Palo Verde • LAND OF NATURAL WONDERS
The Palo Verde National Park located on the banks of the Tempisque River (the second largest river in Costa Rica). It’s considered one of the most important wetlands in the country, and one of the last protected areas for mangroves on the Pacific coast. It is part of the Tempisque Conservation Area. This area includes the Caballero Wildlife Refuge, the Barra Honda National Park and the Lomas Barbudal Biological Reserve.
It is a sanctuary for different birds, reptiles, amphibians and insects, mammals and hundreds of species of plants, trees and aquatic species. Palo Verde is a destination sought after by bird watchers and biologists, due to the diversity of species that inhabit its ecosystem.
Efforts to turn Palo Verde into a protected area began in the early 1970s. After several stages, in 1977 the executive decree was established that declared it a Wild Area with a protected area of 7,500 hectares of land, successively other decrees to extend said territory until reaching 20,000 preserved hectares. It was finally declared a National Park on April 30, 1978, today it has 18,418 hectares of extension that includes low-lying and lake areas, plains and low-altitude limestone hills. Formed by a set of diverse floodplain habitats delimited by rivers and a row of calcareous hills, this area is subject to seasonal flooding of great magnitude during the rainy season and due to the low natural drainage of the plain.
Palo Verde is one of the places with the greatest ecological diversity in the country, there are approximately 15 habitats that are created by the topography and edaphic conditions. Regarding general diversity, there are 619 species of plants, 309 species of birds, 75 of mammals, 22 of amphibians and 55 of reptiles. Among the plant species are the palo verde tree (Parkinsonia aculeata), the tree that gives the name to the national park, espaveles (Anacardium excelsum), cenízaros (Samanea saman), ceibos (Ceiba pentandra), pochotes (Pachira quinata), rum -ron (Astronium graveolens), guayabón (Terminalia oblonga), javillos (Hura crepitans), cocobolos (Dalbergia retusa), medlars (Manilkara chicle) and panama (Sterculia apetala). Among the most common mammals are the white-faced (Cebus imitator), congo (Alouatta palliata) and red (Ateles geoffroyi) monkeys, white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus), armadillos (Dasypus novemcinctus), porcupines (Sphiggurus mexicanus), and coyotes (Canis latrans).
With the right conditions to adopt the most important concentration of aquatic and wading birds, of the country and of Central America (both resident and migratory). From September to March, thousands of herons, great egrets, egrets, divers, ibis, ducks and water roosters gather in the lagoons and neighboring areas to feed and reproduce. Isla Pájaros, 2.3 hectares located in front of the park, is of extraordinary importance for having the largest colony in the country, the black-crowned martinete and for being a nesting area for the red ibis, the needle duck, the pink heron, the heron, the gray heron and the cattle heron. In the park, the unfortunate gallant nests, a species in danger of extinction and the only population of scarlet macaws in the Dry Pacific subsists.
All these reasons make Palo Verde an excellent destination to discover, explore, and learn about the importance of conserving and preserving our natural resources. The corrals and the old buildings present are a reflection of the life of the Bajureño sabanero and constitute a very important element in the cultural heritage of the old Guanacaste. The dry season is the best time to observe species, due to the low density of the Tropical Dry Forest. Whether by boat, walking or pedaling, discover the natural beauty that this sanctuary contains.