Bolaños Island National Wildlife Refuge


Bolaños Island is a rugged, oval-shaped rocky mound, 81 meters high. located 1.5 km. off the coast of Descartes Point. The vegetation is made up of stunted forest that is very thick and difficult to penetrate. It grows about 2 meters high on very rocky soil.

Woody vines form dense thickets which serve as nesting sites for island birds. Along some parts of the coast, grasses can be seen growing among the rocks.

Bolaños is especially important for the conservation of seabirds. It protects one of the few known nesting sites in the country for the brown pelican and it is the only nesting site to date in Costa Rica for the magnificent frigate bird and the American oyster-catcher.

On the island's eastern tip is a white sandy beach where a large number of sea snails and clams can be seen. At low tide it is possible to walk around the island, although the coast is narrow and dangerous. This is a good way not only to admire the scenic beauty of the refuge, but also to observe several species of crabs, such as the red land crab which is especially striking with its bright red and purply blue colors and its large size.

The waters that surround the island are transparent blue and teeming with fish, and the surf is often whipped up by the wind, which during the dry season blows almost constantly from the northeast.

The region is one of the driest in the country with less than 1.500 mm. of annual rainfall.

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Brown Booby nesting in rocks
Brown booby nesting on island's rocks

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