A new theme park featuring butterflies, a frog pond and a meliponary (stingless bee hive) is open in a lush setting near Punta Uva beach in Costa Rica, on the edge of the Gandoca Manzanillo National Wildlife Refuge.
Did you know that, on average, only five percent of butterfly and frog eggs reach adulthood? The remaining 95 percent disappear due to predation and other natural causes.
That's why Mariposario Ranario y Meliponario Punta Uva aims to help reproduce butterflies and frogs and incorporate them into the environment, while also increasing the number of stingless bees who will do their part with pollination.
Blue morpho butterfly at rest — Photo courtesy of Anthony
Costa Rica is home to nearly 1,500 species of butterflies, many of which can be observed here. The best time to see them is during rainy season, from June to November.
Watch them flit about and come to rest among the exotic flowers and plants that feed them, like the colorful bromeliads and heliconias that flourish all year long.
In addition to Costa Rica’s most famous butterfly – the blue morpho butterfly, with its exquisite shade of neon blue wings – keep your eyes peeled for the gigantic owl butterfly, the largest butterfly in Costa Rica. It boasts a wingspan of up to 20 centimeters, and it's named for its owl-like eyespots on the underside of its wings.
At this frog-friendly theme park, frogs are readily found in their natural habitat, free to leap and play wherever they please. Easily accessible paths have been created to guide visitors through the environment, making this place ideal to visit as a family with children.
A bridge in the center is surrounded by a lake, an inviting home for tadpoles that provides moisture and makes this one of the best vantage points for spotting frogs.
Finally, at Mariposario Ranario y Meliponario Punta Uva, you’ll discover the wonderful world of stingless bees, known as mariolas in Costa Rica.
The mariolas are bred in the meliponary, with five hives set among plenty of plants for pollen and honey. Look out for two other hives that grow naturally in the hollows of trees.
Mariolas are social insects that produce honey, wax, pollen and propolis, or bee glue – a sticky, resinous mixture typically dark brown in color that honey bees gather from tree buds and other botanical sources and then use as a sealant for small, open spaces in the hive. Larger spaces are usually filled with beeswax.
Mariolas' major benefit to nature is pollination, and their range of action is up to 600 meters, or about a quarter of a mile!