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How to Explore Palo Verde National Park While You Support Conservation Efforts

Conservation is a state of harmony between men and land. – Aldo Leopold

Unveiling the Beauty of Costa Rica’s Bebedero River

When you think of Costa Rica, lush rainforests, exotic wildlife, and stunning waterways often come to mind. One such hidden gem is the Bebedero River, located in the Guanacaste Province. This vital waterway winds through the heart of Palo Verde National Park.
However, like many natural treasures, it faces environmental challenges such as pollution, even in a country like Costa Rica, which is renowned worldwide for being environmentally friendly.

At Blue Pass, we believe in promoting sustainable tourism projects. For us, sustainability means adopting practices that minimize negative impacts on social, economic, and environmental areas.

In this article, we’ll explore the beauty and significance of the Bebedero River, the tireless efforts of the “Bebedero Yo Te Protejo”  (“Bebedero, I Protect You”) group in preserving it, and how our eco-friendly tours support these vital initiatives. Join us as we delve into the heart of Costa Rica and discover how you can experience its wonders responsibly.

bebedero river costa rica
The Bebedero River flows through Palo Verde National Park, supporting diverse wildlife and lush wetlands.

The Bebedero River: A River Rich in History’s Secrets

Before the Inter-American Highway was built in the 1940s, the town of Cañas and its surrounding regions in Costa Rica heavily relied on oxcarts for transportation, much like the rest of the country. These oxcarts played a crucial role in Costa Rica’s development, as detailed in the book “La Carreta Costarricense” by Láscares & Malavasi.

The Bebedero port became the gateway to Guanacaste for various cantons. Boats arrived twice a week from Puntarenas to Bebedero, facilitating the transport of goods and passengers and providing free postal services to the government. This historical significance highlights the importance of the Bebedero River not only for transportation but also for connecting communities and supporting economic development in the region.

The Bebedero River was not only a key waterway for the indigenous Corobicí and Chorotega people but also played a strategic role during the National Campaign of 1856.

Costa Rican hero Juan Santamaría and his fellow soldiers used the Bebedero River to reach key battlegrounds, including the Hacienda Santa Rosa, where they fought against the filibusters. The river facilitated the movement of troops and supplies, highlighting its importance in both historical conflicts and everyday life.

Today, the Bebedero River remains a vital part of the region’s heritage, supporting conservation efforts and eco-tourism initiatives.



What Is “Bebedero Yo Te Protejo” (“Bebedero, I Protect You”)?

Origins and Motivation

In 2019, facing the increasing pollution of the Bebedero River, Blue Pass Hub, together with other governments and private companies, initiated a mission to protect this crucial ecosystem. Rocío Fernández  from Taboga, an agro-industrial company traditionally dedicated to the cultivation of sugarcane and the production of sugar, alcohol, and electricity, recalls the following:

“The degradation impacted both tourism and local life, which spurred the creation of “Bebedero Yo Te Protejo” (“Bebedero, I Protect You”). The group’s goal was clear: to foster a culture of conservation and protection for the river and positively impact the communities surrounding it.”

A Multi-faceted Approach to Conservation

To achieve their mission, “Bebedero Yo Te Protejo” formed vital partnerships with institutions from the government sector, like the Ministry of Health and the Municipality of Cañas, private companies from the industry sector like the one that Rocío represents, and from the tourism sector like us.

These collaborations have been instrumental in preserving the area’s rich historical and cultural heritage, benefiting the local community immensely.

Flyer to Promote Activities Organized by the Group at the Community
Flyer to Promote Activities Organized by the Group at the Community


Community Impact 

The Bebedero River begins at the confluence of the Bebedero and Tenorio Rivers, making it a vital waterway for aquatic flora and fauna. This area also hosts three hydroelectric power plants from the Arenal reservoir, highlighting the river’s importance for energy production.

The “Bebedero Yo Te Protejo” initiative, supported by different sectors, underscores the diverse uses and benefits of the river, including its role in tourism.

Carlos Quirós from ICE, our Costa Rican Institute of Electricity, emphasizes the strategic importance of partnerships within the tourism sector and private sector initiatives.

The alliance brings together key players like local tour operators who facilitate trips from Bebedero to the Tempisque River. ICE contributes by managing the water levels in the reservoirs and supporting infrastructure projects that benefit the surrounding communities.

Educational and Entrepreneurial Opportunities

The collaboration also extends to educational and entrepreneurial programs. The National Institute of Learning (INA) offers courses for entrepreneurs, helping to foster a culture of sustainability and economic growth in the region. This joint effort aims to provide the necessary infrastructure and support for community-driven initiatives. Usually, these meetings are held in Blue Pass Hub facilities during the low season or when tours are not running, as a way to support the project.

historical ports bebedero
Blue Pass Facilites at Bebedero Port

Impactful Projects and Activities

community volunteers river cleanupMonthly Work Plan: The group operates with a well-structured monthly plan, including activities such as “Limpiatón” (clean-up events), “Mini Llanta Ton” (small tire collection drives), and the “Family Gardens” project. These initiatives not only help clean the river but also promote food self-sufficiency among local families in the communities.

Mini Llanta Ton: In this project, over 600 used tires were collected, significantly reducing waste and environmental hazards in the area.

Community Gardens: Initially, a community garden was established, but it was destroyed by a flood. Undeterred, the group adapted by creating individual gardens. These gardens grow plants like paste (a natural vine), tomatoes, cilantro, onions, and lettuce, which are sold and traded within the community.
Blue Flag Initiative: The Ecologic Blue Flag Program was established to enhance public health and promote tourism activities. Today, it encompasses ten categories and is managed by various public sector institutions and private organizations. This prestigious award is granted annually.

The group’s efforts have been recognized with the Blue Flag project certification, acknowledging their significant contributions to environmental conservation. Activities under this initiative include organizing river clean-ups and other environmental projects, with the support of volunteers and various organizations.



Exploring Palo Verde National Park

Nestled within Costa Rica’s Guanacaste province, Palo Verde National Park is a haven for wildlife, located 60 kilometers (37 miles) from the Guanacaste Airport.

A key highlight of supporting “Bebedero Yo Te Protejo” is experiencing the “Palo Verde & Bebedero Boat Safari & Lunch” tour. Palo Verde National Park is Costa Rica’s largest wetland area, attracting scientists worldwide to study its rich ecosystem, which combines rivers, marshes, mangroves, and dry forests.
Once on the boat, the captain will guide you downstream the Bebedero River, where you can admire the park’s natural beauty, including wildlife such as massive crocodiles basking in the sun and troops of monkeys swiftly moving through the trees. This floating safari adventure through the tropical dry forest offers a unique opportunity to witness the park’s diverse flora and fauna.
The natural hydrological system of Palo Verde creates ideal conditions for hosting the most significant concentration of aquatic and wading birds in the country and Central America, both resident and migratory.

Keep your eyes peeled for a variety of wildlife on your Palo Verde National Park boat tour! You’re likely to spot iguanas basking on the shores, crocodiles gliding through the water, and playful monkeys swinging through the trees. White-faced monkeys, howler monkeys with their resounding calls, herons, and other birds are all common sightings.

Support Sustainable Tourism

By booking the “Palo Verde National Park & Bebedero Boat Safari & Lunch” tour, you are directly contributing to the preservation and conservation efforts of “Bebedero Yo Te Protejo.” Not only will you experience the natural beauty and adventure of Costa Rica, but you will also contribute to initiatives that protect our environment and uplift local communities.

As you can see in the images from June 2024, while tourists enjoy the stunning landscapes and diverse wildlife of Costa Rica, there is a dedicated team working tirelessly behind the scenes.

These images capture the essence of our mission and the impact of your support. When you choose this tour, you are not just a visitor; you become a part of a larger effort to safeguard Costa Rica’s natural treasures and support the resilient communities that depend on them. Thank you to all the volunteers for making a difference and joining us in this vital work.

Traveler´s Review

John R. Callaghan ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Unbelievably lucky. We saw so much: crocs, baby crocs too, monkeys (both kinds), herons, shockingly, a pygmy owl, two couples of parrots, and all kinds of other birds. Do it. The food was excellent too.”

Wendy Stanley ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
We did the boat tour as part of a bigger excursion and it was breathtaking. The boat was big with lots of seating. We saw an awesome amount of wildlife including both howler monkeys and white-faced capuchins. Lots of birds and crocodiles. The staff was so friendly and took the time to explain everything and gave us so much time to take photos/videos. The lunch we had afterwards was delicious! Don’t miss this one and don’t forget the bugs spray!

flora fauna bebedero river
Yes you can get pretty close pictures to crocodiles!


See More Reviews

Curious to see what other travelers are saying? Check out more reviews on Google Maps.

Experience the magic of Costa Rica and make a positive impact by booking the “Palo Verde & Bebedero Boat Safari & Lunch” tour. Your adventure helps support vital conservation efforts to protect the Bebedero River and its rich biodiversity. Book now and be part of the change!

palo verde boat safari

Discover more about our activities and book your adventure package here tour here. Your adventure awaits, and so does your chance to make a difference!

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