Red-eyed tree frog at Parque Reptilandia. Photo © Christopher P. Baker.

Things to Do in and Around Dominical

Dominical is a tiny laid-back resort favored by surfers, backpackers, and the college-age crowd. The beach is beautiful albeit pebbly, and the warm waters attract whales and dolphins close to shore. If you overdose on the sun, sand, and surf, head into the lush mountains inland of Dominicalito or head east on a paved road that leads to San Isidro, winding up through the valley of the Río Barú into the Fila Costanera mountains, where you may find yourself amid swirling clouds.

Punta Piñuela in Ballena Marine National Park. Photo © Christopher P. Baker.

Costa Rica’s Ballena Marine National Park

Parque Nacional Marino Ballena protects the shoreline of Bahía de Coronado and the waters surrounding Isla Ballena. Wildlife and bird watching are rich here, but perhaps the most pleasant draw are the places to stay near the park, with beautiful bungalows and rustic cabins surrounded by acres of forest trails. After a day spent snorkeling, watching dolphins frolic, and exploring the park, you’ll be treated to incredible meals.

Blue Ctenosaur in Santa Rosa National Park. Photo © Jorasm (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons.

What to See in Costa Rica’s Santa Rosa National Park

Founded in 1972, Santa Rosa National Park was Costa Rica’s first national park. The park–divided into two sections; the more important and accessible Santa Rosa Sector to the south and the Murciélago Sector further north–is a mosaic of 10 distinct habitats, including mangrove swamp, savanna, and oak forest, and is filled with hiking trails to explore and wildlife to watch. There are also great opportunities for scuba diving and surfing.

A howler monkey at the Community Baboon Sanctuary. Photo © Lebawit Lily Girma.

The Best Wildlife Spotting in the Belize Cayes

Filled with national parks and wildlife reserves, Belize home to an estimated 145 species of mammals, 139 species of reptiles, and at least 500 species of birds, many of which can be spotted along the cayes. An island vacation doesn’t mean missing out on any of the wildlife—here is what to look out for both inland and offshore.

The Asian Golden Weaver. Photo © Kajornyot/123rf.

Planning a Visit to Tram Chim National Park

The stunning landscapes of Tram Chim National Park are awash with tall grass, flat, waterlogged land, and over 230 different aquatic birds. Visitors trace the watery avenues and flooded forests of this picturesque Delta scene by boat, spotting everything from an abundance of slender-necked storks to the vibrant yellow Asian golden weaver to towering sarus cranes.

A spider monkey relaxing in Las Lagunas Boutique Hotel. Photo © Al Argueta.

Guatemala’s Land Mammals

Guatemala’s list of native land mammals is impressive, with a large variety of exotic cats, primates, and other furry creatures. Here’s a little about popular and common species, along with when and where you’re likely to sight them.

A tapir in Costa Rica's Corcovado National Park.

Animals Found in Costa Rica

Anyone who has traveled in the tropics in search of wildlife can tell you that disappointment comes easy. But Costa Rica is one place that lives up to its reputation. Costa Rica is nature’s live theater—and the actors aren’t shy. Learn about the hundreds of animals you’re likely–and not–to spot in Costa Rica.

The red-footed booby colonizes Lighthouse Reef's Half Moon Caye, a protected breeding site. Photo © Lebawit Lily Girma.

How Travelers Can Help Stop Wildlife Poaching in Belize

You are guaranteed to see wildlife in Belize, whether in the wild or in captivity. However, some poached birds and wildlife are often sold on the international market, while others end up in Belizean homes or in businesses who want to add “color” to attract tourists. Here are simple ways you can help discourage animal poaching in Belize and all over the world.

A blue morpho butterfly sits in a person's hand.

Spotting Butterflies in Costa Rica

With nearly 1,000 identified species of butterflies (approximately 10 percent of the world total), Costa Rica is a lepidopterist’s paradise. You can barely stand still for one minute without checking off a dozen dazzling species. Here’s more about the amazing and unique species you’ll spot, along with the best times to go searching.

A bananaquit poses on a branch on St. John, U.S. Virgin Islands.

Birds of the Virgin Islands

Birds are some of the most delightful animals of the Virgin Islands, and birders will be rewarded by the colors, acrobatics, and songs of the island residents. Near the sea, there is usually no better show than the one put on by pelicans, which glide (look: no wing flapping) far above the ocean surface only […]