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Palo Verde National Park
Palo Verde National Park Review
One of the best wildlife and bird-watching parks in Costa Rica, Palo Verde protects a significant amount of deciduous dry forest and its denizens, along with seasonal wetlands that provide a temporary home for thousands of migratory birds toward the end of the rainy season. The park is bordered on the west by the Río Tempisque and encompasses more than 198 square km (76 square miles). The terrain is fairly flat—the maximum elevation in the park is 268 meters (879 feet)—and the forest is less dense than a rain forest, which makes it easier to spot the fauna. While crocodiles ply the Tempisque's waters year-round, from September through March you can see dozens of species of migratory and resident aquatic birds, including herons, wood storks, jabirus, and elegant, flamingo-like roseate spoonbills. It's almost always hot and humid in these lowlands, so be prepared with water, hat, and insect repellent. A rickety observation tower near the ranger station, about 8 km (5 mi) past the park entrance, gives you a vantage point over a marsh filled with ducks and jacanas. But be prepared to climb a narrow metal ladder. There's also a short, raised boardwalk through part of the wetlands. Hostel-type lodging in rustic dormitory facilities with bunk beds and shared bathrooms ($13) and family-style meals ($7 breakfast; $9 for lunch or dinner) can be arranged through the park headquarters. There are also camping facilities.
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