The Ultimate Botanical Richness

Posted On November 17, 2009 

Country Info

Costa Rica (area: 51,100 square kilometres) is a small country in Central America which is bordered by Nicaragua to the north and Panama to the south and by the Pacific Ocean to the west and Caribbean Sea to the east. Costa Rica has always fared better in terms of environmental safeguard activities. In 2008, the country was ranked fifth in the world and first in the Americas on Environmental Performance Index. Also the News Economics Foundation has granted Costa Rica the topmost position in the Happy Planet Index besides terming it as the ‘greenest country’ in the world. Capital of Costa Rica is San José.

Palo Verde National Park

Palo Verde National Park is one of the many national parks in Costa Rica. Spread over an area of 184 square kilometres palo verde national parkin Guanacaste Province in north-western part of Costa Rica, the national park is a part of the Tempisque Conservation Area that occupies a big area of the Tempisque River valley and is located 30 kilometres west of Cañas city. Some of the major aims of setting up the park are to conserve rich geographical features like floodplains, marshes and limestone ridges from being encroached upon by human civilization as well as the variety of bird species. There are fifteen topographical zones in this park ranging from evergreen forests to mangrove swamps. The area also comprises deciduous and evergreen tropical dry forest, wetlands.  Las Calizas Trail, El Manigordo, El Mapache, La Venada Trail are some of the scenic places located in the tropical dry forests. Near Lomas de Barbudal Biological Reserve, Cipanci Widlife Refuge. and Palustrino Corral de Piedra Wetlands.The ecological park is governed by the National System of Conservation Areas, the Costa Rican National Parks administrator body. The banks of the Tempisque are marked with hundreds of archaeological sites. It also has some of the greatest waterfalls.

During the monsoons, the park area, because it has little natural drainage, is inundated by the combined effects of the rains, the tides and the overflowing Temperisque and Bebedro  rivers.

In the north, the park is connected to Dr. Rafael Lucas Rodríguez Caballero Wildlife Refuge and Lomas Barbudal Biological Reserve. The three, along with Barra Honda National Park and adjacent areas, form Tempisque mega conservation area/park.


The Palo Verde National Park gets its name from Palo Verde, a common plant species found in the region. The plants are mainly bushy with its leaves, branches and trunk light green in colour. There are also trees like Espavel, Pochote, Ron-Ron Ciba, Pochote, Cibo Barrigón, Guayabón, Cocobolo, Nispero, Panama and others. Other plant species like Tifa, Trista, Platanilla and Zacate Gamalote are also found here.


The park is also home to a variety of bird species, the number nearing 300. Its natural hydrology makes the zone a perfect place for America.  Great Curassows, white ibis, Scarlet Macaws, jabiru stork, roseate spoonbills and wood bird watching in costa ricastorks are some of the birds species found in the park. The North American waterfowl also migrates to the Palo Verde National Park during the winter.

Time of birdwatching

Birdwatching is one of the major tourist attractions in the Central Pacific region of Costa Rica. In the period between September and March, innumerable sea gulls, zambullidores, bises, herons, garcetas, ducks and water rooster settle in the lagoons and adjoining areas of the park for feeding and reproduction purpose. The Bird Island (Isla Pájaros which is not to be confused with another Isla Pájaros located in the Gulf of Nicoya near Punta Morales, also in Costa Rica). located close to the park, is home to Pato Aguja, Pink Heron, Garcilla Bueyera, Garzon, Ibis Morito and others. The park also conserves the endangered Galan sin Ventura, an endangered bird species and the only remaining population of red macaws in the dry Pacific. Hummingbirds, Chipes, Icteridos, Tarangas, Hawks and Owls are also found here.


Mammals that are most commonly found in this region are are the Congo monkeys, white-tailed deer, whiteface monkeys, coyotes and porcupines. In the Tempisque River, crocodiles upto five-metres of length can also be found.

Facilities in Palo Verde National Park:
  • The Palo Verde National Park has a biological station that is operated by the Organization for Tropical Studies. Lodging, food and tour facilities are available.
  • The park has a Ranger Station which remains open for the visitors from 8am to dusk.
  • Boat trip facilities
  • The local tour organizers arrange for crocodile and macaws feeding shows. Photo shoot opportunities with animals are also available.
How to reach the park:

One has to take the Interamerican Highway from San José to Bagaces in the north. From there, turn left down a gravel road and travel 20 miles towards south to reach Palo Verde National Park. Dry season (December to March) is the best time to visit the park.

Places of stay:
  • Park-OTS Lodge and Camping
  • Palos Verdes Inn
  • Best Value Inn
  • Terranea Resort

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