Costa Rica is home to an array of fantastic wildlife refuges which do an incredible job in rescuing and protecting the country’s priceless creatures. The land is renowned as a wildlife destination with few rivals and almost all visitors to the country come here precisely for this reason. There really isn’t a corner of the country, except the main cities, that isn’t inhabited by a kaleidoscope of unique and amazing creatures. Yet the delicate balance between man and wildlife is a precarious one, and many organizations – as well as the government – work tirelessly to ensure humans don’t encroach on the pristine wilderness on which animals thrive.
On your next trip to Costa Rica, why not include a visit to one of the many refuges which keep the country’s animal kingdom alive and thriving?
Here are 3 brilliant wildlife refuges to visit in Costa Rica.
Nosara Wildlife Refugees – Nosara
The protected Nosara Refuge has been sheltering and rehabilitating injured and threatened wildlife for the last two decades. Whist this was the premier animal rescue organization for the Nosara region it has now expanded its reaches and accepts animals in need from just about every corner of the country.
Orphaned possums, porcupines and various species of monkeys (especially Howler Monkeys) call this place home, and the Nosara Refuge also takes care of birds and reptiles. Aside rescuing hundreds of creatures every year, they also rehabilitate them and return them to the wild as soon as it is safely possible. If you want to do more than just ‘see’ the animals, and would love to learn more about the conservation and rehabilitation work carried out in a refuge, then you’ll find the educational visits at Nosara Refuge particularly rewarding and inspiring.
Gandoca Manzanillo Wildlife Refuge – Limon
Found in the Talamanca region of south-east Costa Rica, the Manzanillo National Wildlife Refuge is one of only two parks in the whole country to boast a coral reef. Here, wildlife on land competes with that underwater. In total, Manzanillo covers an astonishing 9,500 hectares of wilderness and is home to thousands of animals, including over 300 different species of birds alone.
The lusciousness of this reserve is due to the healthy amount of rains it receives, so visiting now – during dry season – is optimal. Book a guided tour on your visit and you’ll learn all about the mammals, reptiles and plants which inhabit this impressive flora and fauna haven. The hiking trails offer breathtaking views of the superb and quite dramatic coastline, and the entire area is a corner of undeveloped paradise. If you’d like to experience wilderness in its truest form then the Gandoca Manzanillo Wildlife Refuge is just perfect. Due to the remoteness of the park we highly recommend visiting only with a local guide.
Hacienda Baru Wildlife Refugees, Dominical
What started off as a not-so-humble cattle ranch has transformed into one of Costa Rica’s most respected privately-run animal refuges, providing safe haven to all manner of creatures of all sizes. Covering 330 hectares of central Pacific Coast wilderness, Hacienda Baru offers exceptional chances for birdwatching and wildlife viewing.
All up, there are over 5 miles of walking trails which meander through rainforests, mangroves and grasslands. Visit Baru and you’ll see sloths, monkeys, coatis and toucans among literally hundreds of different species of fauna. The refuge runs a lodge and restaurant – whose profits fund the project – and costs only $7 to visit on your own, although the guided trips are particularly rewarding, especially if it’s your first time traveling to Costa Rica. If you’re staying in the Manuel Antonio National Park, Hacienda Baru makes for a brilliant day trip. Baru also runs a super fun Zipline tour so you can really make a whole day out of a visit.
Combine your wildlife refugees viewing journey with a week of adventure in Costa Rica, and enjoy a most unforgettable vacation.