Category Archives: Costa Rica Ecotourism

Costa Rica’s Corcovado National Park Makes Global Top Ten List

top-10-national-parks-in-the-world

The world’s first national park, Yellowstone, was signed into law by President Ulysses S. Grant in 1872. Congress created the U.S. National Park Service 44 years later (on August 25, 1916), with a mission “to conserve the scenery and the natural and historic objects and wildlife therein, and to provide for the enjoyment of the same in such manner and by such means as will leave them unimpaired for the enjoyment of future generations.”

Over the past century, the concept behind what documentarian Ken Burns called “America’s best idea” has been applied to more than 6,ooo national parks in nearly 100 different countries around the world. For US-based travelers , whose disposable income and vacation time are tighter than ever, national parks offer a great return on investment in terms of nature, wildlife and outdoor recreation.

But not all national parks are created equal. Some are too crowded. Some fail to measure up to visitor expectations. Some are simply too remote to fit into most travelers’ budgets. Still, a “must-see” list of national parks would number in the hundreds, if not thousands. So consider this our subjective guide to the Top 10 National Parks in the World, and please share your favorites in the comments!

Top 10 National Parks- Corcovado National Park, Costa Rica

Corcovado National Park (Costa Rica)

Referred to by National Geographic as “the most biologically intense place on Earth in terms of biodiversity,” this 164-square mile national park on the Osa Peninsula is Costa Rica’s largest. Within its borders are diverse ecosystems, including montane forest, cloud forest, prairie and mangrove swamp.

The volume and variety of wildlife you’ll find there is unbelievable. All four Costa Rican Monkey species, two kinds of Sloths, two types of Anteaters, Collared Peccary, Caiman, Crocodiles, Poison Dart Frogs and hundreds of colorful bird species are commonly seen. It’s also home to rare species such as the Baird’s Tapir, Jaguars and Harpy Eagles.

Just off the coast of the park you’ll find Caño Island, which offers exceptional snorkeling and Scuba diving opportunities. The protected waters are home to countless Sea Turtles, Dolphins, Sharks, Rays and even Humpback Whales, who come there to breed each winter.

Top 10 National Parks- Galapagos Islands National Park

Galapagos National Park (Ecuador)

Named the first UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1978, this archipelago of volcanic islands 563 miles off the coast of Ecuador has fascinated mankind since Charles Darwin’s day.

The landscapes are dynamic and remarkably diverse, from the lush green flora of the Santa Cruz highlands (where the famed Galapagos Tortoise roams wild) to the harsh, alien lava fields on Bartolomé. It’s also home to some of the world’s most fascinating endemic species, from ocean-feeding Marine Iguanas to comical Blue-Footed Boobies and diminutive Galapagos Penguins.

This is the only place in the world where wildlife has virtually no fear of humans: Curious Galapagos Sea Lions swim right up to you, and birds such as the Waved Albatross and Flightless Cormorant nest right beside marked hiking trails. In short, it’s a must-see for anyone who loves nature and wildlife.

Top 10 National Parks in the World- Grand Canyon

Photo by Tobias Alt via GFDL

Grand Canyon National Park (USA)

There’s a reason this age-old family favorite is the second most visited National Park in America, attracting over 5 million people each year.

It’s big– 277 miles long, 18 miles wide, a mile deep– encompassing over 1900 square miles. Considered one of the 7 Natural Wonders of the World, its resplendent colors are the result of 5-6 million years of geologic history revealed by the mighty Colorado River.

Tourists crowd the rim in summer, but hiking into the canyon reveals ecosystems ranging from desert to forest. In addition to wildlife such as Black Bear, Elk and California Condors, the canyon has historically been home to the Pueblo people, who consider it a sacred site.

Top 10 National Parks in the World- Great Barrier Reef

Photo by Sarah Ackerman via CC BY 2.0

Great Barrier Reef National Park (Australia)

Considered one of the 7 Natural Wonders of the World, the planet’s largest coral reef system is also one of its most endangered. This is in large part due to accelerated coral bleaching caused by global warming, and an increase of tourists eager to see it while it’s still relatively healthy.

The Great Barrier Reef is actually composed of over 2,900 individual reefs and 900 islands stretched out across an area of around 133,000 square miles. Located in the Coral Sea off the coast of Queensland, it’s home to 30 species of cetaceans, over 1,500 species of fish, six species of sea turtles, and around 125 species of sharks and stingrays.

The UNESCO World Heritage Site also includes mangroves and salt marshes on the coast, which provide fertile breeding grounds for saltwater crocodiles and frogs. Its islands serve as temporary or permanent homes to around 1.5 million birds (215 species) for nesting and roosting.

Top 10 National Parks in the World- Jim Corbett National Park

Photo by Soumyajit Nandy via CC BY-SA 3.0

Jim Corbett National Park (India)

Established in 1936 (when it was known as Hailey National Park), India’s oldest national park was created to protect the endangered Bengal tiger. Named after the British/Indian hunter-turned-conservationist, the park was the first to come under the Indian government’s Project Tiger initiative.

Located in the sub-Himalayan state of Uttarakhand, the park’s 201 square miles includes diverse landscapes such as hills, rivers, marsh, grassland and a lake, with elevations ranging from 1,300 to 4,000 feet. Dense forest covers nearly 75% of the park, with 110 types of tree, 50 species of mammals, 580 bird species and 25 reptile species.

Corbett National Park is one of 13 areas in India and Nepal protected by WWF’s Terai Arc Landscape Program. In addition to the Bengal Tiger, the program aims to preserve flagship species such as the Asian Elephant and the Indian Rhinoceros by restoring forest corridors for improved migration between parks.

Top 10 National Parks- Kruger National Park

Kruger National Park (South Africa)

One of Africa’s largest game reserves, Kruger National Park covers over 7,500 square miles. It’s part of the UNESCO-recognized Kruger to Canyons Biosphere Reserve (3rd largest in the world), which encompasses over 4.8 million hectares of savannah, grassland and forest on the border with Mozambique.

South Africa’s oldest national park (est. 1926) is home to an exceptional array of animals, including 517 bird species, 147 species of large mammals, 114 reptile species, and plenty of rare wonders (including Black Rhinos and the gorgeous, but Critically Endangered, African Wild Dog).

With 9 main gates allowing access to the various camps within the park, it’s easy enough to visit for a day. But with over 27,000 Buffalo, 11,000 Elephants, 5,000 Giraffes, 3,000 Hippos, 2,000 Hyenas, 150,000 Impalas, 2,800 Lions, 2,000 Leopards, 6,000 Rhinos and 17,000 Zebras in the Kruger Park area, you can easily spend a week or more and never get tired of exploring its vast expanse.

Top 10 National Parks in the World- Manu National Park

Photo by Corey Spruit via CC BY 2.0

Manú National Park (Peru)

Located just 3 hours from Cusco, this 11,800-square mile park located just 3 hours from Cusco is rapidly emerging as a world-renowned hotspot for birdwatchers.

The biosphere reserve, which was named a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1987, contains over 1000 different species of birds (from Andean Cock-of-the-Rock and Hoatzin to Macaws and Spix’s Guan)– more than the United States and Canada combined!

But Manú National Park’s remarkable biodiversity doesn’t end there: With ecosystems ranging from tropical rainforests to montane grasslands at elevations of nearly 14,000 feet, it’s also home to exotic wildlife such as Jaguars, Pumas, Giant Otters, Brazilian Tapir, Capybaras, Spectacled Bears, two species of sloths, and 14 species of monkeys.

Top 10 National Parks- Tarangire National Park

Tarangire National Park (Tanzania)

Though it’s not nearly as well-known as Serengeti National Park or the Ngorongoro Crater, Tarangire won our hearts thanks to the impressive array of wildlife we saw during our short visit.

The sixth largest park in Tanzania at 1,100 square miles, its key draw for animals is the Tarangire River, which becomes the area’s only source of water during the dry season. This may explain why the area has become a huge draw for Elephants, which we saw by the dozens during our 2015 visit.

The park has a number of other unique features, including massive Baobab trees, massive termite mounds that often serve as home to dark mongooses, and the famous tree-climbing lions. It’s also a major draw for bird-watchers, as the swamps on Tarangire attract one of the world’s most stunning arrays of breeding birds (over 550 species).

Top 10 National Parks in the World- Tikal National Park

Photo by Chensiyuan via GFDL

Tikal National Park (Guatemala)

The only national park on this list that’s more focused on history and culture than nature and wildlife, Tikal is one of the largest archaeological sites of pre-Columbian Maya civilization. Located in a rainforest in northern Guatemala, it was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1979.

Inhabited from the 6th century B.C. to the 10th century A.D., the city included around 3,000 structures covering an area of over six square miles. Among the impressive limestone ruins are the remains of temples that towered over 230 feet high, large royal palaces, numerous smaller pyramids, inscribed stone monuments, seven pok ta pok ball game courts.

The massive city is obviously the main attraction here, but Tikal National Park also boasts natural wonders worth exploring. Part of the much larger Maya Biosphere Reserve, the park includes 57,600 hectares of wetlands, savannah, tropical broadleaf and palm forests that are home to Jaguars, Pumas, several species of monkeys and anteaters, and more than 300 species of birds.

Top 10 National Parks- Torres del Paine National Park

Torres del Paine National Park (Chile)

This gem in Chilean Patagonia is part of the Sistema Nacional de Áreas Silvestres Protegidas del Estado de Chile (National System of Protected Forested Areas of Chile). Encompassing 242,242 hectares and averaging around 150,000 annual visitors, it’s among the largest and most visited parks in Chile.

Its attractions are many. There’s the blue icebergs of Lago Grey that break off from Grey Glacier, part of the Southern Patagonian Ice Field (the world’s second largest contiguous ice field outside of the poles). There’s wildlife such as Foxes, Huemul Deer, Guanacos, Pumas and the massive Andean Condor. There is the archaeological history of the Milodon Caves, and ancient wall art along the Fauna Trail.

But the park’s most distinctive features are the three granite peaks of the Paine Massif, which rises 9,350 feet above sea level. The surrounding valleys, rivers and lakes provide the scenic foreground, but these “Towers of Blue” (for which the park is named) are Patagonia’s most majestic natural wonder.  –Bret Love; photos by Bret Love & Mary Gabbett unless otherwise noted

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Top 10 National Parks in the World

BIO: Bret Love is a journalist/editor with 23 years of print and online experience, whose clients have ranged from the Atlanta Journal Constitution and American Airlines to National Geographic and Yahoo Travel. Along with his wife, photographer/videographer Mary Gabbett, he is the co-founder of ecotourism website Green Global Travel and Green Travel Media.

Learn more about touring Corcovado National Park with private bilingual, local guides at www.crocodilebay.com

A History of Costa Rica’s Osa Peninsula

The GoldWalker, a Historical Documentary of the Osa Peninsula – The Official Trailer

The Unique History of Costa Rica’s Osa Peninsula – 5 Years in the Making!

We hope you enjoy this special gift from Crocodile Bay Resort and StepOut Entertainment. For those of you who have experienced Crocodile Bay Resort in the past this presentation will enable you to better understand the magic of the Osa Peninsula.

We are pleased to offer our guests and newsletter subscribers a “first look” of this yet to be released documentary featuring the Osa Peninsula –  which at one point in time,  was on the brink of destruction. From a penal colony in the the early 1900’s; to the discovery of gold in the rivers, and a period of deforestation that was almost the end of the Osa. There are few places in the world where the regions natural beauty is only surpassed by the amazing history behind it. Enjoy the show!

Register Here to Watch the Full Feature Video!



About the Creator:
gramaha-1.jpgIf you have ever considered running away from the high stress conventional existence that so many of us experience in big cities today, Christopher Graham is an inspiration that escaping is indeed possible. In another life Chris was a trader in the financial world who decided to take a sabbatical from his high stress job; he did just that, and has never looked back since; this was 14 years ago!

In his pursuit to fulfill his desire to make a difference as an environmentalist, he involved himself in variety of local initiatives in the Osa Peninsula; a region renowned worldwide for its biodiversity; and over the course of the last 14 years he managed to produce a series of documentaries ranging from unplugging from everyday life, to capturing the essence of the Osa and its rich history on film. Christopher’s most ambitious initiative was the creation of a documentary that focused on The Osa Peninsula at a time that the region was on the brink of destruction.

In conjunction with Crocodile Bay Resort, Chris is pleased to offer you, our valued past guest and clients, a “first look” of this yet to be released documentary. We hope you enjoy the never before seen historical images featuring remote locations dating back to the early settlers.

This presentation has been created without sponsorship, and was 5 years in the making. We hope that you enjoy this educational journey in a region that many of you are already familiar with; and should you enjoy it, we encourage you to make a donation of $2.00 or more towards the creation of additional documentaries.


The Best Costa Rica Eco Tours – Exploring the Osa Peninsula

leaveyourcomfortzone2When it comes to adventure and Costa Rica eco tours, the small country of Costa Rica offers more options than most 10 times it’s size; the trick is to find the region of the country that offers the most complete variety of Costa Rica eco tours and activities  – on land, water, and even air…for thrill and adventure seekers of all ages and skill levels. Costa Rica has so many geographically and biologically diverse regions, it’s almost like four or five destinations packed into one. With a Pacific and Caribbean coast, cloud forest, the central Talamanca mountain range, and lowland tropical primary and secondary rainforest, you definitely want to research the activities each region has to offer. Costa Rica’s Osa Peninsula, has emerged as Costa Rica’s “Crown Jewel” and is unparalleled in the country when it comes to rural eco tourism including access to Corcovado National Park and a plethora of other unspoiled tropical rainforest, beach and  protected marina areas. Crocodile Bay Resort, was built by the Williams family from California in 1999, and originally catered to professional anglers – they quickly realized catch and release sport fishing for marlin and sailfish was only a fraction of what one could experience in Costa Rica’s Southernmost Peninsula.

Costa Rica ToursOffering over 30 unique adventure eco tours, cultural experiences, and relaxing day trips, Crocodile Bay is a complete vacation destination with something for everyone. Zip-line through the canopy of Central America’s largest coastal rainforest (offering three zip-line tours with varying degrees of scenery and difficulty). Tour options also include jungle and mangrove kayaking, hiking, primate tours, a visit to an animal sanctuary, biking, horseback riding, snorkeling, chocolate farm visit, and the list goes on.

More Photos:

Costa Rica Fishing Red-brocket_Deer  pejeperrito_lagoon more_than_700_trees ant_eater Sirena_trails

For more information watch the  video above or visit Crocodile Bay Resort directly www.crocodilebay.com

OR learn more about owning  luxury, branded Costa Rica residences here.

Costa Rica Summer Vacations

Crocodile Bay has long been known as one of the premier sport fishing destinations in the world. What is little known is that Crocodile Bay is a complete vacation destination located in the area of Costa Rica National Geographic Magazine has referred to as “The most biologically intense place on Earth.”  The other little known fact is that Crocodile Bay Resort offers 30 unique Costa Rica tour options that include zip lining, snorkeling, birding, hiking, biking, dolphin and whale watching, monkey tours, guided kayak fishing, surf casting, chocolate tour, botanical gardens, paddle boarding, surfing, sea turtle rescue and more.

It’s very common for elite anglers to wrap up a great Costa Rica vacation at Crocodile Bay Resort and say “Wow..I’m coming back here with the whole family”. With a luxury Spa to top off the experience, Crocodile Bay Resort truly is  a unique vacation destination that has something to offer those of all ages and skill levels.

We hope you enjoy this Costa Rica travel video designed to educate you about the magic you and your family or significant other can experience in one of the most amazing vacation destinations on Earth.

For reservation information call 1.800.733.1115 or visit www.crocodilebay.com

Fierce and Scary, Not Really: The Endangered Wildcats of The Osa Peninsula

Small Wildcat of Costa Rica
Image Source: Costaricabedfinder.com

Wildcats may look fierce and scary to most people but they are among the most critically endangered species in the world. Six species of wildcats are native to Costa Rica, and five of them can be found in the Osa Peninsula: jaguars, pumas, margay cats, ocelots, and jaguarondis. Jaguars are the most threatened of the six species. The wildcats of Costa Rica live in remote mountainous areas and in nature reserves. The multitude of nature reserves throughout Costa Rica has played a critical role in protecting not only wildcats but other endangered species as well. The main threat wildcats face is due to poaching and habitat loss. The more areas that are protected the better chance endangered species have of surviving and rebuilding their populations to healthy levels. Continue reading Fierce and Scary, Not Really: The Endangered Wildcats of The Osa Peninsula

By Land or By Sea: Kayaking and Mountain Biking in the Osa Peninsula are Great Activities for a Family Vacation

Family Vacation in Costa Rica's Osa Peninsula
Image Source: Serendipityadventures.com

When planning a family vacation finding the right activities that keep your kids out of mischief and that even the adults can enjoy are key to a successful vacation. Mountain biking and kayaking are two great day activities that everyone can do and no one will be bored!  You can explore the rustic countryside and rainforest by bike or travel along one of the many waterways in this region. Either way you are guaranteed to spot lots of wildlife ranging from white-faced monkeys, Scarlet Macaws, alligators, dolphins and whales just to name a few. You can also gauge the difficulty and length of the trek to suit your experience level and your family needs. Every family has different needs finding a a hotel or resort that can cater to your needs and  provide your family with the best experience is a critical factor when deciding where to stay. Continue reading By Land or By Sea: Kayaking and Mountain Biking in the Osa Peninsula are Great Activities for a Family Vacation

Skip Black Friday and Give Thanks with your Loved Ones: Gratitude and a Holiday Family Vacation in Costa Rica

Black Friday Crowds
Image Source: Southernsavers.com

Thanksgiving is quickly approaching along with the biggest retail day in the year, Black Friday. Which one do you choose: being in an over crowded mall and stuck in a traffic jam to buy the latest gadget or spending a relaxing fun day with family and loved ones?  As Thanksgiving approaches many people are contemplating what to do with the time, why not take advantage of the long weekend and spend time with the people that mean the most to you?  If you and your family are on vacation, hopefully somewhere warm like Costa Rica, or even at home this Thanksgiving how about rounding up the troops and having everyone write down five things they are thankful for and why. This exercise is something you can easily do at the table whether it is your own or at a resort. Continue reading Skip Black Friday and Give Thanks with your Loved Ones: Gratitude and a Holiday Family Vacation in Costa Rica

Get Out of Town This Thanksgiving! Travel to Costa Rica with Your Family for the Holidays

Costa Rica Family Thanksgiving
Image Sources: Costaricavacationplanning.com Accuweather.com

Thanksgiving is the biggest travel day in America with packed airports and roads, not to mention the super long lines in stores often with screaming kids in tow.  Maybe the best option for Thanksgiving and avoiding the inevitable mess in the kitchen is hopping a plane with your family, and maybe even bring your in-laws, to Costa Rica’s Osa Peninsula.  You can spend real quality time with your family while someone else takes care of the shopping and cooking for you.  Thanksgiving brings to mind images of football, overeating, pumpkin pie, and afternoon naps but what about swapping those activities for fishing, hiking through an exotic rainforest, waterfall rappelling or just being pampered in one of the most exotic places in the world?  Due to the large number of expats and American travelers, Thanksgiving is widely celebrated in Costa Rica making it a great place to jet to during the holidays. It is only a few hours from most airport hubs in the USA and right now travel deals and specials are still possible. Continue reading Get Out of Town This Thanksgiving! Travel to Costa Rica with Your Family for the Holidays

These Are A Few of My Favorite Things: Surfing and Fishing in Costa Rica’s Legendary Matapalo

Matapalo Costa Rica
Image Source: Crocodilebay.com

When one thinks of Costa Rica two things pop into most minds: surfing and fishing and for both Matapalo is a paradise. With dreamy images of sandy deserted beaches, open waters, sunny days and removed from the hectic life of modern day civilization. It’s remoteness, laid back culture, biodiversity makes it an excellent spot to unwind and rejuvenate. Matapalo is located on the southern tip of the Osa Peninsula in the Southern Pacific Ocean. It is a pristine environment that is a hideaway for surfers and anglers. It is difficult to access and the best way to get there is by taking a boat across the peninsula for a day trip. Here you will spot monkeys climbing in jungle trees along the beach and an abundance of other wildlife. It attracts an international crowd of anglers and surfers every year. Continue reading These Are A Few of My Favorite Things: Surfing and Fishing in Costa Rica’s Legendary Matapalo

Ecotourism is the New Chic: Traveling in Style and Sustainably in Costa Rica

Sustainable Travel
Image Source: Fodors.com

Winter vacation is approaching, and it is time to think about traveling in style and sustainably. Climate change is headline news bringing with it a renewed commitment to environmental responsibility. As the east coast of the USA recovers from Hurricane Sandy, climate change is back on the agenda.  The world’s poorest are calling upon Obama to implement climate policy while solar power is being brought to the devastated people of Long Island through the volunteer efforts of Greenpeace, and Costa Rica begins to implement a plan to combat climate change. It appears, for a moment, the whole world has moved from watching to acting. Without a healthy planet, humans can’t lead lead healthy lives. Taking steps to make sure your next vacation is sustainable and supports ecotourism is good for both the planet and your spirit. By participating in ecotourism, you help protect the environment by supporting sustainable business practices. Continue reading Ecotourism is the New Chic: Traveling in Style and Sustainably in Costa Rica