Cueva Murcielago Wildlife Refuge Costa Rica

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Cueva Murcielago Wildlife Refuge Costa Rica was created on November 25th, 1998 in order to protect tropical forests in the coastal areas of the southern Nicoya Peninsula near Cabuya, Costa Rica.

Even though this sector of the Nicoya Peninsula receives an average of 2.3 meters of rain annually, making it the wettest part of the region, there is still a pronounced dry season from December through April. In fact, the southern zone of the peninsula receives more rain than the area to the north which results in a different look and feel in the forest.

Cueva Murcielago Wildlife Refuge is characterized by tropical moist forest with many evergreen areas, although numerous plant species found in the tropical dry forest also occur here. Around 150 trees have been identified in the zone, such as the Spiny Cedar, or “Pochote” (Bombacopsis quinata), which can be identified by the sharp, conical spines protruding from the bark, with white “shaving brush” flowers that are pollinated at night by bats, as well as the Wild Plum (Prunus americana), Gumbo-limbo (Bursera simaruba), Lancewood (Pseudopanax crassifolius) and Common Frangipani (Plumeria rubra).

Cueva Murcielago National Wildlife Refuge is home to a wide variety of animals, including Howler, Capuchin and Spider Monkeys, Coaties, Armadillos, Anteaters, Kinkajous, Agouties, Porcupines, Brocket Deers, Collard Peccaries and Raccoons, and also smaller cats such as the Ocelot and Margay leave traces, but are unlikely to be seen, although with some luck you may see the Jaguarundi, the most diurnal of Costa Rica’s six species of wild cats. A large number of birds have been recorded in the area such as the Magpie-Jay, Motmots, Long-tailed Manakin, Crested Caracara, Elegant Trogon, White-bellied Chachalaca, Sulphur-winged Parakeet and Curassows, Crested Guans. The shoreline is inhabited by many sea birds, such as Brown Pelicans, Laughing Gulls and Frigatebirds. Butterflies, such as the Blue Morpho and Owl Butterfly are common, and beware of snakes, constrictor boas have been reported.

Beaches nearby the park include Tambor, Malpais, Carmen and Santa Teresa. There are no public park facilities at Cueva Murcielago National Wildlife Refuge. Other nearby Costa Rica parks include Cabo Blanco Absolute Natural Reserve, Romelia Wldlife Refuge and Curu National Wildlife Refuge.

Getting to Cueva Murcielago Wildlife Refuge:

From San Jose take the Pan-American Highway to Puntarenas, passing through San Ramon and Barranca. Probably the easiest way to get there is by taking the Ferry to Paquera (we recommend you get to Puntarenas an hour before the ferry leaves), and then drive through Tambor, Cobano and Cabuya. To get to Montezuma, continue south for approximately 40 km from Paquera. Now you can also take the new Caldera Highway (route 27), until you get to the Puntarenas Ferry. The Caldera trip takes about 3 hours from San Jose while the other takes about 5 hours.

From Daniel Oduber Quiros International Airport (LIR), drive south through Santa Cruz, Nicoya, Nandayure, Lepanto, Paquera, and then drive through Tambor, Cobano and Cabuya. It is a very scenic trip as you go down the coast (this route exemplifies rural Costa Rica and is very beautiful).

By bus

Take a local bus from the route San Jose – Malpais – Montezuma, which takes about 5 hours (Transportes Rodriguez, 2642-0219). Take the Paquera Ferry and from there take Paquera – Cóbano bus. We recommend buying the ticket the day before to secure your space.

By plane:

You can also take a flight from the Juan Santamaria Airport to the Tambor Airport, either with Sansa Airlines or Nature Air every day. From here you can rent a car and drive to the Cueva Murcielago Wildlife Refuge, which takes about 20 minutes.

Location: near Cabuya in Puntarenas, Costa Rica.
Cabuya GPS coordinates: 9.598406,-85.089364 (9°35’54.26″N, 85°05’21.71″W)
Puntarenas Ferry GPS Coordinates: 9.977431,-84.848553 (9°58’38.75″N, 84°50’54.79″W)
Size: 93 ha (183 acres)
Altitude: sea level to 150m (942ft)
Tempisque Conservation Area (ACT) Telephone: +(506) 2686-4967 / 2686-4968
INFOTUR Tourist Information: 1192

Address map: Click here to view directions from Juan Santamaria International Airport (SJO), Alajuela, Costa Rica TO Cueva Murcielago Wildlife Refuge in Puntarenas, Costa Rica at Google Maps

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