Arenal Natura Ecological Park

While we were in La Fortuna, Costa Rica we visited Arenal Natura Ecological Park.  Our guide was really nice and funny, but the place wasn’t quite what I expected.  My preference is definitely to walk through the jungle and find animals in their natural habitat.  While we did see a couple of wild animals, most of them were in captivity.

Musky Caiman
Musky Caiman. Can you believe this little guy is about 30 years old?

Some of the animals were being rehabilitated, and we were told that they would be released when they were well.  I don’t believe, however, that all of the animals were actually there for those purposes.

Black River Turtle
Black River Turtle

They had about fifty different varieties of frogs on display–I’m doubtful that all of them had something wrong with them.

Costa Rican Bull Frog
Bull Frog.. These are mean and eat other frogs.. :(

Don’t get me wrong, the animals were well cared for and their habitats were kept clean, this type of tour just isn’t my preference.  I would much rather walk and try to spot creatures on my own or with the help of a guide–I think that’s half of the fun.  After you have seen wild crocodiles with an entire river at their disposal, a small makeshift pond just doesn’t seem right.


I would however, recommend this place for those with children.  You are guaranteed to see creatures and to do so in a safe environment.

Praying Mantis
Praying Mantis.. Please ignore my weird pink hand

While we were there I got to hold a baby boa constrictor, had an intimate moment with a red-eyed tree frog, and found a praying mantis.

Baby Boa Constrictor
Me and the baby Boa

For those who aren’t able to do much walking but want to see some of Costa Rica’s wildlife, this place is perfect.  For those who prefer to get out and explore on their own and catch a glimpse of something unexpected, this place probably is not for you.

Red-Eyed Tree Frog
Jeremy and the Red-Eyed Tree Frog
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