Wetlands are marshy areas that produce much of the world’s oxygen and protect watersheds for human consumption. Costa Rica has 11 inland and coastal sites designated as Wetlands of International Importance.
Caño Negro Wildlife Refuge, a shallow freshwater lagoon that attracts breeding or migrating water birds. Gandoca-Manzanillo National Park on our Caribbean coast shelters a coastal lagoon consisting of coral reefs, sea grass beds and beaches that provide an important area for nesting sea turtles. Palo Verde National Park holds permanent, shallow, freshwater lagoons, associated marshes and seasonally flooded woodland and mangroves. Tamarindo Wildlife Refuge shelters a coastal area under tidal influence with permanent saline wetlands with a large mangrove forest. Terraba-Sierpe Reserve is some of the most spectacular mangrove forests of the country, sheltering estuaries of two rivers, lagoons, and a palm swamp forest.