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At Santa Rosa National Park enjoy the flora and fauna of one of Central America’s most important dry forest regions while relaxing on a virtually untouched Pacific beach as the sun sets over the famous surfer’s haven, Witch’s Rock.
Santa Rosa offers something for everyone with a variety of ecosystems within its borders including forests, mangrove swamps, savannahs and beaches with a correspondingly wide-ranging variety of flora and fauna. Vegetation comes in all sizes from massive Guanacaste trees to mid-sized Oaks down to humble grasses. Since many of the trees in the park lose their leaves in the dry season to conserve moisture, from January to May the landscape is as surreal as it is varied!
Not surprisingly, Santa Rosa is host to hundreds of types of animals with no less than 115 species of mammals in attendance, of which more than 50 are bats! There are also some 250 species of birds, 100 species of amphibians and reptiles and more than 10,000 species of insects of which no less than a third are butterflies and moths!
See the historic colonial city of Granada (including Arnold Schwarzenegger’s favorite cigar factory and the spectacular view from the Iglesia de la Merced bell tower), enjoy a boat tour of Lake Nicaragua, visit Masaya Volcano National Park and the magnificent Catarinas viewpoint, plus shop in the famous Masaya Handicraft Market, all in one day!
This tour not operated directly by Offitours but you’ll still enjoy the personalized service and relaxed atmosphere of a small group (up to ten guests). Your local guide handles all the border crossing details and accompanies you throughout the day to provide you with a pleasant, stress-free taste of Nicaragua.
Rincon de la Vieja, whose name “old woman’s corner” comes from an indigenous legend about a reclusive medicine woman, is the largest of Costa Rica’s volcanoes. The Las Pailas Sector of the National Park provides an intriguing and exotic mixture of geothermal features and the unique flora and fauna of the high dry tropical forest.
Rincon de la Vieja encompasses a variety of ecosystems due to differing altitudes, rainfall and the effect of volcanic eruptions. Flora includes a large population of the Costa Rican national flower, the Guaria Morada orchid, as well as the national tree, the Guanacaste, and others such as Strangler Figs, Tropical Cedars, Naked Indian trees and Copeys. Some 300 species of birds have been identified in the park, among them the turkey-like Crested Guan, the Motmot with its tick-tock tail wag and the Emerald Toucanet. The park is also home to deer, coatis, peccaries, skunks, coyotes, pumas, armadillos, tayras, agoutis, pacas, sloths, monkeys, anteaters and rattlesnakes.
Palo Verde National Park is an aquatic wonderland! There are some 280 species of migratory and resident birds in the park, giving Palo Verde the largest concentration of aquatic birds in Central America. Many endangered and threatened species can be seen including the Jabiru stork, the continent’s tallest water bird as well as the pheasant-like Great Curassow, manakins, falcons, ducks and herons.
The park is also home to deer, peccaries, ocelots, coyotes, pumas, tayras, agoutis, pacas, monkeys, boa constrictors, rattlesnakes, coral snakes, crocodiles and huge populations of toads and frogs, including several species of tree frogs.
Palo Verde also sustains an array of exquisite hardwoods such as Ironwood, Cocobolo and Ron Ron as well as extensive mangroves and hundreds of other plant species.
Tenorio Volcano National Park with its lush, humid forests and a wealth of palms, heliconias, ferns, bromeliads and orchids, has a decidedly greener hue than Guanacaste’s drier regions. The park is also known for its mammals, most notably the Baird’s Tapir, a prehistoric-looking creature that resembles a cross between and horse and a rhinoceros! In addition to these gentle giants, Tenorio Volcano park hosts other endangered, though not so gentle species such as jaguars, pumas, ocelots and margays, as well as peccaries and howler and white-faced monkeys, among others. There is also an abundance of bird species, especially the reclusive Bellbird whose mysterious, ringing call characterizes the forest ambiance.
In addition to the outstanding jungle scenery and wildlife, the park is known for its startling turquoise-colored Celeste river, waterfalls and hot springs, considered one of the Seven Natural Wonders of Costa Rica! Legend has it that the gods of creation rinsed their paintbrushes in the river while painting the sky, though the less-romantic version attributes the color to the mixing of volcanic minerals.