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“Monkeys galore”

Curu National Wildlife Refuge
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Private EcoAdventure Tour in Santa Teresa
Ranked #3 of 10 things to do in Nicoya
Certificate of Excellence
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Owner description: Privately owned, this refuge has excellent birding and wildlife watching.
Level Contributor
88 reviews
14 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 56 helpful votes
“Monkeys galore”
Reviewed 5 March 2013

We happened upon this private wildlife preserve by chance. What an amazing place, although you can't tell by your first impression. We noticed a small sign pointing to the monkey area, so we took the path and found a refuge for injured spider monkeys. We were delighted with the sighting, especially with one fellow who got up on his feet and walked around bi-pedally for a few moments. On we went around a path we found, congratulating ourselves on the excitement of seeing the monkeys. Suddenly we found ourselves in a breathtaking forest with a howler monkey overhead. Then we saw another, and another, and another... you get the idea. Scores of them in the trees, chattering away at us. After 15 or 20 minutes (and hundreds of photos!) we moved on a ways, only to encounter a huge group of Capucin monkeys, so-called because the back two-thirds of their bodies is black and the head and neck are white, like a cappuccino. We saw lots of other wildlife as well on our walk - birds and lizards and deer - and practically no other people. The walk through the forest was nearly all level, so it wasn't difficult at all. This is a GREAT place to go with children, even small children, who will get a huge kick out of the monkeys.

Visited July 2012
2 Thank DlovesJ
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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97 reviews from our community

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Date | Rating
  • English first
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English first
Santa Teresa, Costa Rica
Level Contributor
7 reviews
4 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
“A place you must visit if you are in the area.”
Reviewed 23 January 2013

Been leaving here for over 12 years and this is the greatest place to see wildlife in the area.
The property is huge and they have many trails you can wonder.
Their beach and river form an amazing scenery...
They are right across Tortuga Islands, about 10 minutes on a boat, and the take by far the cheapest fare for snorkeling trips.
They also rent kayaks that you can enjoy in the calm water bay or through the river, mostly during high tides.
I've been there with my whole family when visiting the area (including 3 children, 3, 5 and 6 years old) and we all loved the whole day trip to the Refuge.
I totally recommend visiting this place, no guided assistance needed but could be provided if you ask them in the place.

Visited July 2012
1 Thank BabsCarr
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Washington, DC
Level Contributor
36 reviews
4 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 36 helpful votes
“This is not a national park”
Reviewed 14 January 2013

The folks at Curu would like to see themselves as a national park. They put up the same yellow and brown signs as the other parks in Costa Rica. They have nice trails. They have all the signs that the parks have that warn you to "leave only your footprints" and "don't feed the animals."
But the first clue something was odd was that they were openly feeding the monkeys dozens of bananas. That was right next to a sign saying not to feed the monkeys!
We were told this is a farm applying to be a national park so they can get tax benefits, but that's where it ends.
On the plus side, we did see three scarlot McCaw's over head. That's unforgettable.
I just hope they start playing by the same rules that are required of guests, because the monkeys were fighting with each other and scaring people - unlike anything I've seen in the other parks in CR I've visited over the years.

Visited December 2012
3 Thank dsheon
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
San Diego, California
Level Contributor
3 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 23 helpful votes
“Excellent Wildlife”
Reviewed 2 January 2013

I really enjoyed visiting the Curu Wildlife Refuge. I was staying in Tambor at Tang Mar (excellent place, if you're still looking) and my husband & I drove to Curu one day for the Isla Special tour -- a guided hike through Curu and a boat trip and snorkeling to Tortuga Island. The tour was $50, plus $10 for lunch (optional) and $10 for entrance to Curu. It was easy to book online (http://www.curutourism.com/en/packages) in advance and I paid with PayPal.

Our tour began with a short boat trip, snorkeling and a stop at Tortuga Island. Our guide, I believe his name was Juan, was pretty knowledgeable and very laid back. He was really flexible and let us determine how long we wanted to snorkel. It was just my husband and I and two others on the tour. The snorkeling was fun, but not the best in the world. Our guide was really helpful at helping us identify the fish we saw. Afterwards, we went to Tortuga Island and enjoyed some fresh coconut and pineapple. The island was very small, uninhabited and there didn't seem like there was much to do. They do have some beautiful parrots, including a scarlet macaw, that you can see in front of the visitor shop. I had a great time taking up close pictures!

Afterwards, we headed back to Curu for our lunch and hike. The lunch was "typical" Costa Rican food-- fish, rice, beans and fruit. The hike was great and we saw a lot of animals, including white-face monkeys, howler monkeys, spider monkeys and deer. Our guide was really knowledgeable about plants, but it wasn't really necessary to have a guide to see the animals. There are well marked trails and the animals make lots of noise, so as long as you are relatively quiet, you will spot them!

If you're nearby, I'd recommend a visit to Curu while you're in Costa Rica.

Visited November 2012
1 Thank jinxj
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Tadley, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
9 reviews
5 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
“Curu Refuge - Priceless!”
Reviewed 21 December 2012

An amazing, small, accessible private park where a multitude of animals, birds and reptiles can be seen without much walking and without crowds. We visited, with an overnight stay, as early morning and evening are the best times to see the amazing variety of wildlife there.

The accommodation is very basic, but right on the beach and very private. I don't mind back-packing so it was great for us, but those wanting creature comforts might want to consider staying elsewhere and booking tours for the early morning or evening.

I kept a blog when travelling by bicycle at the time. Here is the content for one of the days:

The beach hut was basic but lovely being totally private and overlooking the beach which was less than 5m from the door. Couldn’t resist a quick swim and lunch sat on driftwood on the sand.. Animals were everywhere… and the entry fee and hut cost of US$50 was definitely money well spent . We did three walking routes before dusk and each one was truly amazing. (So many birds including 3 different kingfishers, loads of woodpecker varieties (inc. one with a wacky red head reminiscent of “road runner”, butterflies, armadillos, gautusos (rabbit sized cute rat), iguanas, 3 types of monkeys, deer, a large troop of coatamundi, dolphins and numerous crabs (all sizes and colours), sea and shore birds . We finished the evening with a dip in the sea (almost dark by then) and Jamaican rum and coke sitting on our beautiful porch.......

Got up early to make the most out of the national park. Competed another 3 walking routes (covered the whole park and a little bit more). Met a deer that was only scared of cars and not worried at all by humans, got chased by an iguana :-). After another refreshing swim and shower we hired a double sea kayak and fought against some Pacific waves, then paddled into the small estuary in to the park . Absolutely great experience.

I don't know whether TripAdvisor allows links, but here is one to our blog with pictures of the many creatures we saw when there: http://cycleroundtheworld.weebly.com/1/category/costa%20rica/1.html

Visited January 2012
1 Thank Teresa W
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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