Barra del Colorado

A pristine Wildlife Refuge bordering Nicaragua

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Visiting Barra del Colorado

Barra del Colorado is located in the northern corner of Costa Rica’s Caribbean coast in the province of Limon, bordering Nicaragua. This area is known for its hot, humid climate as well as its remote beauty and peaceful isolation. A truly rustic area, visitors to the region will find few amenities like large resorts but it more than makes up for that with miles of natural landscapes and unique ecosystems teeming with flora and fauna. Barra del Colorado is located just over twenty miles north of the top tourist destination of Tortuguero. Sports fisherman have been coming to this area for decades because of the incredible fishing opportunities found in the gorgeous lagoons and coastal waters. This is the perfect destination for those looking for a remote destination immersed in the natural beauty and national wildlife of Costa Rica!


Refugio Nacional de Vida Silvestre Barra del Colorado

Barra del Colorado slow moving BoatThe Refugio Nacional de Vida Silvestre Barra del Colorado is the largest wilderness refuge in Costa Rica. It covers over 30 miles of lagoons, rivers, and wetlands. Getting around the wildlife refuge is best done in tour with a canoe or kayak. An extensive canal system exists making getting around on the water the most efficient transportation method between the lodges and other attractions. The wildlife and lush plant life of the refuge are crucial in promoting eco-tourism in the area.  Birders will also appreciate the plethora of migratory birds and waterbird species found in the Refugio Nacional de Vida Silvestre Barra del Colorado. As well as the numerous animals and reptiles that make this area their home!

Sport fishing

Gorgeous sunny daysBarra del Colorado is famous for the world-class sports fishing that has been attracting anglers to the area for decades. It is not uncommon to reel in enormous tarpon and spectacular snook. Presently, fishing is the primary source of income for the local population. Many qualified guides will provide their services to help you find that perfect fishing spot. Furthermore, the Rio San Juan is the boundary not only for the northern part of the area but also with Nicaragua and provides additional opportunities for great tarpon fishing on the river’s calm waters. There are also options for fishing for Rainbow Bass, Machaca, and Tiger Bass among many others!  This is truly a dream destination for fishers of all ages!


Barra del Colorado Excursions and ToursAs a national wildlife refuge, Barra del Colorado has some stunning biodiversity packed inside its borders. Sparsely inhabited by people, this area’s the perfect place to relax and enjoy the peaceful surroundings with few public services and little to distract you from your full appreciation of your surroundings. Barro del Colorado offers guests a truly unique experience in beautiful Costa Rica! This is one of the few places where you can see the endangered West Indian Manatee, as well as caimans, crocodiles, several species of monkeys, keel-billed toucans, parrots and many reptiles. All in all, Barra del Colorado is an animal lover’s paradise and a unique part of the Costa Rica river system.


Travel by plane: Renting a car or a shuttle will be of less use to you here since Barra del Colorado is only accesible by plane or boat.

Travel between the months of August to October: Unlike the Pacific Coast, these months are the dryest of the year in Limon. Take this with a little grain of salt, though, since Costa Rica’s Caribbean side is known to have a wetter climate.

Getting there

Closest International Airport: Juan Santamaria (SJO)

sansa airline airplanesThe roads are less developed here and the area is known for its abundance of water, so the best way to reach Barra del Colorado is by plane. Sansa offers domestic flights from San Jose to Colorado airport and it will take you about 35 minutes to reach Barra del Colorado.


The Colorado Wildlife Refuge is a very remote area that doesn’t cater to the tourist looking for 5-star restaurants and boutiques. However, witch the presence of a stunning lodge, you can find everything you need right at your accommodation.

Where to stay

Rio Indio Lodge PoolRio Indio Lodge is a unique Sports Fishing Resort and eco-lodge located just minutes north of the Costa Rican border in Nicaragua. It is enveloped by nature yet has all the luxurious amenities of a four-star hotel with twenty-seven palatial suites, each with king or queen beds, elegantly tiled bathrooms, and a large private screened-in porch. Above all, the hotel is beautifully fashioned from local hardwoods and boasts an infinity pool set in stunning gardens.

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