Did you know that Guanacaste is home to a protected conservation area, comprising 147,000 hectares of land and sea across the north west of Costa Rica? Naturally, it’s home to a rich mosaic of diverse ecosystems, touching everything from Pacific coastal lowlands to dry forest and expansive wetlands.
This visually dramatic landscape is home to a wide variety of animal and botanical life forms. To date, over 7,000 species and 900 vertebrates have been identified in the area. Endangered and protected mammals such as the Central American Tapir, Jaguar, Margay, Jaguarundi and Ocelot have been known to run free in the wild here. Brightly colored birds illuminate the skies too, with visitors often spotting the Mangrove Hummingbird, Great Green Macaw, Military Macaw and Great Curassow. At certain times of year, several types of sea turtles grace our shores, with a nesting population of critically endangered Leatherback and an expansive breeding population of the vulnerable Olive Ridley.
Over the past couple of decades, the Peninsula Papagayo region has focused on building a hub for sustainable luxury tourism. As part of our Going Green series, we’ve highlighted just a few of the countless local initiatives that help to maintain and restore the beauty of this oasis, as well as allowing you to fully explore everything that the area has to offer.
Restored coral reefs
The effects of climate change are becoming increasingly visible around the world, and Guanacaste is no exception. With rising ocean temperatures, UNESCO expects coral reefs to be unable to survive the next three decades. Peninsula Papagayo is working closely with the Costa Rican Ministry of Environment to restore the ecosystems closest to the resort in Culebra Bay. It’s a process that takes time, but is starting to show impressive results – with our Raising Coral partners achieving an acceleration of growth in the first few months that would typically take between 12 and 15 years.
Caring for flora and fauna
Conservation is at the heart of environmental investment in Peninsula Papagayo. Over the past couple of years, local teams have continued to build the flora and fauna inventories, identifying over 120 plant species and 227 new animal species. What’s more, a new Macaw sanctuary is in the process of being set up with the aim of cultivating these native species, caring for them in their natural habitat and implementing educational programming that encourages others to do the same.
Protecting the natural habitat
With so much rich wildlife and vegetation surrounding the peninsula, as well as the strong heat in high season, forest fires have the potential to create serious damage to the local environment. That’s why Peninsula Papagayo has implemented monitoring around the clock to protect the area. Firebreaks have also been put into effect in strategic places around the forests to prevent the spread of fires, should they occur. What’s more, staff are also constantly monitoring the area to prevent illegal hunting and promote the sustained growth of new animal species in Guanacaste.
If you’re looking to take a hands-on approach to valuing Guanacaste’s biodiversity and connecting with nature during your stay, we can highly recommend investigating the programs and activities of the Papagayo Explorers. This local initiative welcomes resort guests by hosting eco-adventures run by an experienced team of naturalist guides and translators. It’s the perfect way to connect with local life, learn more about all that Costa Rica has to offer and discover the surrounding natural environments through activities and itineraries that focus on giving back to the community.
Ready to experience all that sustainable luxury has to offer? Speak to our dedicated concierge team to curate your unique stay at the heart of Guanacaste.