Three zebras at Africa Mia
Three zebras at Africa Mia

Did you ever think you'd be able to go on an African Safari in Costa Rica? I sure didn't! I've seen a lot through my travels in Costa Rica, but this was one of the most surprising and exciting adventures because it was like nothing I had seen. In the dry grasslands of Guanacaste, Africa Mia is the country's only African safari adventure and one of Liberia's biggest hub for Costa Rica tourism. Don't get me wrong, I love the rainforest because it's my home, but the knee-high grasses and wide-open plains are truly a sight to see.

A little background info

Africa Mia was created in 2006 as a place that allowed native African species to live in a Costa Rican habitat. Although the lands needed a little bit of TLC to create an ideal environment for the sub-Saharan species, today it looks and feels just like Africa. You'll think you hopped on a plane to another continent! This open-range zoo works just like a real safari as well. I joined a group a while back and hopped aboard the back of their all-terrain vehicle to witness the wilderness like never before. I must say I've never been so close to towering giraffes before - they were mere meters away!

Africa Mia Jeep
Africa Mia Jeep

The Safari

Once you head out into the safari, you may notice that the reserve is divided into three sections. The outer savannah is where all new animals are initially introduced to the park, but it's not accessible to travelers and is fenced off. It's kind of like an adaptation region. The inner savannah is where long-term animals reside, and will be your first stop on the open-air vehicle. I, of course, wasn't able to participate, but there's a petting zoo here, too! White-tailed deer, dromedaries and ostriches are here to munch on snacks right from the palm of your hand. Next, you'll head into the open plains where animals roam freely. The last section of the park is the El Salto waterfall.

Area Wildlife

Africa Mia is home to more than 150 animals and 11 species that are native to Africa. Currently, all of the animals are together on the savanna, so there are no super aggressive species. But I did hear a rumor that they are planning to build a separate area for hippos, who can get a bit crabby once and while. Some of the animals here are warthogs, watusi, Chapman's zebra, plains zebra, reticulated giraffes, ostriches, gemsbok, bongo, Nilgai antelope, dromedaries and giant eland. At first I was concerned that these animals wouldn't have a good life away from their home in Africa, but the landscape of Guanacaste is remarkably similar and they all have so much room to run!

Africa Mia is also somewhat of a nature reserve that was created to promote the continuation of threatened species. Currently, there are only herbivores at Africa Mia, so no animals are under the stress of "interacting" with carnivores.

Group of Ñus in Africa Mia, Liberia
Group of Ñus in Africa Mia, Liberia

Added Bonuses

This 250-acre park also features the stunning El Salto Waterfall, which travelers can visit during their visit here. This picturesque waterfall is fed by the Rincon de la Vieja National Park, and is surrounded by a tropical dry forest. You might even catch a glimpse of some wildlife here!

Just like any other zoo, Africa Mia has places to buy souvenirs and other goodies, as well as a place to have a picnic or buy lunch. I'm not keen on human food, but I would recommend having an afternoon picnic on the beautiful grounds.

Africa Mia is one of the most unique places in Costa Rica because it really is like transporting to a whole new place! Have you ever been to a safari before?

Eland in Savannah at Africa Mia
Eland in Savannah at Africa Mia