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“The guided tour in Guanacaste [Thanks to Javier of lovingcostarica.com]”

Palo Verde National Park
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Palo Verde National Park Riverboat Cruise from Tamarindo
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Palo Verde Wildlife Tour from Tamarindo
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Palo Verde Boat Safari
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Owner description: The water system in this park sustains the largest population of waterfowl and wading birds in Central America.
Reviewed January 21, 2013

Javier Vargas of lovingcostaric.com provided us with the best experience of our stay in Costa Rica. Javi picked us up at our accommodations early in the am for Palo Verde National Park on a private guided tour. Here we took a motorboat cruise along the Tempisque river. We saw a great variety of wildlife and especially birds, including a sighting of a very rare, nearly extinct bird [I can't recall the name of it]. My favorite animals were the capuchin monkeys who came right up on our boat and ate bananas from my hand. Such a wonderful experience and great pics as well. Javier took pics of both my husband and me whenever a good opportunity arose. We also saw a lot of crocodiles up close and personal!! [My husband got close...me...not so much!]

In the afternoon, after a lovely typical tico meal in Liberia, we drove to Miravalles volcano and hot springs\mud bath and took a hike into the rainforest. Javier provided a very personalized service as well as answering any and all questions we had about the area.
Javiere speaks excellent English and is extremely knowledgeable about the flora, fauna and geography of his region, the Guanacaste.

One of the things that impressed us before we even booked with him was the fact that Javier came to meet us and choose what we wanted with no commitment from us till we chose our excursions. We have never experienced this type of service before. As a matter of fact we have often been put off by the rather sketchy, pushy types that we have had to deal with on other trips. With Javi, you feel like you are talking to a friend very soon after meeting him. He came extremely well recommended from other travelers and now we know why. I wouldn't hesitate to use him again.

You might expect to pay an exorbitant amount for this kind of service but we were very pleased with his prices, especially when we consider what we got in return for only a bit more than a big bus tour. We got to stop whenever we wanted and take as much time as needed to enjoy the day.

Jeannine M. Riverview NB Canada

1  Thank MindiaRiverview
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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251 - 255 of 352 reviews

Reviewed January 18, 2013

Palo Verde is a beautiful national park and should be visited, with a few cautions: first, access is difficult. Secondary roads in Costa Rica are not good to begin with, but the 20 km trek from the PanAmerican highway was in very rough repair and was a little scary at times. Once in the park, there appear to be lots of things to do, but it is difficult to figure out where to go and what to do. The woman at the entry gate was wonderful, but once at the parking lot we were made to feel like interlopers who were wasting the guide's time. The pamphlet they provide with the hikes and sites was so minimalist that we could not figure out what to do or where to go. the pamphlet showed hiking routes but did not provide enough information to know whay we should choose one route over another. In the end, we explored and found things ourselves, but let's say we just got lucky. The park itself is very beautiful, which is the only reason I give this an average rating.

1  Thank Paul d d
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 12, 2013

We started the tour with our driver stopping for us to take pictures of the howler monkeys that were in the trees.

We took a boat tour down the amazing Tempisque River! There were so many crocs, not as many howler and white faced monkeys as I would like, but enough to get some pics., lots of lizards/iguanas being that it was mating season, bats, numerous birds of every tropical variety.

We ate a delicious lunch at the Hacienda el Viejo. After lunch we were shown how they extracted the sugar from sugar cane in the "Old Day". I was pleasantly surprised at how not sweet the juice was.

AND..... We learned a very important lesson from our tour guide:


If you go with a reputable tour guide, you will not have to worry about this.

We had a lot of fun on this tour and would definitely recommend.

1  Thank Lise M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 12, 2013

This national park features some beautiful wetlands which are an ideal location for bird watching. Large groups of ducks are present in the area, together with many other waterbirds. In addition there is a nice dry forest connected to it, habitat of other species. We had 3 species of monkeys here, and other animals are easily spotted (e.g. pick nick place). You can ask at the OTS station for a boat tour to the bird-island, definitely worth to see, and we also had one Jaribu under the way…
As there is no separate section for the OTS station, the only place to stay in the park, I will also review them here. If you are going to sleep here, do not forget it is NOT a hotel, but a research station which is meant for the stay of students and researchers, so it is NOT made for tourists. Rooms are very basic with bunk beds, not-so very clean bathrooms, not-so very clean (but necessary) mosquito nets. Lunch, dinner and breakfast is included, and it is catered for a large group (there usually stay large groups of students), at set times (which may not be so convenient for early-morning bird watchers). A guided tour is included, and we had Rafael. A great guide, who had biological and ecological knowledge for beyond what you expect from a normal guide. He was very friendly and helpful, but I can imagine that if you are not very interested into nature (like us), you would probably find it a little bit too much. The price (ca 180$ for a couple) is high, and is partially used to fund their research. I would certainly stay here again , but be aware that you should know beforehand that you only get this very basic accommodation for a high price.

Thank Geographtraveller
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 2, 2013

This was an amazing tour thanks to Javiar of LovingCostaRica.Our tour started early (6am!) so that we could get to the river while the wildlife was still active. Such a great idea since we were the only ones on the river! Javier made multiple stops along the way to show us local fauna, wildlife and artifacts. I learned so many interesting things about Costa Rica from hime! We got to see Howler monkeys, white faced monkeys, crocodiles, bats and a whole host of birds. It was very impressive. After the tour, we went to Coyote ranch, where lunch was prepared by women who ran the ranch. They were single mothers who went into business together to try and create a better life for themselves and their children. The food was authentic and the whole experience was lovely. I would highly recommend this tour to anyone.

Thank Karen B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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