Camaronal Wildlife Refuge , Guanacaste

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Situated along Costa Rica's North Pacific coastline, Playa Camaronal is located seven miles south of Playa Samara in the Guanacaste region. An impressively diverse group of wildlife tends to congregate near the estuary where the Ora River empties into the sea.

Preservation of the Marine Turtle

For vacationers looking to participate in eco-tourism during their trip to Costa Rica, the Camaronal Wildlife Refuge should be a top priority.

The Camaronal Wildlife Refuge offers a range of recreational activities to tourists of all interests, including surfing and fishing, but the site is perhaps best known for the important role it plays in the preservation of one of Costa Rica's treasures, the sea turtle.

Four Different Kinds of Sea Turtles

Of the seven species of sea turtle that can be found throughout the world, four of them can be found on the shores of Playa Camaronal, including the Olive Ridley, the Atlantic leatherback, the hawksbill and the black sea turtle. Each of these species is endangered, so the Camaronal Wildlife Refuge will be one of few places around the world where travelers can view these impressive creatures.

Best Time to Go

The best time to view sea turtles at the Camaronal Wildlife Refuge is during Costa Rica's rainy season, which runs from May through November. Because adult sea turtles only lay their eggs at night, tour guides need to be hired for after-hour visits to the park, which is open from 6:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. These guides can be purchased for approximately $40 in either Samara or Carrillo. It can also be helpful to talk to the local residents to find out the best way to access the refuge during the rainy season.

Other Activities at Camaronal

In addition to the sea turtle population, the Camaronal Wildlife Refuge is a fantastic place to view bird and other animal species as well. During a trip to the refuge, one can expect to see a variety of birds including hawks, cranes, hummingbirds, tiger herons and green kingfishers. Animals that often spend time on the grounds include crabs, iguanas armadillos and monkeys.

Experienced surfers will find Playa Camaronal to be an excellent destination, as the largest wave ever recorded at the beach reached some 20 feet.

Getting to Camaronal Wildlife Refuge

To get to Camaronal Wildlife Refuge, one should plan to catch a bus from San Jose to either Hojancha or Nicoya, then to Samara and Carrillo. Then, one can either rent a vehicle or hop in a taxi to get to the site.