Neah Bay. Photo © Tim Gohrke/123rf.

One-Week Itinerary: Best of the Olympic Peninsula

One of the best parts about the Olympic Peninsula is that you don’t need to stray far from its main thoroughfare, Highway 101, to experience a good number of area highlights. Highway 101 travels around the perimeter of the peninsula and Olympic National Park, making it possible to see the best the area has to offer in a limited amount of time.

Samuel H. Boardman Scenic Corridor. Photo © Strekoza2/Dreamstime.

Top 10 Photo Ops on the Oregon Coast

The Oregon coast is so photogenic that both professional and amateur photographers vie for the best shots, which, given coastal conditions, can be challenging. While there are stunning vistas around nearly every corner, here are some can’t-miss photo opportunities and tips for making the most of cloudy or foggy days.

El Brujo Waterfall in Chocoyero-El Brujo Natural Reserve. Photo © Tomas Benavente/123rf.

Spend a Night at Chocoyero-El Brujo Nature Reserve

Less than 28 kilometers away from downtown Managua is a little pocket of wilderness so vibrant with wildlife you’ll forget the capital is literally just over the horizon. The Chocoyero-El Brujo Nature Reserve a naturalist’s paradise; among hardwood forests and pineapple farms, you’ll find waterfalls, hiking, and camping alongside numerous species of birds, mammals, reptiles and amphibians.

Spotting a green iguana in Tortuguero National Park. Photo © Christopher P. Baker.

Wildlife Viewing in Tortuguero National Park

Tortuguero National Park is a mosaic of deltas on an alluvia plain nestled between the Caribbean coast on the east and low-lying volcanic hills to the west. The park protects the nesting beach of the green turtle, the offshore waters, and the wetland forests extending inland.

A wild turkey strutting through one of Guatemala's archeological sites.

Exploring Biotopo Mario Dary Rivera, Guatemala

Also known as the Quetzal Biotope, only a small part of Biotopo Mario Dary Rivera is open to visitors, but there’s plenty to keep you busy. Nature lovers and hikers for sure will want to stop here; the Biotope’s convenient roadside location means that if you’re on your way to or from Cobán, it’s easy to do.

White-faced Capuchin monkey. Photo © Roy Luck, licensed Creative Commons usage.

Wildlife Gardens Around Monteverde

A growing number of wildlife attractions are found in and around Monteverde’s cloud forest as well as north of Santa Elena village. You’ll find bugs, birds, butterflies, bats, and an amazing range of other cloud forest critters. Check out these gardens, exhibits, and reserves.

Peccary at La Selva Biological Station. Photo © Christopher P. Baker.

Plan a Visit to La Selva Biological Station

One of Costa Rica’s premier birding sites, La Selva Biological Station offers guided nature walks with phenomenal wildlife viewing. There are a handful of tours offered, including an early-bird walk and for those who choose to overnight in comfortable dormitories, a nocturnal tour.

Rafters passing through lowland rainforest on the Río Naranjo. Photo © Christopher P. Baker.

Outdoor Activities Near Quepos, Costa Rica

The small yet booming port town of Quepos is the gateway for travelers heading to Costa Rica’s Parque Nacional Manuel Antonio, seven kilometers south over a sinuous mountain road lined with hotels, restaurants, and bars. It’s a great base for all kinds of outdoor activities and adventures from sportfishing to horseback riding. You can mangrove estuaries, wildlife habitats, embark on an in-depth farm ecotour experience, and all of that is just for starters.

Currasow. Photo © Christopher P. Baker.

Explore La Garita, Costa Rica

La Garita is an excellent stop for nature lovers, boasting a botanical orchid garden and a wildlife rescue center that welcomes visitors to explore its expansive grounds. There are also two lovely places to stay–one modestly appointed but wonderfully comfortable and the other a far more lavish, luxurious property–that make the trip especially pleasant.

Ridley turtles during an arribada at Playa Camaronal. Photo © Christopher P. Baker.

Sea Turtle Nesting Sites in Costa Rica

Five of the world’s seven species of marine turtles nest on Costa Rica’s beaches, and you can see turtles laying eggs somewhere in Costa Rica virtually any time of year. Most of the important nesting sites in Costa Rica are now protected, and access to some is restricted; there are many more dangers to sea turtle populations than humans. Learn about the sites and the cycle of sea turtle reproduction from nesting to hatching.