Tamarindo Day Trip: Guide to Palo Verde National Park

roseate spoonbills inhabit Palo Verde National Park

Palo Verde National Park is famous for its birdwatching (pictured: a roseate spoonbill)

One of Costa Rica’s seemingly greatest contrasts, spectacular Palo Verde National Park is home to a resounding dichotomy: rich and vibrant wetlands that simultaneously house one of the world’s foremost examples of tropical dry forest.

A contradiction, indeed, and one that works beautifully.

Palo Verde’s unique setting is owed to the Río Tempisque, which ebbs and flows over this otherwise arid region. The result is somewhat other-worldly, with sun-drenched dry forest unfolding over parched limestone, which then cozies up to rushing river and muddy habitats.

It’s a major watershed, a protected wildlife sanctuary, and an important dry forest, all rolled into one. And it’s absolutely fascinating.

Palo Verde National Park Overview: 

Location: 16 miles south of Bagaces

Founded: 1978

Maximum Altitude: 879 feet (267 meters) above sea level

Area: 45,492 acres (divided into two sectors: Las Pailas and Santa Maria)

Hours: 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Telephone: 2200-0125 or 2661-4717

Entrance Fee: $12 adults / $5 children

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In Our Daypack: What to Carry on Your Tamarindo Day Trips

Tamarindo day pack

Here’s what to pack for your Tamarindo day trips. Just add sun! And sand. And Tamarindo. Adventure awaits!

Beyond our general Costa Rica packing list, you’re going to want a day pack. Well, at least, you’ll want one if you’re anything like us. We carry our day packs everywhere. Because, when you’re vacationing at a beach that borders on tropical dry forest, which cozies up to jungle waterfalls, that then spill into sapphire ocean… well, who knows what the day’s adventures will bring?

Obviously, what you throw into your daypack depends on your personal beach style. There are the standards – bathing suit cover-ups, sunglasses, sandals/flip-flops, a good book, etc. – that we know you’ll pack. But there are a few additional things you really wouldn’t want to forget. Here are our musts:

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Wildly Fun: Tamarindo Wildlife Refuge

Mangrove Kayaks

Take a kayak tour into the wilds of Tamarindo Wildlife Refuge

Saltwater jungles. Lumbering leatherback sea turtles. Otherworldly mangrove estuaries. Winding canals. Lizards, running on water. Behind-the-scenes boat tours. Yes, Tamarindo Wildlife Refuge is fascinating and often, a bit magical.

We admit it freely: We love our wildlife refuge! Even more so because it encompasses our entire coastline. Indeed, almost anywhere you walk on Tamarindo’s beaches, you’re walking through the Tamarindo Wildlife Refuge.

But it’s about a lot more than just the beach. Indeed, while – in wildlife refuge terms, at least! – the beaches serve as important sea turtle nesting sites, there’s more to see here. More, to the tune of incredible mangrove forests, connected through winding saltwater and brackish canals. It’s wildlife central and it’s right in our backyard, if only you know where to look.


Location: Tamarindo

Size: 953 acres (385 hectares)

Altitude: Sea Level

Contact (Tempisque Conservation Area): 2686-4967 / 2686-4968

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Top 5 Honeymoon Vacation Rentals, Bungalows and Hideaways

Welcome to honeymoon bliss. Welcome to five of our favorite Costa Rica honeymoon villas.

Tucked into Costa Rica’s north Pacific coast (and the jungles of the Osa Peninsula), this spectacular country welcomes honeymooners to some of the world’s most secluded, most beautiful and most dream-worthy Costa Rica honeymoon villas and vacation rentals.

They’re lovely. They’re private. They’re all yours. And yes, they’re even a little bit extravagant. Because if there’s one moment in life to indulge, we believe it’s on your Costa Rican honeymoon.

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9 Ways to Upgrade Your Tamarindo Vacation

Tamarindo vacation upgrade private sailing tour

This moment can be yours. All yours. Welcome to our favorite upgrades to your Tamarindo vacation!

So, you’ve done it. You’ve finally booked your trip to Costa Rica. You bought the airfare. You reserved your Tamarindo vacation rental. And you’re thisclose to your dream Tamarindo vacation.

You have just a few details to iron out. Well, maybe more than a few.

Because you have no idea what you want to do while you’re here. Or rather, you know exactly what you’d like to do. Unfortunately, there’s just not enough time to do it all. Well, not unless you’re here for six months.

So, what’s a traveler to do? Prioritize, that’s what. Because, as difficult as it may be to narrow down your Tamarindo vacation preferences, it’s an unfortunate necessity. Your trip (and your sanity) deserve it. (And don’t worry, whatever you can’t fit in now will be perfect for your next visit!)

Luckily, we’re here to help. We’re here, on the ground. We’re here, doing it all so you don’t have to. We work with delighted travelers every day. And so, we know – we know the best upgrades, must-book tours, and other activities you can’t miss on your Tamarindo vacation.

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Travel Insurance for Costa Rica: Do You Need It?

travel insurance for Costa Rica covers every eventuality

Lost you camera on the beach? Luckily, you bought travel insurance for Costa Rica!

No credits, no refunds, no substitutions.

That’s the standard line in travel – and one that, unfortunately, mostly applies to Costa Rica. As with airfare, event tickets, prepaid hotel reservations, and other travel-related expenses, most, if not all of your Costa Rica vacation reservations are non-refundable.

So, in a word – yes, you should absolutely purchase travel insurance for Costa Rica.

What Is Travel Insurance for Costa Rica?

Travel insurance, sometimes called trip insurance, is a simple-but-comprehensive insurance policy that provides financial protection before, during and after your vacation. (Note: Don’t confuse travel insurance with travel health insurance; they’re two very different things!)

Knock wood, but if something were to happen – illness, travel delays, inclement weather, etc. – to interrupt, disrupt, or influence your trip, your travel insurance covers your losses. Standard benefits extend to recouping trip expenses and covering medical emergencies, lost luggage, and other unexpected events.

So, why do we recommend travel insurance for Costa Rica trips? Well, back to that bit about nonrefundable prepayments…

Remember: Reservations are Prepaid

Most, perhaps all of your reservations – your Tamarindo vacation rental, activities, equipment rentals, airport transportation, rental car, etc. – will be fully prepaid, before you arrive.

And that means, if you miss your flight, or get sick, or fill-in-the-blank, you won’t receive refunds for missed reservations: unslept nights at your vacation rental, airport shuttles not caught, surfboards not surfed, ziplines not zipped – all those much-awaited activities and fun, missed due to snow that grounds your flight, or a last-minute bout of strep throat, or a missed connection at the airport.

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