Palo Verde Parque Nacional Part I: Land

Writing this post and looking through pictures from this place makes me want to pack my bags and hop on the next plane to Costa Rica.  Palo Verde National Park was amazing.  It was by far the most wildlife that we experienced in one place while we were on our trip.  Our first day in Guanacaste we were lounging at the pool at Hotel Riu Palace Costa Rica and some people started chatting with us.  They told us about a cool boat ride they had gone on the previous day.  That was how we heard about Palo Verde National Park.  The next morning our alarm was set (poor Jeremy) and we were out the door on our way to explore some more of beautiful Costa Rica.

Road in Palo Verde National Park
The very long road that runs through Palo Verde National Park

When we arrived at the park we paid the entrance fee ($10/ person) and arranged our boat ride.  The boat ride is not included in this fee, it is done through a private company.  The price fluctuates based on the number of people going on the boat.  So far, only the two of us were interested so the price was $100.  The man at the entrance gate didn’t speak English and I speak very little Spanish so we just kind of rolled with it and hoped that our lines hadn’t gotten crossed.  After we entered the park it felt like we drove forever.  We drove slowly so we wouldn’t scare any of the wildlife but we didn’t see anything.  Finally we came across a little office we pulled in to make sure we were heading the right direction for the boat landing. The lady inside said that we were on the right track that we just needed to keep going.  So we hopped back in the car and continued on our way.

Iguana in Palo Verde National Park
One of the many iguanas that we saw.

All of a sudden, there were hundreds of iguanas.  Iguanas were everywhere.  They were in the grass, in the road, in the trees.

Palo Verde Deer

We kept driving, careful not to squish any of the lizards; then some deer came out of the forest and started eating.  We snapped a couple of pictures and continued on.  We finally got to the boat landing and there was no boat.

Palo Verde Cows
They seemed a little too interested.

We thought maybe we were early so we just walked around and took pictures.  There were cows,  horses, ctenosaurs, and green iguanas.  We saw a ton of iguanas but this guy was huge.  He must have been at least 5 feet long and was so vibrantly colored.  Just beautiful.

Green Iguana
The Green Iguana

After waiting about an hour for the boat we started to wonder if the boat was actually coming.  We decided to get back in the car and go back to the office.  The lady there called the boat company and indeed, our wires had gotten crossed with the man at the front gate.  Now, it was arranged that the boat would be there to pick us up in another hour.  Because we had extra time to kill she recommended a short hike that she promised held a breathtaking view.

Palo Verde La Roca Trail Head
The Trail Head for the Hike

It was a pretty view but I don’t like heights so I HATED it up there.  It was quite windy and Jeremy was standing on top of this rock and I kept picturing him plummeting to his death as I held on for dear life to a branch from the top of the nearest tree.  Not my idea of fun.

Palo Verde National Park
My View from the Hike

On the plus side though, we met another couple on the hike and we convinced them to take the boat ride with us.  We had a little heartburn about spending $100 on the boat ride; the couple joining us dropped our price from $100 to $50.

Palo Verde National Park
Jeremy’s View from the Hike

After the hike we stopped by the office one more time to use the restroom before heading to the boat landing.  I was so glad because we go to see a Coati.  I would describe them as the equivalent of a Costa Rican raccoon.  They are cute but are definitely scavengers.  We found this one as he was finishing someone’s bowl of fruit that had been left outside on a table.

Coatimundi
Coatimundi aka Coati

We eventually made it back to the boat landing with our new price-dropping friends, and as we boarded the boat we were sent off by the screeching of howler monkeys in the trees.

Howler Monkey
Howler Monkey
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