One of the top draws to visiting Costa Rica, is the astounding amount of nature that one encounters whilst visiting. Del Pacifico is uniquely located as it is midway between two national parks and in the middle of many other eco-touring options.
Manuel Antonio National Park
Manuel Antonio National Park is considered a "must see" for the majority of travelers who visit Costa Rica. The park, which was established in 1972, is comprised of 1700 acres of land and 135,000 marine acres. Within the park are mangroves, primary rainforest, woodlands and 3 white sand beaches. There are 5 trails through the park (the main trail is 1.3 miles long) which can take you to different scenic overlooks and areas where you will have the opportunity of viewing the different wildlife. Manuel Antonio is home to over 100 mammal species including sloths, coatimundi and 3 types of monkeys (capuchin, howler & squirrel). We would recommend arriving early (by 9 am or so) and hiring a licensed tour guide for a 2 hour tour. The guided tour is about $20/person and well worth it as you will learn a great deal! Manuel Antonio is open from 7-4 Tuesday through Sunday and requires a $10 entrance fee for non-residents. Enjoy..but do mind the monkeys!
Carara National Park
Carara National Park is well known for its birding. The park, which was established in 1978, is only 12 acres large but is home to a great diversity of nature. As the park is in a transition area between the north and south, it has both wet rain forest and dry tropical forest. Carara is home to more than 400 scarlet macaws not to mention toucans, roseate spoonbills, herons, manakins, and many more! You are able to hire a licensed tour guide here for a 2 hour tour through one of the parks 3 hiking trails. Carara is open from 7-4 every day and requires a $10 entrance fee for non-residents. 8383-9953 for more information.
Bird Watching Tour
Costa Rica is home to about 850 different species of birds- 600 of which are residents and the remainder migrate from North America. The birdwatching tour is a wonderful way to see the diverse bird of Costa Rica while also visiting areas that you would not normally see. The 3 hour tour begins at 6am and costs $65/person.
Damas Island Night Mangrove Boat Tour
The mangrove is one of the most tranquil places you will find in Costa Rica and at night it becomes magical. You will take a boat through the mangroves with a bilingual guide and learn about the mangrove while viewing many different species of wildlife. The exact time of the tour is dictated by the tide; the cost is $65/person.
There are several tour options that will take you to these isolated waterfalls tucked away in the rain forest. There are 10 different waterfalls and pools which offer options for each family member all the way up to a 30 foot jump for the adrenaline junkies.
Crocodile Safari Tour
This one is a favorite to a few members of the Del Pacifico family. The two hour tour runs through the Tarcoles River- out to where the river meets the Pacific and then in through the mangroves. You are guaranteed to see plenty of birds and crocodiles and at some point during the tour, your guide will hop out and feed a croc! The tour is $35/person and they run 4 per day (8:30, 10:30, 1:30 and 3:30).
Villa Vanilla Spice Tasting Tour
We hear that the Villa Vanilla Spice Tasting Tour is a great tour for foodies! The tour takes you on a stroll through a sustainable organic spice farm where you will learn about the different spices (history, usage,processing, etc) and wind up with a tasting of spicy offerings prepared by their pastry chef. There are 2 tours run per day Monday through Saturday at 9am and 1pm and one run on Sunday (9am only); the cost for the tour is $45/person.
Damas Island Monkey Tour
Stace & Steph really loved this tour! You ride through the Damas River into mangroves and get to see monkeys all over the place. You have an opportunity to feed them at one point during the tour and they will actually eat banana right out of your hand! So cool! The time of the tour is dependent upon the tide that day but there is one in the early morning and another in the afternoon. The tour costs $65/person.
Playa Hermosa Wildlife Refuge
This is such a hidden gem, we only found out about it recently! Playa Hermosa is home to a wildlife refuge dedicated to the protection of nesting Olive Ridley turtles. Between July and December the female turtles come ashore and lay their eggs. There are no organized tours of this as the females tend to arrive either on their own or in small groups, but during the nesting season, visitors who go to the beach at night have the chance to see the turtles coming ashore.
Rainforest Aerial Tram
This is a great tour for anyone who is looking for a quiet physically undemanding tour. You take a relaxing open air gondola ride through the rainforest, along with a knowledgeable tour guide. After the ride is finished, you have the option of taking a stroll along a path to check out more flora & fauna. The tour costs $55/person (half price for children).
Butterfly & Botanical Gardens
There are 2 options for botanical gardens in our area- one near Manuel Antonio & the other near Carara. Fincas Naturales Wildlife Refuge near Manuel Antonio has a variety of exhibits- a butterfly botanical garden, an amphibian aquatic garden & a reptile exhibit. They offer tours in English which run from $15 to $45 depending on how many exhibits you want to see. Pura Vida Botanical Gardens & Waterfalls near Carara National Park has 50 acres of botanical gardens as well as 4 waterfalls.