Established by former farmer and logger-turned-conservationist Frederico Schutt in 1933, this 106-hectare (262-acre) refuge has a fabulous beach and bay, perfect for kayaking; plus hiking trails leading through forest and mangrove swamps. Named after the indigenous word for the spiky-barked pochote trees that flourish here, the reserve is home to hordes of phantom crabs on the beach, howler and white-faced capuchin monkeys in the trees, red brocket deer grazing in open fields, and plenty of hummingbirds, kingfishers, woodpeckers, trogons, and manakins (including the coveted long-tailed manakin). The refuge, classified as a Blue Flag project, is working on building an artificial reef. Visitors can stay in very basic beach-front cabins with solar-power ($30 per person, including entrance fee); meals are $10 each. Call ahead to arrange for lodging, guides, horseback riding, kayaking tours, and early-morning bird-watching walks. The entrance fee is $10.
7 km (4½ miles) south of Paquera on road to Cóbano, left side of road, Paquera, 60105, Costa Rica