Costa Rica is not only known for its stunning natural beauty but also for its extensive system of national parks. With 25 national parks, Costa Rica has made incredible efforts to protect its ecosystems, accounting for 28% of the country’s land. These national parks showcase a wide array of landscapes, including rainforests, cloud forests, beaches, volcanoes, and more.

Key Takeaways

  • Costa Rica has 25 national parks that account for 28% of the country’s land
  • National parks in Costa Rica showcase a variety of landscapes from rainforests to beaches
  • Costa Rica is committed to protecting its natural resources through its national park system

Manuel Antonio National Park: A Tropical Paradise

One of the most popular national parks in Costa Rica is Manuel Antonio National Park. Despite its smaller size, it encompasses 4,900 acres of rainforest, white sand beaches, and clear blue waters. Visitors to Manuel Antonio National Park can enjoy hiking through lush tropical jungle, spot various wildlife like monkeys and sloths, and relax on picturesque beaches.

The park is home to a diverse range of ecosystems that make it a paradise for nature lovers. The white sand beaches are secluded and offer a stunning view of the surrounding natural beauty. The clear turquoise waters are perfect for swimming and snorkeling.

Manuel Antonio National Park is home to a variety of wildlife including howler and white-faced monkeys, sloths, iguanas, and an array of colorful birds such as toucans and Scarlet Macaws. The wildlife observation tours are a popular activity at the park.

Manuel Antonio National Park

The park’s breathtaking landscapes are a sight to behold. The hiking trails offer an opportunity to explore the rainforest and discover hidden waterfalls and streams. Visitors can also go on canopy tours, zipline through the forest, or take a horseback ride through the jungle.

Manuel Antonio National Park attracts more visitors than any other park in the country and is considered one of the best places to visit in Costa Rica. Its natural beauty and diverse animal life make it a must-visit destination for anyone traveling to Costa Rica.

Tortuguero National Park: A Haven for Wildlife and Sea Turtles

Another noteworthy national park is Tortuguero National Park, located on the north Caribbean coast. This park is famous for its beaches, where green sea turtles come to nest in large numbers. Tortuguero National Park is not only an essential nesting habitat for green turtles but also hosts a diverse range of wildlife, including over 400 bird species, 60 frog species, and three monkey species.

Tortuguero National Park is a protected area in Costa Rica, covering over 19,000 hectares of land and sea. Its sea turtle conservation program has been running since the 1950s and attracts over 100,000 sea turtle nests each year. It is one of the most important nesting habitats for green turtles globally. The park’s beaches are patrolled by park rangers, who monitor the turtles’ nests and ensure their protection.

The park’s lush rainforest and canals offer a home to a diverse range of wildlife. Visitors can explore the park by boat and witness the incredible wildlife, including caimans, crocodiles, and freshwater turtles. The park also boasts a rich diversity of birdlife, with over 400 bird species recorded. Some of the most notable include the great green macaw, which is classified as endangered, and the keel-billed toucan. The park is also home to three species of monkeys: howler, spider, and capuchin monkeys.

Tortuguero National Park is a must-visit for anyone interested in wildlife conservation and Costa Rica’s incredible biodiversity. Its sea turtle nesting program and diverse range of wildlife make it an essential destination for nature lovers.

Tortuguero National Park

Arenal Volcano National Park: Adventure Amidst Volcanic Landscapes

Arenal Volcano National Park is a must-visit for those seeking adventure. This park features the iconic 5,357ft Arenal Volcano, which is still active today. The park’s streams and rivers are heated by the subterranean lava, creating hot springs and spas for visitors to enjoy. Hiking up the smaller Chato volcano offers breathtaking views of Arenal Volcano and stunning waterfalls.

The park’s dense cloud forests house a diverse range of flora and fauna. The volcano’s eruption in 1968 led to the development of new habitats, which have been colonized by a variety of species. Visitors can spot a range of wildlife, including exotic birds, monkeys, and reptiles.

For thrill-seekers, Arenal Volcano National Park offers an array of adventurous activities, such as zip-lining, whitewater rafting, and canyoning. The park’s stunning landscapes also provide opportunities for mountain biking, hiking, and horseback riding.

The park’s hot springs are a unique feature that is not to be missed. With temperatures ranging from 81°F to 125°F, visitors can relax in the natural pools amidst the lush rainforest. The Tabacon Hot Springs, located within the park, offer visitors a luxurious spa experience amidst the magnificent natural surroundings.

are there national parks in Costa Rica

Arenal Volcano National Park offers an unforgettable adventure for nature lovers. With its volcanic landscapes, diverse flora and fauna, and thrilling activities, it’s no wonder that it’s considered one of the top destinations in Costa Rica.

Santa Rosa National Park: A Glimpse into Costa Rica’s Tropical Dry Forests

Santa Rosa National Park, situated in the northwestern corner of Costa Rica, is home to the last remaining tropical dry forests in the world. The park was established to protect critical habitats and provide enough space for wide-ranging wildlife, including jaguars. Visitors can explore the unique and untouched forests, as well as enjoy the beautiful and less-developed beaches on the Pacific coast.

The tropical dry forests of Santa Rosa National Park are characterized by their deciduous trees and their stunning biodiversity. This unique environment is home to a variety of animals, including howler monkeys, white-tailed deer, and a wide range of bird species. The park’s forests also provide critical nesting habitats for sea turtles, including the Olive Ridley and the Leatherback.

The unique ecosystem of Santa Rosa National Park has made it one of the most important protected areas in Costa Rica. The park is also home to several historic sites, including the Hacienda Santa Rosa, where a battle was fought in 1856, and the La Casona, which is the site of the birthplace of Costa Rican national hero Juan Santamaria. The park’s beaches are also popular with surfers and beach-goers looking for a more secluded and less developed experience.

The park is managed by a team of rangers and conservationists who work hard to ensure that the unique ecosystems of Santa Rosa National Park remain intact for future generations to enjoy. To help support their efforts, visitors can stay in one of the park’s rustic cabins or participate in guided hikes and tours to learn more about the park’s flora and fauna.

Santa Rosa National Park

Santa Rosa National Park is a true gem of Costa Rica, offering visitors a unique opportunity to experience one of the last remaining tropical dry forests in the world. From its stunning wildlife to its beautiful beaches, Santa Rosa National Park is a must-visit destination for anyone interested in exploring the beauty and biodiversity of Costa Rica’s protected areas.

Discovering More National Parks in Costa Rica

In addition to these national parks, Costa Rica has many other stunning protected areas, including Parque Nacional Chirripó, known for its high peak and challenging hikes, and Parque Nacional Carara, famous for its abundance of colorful macaws.

Another national park to add to the list is Las Baulas National Marine Park, which covers over 43,000 acres of land and sea. It is dedicated to protecting the nesting beach for the critically endangered east Pacific leatherback sea turtles. Visitors can witness the turtles nesting and hatching, as well as explore the nearby mangrove swamps and estuaries.

Marino Ballena National Park, located on the southern Pacific coast, is named after the whales that migrate through its waters. The park offers opportunities for whale watching, snorkeling, and hiking through a lush tropical rainforest. It is also home to the famous Punta Uvita Whale Tail, a natural sandbar formation that resembles a whale’s tail.

Corcovado National Park is located in the Osa Peninsula and has been described as the most biologically intense place on Earth. It is home to an incredible variety of wildlife, including jaguars, monkeys, and macaws. The park also has several beautiful beaches along its coastline, making it a popular destination for nature lovers and adventurers.

Rincón del la Vieja National Park, located in the Guanacaste province, is known for its bubbling mud pits and towering volcanoes. Visitors can hike through a tropical dry forest, swim in natural hot springs, and enjoy stunning waterfalls.

Costa Rica’s commitment to environmental conservation is evident through its extensive national park system, which has been established since the mid-20th century. Exploring these national parks is not only an opportunity to witness stunning natural beauty but also to support sustainable tourism and conservation efforts in the country.

To plan the perfect trip to Costa Rica and explore its national parks, it is recommended to consult a comprehensive guidebook like “Costa Rica: The Complete Guide”. With its diverse landscapes and abundance of outdoor activities, Costa Rica offers something for everyone, from hikers and nature lovers to beach enthusiasts and wildlife enthusiasts.

-Article by Glenn Tellier (Founder of CRIE and Grupo Gap).

[email protected]


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Q: Are there national parks in Costa Rica?

A: Yes, Costa Rica is known for its extensive system of national parks. It has 25 national parks, accounting for 28% of the country’s land.

Q: What is Manuel Antonio National Park known for?

A: Manuel Antonio National Park is known for its rainforests, white sand beaches, and wildlife. Visitors can enjoy hiking, spotting monkeys and sloths, and relaxing on picturesque beaches.

Q: Why is Tortuguero National Park important?

A: Tortuguero National Park is important because it serves as a nesting habitat for green sea turtles and hosts a diverse range of wildlife.

Q: What can I expect to see at Arenal Volcano National Park?

A: At Arenal Volcano National Park, you can see the iconic Arenal Volcano, enjoy hot springs, and hike to stunning waterfalls.

Q: What makes Santa Rosa National Park unique?

A: Santa Rosa National Park is unique because it protects the last remaining tropical dry forests in the world and provides habitat for wide-ranging wildlife, including jaguars.

Q: What are some other national parks in Costa Rica?

A: Other notable national parks in Costa Rica include Las Baulas National Marine Park, Marino Ballena National Park, Corcovado National Park, and Rincón del la Vieja National Park.




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