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Paso Canoas, South Puntarenas

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The small community of Paso Canoas serves as a gateway between Costa Rica and Panama. This border outpost is visited by thousands of tourists everyday entering or leaving the country. Although it may be difficult to determine where Costa Rica begins and Panama ends, a small stretch of deserted road is the most obvious indicator. Because of the frequenting travelers bustling through the area, there are several shops and eateries, but very few places to stay overnight. However, people making the trek here can find attractions to keep them occupied for the afternoon.

One of the most beloved spots near Paso Canoas is the Wilson Botanical Garden, a 12-hectare garden surrounded by 254 hectares of natural forest. Established by Robert and Catherine Wilson in 1963, this world-class garden quickly became internationally renowned for its stunning collection of fauna. There are more than 1,000 species of plants from roughly 200 families on the garden grounds, some of which are decked out in brightly colored flowers.

The garden serves as an educational and research facility, but a stroll through this garden can be entertaining for anyone. Because of the extensive collection, the Wilson Botanical Garden is also home to various aviary species. The park is a part of the Las Cruces Biological Station, which is controlled by the Organization for Tropical Studies, a nonprofit group that works to strengthen education in tropical biology.

The park is a great place for bird watching, as there are a number of rare species that reside in the park. Visitors can also take a self-guided tour through the park, as it is easy to navigate and plants are all labeled. The garden features orchids, bromeliads and medicinal plants. Visitors can go on early morning or night tours, which allow individuals to catch a glimpse of a wide variety of birds. The park also offers a boat tour and custom designed itineraries to meet the needs and preferences of every traveler.

Travelers making a stop in the outpost of Paso Canoas can visit some of Costa Rica's most unique conservation areas. Home to an abundance of wildlife and extraordinary natural scenery, there's no better place to be welcomed into Costa Rica.