The wildlife-rich REFUGIO DE VIDA SILVESTRE RESERVA KAREN MOGENSEN, 20km southwest of Playa Naranjo, offers the most rewarding ecotourism experience on the southern Nicoya Peninsula. This nine-square-kilometre patch of primary and secondary dry-humid tropical forest functions as both a private reserve and tourist lodge and has become the most crucial link in an expanding biological corridor that runs between the Reserva Natural Absoluta Cabo Blanco, 85km south at the end of the peninsula, and Parque Nacional Barra Honda, 50km north in Guanacaste. Named after the late Karen Mogensen, the Danish conservationist who was instrumental in creating Cabo Blanco, the reserve was established in 1996 by the local not-for-profit ASEPALECO (t 2650-0607, w www.asepaleco.com) – a name that references the peninsula’s three main towns, Paquerea, Lepanto and Cóbano.

Fence removal, tree planting and natural regeneration has returned this former patch of farmland into a fully functioning jungle ecosystem. Endangered plant species such as rónrón, mahogany, teak and ebony grow in the reserve, while white-faced and howler monkeys abound, and deer roam the forest, preyed on by elusive pumas. More than 240 species of birds have been spotted, including great curassows, motmots, long-tailed manakins, spectacled owls and three-wattled bellbirds.

Five kilometres of well-maintained hiking trails run through the reserve, leading to lookouts with jaw-dropping views of the Gulf of Nicoya as well as to one of the most breathtaking waterfalls in the country – the 18m Catarata Velo de Novia (Bridal Veil Falls), which cascades down a rounded cliffside before dropping to a deep, turquoise swimming hole.

Book through Rough Guides’ trusted travel partners

Costa Rica features

The latest articles, galleries, quizzes and videos.

The best hikes in Costa Rica

The best hikes in Costa Rica

Over a quarter of Costa Rica’s landscape is protected by its comprehensive system of national parks, wildlife refuges and biological reserves. As well as …

28 Mar 2018 • Rough Guides Editors insert_drive_file Article
9 tips for travelling in Costa Rica

9 tips for travelling in Costa Rica

Inspired by pictures of Costa Rica’s primordial-looking shores, rainforests brimming with exotic creatures and steaming volcanoes that tower above the clouds?…

03 Oct 2017 • Chloe Cann insert_drive_file Article
14 magical sunrises that prove it's worth getting up early

14 magical sunrises that prove it's worth getting up early

Looking through the Rough Guides photography archive, one kind of shot stands out again and again: pictures captured at sunrise. Sure, there's nothing more temp…

16 Apr 2015 • Eleanor Aldridge insert_drive_file Article
View more featureschevron_right

Privacy Preference Center

Necessary

Mandatory - can not be deselected. Necessary cookies help make a website usable by enabling basic functions like page navigation and access to secure areas of the website. The website cannot function properly without these cookies.

PHPSESSID,aelia_cs_selected_currency,cookie_notice_accepted,RS,bp-message,bp-message-type,id,UIDR,w3tc_logged_out,__cfduid
__cfduid

Statistics

Statistic cookies help website owners to understand how visitors interact with websites by collecting and reporting information anonymously.

__utma,__utmb,__utmc,__utmz,_ga,_gid,__atssc,__atuvc,__atuvs,di,dt,ssc,ssh,sshs,uid,uit,xt
__utma,__utmb,__utmc,__utmz,_ga,_gid
__atssc,__atuvc,__atuvs,di,dt,ssc,ssh,sshs,uid,uit,xtc

Marketing

Marketing cookies are used to track visitors across websites. The intention is to display ads that are relevant and engaging for the individual user and thereby more valuable for publishers and third party advertisers.

__gads,PISID, BEAT, CheckConnection TempCookie703, GALX, GAPS, GoogleAccountsLocale_session, HSID, LSID, LSOSID, NID, PREF, RMME, S, SAPISID, SID, SSID,__utmv, _twitter_sess, auth_token, auth_token_session, external_referer, guest_id, k, lang, original_referer, remember_checked, secure_session, twid, twll,c_user, datr, fr, highContrast, locale, lu, reg_ext_ref, reg_fb_gate, reg_fb_ref, s, wd, xs
__gads,PISID, BEAT, CheckConnection TempCookie703, GALX, GAPS, GoogleAccountsLocale_session, HSID, LSID, LSOSID, NID, PREF, RMME, S, SAPISID, SID, SSID
__utmv, _twitter_sess, auth_token, auth_token_session, external_referer, guest_id, k, lang, original_referer, remember_checked, secure_session, twid, twll
c_user, datr, fr, highContrast, locale, lu, reg_ext_ref, reg_fb_gate, reg_fb_ref, s, wd, xs