Rainforests of Costa Rica

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Published: 03rd April 2015
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Costa Rica has the world’s largest variety of natural biodiversity. The truth is, you can find twelve different habitats or natural ecosystems in Costa Rica such as following:

Highland cloud forests and lowland tropical forests
Both fast and slow flowing rivers
Marshes, wetlands and lakes
Forest Swamps
Mangrove forests
Lagoons
The Caribbean and Pacific Coastal habitats
Rainforests and jungle
Volcanoes, caves and thermal springs
Coral reefs and even shipwrecks
Fields and pastures
Natural and organic coffee fields
Simply speaking, Costa Rica is really an ecologist’s paradise. Any scientist or hobbyists can come to Costa Rica and experience both flora and fauna that are uniquely diverse, yet co-located all inside a single country.

Costa Rica Rainforest

Probably one of the more popular place to go for eco-tourism or ecology is by visiting one of Costa Rica’s natural parks featuring rainforests. In Costa Rica’s famous national parks you can have preserved natural biodiveristy. The biggest and most popular rainforests can be found in these national parks:

Cahuita, Central Caribbean

Cahuita is the second closest park to San Jose and also the major international airport. It can be found just south Limon, which is major port around the Caribbean coast. This park includes a large rainforest, with wetlands, an organic beach and 1,400 acres of coral reef. When hiking the natural trails of Cahuita, you might encounter numerous types of wildlife including monkeys, sloths, tropical birds, amphibians, reptiles and insects. You should also want to to some snorkeling that you will find countless species of tropical fish, mollusks and even sea turtles in their natural habitat. Outside the park, you can even visit the village Cahuita, which includes about 4,000 inhabitants. There is some shopping and you may also try the native afro-Caribbean cuisine of Costa Rica.

Manuel Antonio, Central Pacific

Manuel Antonio may be the smallest of the big national parks in Costa Rica, yet preferred, due to its proximity to San Jose and the Juan Santamaria International Airport (SJO). It can also be very accessible, and located adjacent to the vibey village of Manuel Antonio, that provides shopping, hotels and restaurants, nightlife, and just about almost every other convenience an eco-tourist might require. The official entrance to the park can be a bit confusing to a new visitor. You should ask for the souvenir shops. There is a long row of them at the front of the beach, past the public parking lot. Walk all through the shops, and soon you find a walking bridge. Cross the bridge and walk about 100 meters more and a street leading to the park entrance.

Corcovado, South Pacific

Corcovado National Park is located about seven hours of San Jose, close to the Panama border. It has a distinctly different feel than Cahuita and Tortuguero, since it is located on the Pacific Coast. Due to the heavier surf, you'll not have opportunities for snorkeling or scuba, however, you may well be able to sport dolphins or whales! The rainforest itself has winding natural trails, which are perfect for hiking and animal watching. Similar to other natural parks it's likely you'll see monkeys, sloths, birds, amphibians, reptiles and insects, which are indigenous to this a part of Costa Rica. If you're extremely lucky, you may be capable of spot a Jaguar or a Danta. Getting to Corcovado is a long trip as well as the fastest way is to take the Panamerican Highway 2 towards Golfito. You can stop by Golfito and with our passport receive a permit to purchase electronics, that are duty-free. This can be quite handy if you need to get a camera or binoculars in a pinch.

Tortuguero is Costa Rica’s largest national park as well as the largest natural rainforest. It's located on Caribbean coast, north of Limon. In order to get to Tortuguero, you are going to need to drive a car, taxi or bus to a town called Cariari. From there, you will have to take a boat taxi to enter the park. Tortuguero, as the name implies, is most well-known for being home to between 15 to 20,000 sea turtles. You should prepare for both a marine and rainforest adventure, as there is also a beach which leads to miles of naturals trails through the rainforest. You will see the sloths, monkeys, birds, reptiles, amphibians and insects which are native to tropical Caribbean habitat.

Rainforest Exploration Tips

When exploring one of Costa Rica’s rainforests, you must dress yourself for sea-level tropical climate. You should wear very light, but water-resistant clothing. Although shoes work great on the beach, when exploring the rainforest, you'll need something much more supportive. I recommend wearing water resistant or waterproof hiking boots, with a lot of support, because you can plan to be hiking over some different kinds of trails. In some cases, the trails are well maintained natural rocky paths. In other cases, you might find yourself walking through mud, sand or swampy soil. This depends on how far you want to go off the beaten path. If you are more adventuresome, I recommend dressing for the some pretty rugged and wet hiking. Pack a good pair of light-weight, broken-in hiking boots that have some degree of water resistance, and you should be ready to go.

For the best guide to rainforest in Costa Rica, visit: http://tipscostarica.com/costa-rica-rainforest

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