National Parks of Costa Rica


Under the aegis of a carefully structures system of national parks, wildlife refuges and biological reserves, Costa Rica protects a quarter of its total territory. There are more than 185 designated protected areas. For conserving the country’s rich flora and fauna, all the parks and refuges has been established over the last 35 years. In total, Costa Rica has parks and reserves approximately 5%  of the world’s total wildlife species and life zones and it includes tropical dry forest, cloudforest, rainforest, swamps, paramo, marshes, mangroves, marine areas, and wetlands. These protected areas also represent historical significance including a very few pre-Columbian settlements. While visiting Costa Rica, you can go to the national parks as it is the best way to support these progressive and sustainable conservation policies. All the fees and donations are used to support the local community and for park maintenance. Here goes some of the national parks of Costa Rica:

Arenal Volcano National Park:

Arenal Volcano National Park is in the central part of Costa Rica and it packs all of the country’s allure into one place. It offers plenty of opportunities to enjoy adventure like incredible hiking and exploring the magnificent views as well as its abounding wildlife and the country’s most active volcano. The Arenal volcano was the most active in the country and it was believed as a dormant before a major eruption in 1968.

Barbilla National Park:

This national park is situated on the eastern slopes of the Cordillera de Talamanca. 11,938 hectares (29,500 acres) of humid lowland rainforest is covered by the Barbilla National Park. This park also protects Cerro Tigre, Launa Ayil and the Dantas River watershed.

Barra Honda National Park:

Created in 1974 to protect its famous cave systems, Barra Honda National Park is in the western part of Costa Rica. This park forms part of the Tempisque Conservation Area about 12 km (7.46 mi) from the Tempisque River. Main attraction of this park is an intricate large system of limestone caverns which house a multitude of capricious forms and figures.

Braulio Carrillo National Park:

Braulio Carrillo National Park is located between San José and Puerto Limón, on the eastern edge of the central volcanic corridor. Named after the third president of Costa Rica, this park is considered as the second largest park of this country and it is a part of the Volcanic Cordillera Conservation Area.

Cahuita National Park:

Located on the Caribbean shores 43 kilometers southeast of Limon, with its 1,097ha or (2,711 acre) area, the Cahuita National Park is connected to the town of Cahuita. This national park protects beaches and lowlands and it is different from other parks for its its main attractions can be best witnessed underwater.

Carara National Park:

Uniquely situated near the Pacific coast of Costa Rica between Amazonian and Mesoamerican habitats in a transition zone, Carara National Park is one of the most popular nations parks of the country. From San Jose it takes an hour to reach the park and it is 9.3 miles (15 km) north of Jaco.

Chirripo National Park:

Chirripo National Park is set along the heart of the Talamanca Mountain Range in the south central potion of Costa Rica. Its 123,923 acres (50,150 ha) has trails throughout the park and you can enjoy going as high as you want and can reach the highest peak in the country.

Corcovado National Park:

Corcovado National Park is considered as the crown jewel of Costa Rica. This national park comprised of an enormous 103,290 acres (41,800 ha) of tropical rainforest. This park represents a very diverse population of flora and fauna and it includes 10% of the mammals found in the Americas.

Diria National Park:

Nestled close to the town of Santa Cruz on the Nicoya Peninsula, Diria National Park protects some of the last remaining old growth forests on the peninsula. In 1991 was initially created as a wildlife refuge to preserve forests on the Nicoya Peninsula.

Guanacaste National Park:

Gunacaste National Park was created in 1989 to allow a corridor between the dry forest and rain forest areas which many species migrate between seasonally. This park is home to approximately 340 square kilometers, and includes 140 species of mammals, over 300 birds, 100 amphibians and reptiles, and over 10,000 species of insects that have been identified.

Irazu Volcano National Park:

Due to volcanic eruptions, the surrounding area was destroyed and this park was developed to restore that area. After the last eruption in 1963, the volcano is still active. Its forest protect the watershed of the Reventado river with its oaks and alder. It also has many native and exotic species and mainly conifers.

Juan Castro Blanco National Park:

This national park is a part of the Arenal Huetar Norte Conservation that is about 100 km north of San Jose and in the northern side of the country. Located in the province of Alajuela, this park includes the dormant Porvenir volcano, the inactive El Viejo Volcano and active Platanar volcano. Developed in 1992, this park has extensive trail system which will allow you to enjoy watching its amazing wildlife and natural beauty. Both cloud forest and rain forest is covered by this park.

Los Quetzales National Park:

Los Qutzales National Park is located among the mist-covered peaks of the Talamanca Mountains. Established on April 25th, 2006, this park was officially opened on July 09th. From Jacó, you can reach this park with a two-hour trip.

Manuel Antonio National Park:

Manuel Antonio National Park was developed in 1972 to preserve the rich biodiversity and the idyllic beaches. This park is home to different species of wild animals. This park encompasses almost 1,700 acres of land (683 terrestrial hectares) and 136,000 acres of ocean (55,000 marine hectares).

Rincon de la Vieja National Park:

Rincon de la Vieja national park stretches to up to 14,083 hectares and extends from 650 to 1,965 meters in elevation on both the Caribbean and Pacific flanks that differ in climate. It includes the largest volcano among the five volcanoes that can be found in Guanacaste.

Santa Rosa National Park:

Established in 1971, Santa Rosa National Park is considered as one of the largest and oldest national parks in Costa Rica. Situated 35 km north from Liberia, this park is a part of the Gunacaste Conservation Area. Its 91,926 acre area protects the largest remaining section of tropical dry forest of Central America.

Tortuguero National Park:

Tortuguero National Park protects 46,815 acres (18,946 ha) of natural wildlife habitat including over twenty miles of coastline. This park is adjacent to the Barra del Colorado National Wildlife Refuge and it is the most important nesting site of the green sea turtle on Costa Rica’s Atlantic side.

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