Lomas Barbudal Biological Reserve
Costa Rica's extensive system of national parks and biological reserves contains areas which have been set aside to specifically protect nesting beaches for sea turtles, marshlands for wintering migrant waterfowl, nesting sites for seabirds, volcanoes, coral reefs, archeological sites, limestone caves, and on and on. But if Lomas Barbudal was declared a biological reserve to specifically protect anything, then it is insects.
The 2,279 ha. of dry forest habitat and patches of evergreen forests along the streams in the reserve are estimated to hold 240 species of bees; it's anybody's guess how many different kinds of beetles, flies, and butterflies inhabit this relatively small reserve.
However, if insects aren't your thing, Lomas Barbudal has excellent birdwatching potential for the species that occur in tropical dry forest (e.g., Long-tailed Manakin, Turquoise-browed Motmot, Stub-tailed Spadebill, Olive Sparrow, and Black-headed Trogon). In the dry season, mammals can usually be found enjoying the cool shade of the evergreen forest along the Cabuyo River. Mantled Howler Monkeys, White-throated Capuchin Monkeys, Variegated Squirrels, Banded Anteaters, and Tayras (an all black member of the weasel family) are among the possible species that can be seen here.
When the hillside forests turn brown and leafless in the dry season, some visual relief is given by the colorful blossoms of flowering trees that dot the landscape -- and provide pollen and nectar to all those bees!
Getting there: From Bagaces, continue north on the PanAmerican Highway for about 12 km. and look for a sign indicating the left turn onto a gravel road that takes you the remaining 4 km. to the reserve entrance.
Climate: Hot year-round with a pronounced dry season from December through April.
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