Palo Verde National Park

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Palo Verde National Park

Palo Verde National Park is a MUST for bird-watchers.
Palo Verde National Park is a MUST for bird-watchers.

A must for bird-watchers, Palo Verde National Park is one of Costa Rica's best kept secrets. Palo Verde National Park is approximately 13,000 hectares of protected forested areas, extensive marshland, floodplains, lagoons, channels, and limestone mountain ranges located between the Tempisque and Bebedero rivers of Guanacaste. There are at least 12 and probably as many as 15 habitats within Palo Verde, which include saltwater and freshwater lagoons and marshes, mangrove swamps, swamp forest, evergreen forest, deciduous savannah woodland, hillside mixed forest, grasslands of rough-leaf tree and riparian forest. Needless to say, there is an abundance of bird species here, and this concentration and variety of bird species found in Palo Verde is the primary reason the park was created.

The marshy lagoons afford feeding, nesting and rest sites for waterfowl and wading birds, especially during the dry season. There are over 300 species of land birds and waterfowl, such as the high concentrations of black-bellied tree ducks, blue winged teals, wood storks and roseate spoonbills and black-crowned night herons to name a few. The primary wildlife species in the rivers and marshes are the black-bellied tree duck, Northern jacana, White-Nosed coati, and the crocodile. The eastern kingbird, bronzed cowbird, howler monkey, and the anteater can all be found in the mangrove swamps of Palo Verde. The swamp forest gives refuge for the greenish elaenia, rufous-naped wren, the raccoon and the ctenosaur. White-tailed deer, howler monkeys, pacas, laughing falcons and turquoise-browed motmots are found in abundance in the evergreen forest. The habitat for howler monkeys, white-tailed deer and the cinnamon hummingbird is the savannah woodland. Living in the hillside mixed forest are white-lored gnatcatcher, the great crested flycatcher, the common long-nosed armadillo and the collared peccary.

Palo Verde National Park is not only a habitat for birds and other wildlife, but also a beautiful mosaic of extraordinary beauty.


A Biological Station operated by the Organization for Tropical Studies can be found in Palo Verde, where lodging, meals, and tours are available. For more information 506-524-0607. The Palo Verde Ranger Station is open from 8am until dusk, and has drinking water and restrooms. There are numerous hiking trails and scenic overlooks throughout the tropical dry forest of the park.

Getting to Palo Verde National Park

• from San Jose take the Interamerican Highway north to Bagaces

• turn left down a gravel road and travel south about 20 miles following the signs to Palo Verde National Park