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Palo Verde

Located in the Tempisque river basin, this National Park constitutes a bird watching paradise (especially of wetland birds), but also a variety of other fauna. The name of the park is because of a tree: the Palo Verde tree, which has a characteristic green trunk and branches. The vegetation protected in the park is one of the few remnants of tropical dry forest in Central America, and floodplain, marshes, and seasonal pools are also protected.

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The park has several trails, one of them leads to the Tempisque river, and three of them (La Cantera, La Roca, Guayacán) go to view points where you can enjoy a spectacular view of the wetlands, forest and the river. During dry season, the flowering trees paint the view with spots of color. The hike to those viewpoints is a little challenging, but you can also enjoy the wonders of natural wildlife from the biological station, which has a spectacular view of the wetland, or from the small trail that enters into the water.   There you can also appreciate the diversity of aquatic plants. The most beautiful sunsets are doubtless the ones in Palo Verde, especially if seen from the freshwater marsh or from La Roca Mirador.  You can also arrange a boat tour to the Tempisque river, where you are going to see huge crocodiles, and countless bird species. Sometimes this boat tours visit the Isla de Pájaros, an island in the middle of the river that constitutes one of the most important nesting site for wetlands birds (egrets, herons, ibis, spoonbill). The jabiru (stork-like bird) is an emblematic species of the park, because it is an endangered species protected by the park.  Follow the route path into the park and branch left, where you will head to La Bocana, the best place to see lush marsh, filled with Egrets, Wood Storks and other aquatic birds.  Continue on that route to La Catalina where the foliage gets denser, and monkeys may be seen.  Or, instead of the left, continue to La Roca Mirador, and further to the biological station.  Here you will find a reception office, where you can find books, drinks, bug spray and some other commodities you may find useful.  If you keep going, you will run into the Tepisque River, where you are bound to find crocodiles.

The best time to visit Palo Verde National Park is probably between December and June. It coincides with the dry season and the beginning of the wet season (starts in May), and because of that you can see the flowering of trees, it is easier to watch animals, and the road is in better condition. However, if you decided to visit the park the rest of the months you can see the amazing contrast between the dry and the wet season (it is almost like visiting two different places) and enjoy the amazing variety of frogs, but be aware of the road which could require a four wheel drive; that it could rain a lot (especially in october).  Keep in mind, that the population of mosquitoes increases due to the rainfall.

The park has two accommodations. One is the ranger’s station run by the government, and the other one is a biological station run by the Organization of Tropical Studies. Both provide food and lodging, but it is better if you make a reservation before visit them. There is also a camping area in the park that is a perfect spot to watch mammals, both at night and during the day (because of mango trees).  During dry season, the flowering trees paint the view with spots of color.

Some helpful tips:

Bring Bug spray!  Though the mosquitos are not as harsh during the dry season, that is not saying much...they can be downright swarming.  If it's not too hot outside, you may want to consider long pants and long sleaves (in addition to the bug spray). There is so much to see without worrying about swatting them away the whole time, or getting bit up.

Make sure you have plenty of gas before turning at Bagaces towards the park entrance.  The park entrance is about 20kms from Highway 1, and you may drive another 40-50kms inside the park if take a couple of the path options.  And then, you've got another 20kms back to the main gas up your car!

Check your tires before you venture to the park.  The roads are in decent condition during the dry season, but they are rocky and bumpy.  A car with less than good tires may not last the journey.  The last thing you want is a flat tire on this hot and dry, lonely drive.

Bring water.  The hiking trails can be hot, so stay'll be glad you did.

How to get there:

Palo Verde National Park is 28 kilometers south of Bagaces. On the Interamericana Highway, enter to the road next to the Bagaces Clinic situated on the left when coming from San José (in front of a Gas station). This unpaved road leads you to both Palo Verde and Lomas Barbudal Biological Reserve, so pay attention to the detour signal to Palo Verde. After 30 km (18.6 miles) you will find a gate in the administrative buildings at the park entrance which opens from 7 am to 6 pm (remember to leave the park with enough time to be at the gate before 6 pm…) where you can pay your entrance fee, and then continue for 7 km (4.4 miles) to reach both the wetland and the OTS station and after 1 more km (0.6 miles) you find the ranger station.

Palo Verde tour $90 per person:


  • Roundtrip transfers from most Guanacaste hotels
  • Ecology tour guide
  • Lunch
  • Entrance Fee to National Park


  • Gratuities

Please Note:

  • We suggest bringing: light clothing, bathing suit, towel, comfortable shoes, light jacket, hat, sunblock and camera.
  • Minimum of 2 passengers is required for the tour to run; if the minimum size is not reached, the tour is subject to cancellation and all tickets are refunded or rescheduled.

Departure Point:

  • Available from select hotels in the following Guanacaste areas: Conchal Beach, Flamingo Beach, Langosta Beach, Tamarindo Beach.

Redemption Instructions:

  • Please confirm your tour 72 hours prior

For reservation, please contact or call +506 2654 6666!

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