Palo Verde National Park
Costa Rica has 27 national parks, 58 refuges, 32 protected areas, 15 wetlands, 11 forest reserves and 8 biological reserves, including Palo Verde. This represents 25% of its territory.
Palo Verde, an expanse between jungle and river
Located in the north of Guanacaste, Palo Verde is a wetland that is home to a multitude of birds. Both sedentary and migratory birds find abundant food and refuge here. The park protects part of the Tempisque River, where salt water meets fresh water, where deciduous forest meets tropical rainforest.
The RAMSAR Convention has included Palo Verde on its list of Wetlands of International Importance. This treaty commits member countries to the conservation of their wetlands.
Its geographical location is of major importance in the management of the region’s water resources. A flood zone in the rainy season, the area absorbs the overflow of rivers and the effects of high tides.
Mangroves, lagoons, swamps, scrubland and mixed forests are the park’s main habitats.
Flora and Fauna
Overhead, from September to March, thousands of egrets, herons, ibises, ducks and moorhens concentrate in the lakes and surrounding areas to feed and breed, and the birds observed are both aquatic and terrestrial, totalling some 279 species.
Bird Island, opposite the park, is home to the world’s largest colony of black-crowned night heron, and is a nesting area for sickle ibis, American anhinga, roseate spoonbills, jabiru and heron.
On the land side, howler monkeys, capuchin monkeys, coatis, deer, squirrels, porcupines and coyotes call the park’s forests home. Palo Verde is home to the country’s largest concentration of jaguarondi. This small black puma measures between 77 and 140 cm in length.
The tempisque river is also home to a large number of impressive crocodiles (5m long).
250 species of bee have been recorded, representing a quarter of the world’s known species.
Trails and boat trips are the best way to discover the park. However, some of the trails are accessible by car. Birdwatchers and photographers will be delighted.