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The Southern Pacific Coast of Costa Rica is claimed by National Geographic as ‘one of the most biologically diverse regions on earth'. The abundance of exotic wildlife, friendly and diverse people, and stunning natural landscapes has put this area on the map and makes it a travel must. The region has the highest percentage of protected land devoted to national parks and private reserves, including Ballena Marine National Park, Caño Island Biological Reserve, Corcovado National Park, Piedras Blancas National Park, and Amistad International Park. Its varied topography, extending from high mountain plateaus to marine environments with beautiful unspoiled beaches and endless acres of lush rainforest and waterfalls, allows for the existence of just about every type of bird (over 450 species counted and more than found on the African continent!), animal and insect known to the country.

Corcovado National Park
Ecologically varied, the Corcovado National Park is among the most biologically intense places on earth. Located on the wild and untamed Osa Peninsula, this national park is breathtakingly beautiful and is one of the remotest parks in the country. Home to the largest and only tropical primary lowland rainforest in the world, the Corcovado National Park is also the habitat of numerous endangered plant and animal species.

Created in 1975 to protect this gorgeous region from illegal gold mining and logging, the Parque Nacional Corcovado is today, an extremely popular ecotourism destination. Mostly undisturbed because of its isolation and inaccessibility, it is home to the magnificent Scarlet Macaws as well as the Resplendent Quetzals, the Red-Eyed Tree Frog and the Tapir, the largest terrestrial mammal in Central and South America.

Exotic and lush, the Corcovado National Park is home to thirteen major ecosystems that range from mangrove swamps and jolillo palm groves to montane forests, lagoons, beaches, freshwater herbaceous swamps and primary lowland rainforests. Encompassing over 41,000 hectares the park protects over 140 different mammal species; 400 bird species, 20 of which are endemic; 116 amphibian and reptile species, 40 species of fish and at least 500 species of trees. Habitat of the rare Harbor Squirrel Monkey and the Harpy Eagle, the Corcovado Park also is a great place to spot the poison arrow frog, indigenous wild cats, crocodiles, pumas and jaguars as well as four species of sea turtles.

With its virgin beauty, visiting this park allows you to experience nature at its finest and promises an incredible adventure for those who dare to trail blaze their way through this amazing region. Hiking is very popular here, and there are four ranger stations found at strategic locations from each other. The best way to see this park is to take a guided tour, as there are plenty of wild animals that roam around.

Caño Island Biological Reserve
If you look out over the Pacific Ocean from the Lookout, you’ll see Isla del Caño or Caño Island, an amazing marine biological reserve in Costa Rica. The island holds considerable geographical and archeological importance and was formerly a cemetery or burial ground dating back to the pre-Columbian era. Evidence of the island’s history can be found in the incredible stone spheres that have been discovered here, all of which are hand carved and perfectly rounded.

The real beauty of Isla del Caño is found underwater. This island’s virgin waters are some of the bluest in the country, and are home to a spectacular variety of stunning marine flora and fauna as well as some gorgeous coral reefs. Rated as being amongst the best underwater adventure diving spots in the world, the Isla del Caño Biological Reserve is also home to a huge variety of fish, whales and sharks.

With fantastic underwater visibility you may witness sea turtles, dolphins, stingrays, manta rays, moray eels, barracudas, tuna, snapper and grouper swimming alongside a variety of sharks and humpback or pilot whales. Since the island is a reserve, scuba diving numbers are regulated and visitors are not allowed to remove any marine life, dead or alive.

Parque Nacional Marino Ballena A few kilometers north of the Lookout is Parque Nacional Marino Ballena. The park was created in 1990 to protect the coral and rock reefs around Isla Ballena just off the coast. Isla Ballena has long been an important island for seabird nesting colonies as well as basilisk lizards and green iguanas. Humpback whales can also be seen here in the area from December to March, when these whales migrate to warmer climes. Throughout the year bottle-nosed dolphins can be spotted along the coast.

With eight miles of protected coastline, guests of the Lookout have access to some of the most beautiful, uninhabited beaches in the world.

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The Lookout at Playa Tortuga – the Costa Rica Vacation you Imagined
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