WILDCATS, TAPIRS & MONKEYS
Day 1: Arrival to Costa Rica, Juan Santamaria’s International Airport
Day 2 & 3: Braulio Carrillo
Day 4, 5 & 6: Tortuguero
Day 7 & 8: Sarapiqui, La Selva Biological Station
Day 9 & 10: Arenal, La Fortuna
Day 11: Caño Negro
Day 12 & 13: Bijagua, Tenorio Volcano
Day 14: Departure to Central Valley, overnight in San Jose.
Day 15: International departure from Juan Santamaría International Airport.
Day 2 & 3 – Braulio Carrillo Rainforest
Braulio Carrillo National Park expands over 110,000 acres. Including the greatest altitudinal range of any Costa Rican park. It spans at least five different habitat zones and is home to over six thousand different types of plant life. The park is also home to several rapidly vanishing tree species, such as the palmito, valued for its heart, nicknamed the poor man’s umbrella because of its enormous leaves. Also check out the unofficial park mascot, the tepezcuintle (Lowland paca). The park also contains over five hundred species of birds and nearly 150 different species of mammals.
Day 4, 5 & 6 – Tortuguero National Park
Known as the “Costa Rica Amazon”, this place houses a wide variety of animals, from birds to big wild cats. Besides, it is also recognized as the best place to observe Leatherback Turtles during the nesting season. In regards to photography, during the day is great for birding, mammals and reptiles, at night is such as another world, frogs, snakes, crickets, and many species become more active, which helps a lot for good sessions of macro-photography.
Day 7 & 8 – Sarapiquí, La Selva Biological Station
La Selva Research Station offers 1,600 hectares of well-preserved old-growth and recovering wet lowland tropical forest that abuts the Braulio Carrillo National Park. The 4 to 6 km wide forested corridor that connects La Selva at 35 m above sea level to the Barva Volcano at 2,906 m is one of the best-preserved elevational gradients in the tropics.
This station has some of the longest running ecological data sets in the tropics, spanning up to 40+ years. Long-term research of terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems has generated data on nutrient cycling, plant and animal demography (e.g. birds, trees, frogs, etc.), community interactions, and their responses to a changing climate.
Day 9 & 10 – Arenal Volcano area
The National Park is popular for birders, as most of the bird species identified in Costa Rica can be found within the park’s borders. Other animal species living within the park include white-faced capuchin monkeys, jaguar, deer, coati, and snakes like the fer-de-lance and parrot snake. The park also has a strong showing of plant life, including orchids, heliconias, ferns,palms, bromeliads, and strangler figs.
Day 11 – Caño Negro.
Lagoons of more than 100 hectares surrounded by woods in a humid tropical climate await you at this site located north of the country. The ecological diversity is its main attraction. It serves as a refuge and food source for a variety of species; including migratory birds and some fish and mammals.
«Many migratory birds use the refuge for resting and feeding.
This feature allows it to be considered a Ramsar site (international recognition given to wetlands of international importance due to its biological wealth),
Day 12 & 13 – Tenorio Volcano and Bijagua area.
Costa Rica is known for its incredible diversity of micro-climates, ecological zones and habitats and this valley between two volcanoes is a perfect example.
The continental divide follows the slopes of volcán Miravalles down to the southeast to a point where Tenorio starts rising just outside Bijagua, this creates a natural flyway from Lago de Nicaragua, Caño Negro and the other wetlands in the northern Caribbean lowlands to the Pacific coast and Palo Verde wetlands along the Río Tempisque. It seems unusual at first to see a flock of Roseate Spoonbills juxtaposed against the mountains but once you look at the geography it’s not surprising that this area hosts species from a wide range of habitats.