The RESERVA BIOLÓGICA LOMAS BARBUDAL is an impressive, though small-scale, initiative about 20km west of Bagaces, just north of Parque Nacional Palo Verde. Home to some of the last vestiges of true tropical dry forest in the region, Lomas Barbudal means “bearded hills” and that’s just what they look like, with relatively bare pates surrounded by sideburns of bushy deciduous trees. Stretches of savannah-like open grassland are punctuated by the thorny-looking shoemaker’s tree and crisscrossed by rivers and the strips of deciduous woods that hug their banks. The reserve also features isolated examples of the majestic mahogany and rosewood trees, whose deep-blood-red timber is coveted as material for furniture.

Lomas Barbudal is also rich in wildlife. If you don’t spot a howler monkey, you’ll at least likely hear one. And, this is practically the only place in Guanacaste where you have a reasonable chance of seeing the scarlet macaw. Like Parque Nacional Santa Rosa to the north, Lomas Barbudal hosts an abundance of insects – some 200 to 300 bee species alone, around 25 percent of the species of bees in the entire world. Those allergic to stings or otherwise intolerant of insects might want to give Lomas Barbudal a miss; they’re everywhere, including the aggressive Africanized bees.

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