The dry North West


The lowlands of the dry northwest more or less coincide with the province of Guancaste and includes the northern

Costa Rica's dry nothwest
Costa Rica’s dry nothwest

lowlands and foothills between the Nicaraguan border and more or less Parque Nacional Carara. This ecozone looks completely different than the rest of Costa Rica. Due to the longer and more severe dry season, the northwest is where the last remaining areas with  tropical dry forest can be found in the country. Typical trees of a tropical dry forest loose their leaves and produce colourfull flower explosions during the dry season between more or less half November and May. Examples are the Pink “Carao” (cassia grandis), the orange “poro” (erythrina poeppigiana) and the yellow “Saíno” (caesalpinia eriostachys). Tropical dry forest can be found more or less from the Pacific side from Mexico till central Costa Rica, but is on of the most threatened ecosystems in Central America, since most of has been converted in agricultural area. Large natural areas of tropical dry forests in Costa Rica can still be found in Parque Nacional Palo Verde, Parque Nacional Santa Rosa, Parque Nacional Guancaste and the lower parts of Parque Nacional Rincon de la Vieja. The avifauna of this part of the country looks very different then in the rest of Costa Rica with som spectacular typical tropical dry forest species like White-throated Magpie-jay, Turqoise-browed Motmot, Long-tailed Manakin and Pacific Screech Owl. Others are Rufous-naped and Banded Wren, Orange-fronted Parakeet, White-fronted Parrot and Lesser Ground Cuckoo. Besides tropical dry forests the dry northwest is also important for its wetland area around the Tempisque River and Palo Verde National Park. This is a very important area for the wintering and migration of northern aquatic birds and as breeding grounds for the resident storks, including the endangered Jabirú and egrets. The typical dry forest birds and many waterbirds make the nothwestern part of Costa Rica very different than the rest of Costa Rica and justifies including it in your Costa Rica birding trip. Costa Rica birding lodges withing the drier northwest with good birding that we reccomand are La Ensenada Lodge, OTS biological station Palo Verde and Hotel Villa Lapas.