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Puntarenas

There are three routes to reach this remote terretory: Puntarenas (ferry) - Naranjo Beach (70kms); Tempisque (ferry) - San Pablo - Jicaral - Naranjo Beach - Paquera - Cóbano - Cabuya - Headquarters (132 kms.) and Nicoya - San Pablo - Paquera - Cóbano - Cubaya - Headquarters (137 kms.).

Cabo Blanco Strict Nature Reserve consists of hills, islands, year-round rivers, cliffs, beaches of fine white sand and forests that form a mosaic of great beauty in the northern pacific Sector of Costa Rica. It protects colonies of seabirds, and clumps of rainforest on the other side of Nicoya Gulf.

The wealth of flora includes 119 species, some deciduous and other evergreen, which grow over the plateaux and steep hills that end in cliffs, rocky platforms, mounds of pebbles and sandy beaches. Typical of the forests are the spiny cedar, with specimens as tall as 50 metres, chaperno, gumbo-limbo, espave, terciopelo, red berry, lemonwood, balsam, yellow cortez, Panama wood, mayflower and chicle tree. Other species that grow in these forests are the royal and viscyo palms, agra, cow foot and white lianas. The lush foliage provides refuge for species of wildlife, such as grey squirrel, tiger cats, agouties, white tailed deer, pacas, howler and white-faced capuchin and spider monkeys. Other inhabitants of the forest are rat eating snakes, grass snakes, boa constrictors, chunk-headed snakes, vine snakes, dark-blotched vipers and some coral snakes.

The bird life is represented, among many other species, by long-tailed manakins, magpie jays, cattle egrets, green herons, crested caracaras, elegant trogons, white-bellied chachalacas, sulphur-winged parakeets and turkey vultures.

The coasts and Cabo Blanco Island are a refuge and roosting site for brown pelicans, magnificent frigatebirds, laughing gulls, common terns, and anhingas. This is also where the largest colony in the country of brown bobbies lives, with approximatley 500 couples.

A very important component of the reserve consists of its waterways. These are short, steep and very rocky rivers that criss cross the plateau and provide fresh water even during the dry season, an infrequent feature in this region of the country, which is subjected to severe droughts that last 5-6 month. The forest manage to maintain a large amount of humidity from the rains, which are torrential from end of April until December. If Guanacaste Province had sufficient forest cover, no matter how severe the drought, its rivers would flow down to the sea without ever drying up. In this regard Cabo Blanco Strict Nature Reserve offers a lesson on the importance of protecting forests and natural resources.

This reserve is the oldest wilderness area to be protected in the country. It was created in 1963, thanks to a citizen of Swedish origin, Olof Wessberg, a nature lover who urged the Government of Costa Rica to protect some of the few forests on the Nicoya Peninsula that had survived the merciless colonisation and deforestation begun in 1950.

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The Cabo Blanco National 
 Park
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