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The best bird-watching in Palo Verde is on the wetlands in front of the Organization for Tropical Studies' (OTS) biological station. The OTS has expert guides who can help you see and identify the varied birds in the area, but if you have good binoculars and a bird book, you can identify plenty of species on your own. A boat excursion to Isla Pájaros south of the Río Tempisque is particularly interesting for birders. Toward the end of rainy season this 6-acre island near Puerto Moreno is an exciting place to see hundreds of nesting wood storks, cormorants, and anhingas. You can get close enough to see chicks being fed in nests. The best time to go is very early in the morning, to avoid heat and to guarantee the most bird sightings.
Aventuras Arenal. This adventure tour company specializes in ecological tours and has guides with good eyes who usually know the English names for birds. Their boat tours up the Río Tempisque ($45, including juice and lunch) depart from the dock at Bebedero or Puerto Humo. Palo Verde National Park. 2479–9133. www.arenaladventures.com.
Ríos Tropicales. Paddle down the easy Class I and II rafting route on the Río Corobicí with this experienced, national rafting company. The two-hour trips ($55 including lunch and excluding ground transportation) are great for bird- and monkey-watching and are safe enough for kids ages seven and older. Km 193, Inter-American Hwy, Cañas. 2233–6455. www.riostropicales.com.
Safaris Corobici. This small, local company specializes in two-hour Class I and II floats down the Río Corobicí ($40) that put in (and end at) their office location, near Km 192 on the Pan-American Highway. They also offer an early-morning bird-watching float tour ($48 including a snack) and a half-day float, with lunch in their Cocobolo restaurant afterward ($65). Boats are launched from 7 am to 3:30 daily. There are also trips on the Tenorio River, including a gentle float trip or a wilder Class IV whitewater tour on the upper reaches of the river ($90 including lunch). Their office is right at the entrance to Las Pumas Rescue Shelter. Main highway to Liberia, 4½ km (3 miles) north of Cañas, Cañas. 2669–6191. www.safaricorobici.com.
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