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Gentle Walking & Wildlife Costa Rica

Costa Rica is rightly considered one of the premier destinations in the world to see a huge variety of wildlife, and it’s also a great place to do some gentle walking amidst a wide range of distinctive landscapes.

Earlier this year, Mountain Kingdoms team member, Kirsty, travelled to Costa Rica to research a new wildlife and walking holiday. Starting on the east coast at Tortuguero, Kirsty took an early morning boat ride into the waterways surrounding Tortuguero and discovered an array of birds and animals. She was fortunate enough to see a smiling sloth as well as toucans, water birds and caimen. Whilst in Tortuguero she stayed at attractive Mwamba Lodge which offered excellent facilities and had a distinctly tropical, Caribbean vibe. The lodge offered optional tours including a night walk which revealed many small creatures that venture out after dark such as slender snakes and cute green tree frogs.

From Tortuguero Kirsty headed inland, to the town of La Fortuna, gateway to Arenal Volcano – the most famous of all Costa Rica’s volcanoes. Walking the trails of Arenal 1968 park gave great, close-up views of Arenal and some easy-paced hiking through forest trails and over lava from the original eruption of Arenal in 1968. Whilst staying in the lively tourist town of La Fortuna, Kirsty took a day trip north to Caño Negro Wildlife Reserve on the Nicaraguan border. The Rio Frio River makes its way gently through the reserve and there’s no better way of discovering the abundance of wildlife that resides here than on a slow boat ride. Kirsty saw numerous water birds and marine animals including kingfishers, herons, caimen and Basilik lizards. She also had some fantastic monkey encounters watching spider monkeys leaping from branch to branch and capuchin monkeys playing in the trees beside the water, like very naughty children. It was undoubtedly one of the highlights of the whole trip.

Leaving La Fortuna behind, Kirsty continued her journey east to the atmospheric cloudforest of Monterverde – one of the best places in the country to see rare and unusual birds. At Curi-Cancha Reserve, the hummingbirds proved to be an absolute delight.

The fiery volcanic region of Guanacaste was the next stopping point with walks in two national parks. The Rio Celeste walk in Tenorio National Park is one of Costa Rica’s most popular trails due to the stunning blue waters of the park’s waterfall and pools. There are also walks in Rincon de la Vieja National Park – along a varied path to the Cangreja Waterfall and then on the Las Pailas Trail which takes in a rich variety of geo-thermal features including fumeroles, boiling pools and bubbling mud pots.

Finally, the journey comes to an end on the west coast at the Pacific Ocean with time at an attractive, all-inclusive beachfront hotel – the perfect place to kick back and relax at the end of a superb and varied holiday.

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