Costa Rica Vacations – Take A Walk In The National Parks And Fauna Of The Great Central American Nation

All throughout Costa Rica there are national parks that protect the bio-diverse flora and fauna of the Central American nation. In fact, Costa Rica would have to be one of the most pro-active countries in the world when it comes to national parks and wildlife protection. One of the best ways to maximize your Costa Rica vacations is to get to know the local fauna and plant life by taking walking tours. Costa Rica is now easily accessible with travel companies offering some of the best organized tours in the world with bilingual guides and using sustainable tourism methods to ensure that the forests and their residents are around for generations to come.


Walking Options To Explore On Your Costa Rica Vacations


Manuel Antonio National Park

One of the best loved national parks along the Pacific coast of Costa Rica is the Manuel Antonio National Park. Here you can stroll along easy hiking trails with your guide and see a variety of howler, titi and white face monkeys, as well as sloths, iguanas and tropical bird life. Once you work up a sweat you can cool off in the crystal clear waters of the Pacific Ocean. By many accounts this is one of the best places for walking and enjoy Costa Rica vacations.


Hanging Bridges

Hanging Bridges is one of the most popular walking tours and tourist attractions. The suspension bridges are perched high in the canopy, face to face with the lush vegetation and affording views of the Arenal volcano. There are various walking tours that you can take here such as the ‘early bird’ bird watching tour. This tour starts at 6am and you can see up to 60 species of bird life during the tour. The daytime naturalist tour showcases the biodiversity of the surrounding forest and the chance to see some local wildlife. The night walk tour shines a spotlight on the jungle under the stars and you can see nocturnal frogs, birds and mammals in their night time playground. It is definitely going to be a highlight for any traveler on Costa Rica vacations.


Tortuguero National Park

You cannot say you enjoyed Costa Rica vacations without taking walking tours at Tortuguero National Park. The area stretches 19,000 hectares on the Caribbean coast and it is best known for its green turtles. This park is also home to 13 out of 16 Costa Rican endangered species. These include: ocelots, tapirs, jaguars, cougars, manatees, crocodiles, toucans and giant iguanas. There are four species of turtle that use the national park beaches to lay their eggs and you can take tours in the right season to see them hatching and making their way to the water. Park guides can take you through the mangroves, by the lagoons, through forests and along the beaches in this expansive national park.


Strolling Through Rare Cloud Forest

One of the most dazzling micro climates in the country has to be that which is provided by the cloud forests. There are walking tours through Monteverde and Juan Castro Blanco National Park where you can experience rare cloud forests. Monteverde is well set up for eco walking; Costa Rica’s government is still yet to finance much infrastructure at Juan Castro, but the advantage of this park is that it is still largely undiscovered by the tourist masses. At Monteverde you can also choose to take a thrilling zip line tour over the forest canopy for a bird’s eye view.


Juan Santamaria Park

You can take a nice long walk in this park named after their national hero. You will also see here cannons that were used during the 1860s era. After a stroll in the park, you can also visit the Juan Santamaria Museum which houses memorabilia about the national hero.


Poas Volcano National Park

This is a favorite place among locals and foreigners alike. Here, you will get to see what the crater of a volcano that is still active looks like. There are guided tours that will take you to the summit of the volcano.


The Lankester Botanical Gardens

What great way to spend a relaxing afternoon than having a nice quiet stroll along the grounds of this botanical garden? Here, you will see a large assortment of orchids and other kinds of plants. This is also ideal for families to enjoy.

Overall, there is abundant wildlife and plant life to be discovered while walking in Costa Rica. In recent years there have been many sustainable tourism companies springing up to offer fascinating walking tours of the country from Pacific to Caribbean coast. Costa Rica vacations provide this rare tourist attraction most of the other destinations cannot offer.


How About Combining Walking And Bird Watching On Your Costa Rica Vacations?

Are you a bird lover? If so, did you know that by taking Costa Rica walking tours, the little Central American country located between Panama and Nicaragua, whose shores are washed by both the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, you have the opportunity of seeing more species of birds than have been recorded in the United States and Canada combined? Bird lovers and scientists have listed about 850 species in Costa Rica. As a result, birders flock here by the thousands every year. They come here with cameras and birding books, not only to take pictures and record sightings, but also to observe for scientific purposes such important information as size, shape, colouration and behaviour.

Bird species in Costa Rica range from quetzals to hummingbirds. With abundant areas protected and dedicated to national parks and reserves, Costa Rica offers birding in natural and undisturbed settings.

The secret to the tremendous bird varieties is that the country has such a varied habitat. There are beaches, swamps, rivers, rainforests and cloud forests. For example, the resplendent quetzal resides in the cloud forests of the Monteverde los Santos region, while a scarlet macaw can be seen on the Osa Peninsula. In addition, Costa Rica is a migration destination for orioles, varbles and flycatchers.

Overall, If you love bird country, you’ll be right at home in Costa Rica. It is truly one of the best ways to maximize your Costa Rica vacations by combining your love birds with sightseeing around this great nation.


The Stars of Costa Rica Bird Species

If you’re a newcomer to Costa Rica walking tours as a bird watcher, you will probably be thrilled at your first sight of the resplendent quetzal, which is a fairly common species here. But you cannot go for bird watching on your Costa Rica vacations without getting a glance of the real stars for birders are the parakeets, parrots, macaws, toucans, and toucanets. Seeing these beautiful birds in captivity just does not compare to seeing them in their natural habitat. Among the lesser-known, but equally fascinating species to be seen here are the Racket Tailed motmots, and the oropendolas, known for their remarkable hanging nests. Among the birds of prey are a variety of hawks, kites and falcons.


Brightly Coloured and Singing Birds

Among the most brightly coloured birds you will see while walking Costa Rica are the quirky Purple Gallinule and the showy Scarlet Macaw. Euphonies, tanagers, cotingas, manakins, and trogans are some of the most gorgeously plumed birds here. One might wonder, then, why the rather plain-looking clay-coloured robin has the distinction of being Costa Rica’s national bird. The answer lies in its melodious song. The males sing almost continuously toward the end of the dry season, which is the beginning of their mating season, and according to legend, they are calling for rain.


Birds of All Sizes

When you’re a birder who is walking Costa Rica, you can’t help but notice the great numbers of humming birds. There are 51 species of them in the country. Not only are these birds iridescently beautiful, they are also quite pugnacious. Sit quietly by a hummingbird feeder for a while, and you will see how, in addition to being aerial acrobats, they are also aggressive for birds that are only 2.5 inches (6.25 cm) long, and weigh about two grams. On the other hand, the long-legged stork called the jabiru can reach four feet (1.2 metres) tall, and weigh up to 14 pounds (6.3 kg). Costa Rica is a destination for numerous species of North American birds that migrate south for the winter, so don’t be surprised if you see some familiar feathers if you’re here between October and April. Seasonal visitors make up about twenty five percent of Costa Rica’s bird population. Birds of many types can be seen all over Costa Rica, especially around seasonal lagoons which vanish in the dry months. Two of the very best locations for guided walks with tour leaders are Cano Negro and the swamps of Palo Verde National Park.


Walking And Bird Watching Tour Operators

Exciting guided tours and itineraries take you to wonderful locations where you are can enjoy the best of birding and nature. Below are some of the lodges that will fill your Costa Rica vacations with some great birding experiences.

Ecolodge San Luis and Biological Station

This location borders the Monteverde Cloud Forest Preserve in the San Luis Valley in the northwest part of the country provides world-class birdwatching with knowledgeable and expert guides. With over 200 species of birds and diverse wildlife including ocelots and monkeys, this bio-diverse research and educational facility has something for everyone. Guests can partake in walking tours, guided tours, horseback riding and night hikes to experience birding in a natural setting.


Mawamba Lodge

The lodge is located on a sand bar between the Tortuguero Lagoon and the Caribbean Sea in Tortuguero National Park. There are over 300 species of birds including manakins, green macaws, herons and hummingbirds as well as green sea turtles which emerge from the ocean to lay their eggs.


Rincon de la Vieja Mountain Lodge

This lodge and surrounding area is home to over 200 species of birds that can be observed by horseback for a unique adventure experience.


Rara Avis Rain Forest Lodge and Reserve

The home to over 240 species of birds, including umbrella-birds, green macaws, toucans and parrots. Rara Avis was developed to show that the rainforest is economically productive and is a remote virgin jungle. This experience should not be missed as in addition to a large variety of bird species, this area is also home to anteaters, coatimundis and monkeys. This is a remote area which has remained pristine because of its inaccessibility.


Sample Itinerary

Tram Atlantic Rain Forest Trekking Tour – Anywhere Costa Rica Tour Company

Your journey begins with a one-hour aerial tram ride across the forest canopy, during which your naturalist guide will explain the main intricacies and subtleties of the rainforest. After debarking from the tram, you’ll descend a hill and begin your hike along the Corinto River. In places, the hike can be a bit challenging – there are steep ascents, and many muddy portions. However, the rewards of this trek are many. While hiking, you’ll have the opportunity to swim in one of the river’s crystalline pools. Dry out along the riverbank, and enjoy a picnic-style lunch at your leisure. The trek wraps up with a return hike to where you began the trip, this time, however, without the use the tram. Once back at the main building, you’ll have the opportunity to take a shower and clean any mud or dirt off yourself.This tour begins at 7:00 AM and ends at 3:00 PM. The walking distance is close to 5 km (about 3 miles), and generally takes 4-5 hours. The departure for San Jose is at 4:00 AM; you’ll arrive at your hotel around 5:30 PM.Those that would like to do this tour should be in good physical shape. Individual, group, and customized trekking tours are offered.

What to Bring: Hiking shoes, swimming suit, comfortable backpack, hat, long pants, insect repellent, long-sleeve shirt, raincoat, small towel, sunscreen, sunglasses, camera, and change of clothes.
What this Tour Includes breakfast, lunch, aerial tram ride, naturalist guide, round-trip transportation from San Jose is $22 per person.


In conclusion, make sure you experience one of the great thrills Costa Rica vacations has to offer for a once in a lifetime, combine Costa Rica walking tours with birding vacation that comes with ton of species and surroundings that can be compared to few other locations in the world – it’s a tropical paradise for its visitors and inhabitants, fair feathered or not!

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