Marta Wildlife Refuge
The Marta Wildlife Refuge is the first protected area of Costa Rica, with 1518 hectares of which 60% of primary forest, and is part of the recognized world heritage site of UNESCO, La Amistad international Park. We can walk easily, no need to a good sport. It is also possible to camp and take a guide. In all cases it is a very rich nature that we can discover, without being disturbed by too many visitors.
In addition to Nature, this reserve offers a little history. Inside the Marta Wildlife Refuge, we can discover a former gold mine with its rail system which used donkeys to move gold. But eventually, the miners decided to focus on the conservation of Nature rather than the gold and now students and researchers use the Marta to study ecology and natural habitats.
Many trails are available in the reserve of the easiest at a medium level. One of them leads to a high vantage point and another at the ruins of the gold mine. The belvedere is located at more than 700 m above the sea level which gives a very beautiful view.
NB: A map at the entrance shows the paths, you can take a picture before start you. It is even better. The kilometers are shown on the map, but not the level of difficulty. However, here nothing is extremely difficult. As the trails are pretty well maintained. The historic trail that follows the River to the point of observation takes about 2 h 30 and is rather easy
The refuge is home to a wide variety of animals: sloths, kinkajous, ocelots, tapirs, anthills and even jaguars. However, there is when the same can likely to see anything else than very big big insects, spiders and birds. Here is a real refuge and not a tourist center, animals are not accustomed to humans as may be the case in the Park Manuel Antonio. So, with a lot of patience or luck you never know, but ultimately it's still rather reassuring.
It is recommended to take a guide, in order to not get lost, to learn a little more on the ruins and especially on the flora and fauna.
All 100 m signs show the different varieties of flora and fauna