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LIMON

NATURAL AREAS

Parks, Refuges and Protected Areas in Limon

-Tortuguero National Park: It was created in 1975 to protect the nesting areas of the green turtle (Chelonia mydas), a quest for life that takes place between July and the first days of October, being one of the most impacting natural events on the planet.
The Park, whose extension stretches over 18 thousand 946 hectares, is known as Costa Rica's Amazon for its diversity and entangled forests. More than 300 bird species and a great variety of serpents, crocodiles and caimans have been registered in here, besides the famous green turtles. With a little luck and patience you can see anteaters (Myrmecophaga tridactyla), tapirs (Tapirus terrestres) and felines.
An excellent way of meddling in and unravelling the mysteries of the forest in Tortuguero is by riding its rivers on stylised kayaks, crafts that allow great viewings of the setting and the flora. It is common to watch a great variety of birds on these rides, besides giant river otters (Pteronura brasiliensis), and manatees (Trichechus manatus), amongst other wild fauna species.
Tortuguero can be reached by air (there are airstrips inside the Park) or by river from the Port of Moin, across fluvial canals that ensure an exciting trip. It is located in the coastal zone of the Province, 84 kilometres northeast of Limon.

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    -Cahuita National Park: Splendid coral formations, beaches sheathed with mantles of white sand, diaphanous waters, sometimes calm and sometimes stormy, and a forest with exuberant flora and fauna, compose this attractive panorama of one of the most visited places on the Caribbean coast.
    The Park was created in 1970 to protect the imposing coral formations proliferating in the zone and its valuable oceanic ecosystems. Its extension on land is over one thousand hectares whilst its marine extension is of 22 thousand hectares and its coral reefs stretch for another 600 hectares.
    Its name comes from the pre-Hispanic words "kawe", a name given to the sangrillo, a local tree, and "ta", which means point, meaning "the point where the sangrillos grow".
    The beaches stand out inside this Park, their prettiness complements with the transparency of the waters caressing their shores, where the practice of scuba diving is a true pleasure, although there are places where submersions are not permitted due to the strong sea currents.
    The Park's entire coast is surrounded by palm trees, which are something like a vanguard of a prodigious misty tropical forest, habitat of howler monkeys (Alouatta sp.) and toucans (Ramphastos sp.), amongst other species, although the fauna variety and richness is also notorious in the sea.
    The reefs at Cahuita are the habitat of 123 fish species (the angelfish, the blue parrotfish and the barracuda jut out), 35 corals, 140 molluscs, 44 crustaceous and more than 120 algae species; besides flashy sea sponges and frightening sharks.
    This place is ideal for snorkelling and shooting excellent submarine pictures thanks to the fabulous coral sea-bottom. Once out of the water, one must go on treks along the forest and wading rivers and canals. With a little luck it is possible to watch wild animals in their natural environment during these excursions.
    Camping areas with toilets and potable water have been habilitated in the Park, along with natural trails and an exhibition and information centre. It is located in the Canton of Talamanca, 49 kilometres away from Limon going along the highway bound for Bribrí.



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