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Manatees, bats and off the beaten track...

Brighton, United...
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Manatees, bats and off the beaten track...

Hello people,

I'm definitely going to be in Costa Rica again this summer. Flights confirmed, yayyyyyy! I will be learning Spanish Mon-Fri but have weekends to travel.

My questions are

1) I know there are some manatees in Costa Rica, but has anyone got any recommendations of the best places to see them? Are there any specific animal groups working with manatees? I'm really interested in them, but I'm not sure how common the sightings are...

2) Best place to see bats?

3) Any ideas for things that are less touristy and more of the real Costa Rica. I want to improve my Spanish, so don't want to be surrounded by english-speaking people all/ any of the time! I'm staying with Costa Ricans in the middle of the country, so easy to get anywhere. I'm a biologist, so particularly into wildlife if that helps!

Thanks for any advice you may have! I'm so excited and I'd really appreciate any input so I can start planning properly.

Muchas gracias :-)

Pacific Trade Winds
Sightseeing Tours, Nature & Wildlife Tours
Nasua Tours
Walking Tours, Night Tours, Nature & Wildlife Tours, Sightseeing Tours, Private Tours
Manuel's Tours
Eco Tours, Night Tours, Sightseeing Tours, Private Tours, Nature & Wildlife Tours
London, United...
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1. Re: Manatees, bats and off the beaten track...

This might appeal to you:


This seems to suit most of your needs for 3), especially if you're a biologist, and is about as far off the beaten track as you can get although it's not owned by a Tico - it's run by a Brit in fact. You'd still be able to practice your Spanish, mind you, as there are Ticos about. However, because of its remoteness (it's roughly 6 hours from SJ), you'd be hard-pressed getting in and out for a weekend.

Regarding 1) and 2) - When I visited, I didn't see any bats or manatees.

Enjoy your trip!

Punta Uva, Costa...
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2. Re: Manatees, bats and off the beaten track...

costacetacea.com/oceantribes/manatees.html i have never seen any, but some have in the Gandoca Manzanillo Reserve near the mouth of the Sixaola River.

Playa Guiones...
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for Nosara
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3. Re: Manatees, bats and off the beaten track...

Seeing the manatees near the Sixaola River makes sence tome.I've never seen any in Costa Rica at all, but have seen them around Bocas Del Toro. Since Sixaola is at the border of Panama, that would be your best bet in Costa Rica. I have seen bats on many river tours, including tours around Jaco, Sierpe and even on the Nosra River. I've had bats in my hotel (sold now) and bats in my house in Nosara. You'll have better luck with bats than manatees.

Isla Bastimentos
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4. Re: Manatees, bats and off the beaten track...

The manatees at the Sixaola river are very rare and exciting to see. You should stay at the San San Pond Sak Reserve in Panama, close to the Costa Rica/Panama border. You may also sight a few species of Sea Turtles if you're there at the right time of year. Consider coming to Bocas del Toro for we have 2 bat caves, one on Isla Colon and a better one on Isla Bastimentos, with several species including Vampire bats. Large Fish bats abound in the Bocas archipeligo, flying low over the sea at nite. There is a Smithsonian Museum research centre in Bocas town where many visiting scientists come and do research. Dr Lewis Black or "The Batman" as we call him is from Florida and does research here.

Brighton, United...
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5. Re: Manatees, bats and off the beaten track...

Hola! Thanks for the suggestions and taking the time to answer.

I'm now adding another new place to my list of possibles (maybe 5 weeks isn't long enough!). I'm definitely going to look into heading down into that area, but I'm taking on board that seeing manatees isn't so easy :-(

Has anyone seen any up near Tortuguero? I spent a week in Cahuita at the sloth sanctuary before and I love the caribbean coast but I've never been any further north. Thanks so much :-)

San Jose, Costa Rica
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6. Re: Manatees, bats and off the beaten track...

Some old people around Tortuguero...talk about seen many manatees...I have never seen one and I used to spend long weeks living in Tortuguero...in theory they are there...but only God knows where...sorry!


7. Re: Manatees, bats and off the beaten track...

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