36, Costa Rica
NileGuide Expert tip:
Turtle nesting season here lasts from March to May.
At the south-easternmost tip of Costa Rica only a few miles north of the border with Panama lies one of the largest and most diverse places in the country, Manzanillo Gandoca Wildlife Refuge. Some of the most endangered flora and fauna live within its boundaries, and it includes the only mangrove oyster beds along the coast. The refuge encompasses many rare habitats such as lowland rainforest, wetlands and mangrove swamps, and includes a 10 kilometer beach strip, a 740 acre forest, a coral reef and 2 swamps. Several species of turtles nest on the beach here, and manatees, crocodiles, caimans, tarpons and dolphins live and thrive within the Manzanillo-Gandoca Wildlife Refuge.
Entrance to the park is free, however hiring a local guide is highly suggested, as many trails are unmarked.