off the mainland coast, Isla de Caño is a fully protected biological reserve with an exceptionally beautiful reef bordering its shores. With depths ranging from 5 mts to 25 mts, these reefs offer an
incredible diversity of fish life and marine creatures, including Manta Rays, White tip Reef Sharks, Whale Sharks and schools of jacks and sea snakes. Sin Diver magazine has rated Caño Island as among the best in the world and one of the newest hot spots for adventure diving.
This group of rocky islands can be reached in about an hour by boat. One of the preferred diving spots off the coast of sunny Guanacaste province, ther you can find 9 to 15ft Bull and incredible amount of snapper, gafftop-sail pompanos, jacks, Manta Rays and others.
Is a long distance site, it's a small group of rocky islands of volcanic origin, located towards the southern end of the Gulf of Papagayo. A short boat ride of about 30 min gets you to large populations of White tip Reef Sharks, schools of Bat, Eagle and Cownose Rays as well as Mantas and many other species.
Central Pacific Coast
Playa Herradura Near Bahía Herradura (north of Playa Jacó), there is El Jardín, an area known for its corals.
Ballena National Marine Park
South of Dominical This national park, home to a wealth of fish and an abundance of marine invertebrates, was founded for the main purpose of protecting the most extensive coral reef on Costa Rica's Pacific Coast and the humpbacked whales that migrate through this area.... Divers appreciate it!
Ballena National Marine Park
Isla del Coco
Location: Located in the Pacific Ocean, 332 km Southwest from Cabo Blanco.
Importance: This National Park was stablished in 1978, and was then declared a Humanity Heritage Site by UNESCO, in 1997. The Island was discovered in 1526, and in the 17th and 18th centuries it served as a hide-away for pirates along the Pacific coasts of Spanish America. There are stories of hidden treasures, such as the Lima Booty, consisting of tons of gold bars and sheets of gold that covered the domes of churches. There's also talk of William Davie's treasure, supposedly hidden in 1684; and Benito “Bloody Sword” Bonito's treasure, hidden in 1819. These fabled riches have attracted over 500 expeditions of treasures hunters, including an official one form the government of Costa Rica that claimed the island in 1869. Coco's islands is considered a natural laboratory for the study of the evolution of species. An evergreen, dense forest covers the island's rugged terrain, which is frequently cloudy and showered by heavy rains.
Flora: Scientists have identified 235 species of plants, and 90 fungus species.
Fauna: Also known are 362 species of insets, of which 64 are endemic, five species of reptiles, two endemic terestrisl species, 97 species of birds, tweolve resident, three endangered and three endemic, 60 species of arthropods, 510 species of sea mollush, 32 species of corals, and more than 250 species of fish. There's also an abundant of white tipped sharks, the gigantic hammerheads, yellow fin tuna, parrot fish, mantes, and horse mackerel.
Other Info: The Isla del Coco is a land of great beauty and a real laboratory for the studies of nature. We can find ferns, "bromelias", rivers, ravines and waterfalls; the valleys, sheers and islets are visit by infinity of sea birds and is also a place where sea gulls and "bobo" birds nests. The park counts with several programs. The Protection Program watch for the fulfillment of the conservation of the natural resources laws, keeping a right balance of the ecosystems of the island inside the sea and land limits. Another function is to watch for the security of national and foreign tourists that visit the island. The Administration Program proposes the planning of all the labors of the park in a short and middle period. The Monitor and Investigation program propose to set the bases for the development of scientific investigation in the area and incentive it according to the park priorities. Finally, the Public Use Program, which objective is to make conscious in the groups dedicated to the fishing activity, about the importance to preserve endanger populations of sea organisms of commerce use.
Location: Upon arrival to Costa Rica, you can be completely sure that it is the perfect place for this kind of experience. A combination of reasonable rapids and beautiful floats allow for a completely enjoyment. Some of these rivers are even great for family excursions and bird watching, since they lack big rapids and flow calmly through the forest. You will probably be able to see iguanas, blue morpho butterflies, parrots, otters, king fishers, and heron, among others.
Rafters can choose from turbulent waters of lower Reventazon river, where one rapid quickly follows the next, to the meandering curves of the Corobici, whose waters allow visitors more time to watch the wildlife and the surroundings.
The most popular trips combine challenging rapids with calmer stretches, that allow enough time for catching one's breath. A wide selection of tour operations offer trips down most of the country's rivers. They all have a trained guide and modern equipment, life vests and helmets.
One – day excursions usually include transportation to and from the river, breakfast and a lunch. There are also overnight trips that often account for lodging in riverside cabins and all of the meals.
Some well known rivers are Reventazon and the Pacuare. They both originate high in the Talamanca mountains, on the upper slopes of Cerro Cuerici. They empty into the Caribbean Sea after having dropped some 914.40 feet. For much of their length, the two rivers parallel each other. The Reventazon is undoubtedly visited by more people each year than any other river in the country. It has an exciting and challenging fourteen kilometers stretch of Class III waters between Tucurrique and Turrialba. Above and below this section are even more difficult rafting portions.
Other great rafting experience occur on the following rivers: Sarapiqui (Class II-III; May to mid March; good for beginners), Savegre (Class I-III; May to January; perfect for first timers), Naranjo (Class III-IV; June to November; requires some rafting experience), and El General (class III-IV; September to November).
Location: Sport fishing along any of the two Costa Rica coasts is famous around the world. The ports on the Pacific and some beach resorts, provides access to some of the best deep sea fishing in the world. Meanwhile, the canals and rivers of the North Atlantic coast are renowned for their snook and tarpon fishing.
In the Pacific fishing is exciting, with sailfish, marlin, tuna, wahoo, roosterfish, mahi, mahi, mackerel and snapper regularly in the water. But is the abundant of billfish that has made that area famous, though.
In Guanacaste's Northwest, charter boats work out of El Coco, Ocotal, Flamingo, Tamarindo, and Carrillo. Further south, fishing can be done in Puntarenas, Tambor, Quepos, Manuel Antonio, Dominical, and many others.
On the other side of the country, the canals of the Northern Caribbean (Barra del Colorado and Parismina) are home to some of the best snook and tarpon (averaging 80 pounds) fishing of the world. Excellent quality lodges are tucked away in the jungle, surrounded by fresh water lagoons and rivers. The best time to visit is from January to May since itt's rain season and the water rise, or from August to October when the ocean gets calmer and is safer for boats.
Though deep sea fishing is the country's strong point, with abundant sailfish and marlin off the Pacific coast, there's also great fresh water fishing in Arenal lake and the larger rivers in the Northern Plains, where rainbow bass is abundant.
Costa Rica promotes constant conservation efforts, for this reason, the practice of “catch and release” is greatly encouraged. This means that virtually all fish that are caught are returned to the water alive.
Fishing tournament takes place every year in Barra del Colorado on the Northern Caribbean so as in Quepos on the Central Pacific.
Location: It is located in the province of Limon, in the Caribbean coast, 42 km south form Port Limon city.
Importance: Cahuita is located in the Tropical Basal Atlantic Region of Costa Rica, Open since 1970 this park was created to protect the flora and wild life, the coral reef and several sea ecosystems. This is one of the areas with more beauty in the country because of its white sand beaches, miles of coconuts, turquoise blue sea and coral reefs.
Flora: Cahuita National Park is located inside life zone of the humid tropical forest. The park has several important habitats; the swamp forest, the mix forest, the mangle and the coast flora. The coral reef has an extension of 58,834 acres and goes all the way to "Punta Cahuita", between "Perezoso" River and Puerto Vargas. Part of the coral platform is submerging up to 11 Mts.3 over sea level.
Fauna: In Cahuita you can find 35 species of coral, 300 of mollusks, 44 crustacean, 128 algaes and thousands of colorful fish like the French Angel, Isabelita and Queen Angel, the Barracuda fish, the Blue Parrot fish, the Mantaray, the “Morenas” and the sea cucumber, many other marine species can be observed such as lobsters, sponges, white shrimps, sea fans, crabs, anemones the green turtle and the Carey turtle. The park is home to howler monkeys, white face monkeys, sloths, squirrels, raccoons, nutrias, coatimundis and pizotes ;also several species of forest birds like humminbirds, toucans, herons, hawks and others.
Other info: This location is great for snorkeling.
Location: This park located at the Caribbean coast, in the Talamanca county, province of Limón.
Importance: Protects wild fauna, specially endangered and reduced number species. Also protects the only natural bank of clamps in the reef zone of this coast. It is classified like a humid tropical forest because of the lagoon. The primary forest found in this area, is invaluable, because of the small area covered by this life zone of the low lands of the Atlantic coast.
Flora: This area has a great diversity of land habitats with some primary forests and with numerous sea and river habitats including the best preserve coral reefs in the Atlantic coast of Costa Rica.
Other info: Because of its natural conditions, this area is very interesting for scientists and tourists.
Location: Located in the Province of Puntarenas perched high in the Tilaran Mountain Range.
Importance: One of the most famous nature reserves in Costa Rica was founded by a dairy community of Quakers and Costa Ricans about 40 years ago, and even today the excellent cheeses of Monteverde are still made there. Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve straddles the Continental Divide in the Northernmost part of the province of Puntarenas. Monteverde Cloud Forest has gained international renown as one of the exceptional wildlife sanctuaries in the tropics. The Tropical Science Center now administers the cloud forest reserve, which is riot of geenery and home to many species of plants and animals. A walk through the forest gives visitors a deep appreciation of nature's delicate and astonishing balancing act. A great number of trails invite visitors to walk through the parks.
Flora: The Cloud forest protected within those preserves is an incredibly profuse life zone where most trees are covered with veritable gardens of ferns mosses, bromeliads and orchids and other epiphytes, more than 400 species of them with their captivating colors of whites, yellows, and lilacs that make an incredible contrast with all the green of the forest.It is deemed a cloud forest because of its altitude and topography.
Fauna: There are at least 400 bird species such as resplendent quetzals, collared redstarts and emerald toucanets abound. It holds over 100 species of mammals, 120 species of amphibians and reptiles.
Location: Located on the Central Pacific, in the margins of Grande de Tarcoles river, southeast of Orotina City, province of Puntarenas. This biological reserve is located in an area that was occupied in an indigenous culture that is to have been allied with groups located in the Central Valley from 300 B.Cto 1500 A.D., and the name Carara is an indigenous term meaning “river of crocodiles”.
Importance: Created to facilitate investigations, scientific studies, and environment education. This area is considering an excellent living laboratory in which you can study the structure and function of the tropical ecosystems and the relation between them.
Flora: The Carara Biological Reserve has several ecosystems like the cinagas, lagoons and gallery forests, secondary and primary. The gallery forests are found in the margins of the rivers, dense, tall and with less diversity of species. The spavel is the specie of this habitat. The secondary forests are located on lands used to be for agriculture activities, have a less diversity of flowers than the primary forests. The primary forests compose the major part of the reserve where you can local habitats such as Guanacaste, Gallinazo, Guacimo Colorado, Guayabon, Javillo, Ron Ron and others.
Fauna: The wild life is very abundant. Visitors are likely to see sainos, monkeys, coatis, iguanas, sloths, pizotes, racoons, whiteface monkeys, tolomucos, deers and other animals roaming the woods. It's also considered a sanctuary for the rare Scarlet Macaw. Other birds that have been seen are: the hummingbird, tucancillo and pavon.
Other Info: Carara is a favorite with bird watchers for several reasons besides its ease of access. First, its position in a transition zone means that residents of both habitats are likely to appear. Second, the Rio Grande de Tarcoles has free flowing sections and its waters seep into seasonal marshlands and a shallow oxbow lake covered with hyacinths further expanding number of local habitats. Finally, because it is slightly dryer, and not all of the trees are evergreen, Carara is more open than the rainforests further south making wildlife spotting easier.
Location: It is located in the Los Chiles and Guatuso counties, in the province of Guanacaste, near the county's northern border.
Importance: This Refuge is considered to be one of Costa Rica's richest humid areas in biological diversity. It is a tropical everglade filled with wildlife of all sorts. The center of life here revolves around a 2,000 acre lake, also named Caño Negro lake, this is a seasonal lake with marshlands surround it, made by alluvial sediments. It covers and expanse of approximately 800 hectareas and it's three meters deep. During the dry season the lake almost dries up-completely.The lagoon and the nearby areas, are some of most important and vital biological areas that support environment quality in the north side of the country. Boat tours along the river and through the lake are the perfect way to observe animals, Caño Negro is also a popular spot for bird watchers since the variety of bird life is astounding.
Flora & Fauna: This area is the habitat for a great variety of flora, fauna, and natural communities, many of which are unique or endangered, this gives a great international importance to the refuge, in 1991 it was named “ Wetlands of International importance”. On this location it's possible to see mammals like howler, spider and white faced monkeys, iguanas, sloths, turtles peccaries, ocelots, raccoons, pumas, caymans and others. The Caño Negro refuge is an important source of food to migratory birds from the north. The reserve protects the largest colony of Nicaraguan grackle, an endemic bird of the Lake Nicaragua Basin. Some of the resident species are anhinga, wood storks, the jabirus which is the largest bird in Central America, there's also the glossy ibis, black – necked stilt, American widgeon, snail kite, greenback heron, bright pink roseate spoonbill, jacana and the blue winged teal. There are also several species of plants not found anywhere else in the country.
Isla del Caño
Location: Located in the Pacific Ocean in front of Corcovado National Park, in the Peninsula Osa.
Importance: The island has archeological interest. It was important for ancient indigenous culture, the island was used ones as a pre-Columbian cemetery by cultures which clear South American influence. The cultural materials are ceramic remainders and handicraft, including the typical Diquis spheres. The most abundant ceramic correspond to the Good Waters Phase (220-800 A.C), and Chiriqui (1.000-1.550 A.C). The presence of ceramic remainders of the Middle Policromo of Guanacaste Period, suggest the island was an important place for the commercial exchange a long the Pacific coast. Also for protect wild life and flora species characteristic of the tropical rainy forest and important sea environments.This Island is an important spot for snorkeling; certified divers usually head to the more distant spots of Bajo del Diablo and Paraiso, two submerged reefs that attract great schools of jacks and other fish, several species of sharks and manta rays. Skin Magazine has rated Caño Island as among the best in the world and one of the newest hot spots for adventure diving.
Flora: The island is cover by an always-green tropical rainy forest, with approximate 158 superior plants and ferns species. You can found trees of 50 mts tall where you can notice the thick Vaco tree, also the one called Milk Tree because it has a white liquid you can drink. Other trees species common in this place are the guapinol, higueron wild cacao , the rubber and garumo, where bromelias and orchids grows. Also in the island you can observe ferns, heliconias, bejucos and some other species like the mango, oranges, guayabo and bananas.
Fauna: The wild life is very little. The birds are represented by about 10 species, the most common are the garza del ganado, gavilan cangrejero, eagle fish and the piquero moreno. About the mammals you can observe the four eyes fox, the tepezcuintle, some rats species and several bats. Also small snakes, the boa, frogs and lizards.
Other Info: The island protects very important sea environments, where the choral reef is noticed due to its extension and species. Associate with the reef you can found a great diversity of fish, invertebrates, seaweed and mammals like the dolphins and whales. The sea species are located in different environments like the choral reef, rocky beaches where a lot of fish, sea stars, porcupines, lobsters and cambutes live. The last two are en danger of extinct.
Location: On the slopes of Turrialba Volcano, Cartago Province, 19 Km north of the city of Turrialba.
Importance: This is Costa Rica's largest and most important archaeological site discovered in the country. The appearance of human occupation seems to go back to 500 B.C. Its main development took place between 800 and 1,400 A.D. when the stone structures, still standing today, were built. A series of villages is thought to have existed around the central area, providing shelter for a rural population of 1,500 to 2,000 people. Its main architectural features are: cabble-paved causeways and streets; terraced stairways, designed to overcome the differences in height between the causeways and mounds; retaining wall; bridges; mounds used as foundations for housing; open and walled-in aqueducts, many still in use today; and cisterns, rectangular structures where water from the aqueducts was stored. There are petroglyphs everywhere, some representing animals such as birds and cats, and others which do not appear to have any significance. Ceremonial monolithic tables, petroglyphs, pottery shards, and other items are also encountered.
Flora: Evergreen forest typical of the region, is found here. The predominant trees include the elm, bitter cedar, manni, and magnolia.
Fauna: Fauna is scarce because of the monument's small size. Birds are the most conspicuous, the most numerous being tucans and Montezuma oropendolas, Whose oven nests can be seen hanging from the branches of larger trees. There are also insects, lizards, frogs, toads, and some mammals.
Location: Puntarenas Province, on the Pacific coast; southwestern side of the Osa Peninsula.
Importance: Corcovado has been called the crown jewel of Costa Rica's national park system, considered to be one of the most important natural preserves of the Americas. The park was created in 1975 and from then it has been destined exclusively for conservation, scientific investigation, environmental education and .an environmentally conscious tourism. The Corcovado National Park is considered as the “most biologically intense place on Earth” by the National Geographic.In Corcovado visitors can witness. the unique combination of marine and land ecosystems. The area olds thousands of species of flora, many unique to the area and others which have disappeared from other regions.
Flora: This park comprises 8 main habitats such as; a mountain forest, which covers more than half the park; a cloud forest, located in the highest region, richly populated by oaks and tree ferns; alluvial plains, swamp forests, flooded practically all year-round; a holillo forest, predominated by palms; a mangrove swamp, located on the estuaries of the Llorona, Corcovado and Sirena Rivers; a freshwater herbaceous swamp and a rocky coastline. The park is home to some 500 species of trees -equivalent to a quarter of all the tree species in Costa Rica. Some of the larger trees include the purple heart, poponjoche, nargusta, banak, cow tree, espave and crabwood.
Fauna: The park protects several endangered species including cats and large reptiles. Moreover, it is home to 369 species of birds, which are either endemic or whose distribution is very restricted. There are 139 species of mammals, 116 species of amphibians and reptiles, and 40 types of freshwater fish, it is estimated that there are some 6,000 types of insects. It is common to see large herds of white-lipped peccary, as well as howler and spider monkeys and squirrels, other mammals that lives in the park are; jaguar, tapers, red brocket deer, giant anteaters and others. The park is sanctuary to the largest population of scarlet macaws in the country. Other species of birds found here are the vulture, white hawk, short-billed pigeon, tovi parakeet and bronze-tailed sicklebill.
Location: In the Central Volcanic Mountain Range, northeast of the Central Valley. It includes Barva Volcano, Bajo la Hondura and Cacho Negro Peak.
Importance: This park is named after Dr. Braulio Carrillo, a national benefactor and the third president of Costa Rica. Is located in one of the most rugged landscapes of the country. Almost the entire region is formed by high mountains densely covered with forest and countless rivers. The park contains two extinct volcanoes -Cacho negro, highly visible because of its conic shape, and Barva, which has several craters. Barva's Lake is circular in shape and some 70 meters in diameter. The Las Marias Peaks, clearly visible from San Jose, are the remains of a calderic structure.
Flora: Braulio Carrillo's vegetation consists of a densely packed evergreen forest with a wide variety of flowers. This type of forest is constantly changing with environmental conditions. The forests with lots of different species are found in the lowest regions. In the high, broken areas, the trees are shorter and deformed and the species count is reduced. Most of the park is covered by a primary forest in which some 6,000 species of plants thrive, including orchids, heliconias, and “poor man umbrellas” which are very popular in the area.
Fauna: Mammals found in this park include the howler, spider and white-faced monkeys, tapir, jaguar, puma, ocelot, paca, porcupine, slots and white-tailed deer. As to birds, 347 species have been spotted, including the resplendent quetzal. Frogs and toads are very abundant in the park. One of the reptiles inhabiting this area is the bushmaster, the largest poisonous snake in the continent.
Other Info: Braulio Carrillo is consideredone of the best areas in the country for birdwaching.
Location: This wildlife area is located in the pacific coast of Costa Rica, in the province of Puntarenas. Located at 157 km south of San José by road and 7 km south of Quepos City.
Importance: Manuel Antonio is one of the Costa Rica's premier destinations. Manuel National Park is a little biological island inside an area used in different activities like the agriculture, the cattle and a high tourist development.. Is one of the most beautiful national's parks of the country. Is the wild area that receives the mayor amount of national and international tourists. A geomorphic characteristic is the Punta Catedral which In the past was an island and because of the sediment accumulation, joined to the continental mass, forming a sandy band called Tombolo. The park is located in a region of great precipitation and high heights. The annual precipitation average is of 3.875 mm. The summer months are January, February and March; and the winter months are August, September and October.
Flora: The Manuel Antonio National Park is in life zone of the very humid tropical forest, it protects drums of primary forest, secondary forest, manglar, beach vegetation and sea environments. The flora species most common in the forest are guacimo colorado, pilon, cedro maria, guapinol, guapinol negro, arbol maderable endanger extinct, lechoso, madrono, cenizaro and the ceiba. In the secondary, you can found the balsa, peine de mico, guarumo, guácimo, capulín blanco and the garocho. The manglar covers approximate 18 hectares, is constituted by three species: mangle colorado, botoncillo and mariquita. In the beach vegetation you can notice the manzanillo, tree that has milk sustain and poisonous fruits, the almendro, the roble sabana and the coco.
Fauna: The wildlife is variety, you can distinguish 109 species of mammals and 184 of birds. Between the most importance are the raccoon, porcupine, the guatusa, the sloth of two fingers, the sloth of three fingers, the whiteface monkey, the howler monkey and the mono tití specie of endanger because of the destruction of their habitats and the pet used. In the area is frequently to observe birds species like the tucanillo, pelicano o buchon, guaco, the gavilan pescador, the martin. pescador, and the water rooster. It is possible to observe lizards, snakes and infinity of insects.
Location: Exploring many different types of forests up from above can best be done during a canopy tour. This part of the forest has only recently come under serious study. Just two decades ago, biologists started using different devices to reach these areas. The equipment included mountain climbing gear and construction cranes.
However this frontier has become, more and more accessible to a large number of people. Many options let visitors explore this elevated ecosystem as they slide down cables that go from one platform to another.
The opportunities range from different styles. Some are set in the crowns of massive tropical trees, more than 100 feet above the jungle floor.
Others consist of specially built towers located in specific spots to guarantee the best views of the forest. All of them, however, offer the best view of the rain forest canopy, where plants rest on thick branches, and serve as hoe to animals like tree frogs, vine snakes, sloths and hundreds of birds.
The more adventurous traveler might enjoy the rustic-style canopy tours, which involve strapping on a special harness and pulling yourself along suspended cables to a series of small wooden platforms built in the treetops. Other platforms can be found in several private reserves, where once hoisted up, visitors can admire the sight and the creatures.
Getting to the departure points of the canopy tours usually entail horseback, riding or hiking through the rain forest. Being high up on the trees will certainly make your blood flow, especially when you're gliding in between the trees on cables going from platform to platform. In the Monteverde Cloud Forest you will find a Sky-Trek which is the largest in the country, a secure system of trails and zip lines, it's similar to canopy tours in Costa Rica, but it has important differences that distance it from the basic concept. Departure from each cable is done not from the treetops, but from specially built metal platforms. The tour includes 4,544 feet of trails, eleven cables (ranging from 131 to 2,525 feet in lenth, and 20 to 260 meters high), and two observation towers foa a panoramic, 360 degree view of the Guanacaste, San Carlos and Puntarenas lowlands.
In any version, though, the canopy tour is certainly one of the best ways to admire nature, while sliding on horizontal traverse cables, using pullers and harneses. Costa Rica's mountain topography and large amounts of rainfalls set the stage for some of the best white water river selections in the world.