I'll be in Costa Rica for 2 and a half weeks in March 2015. I would love to hike and camp, and see as much wildlife as possible (mammals, birds, incests, etc.). March is high season and I would like to avoid crowds as much as possible. What national parks are off the beaten path and less-touristy but still recommended for seeing wildlife? I will be renting a car so I'm not constrained by public transport. Thanks!
Ok this question was made for me! Everyone will say Manuel Antonio National Park but don't be tricked into this, it is a nice park but I think you are looking for something special and off the regular tourist rout. So I am going to recommend the Osa Peninsulafly into San Jose and grab a flight into Puerto Jimenez. The air strip is in the cemetery! Stock up on supplies and go past cabo matapalo to a rental for a couple days ( look up "Casa Dos Rios" Kim and Mell will become life long friends) this is a good place to use as a home base. The park you are looking for is Corcovado National Park But all of the osa past cabo matapalo is basically the park. We saw more wildlife from casa dos rios then in the actual park! If you go to this area you will 100% see, 4 species of monkey, scarlet macaws, at least 1 snake, and more bugs than you could ever imagine! And on the plus side most people don't make it to this part of the country! So no fast food or spring break all inclusive resorts! You will be one of the millions of people that go to this beautiful country, and actually get to see it!
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Hello Yaniv. The recommendations are excellent. Let me just suggest the Pacuare Riverwhich National Geographic (Traveler) has listed it as one of the worlds top ten scenic rivers. If you like water rafting, this is the place. I recommend you to stay at the Pacuare River Lodge. Besides of being an exquisite lodge, to get there, you have to water raft. Amazing experience! a 100% recommendation.
Another recommendations would be Monteverde Cloud Forest. It is a cloud forest located in Guanacaste (a province of Costa Rica). To me, one of the most beautiful national parks of Costa Rica.
Hope this helps.\ Pura vida!!
I highly recommend Carara National Park (Carara National Park) right after you stop on the River Tarcoles (Tarcoles River bridge) for public crocodile watching. Birds, mammals, reptiles and butterflies are abundant along with friendly guides. Keep all valuables at home or out of site in all parking areas.
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Tortuguero National Park! It's glorious, we stayed at Pachira Lodge where you have to be boated in through the lagoons. It's surrounded by lagoonswith caymens and such just hanging out on logs while you pass by. It's a great area to kayak through, one of the most serene experiences I had, hardly anyone else around. The howler monkeys hang out in DROVES and throw fruit, but it's all part of the charm. They also do a lot of sea turtle conservation stuff, at least they did when I was there.