February 12, 2010

Costa Rica’s Northern Wetlands

Out of the numerous reserves, national parks and wildlife refuges in Costa Rica two noteworthy locations stand out. They are namely Cano Negro Wildlife Refuge and Cano Palma Wildlife Reserve.

Both are contained within the wetlands of Costa Rica near the northern border to Nicaragua and both are great examples of the kind of biological diversity Costa Rica is renowned for.

Cano Negro Wildlife Refuge

Established in 1984, the 25,000 acre Cano Negro Wildlife Refuge along the Rio Frio can be very humid, yet this area of Costa Rica receives the least amount of rainfall.

Cano Negro Wildlife Refuge is more or less “off the beaten path” and can only be explored by boat, yet the Cano Negro region is home to one of Costa Rica’s richest areas for biodiversity. A Cano Negro Wildlife Refuge tour is truly a nature lovers tour where visitors can view up close (and in their natural surroundings) exotic Costa Rican wildlife such as caimans, three-toed sloths, turtles, water walking lizards, unique tropical birds and many species of playful mischievous monkeys.

Cano Negro Wildlife Refuge is a wetland in the Alajuela Province in the northern part of Costa Rica and home to thousands of species of birds, butterflies, reptiles, mammals and amphibians. Tourists find the flora and fauna here to be simply incredible.

Lake Cano Negro, which is amply fed during the rainy season by the Frio River, is an ideal place to spot many of the inhabitants here. Marshes, forests and grasslands blend together to provide the perfect home to jaguars, tapirs, cougars, peccary and ocelots in addition to the many species of monkeys for which the area is famous. Mantled Howler, Geoffrey’s Spider Monkey and the White Headed Capuchin are notable among these.

During the summer rainy season, the Rio Frio overflows its banks flooding the majority of the Cano Negro Wildlife Refuge. As the waters recede during the dryer season many small ponds and lagoons are created providing the ideal home for a great number of migratory birds such as spoonbills, ibis, ducks, cormorants and a wide variety of storks and anhinga. Notable migratory waterfowl include the Nicaragua Crackle, Snail Kite, Whistling Duck, Green Backed Hero and the Blue Winged Teal.

Cano Palma Wildlife Reserve

Tortuguero is a strip of land surrounded by canals and lowland wetlands to one side and the Caribbean Sea on the other. Cano Palma Wildlife Reserve is adjacent to the biological research station within the Barra Colorado Wildlife Refuge that is located less than 5 miles from Tortuguero in north eastern Costa Rica.

The eco system in this ancient flood plain of Tortuguero Costa Rica is by far the best example of an Atlantic lowland tropical wet forest.

Cano Palma or the ‘Palm Canal’ is lined with bushy royal palms and leafy Yolillo palms that darken the waters adding to the reserve’s reputation as the home of “nocturnal” wildlife.

Caimans float lazily in this area while sea turtles of all kinds make Cano Palma their home. No roadways exist here and traveling can only be done by boat. Visitors can see a secondary forest in transition which is backed by a primary forest just beyond.

There are several lagoons on the way and the Cerro Tortuguero (the reserve’s highest point) that towers about 400 feet above the surrounding wetlands.

Wildlife of all sorts show their able ways of camouflage throughout the canal. This area is also one of the best places for bird watching. Private trails exist in certain places and are a fun way to experience the dense jungle at close quarters.

In Cano Palma Wildlife Reserve it is truly a fascinating experience to spy anhinga, yellow crowned night heron, strawberry poison dart frogs, howler monkeys, capuchin monkeys and the giant webs of golden orb spiders as you trek along the spongy earth.

Near Cano Palma Wildlife Reserve are the world famous nesting beaches of the endangered green sea turtles as well as loggerheads, hawksbill turtles and the giant leatherback turtles.

All Inclusive Costa Rica Tours by Caravan

Cano Negro Wildlife Refuge and Cano Palma Wildlife Reserve are included as part of Caravan Tours’ all inclusive Costa Rica Tours. These are very affordable, fully escorted 10-day tours starting at just $995; an exceptionally price.

Visit Caravan’s Costa Rica Tours Reviews page to read what others have said about Cano Negro, Cano Palma and Caravan’s all inclusive Costa Rica tours.

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