Last Updated: Apr 05, 2013
Escape to the African savannah, where zebras wander through knee-high grasses and giraffes search the treetops for tasty treats. Add ostriches, dromedaries, watusi and gemsbok, and you're at Africa Mia, home to Costa Rica's only African safari adventure.
Location : 5 miles from Liberia
Altitude : 400 feet above sea level
Area : 250 acres
Hours : 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. daily
Telephone : 2666-1111
Entrance Fee : $65 adults, $55 children
Created in 2006, Africa Mia has grown to be one of the Liberia's most popular tourist attractions. The ten-million dollar project blends species native to Africa with Costa Rica's indigenous wildlife. The dry grasslands of Guanacaste need little enrichment to mimic the habitat of the African plains, creating an ideal environment for sub-Saharan species.
The reserve is divided into three sections: the outer savannah, inner savannah and El Salto Waterfall. The outer savannah is reserved as an adaptation area for new arrivals, while the inner savannah houses the reserve's long-term residents. El Salto is a beautiful waterfall fed by nearby Rincon de la Vieja National Park. Surrounded by tropical dry forest, plenty of native wildlife can be spotted around El Salto cascade.
After a trip to the outer savannah, which is fenced and not accessible to visitors, guests ride an open-air vehicle into the inner savannah. Begin at the petting zoo, where white-tailed deer, dromedaries and ostriches eagerly accept snacks. Next, venture into the open plains, where animals roam freely and experienced guides detail interesting facts about each species.
Africa Mia is home to over 150 animals and 11 species native to Africa: warthogs, reticulated giraffes, Chapman's zebra, plains zebra, dromedaries, ostriches, gemsbok, bongo, Nilgai antelope, watusi, and giant eland, the largest antelope in the world. Peacocks, white-tailed deer and white-faced monkeys also live on the reserve. Since the animals live together on the reserve's open savannah, few aggressive species currently reside at Africa Mia. Plans are underway to create a separate hippo area, and other territorial species may be considered in the future.
Africa Mia has a visitor's center and restaurant, as well as a cafe and picnic area for meals or snacks. A handful of shops and a souvenir store promise plenty of mementos to remind you of your African safari in Costa Rica.
The weather in Liberia is mostly hot and dry, and average temperatures range from 78 to 94°F. During the green season (May-November), it is best to bring a raincoat or umbrella. Wear comfortable walking shoes or boots if visiting El Salto Waterfall or hiking the reserve.
Take Route 1 east from Liberia toward Bagaces. From El Salto Bridge, follow signs to Africa Mia. The park is located just off the highway.