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Learn More about Palo Verde Biological Station


Palo Verde is located within the Palo Verde National Park on the Pacific slopes of Guanacaste Province in northwestern Costa Rica (10° 21' N, 85° 21 W). The 19,000-hectare park has seasonally dry forest on limestone outcrops and extensive wetland vegetation bordering the Tempisque River that flows into the Gulf of Nicoya.

This area includes some of the best patches of dry forest remaining in Central America, with giant pochote, cedro, and guanacaste trees. The freshwater marsh in front of the Station is an important feeding ground for 60 species of resident and migratory water birds. Within the marsh, such species as the black-bellied whistling duck and the blue-winged teal have been observed by the thousands. The Park is also a principal wintering ground for many neotropical migrants, including hummingbirds, flycatchers, warblers, tanagers, orioles, vireos, owls, and falcons. The mammal fauna is equally rich and visible, particularly during the dry season when peccaries, armadillos, jaguarundis, coatis, agoutis, deer, and monkeys are attracted to the water holes.

The Station has modest accommodations for course groups and researchers. Water is piped in from a deep well and electricity is available, while cellular telephone with e-mail access provide a degree of twenty one-century conveniences.

Principal Habitats

  • Along with Lomas Barbudal Biological Reserve, it is considered one of the sites with the greatest ecological diversity in Costa Rica, encompassing more than 13 different habitats, including mangrove and swampy forests, salty and freshwater marshes, evergreen forests, deciduous forests, lowland and limestone forests and secondary forest in a wide range of successional stages.
  • The last remnants of seasonal and transitional dry forests of the Neotropics are found within the Park.
  • Palo Verde and Lomas Barbudal comprise one of the few protected areas in Costa Rica where rocky formations and lowlands forests interacts with extensive seasonal wetlands .
  • Lomas Barbudal, with foothills of volcanic origin, is covered by savannas, deciduous and riparian forests, oak forests (Quercus oleides) and extremely dry sites dominated by cacti.
  • Four soil orders are represented in Palo Verde: Entisols, Inceptisols, Vertisols y Mollisols.

Getting there

Palo Verde Biological Station is located in Guanacaste, 1 hour southwest of Bagaces on an unpaved road (28 km, 17 miles); from San José, it is 4-1/2 hours; from Puntarenas, 3 hours; and from Liberia, 1-1/2 hours. To get there, take Route I (Carretera Interamericana) north from San José (follow signs towards Nicaragua) to Bagaces. Once you arrive at Bagaces, go west on the unpaved road opposite to the gas station. The gravel road is rough and requires slow travel. You will encounter several forks in the road, follow signs to Refugio de Fauna Silvestre, which is the more heavily used road. Public buses that go from San José to Bagaces and beyond leave from several points in San José. It is important to tell the bus driver to stop at Bagaces. From there, you can arrange for a taxi to take you to Palo Verde, or call the station in advance to have station personnel pick you up in Bagaces.


Important documents
Palo Verde Emergency Protocol ( PDF document 79 kb )

Last Updated ( 05/05/15 )
Organization for Tropical Studies
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