One of the best wildlife and bird-watching parks in Costa Rica, Palo Verde protects a significant amount of deciduous dry forest and its denizens, along with seasonal wetlands that provide a temporary home for thousands of migratory birds toward the end of the rainy season. The park is bordered on the west by the Río Tempisque and encompasses more than 198 square km (76 square miles). The terrain is fairly flat—the maximum elevation in the park is 268 meters (879 feet)—and
the forest is less dense than a rain forest, which makes it easier to spot the fauna. While crocodiles ply the Tempisque's waters year-round, from September through March you can see dozens of species of migratory and resident aquatic birds, including herons, wood storks, jabirus, and elegant, flamingo-like roseate spoonbills. White-tailed deer, coatis, collared peccaries, and monkeys are easy to spot, too. It's almost always hot and humid in these lowlands – March is the hottest month – so be prepared with water, hat, and insect repellent. A rickety observation tower near the OTS station, about 8 km (5 mi) past the park entrance, gives you a vantage point over a marsh filled with ducks and jacanas. But be prepared to climb a narrow metal ladder. For a good look at hundreds of waterfowl, there's also a long boardwalk jutting out over the wetlands. Hostel-type lodging in rustic dormitory facilities with bunk beds and shared bathrooms ($13), and family-style meals for overnight guests only ($7 breakfast; $9 for lunch or dinner) can be arranged through the park headquarters.
29 km (18 miles) southwest of Bagaces, Palo Verde National Park, Costa Rica