The Caribbean coast of Costa Rica is a tropical utopia that is abundant in wildlife and natural beauty. A trip to this lesser visited coast is sure to be filled with unique wildlife encounters, especially if you spend time in the wildlife sanctuaries, reserves, and national parks in the province of Limón. Here are the best places to have up close and personal wildlife experiences around Puerto Viejo and Tortuguero.
The Cahuita National Park is home to one of the most vibrant and thriving coral reef systems in Costa Rica. This park is a blend of dense tropical rainforest, pristine coastline, and turquoise shallow seas, all of which are teeming with wildlife. Hiking through the rainforest, strolling along the beaches, and snorkeling amongst the reefs will ensure that you observe an abundance of wildlife, including sloths, monkeys, colorful birds, tropical fish, rays, and sea turtles.
Gandoca-Manzanillo National Wildlife Refuge is 9,450 hectares of rainforest, palm and red mangrove swampland, white sand beaches, and a colorful and lively tropical coral reef. This spectacular refuge is home to green sea turtles, hawksbill sea turtles, leatherback sea turtles, manatees, dolphins, 360 species of birds, sloths, monkeys, and exquisite reptiles, insects, and amphibians, among so many other fascinating species of wildlife.
Planet One World Los Guardianes is a 546 hectare wildlife sanctuary and 36 hectare permaculture farm between an indigenous reserve and the Gandoca-Manzanillo Wildlife Refuge on the southern Caribbean coast of Costa Rica. This densely biodiverse protected area is an incredible place to observe some of the exotic wildlife of this part of Costa Rica. There are options to stay in the sanctuary overnight, volunteer, and take several informative and exciting tours.
Anywhere and everywhere
Aside from exploring and observing wildlife in the national parks, wildlife sanctuaries, and refuges of this region of Costa Rica, you can actually find yourself surrounded by unique wildlife almost anywhere that you decide to stop and look around when you are visiting the Caribbean coast of Costa Rica. This part of Costa Rica is far less developed than the Pacific coast and most of the accommodation choices are small and built to be in harmony with nature. Sometimes the best place to spot animals is just sitting on your patio, laying in a hammock underneath some palm trees, or taking a casual stroll from your temporary residence to the beach or through the forest.
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