LAS BAULAS MARINE PRESERVE AND TURTLE TOURS:
Of course, our home is located in Las Baulas National Park, which protects the nesting sight of the leatherback turtle. (In Spanish the translation for Leatherback is Baula.) It is amazing to think the leatherbacks have been nesting on this very beach for the past several million years! These magnificent adult animals can measure up to 8 feet and turtles weigh 600-1000 pounds. Unlike other turtles, this species has no hard shell, but rather sports a black, leathery thick skin, with ridges running lengthwise. Nesting season occurs from November through mid-March or April. There is a 60 day gestation period, so it is possible to spot babies running to the sea, during early morning beach walks, from the end of December through June. Although the leatherback survived the ice age and lived through the dinosaur era, the species is sadly on the verge of extinction. Be sure to schedule a turtle tour, if you are staying at the Casa Baula between November and February 15. Tours are offered through the Instituto Baulas and guided tours are REQUIRED to observe all leatherback turtle nesting, which occurs after dark, during the high tide. No need to be disappointed if you are visiting outside of the leatherback nesting season. The black turtle nests year round on a beach very near to Playa Grande. Our Concierge can arrange for a guided tour. October to April you are almost guaranteed to see a nesting, May-September perhaps you'll be lucky.
RINCON DE LA VIEJA VOLCANO:
This park offers a magnificent opportunity to hike the volcanic mountains of Costa Rica. With trails that range from two hours to eight hours, there is something for everyone's fitness level. You may hike the crater of the volcano or pick one of the many waterfalls to explore. You may also take a guided tour to the natural hot springs at the nearby Blue Lagoon.
The All Day Adventure Package at the Hacienda Guachipelin or the Canyon De La Vieja Adventure Lodge are fantastic deals offering: lunch and your choice of up to four adventures including zip lining, inner tubing down the Rio Negro with Class 2 - 4 rapids, horseback riding to a waterfall, and thermal hot springs.
PALO VERDE AND THE RIO TEMPISQUE:
The Palo Verde National Park is a bird watcher's paradise, made up of a mosaic of diverse flood plain habitats. Rivers and a row of calcareous hills, run along the park's border. Palo Verde's natural hydrologic system provides optimum conditions for the breeding of the most significant concentration of aquatic birds and waders in the whole of Central America. During the Dry Season, more the 300 species of birds may be seen. Additionally, the park hosts the only permanent colony of scarlet macaws in the dry tropics. Many of the resident tropical birds nest on a small mangrove island in the Rio Tempisque. Isla de Pajaros (Bird Island), provides a haven for the breeding of: cattle egrets, roseate spoonbills, wood storks, green backed herons, anhingas, great egrets, and black-crowned night herons. Other birds one can expect to see in the park include: white ibis, glossy ibis, black-necked stilt, black-bellied whistling duck, tiger heron, snail kite, American widgeon, northern shoveler, and blue-winged teal. In addition to all the bird sightings, the opportunity to feed white faced monkeys and to watch your boat driver feeding a crocodile is unforgettable! To avoid crowded boats that arrive late, and miss all the wonderful early morning animal activity, book your tour with our fabulous private guide. Don't forget your binoculars!
BARRA HONDA CAVERNS:
Above ground at Barra Honda National Park, the dry forest terrain is a refuge for howler monkeys, red macaws, anteaters and many species of birds. A tour for the most adventurous is available into the caverns. The caves of pitted limestone date back some 70 million years and are renowned for their pristine conditions. Nicoya Cave has skeletons, utensils and ornaments dating back to 300BC. The deepest Santa Ana Cave is known for its Hall of Pearls full of stalactites and stalagmites. Hall of Caverns has large Medusa-like formations, including one that takes the shape of a lion's head. The caves are not easily accessible and are risky for those not duly equipped. Descents are allowed only during the dry season.