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“a must when visiting the Nicoya Peninsula!”

Curu National Wildlife Refuge
Ranked #4 of 11 things to do in Nicoya
Certificate of Excellence
More attraction details
Attraction details
Owner description: Privately owned, this refuge has excellent birding and wildlife watching.
Reviewed May 21, 2009

I would recommend a visit to Curú to everyone who travels to the Nicoya Peninsula. Acommodations are very basic, but the beautiful surroundings largely make up for that! There are several trails throughout the refuge where you can see abundant wildlife, especially monkeys. It has a beautiful beach that is virtually empty most of the time and at night you can enjoy the silence, animal sounds and starry skies. Wonderful to get away from it all. But beware of the crocodile!

2  Thank zaguate
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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79 - 83 of 121 reviews

Reviewed May 5, 2009

I always use trip advisor to plan my trips so we took a chance on this place based only on Fodor’s commentary. Here is my recap of our stay February 14-16, 2009: Curu’ was the first wildlife refuge in Costa Rica declared in 1983. It is 75 hectares- about 185 acres. It was primarily used for scientists and students and now it is also used for ecotourism. With that in mind, we expected very little. My mindset was to treat it like a camping excursion. It helps to know a little Spanish. The guard at the gate doesn’t speak English and we encountered only a few employees who spoke fluent English. We “checked in” inside the souvenir shop- a small screened in building at the end of the dirt road. The adjacent building contains a few picnic tables= the cafeteria/ dining hall. There are a few other houses in this administration area (where the employees live) and a large active garage. The cabins are stretched along the beachside. Each cabin is slightly different so ask for details when booking your reservation. We were in cabin #3 – It is a basic construction on a cement base, some beams, and a layer of drywall, some light blue paint and louvered glass windows. It was nicer than I thought it would be. We had a tiled shower with an exposed plumbing pipe for the shower head, a toilet and sink – no hot water. There was a main bedroom with a queen bed. The lace curtains were hung with thumbtacks. The other room contained 4 bunk beds. All of the windows had full screens on them which are a huge plus when you sleep in the jungle… none of the other accommodations (during this stay to CR) had screens on every window. So I was thrilled by this luxury… there were no bugs inside the cabin besides ants. However by this point of the trip I had accumulated at least 20 mosquito bites and was bitten about 20 more times during my stay at Curu’– it is about average for me. Even with bug spray, the bugs like my sweet blood. Also I just want to mention that we visited during dry season. I noticed a lot of coconut shells in the jungle that could become a haven for mosquitoes in rainy season. However there are lots of bats at night to eat them so perhaps it is no worse. This place is an eco-gem…. We saw a ton of wildlife. Here is a short list= Green and black Iguanas (3-4 ft long), Howler and Capuchin monkeys, deer, nurse sharks (under the bridge), agouti, lots of birds and butterflies. The trails are well marked and well maintained. Every inch of this place is alive and well. Pura Vida at it’s best!! As for the food - It was typical Tico fare… a modest combination of salad, veggies, fruit, rice and beans, and chicken. No complaints for $6 per person. If you are picky, bring your own food or go to town. Definitely buy a large 5 liter water jug in town before you get to Curu' as they only sell smaller bottles.. Bring a flashlight. It is pitch black at night besides the stars. Our first night, there were a few visitors outside the cabin around the doorframe. I would call them part scorpion -part spider = a 10 on the ‘eeak’ factor- I took a photo and did a thorough search of our entire room before we went to bed. When I returned home I researched the odd looking spider/scorpion and found out that it is a tailless whip scorpion (harmless- featured on Fear factor when the contestants had to eat them- Yuck!) and it belongs to the Arachnid class. Anyway, we had a few candles which made it romantic since it was Valentine’s Day. Being prepared for a place like this makes all the difference between having fun and being miserable. At night, the sounds were loud between the nocturnal creatures and the bugs. Plus the sound of the crashing waves kept waking me and giving me really funky dreams. I could feel the energy of the ocean but my husband and child slept fine.
We woke as the sun rose over the ocean. It was breathtaking. There are about 5 easy trails to hike and two more strenuous hikes that lead you to remote beaches and then you can be picked up by boat if you choose. We did not do the harder hikes since we had a 15 month old baby. We did a few hours of hiking in the morning (she napped in our arms) then we spent the afternoon on the beach. We spent 2 nights here and felt that it was sufficient for us but if you are going to do the harder hikes or maybe go snorkeling, diving, or horseback riding… perhaps stay a 3rd night. The beach was virtually deserted. There is a dive shack on the premises and a few boats near the main building but other than that we were alone. The sand was a dark grey- almost black…. There were tons of red crabs and hermit crabs. There was a lot of debris that had washed up on the beachfront. It was ugly to look at and during my daughter’s afternoon nap with a cup of vino in hand (no alcohol allowed on the premises – wink wink:) I decided to clean our portion of the beach. It felt good to do something about it. “Be the change you want to see”… after all for $40 a night it’s the least I could do to contribute to this place. I wish I had a large black trash bag at that moment…maybe I will add that to my travel packing list…LOL The list is long enough! BTW they have a basic recycling center behind each cabin= very good. Make sure to be clear and double confirm your reservations b/c we spoke to 2 separate guests who had mix ups on date of arrival and departure, etc. (We did not have a problem with this.)

7  Thank Luvitorleaveit
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 1 week ago
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed July 22, 2018 via mobile
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Reviewed July 20, 2018 via mobile
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