Situated deep inside Peninsula Papapgayo's exclusive Palmares Conservation Area, Palmares Outpost will be ground zero for once-in-a-lifetime eco-adventures on and above ground. Gateway to 250 acres of pure energy, these protected wildlands span three different ecosystems in less than a square kilometer.
By Bryan Bruce | June 15, 2022

Peninsula Papagayo promises fresh thrills this November with the launch of Papagayo Explorer’s new adventure outpost within the 250-acre Palmares forest. The natural playground will offer an array of heart-pounding pursuits including ziplining, tree climbing, aerial trekking and miles of hiking and mountain biking trails designed for all ages and fitness levels.

“Palmares is the jewel of the Peninsula,” says Miguel Sanchez, manager of Papagayo Explorers. “It’s part of an extraordinary biological corridor that stretches up to Santa Rosa National Park and beyond.” Hemmed in by the Pacific coastline to the west and rocky ridges to the north and south, the lush valley encompasses an estuary and multiple microclimates including a biodiverse tropical dry forest and mangroves teeming with wildlife. Acting as a seasonal sanctuary for exotic birds, butterflies, reptiles and mammals, Palmares thrives with yellow-naped parrots, trogons, monkeys, coatis and iguanas. The area is also a gateway to the neighboring Guanacaste Conservation Area, a 400,000-acre UNESCO-protected expanse of land and sea in northwest Costa Rica that’s home to four tropical ecosystems supporting some 7,000 plant species and more than 900 vertebrate species.

Palmares is the Jewel of Papagayo

Miguel Sanchez
The Explorers

The new adventure outpost, available exclusively for Peninsula Papagayo residents and resort guests, will feature an interconnected network of unique action-packed recreational activities.

Victor Gallo, a world-class designer and adventure park pioneer, was tapped to create a one-of-a-kind aerial experience among a forest of old-growth Guanacaste, Ceiba, Sura, Cenízaro, and Ficus trees.

“We work with professional arborists to ensure minimal impact to the ecosystem,” says Gallo. “Our goal is not to move or harm a single tree.” Gallo and his team have built more than 40 aerial adventure parks from Latin America to the Caribbean. He’s also a certified safety inspector for the Association for Challenge Course Technology, ensuring that parks across the world meet strict safety standards.

“It’s really about creating more unique opportunities to step into nature right here on the Peninsula, have fun, learn new things, and reconnect to yourself and others,” Sanchez comments. “It promises lifelong memories and rewarding experiences for friends, families and work colleagues alike.”

Arriving at the recreation area’s modern bamboo basecamp, guests are greeted by a specialized team of Papagayo Explorers guides and naturalists. The nearly three-hour circuit commences with a pulse-quickening zipline through the tree canopy on seven different cables ranging from 50 yards to 150 yards and two 100-foot bridges. “It’s an exhilarating feeling to fly through the trees more than 30 feet off the ground,” explains Gallo.

The zipline segment culminates with the opportunity to climb a massive Ficus tree using vertical tree roots and branches for hand and footholds along with the security of a harness and auto belay system. The observation platform can also be accessed by a suspended cable stairway for those who’d prefer not to climb, but would like to enjoy sweeping views of the forest.

The aerial trekking course provides the ultimate challenge with 21 obstacles arranged in circuits of increasing difficulty. “The physically and mentally demanding obstacles will definitely get people out of their comfort zones,” says Sanchez. “With numerous ways to move through the course, guests can choose their own adventure.”

Obstacles like the log bridge, snake, giant steps, Heebie Jeebie, and wave are great for family bonding and team building. Adrenaline junkies can leap from the course’s 40-foot tree jump for a quick freefall rush before landing softly on the ground thanks to an auto descent system. “Most people return wanting to conquer an outstanding challenge,” says Gallo. And with plans to expand the course in the future, there will be plenty of ways for guests to continue testing their mettle.

Adventurers who prefer to keep their feet on solid ground can explore 12 miles of wilderness trails in the company of a naturalist guide. “Our team is so knowledgeable about endemic flora and fauna,” Sanchez explains. “It really adds to the richness of the experience.” Day walks are ideal for close encounters with hummingbirds, turquoise-browed motmots and long-tailed manakins, while nocturnal creatures like fishing bats, boas and silver foxes are spotted on nighttime expeditions.

Purpose-built mountain biking trails extending all the way to Palmares Beach are designed for riders of all levels. Premium full-suspension mountain bikes, including electric-assist mountain bikes, make for pleasant pedaling through the area’s scenic forests, estuaries and mangroves.

“Palmares is right in the Peninsula’s backyard,” says Sanchez, “but it feels a world away from civilization.”