Protected areas in Costa Rica include national parks, reserves and refuges, mostly government owned but also private. The main objective of this effort which began in 1970, was to protect the biodiversity of the country’s flora and fauna. August 24th is National Park Day in Costa Rica, learn more about the importance of the conservation efforts which began decades ago, and now extend to roughly one fourth of its territory.
A National Park must house important ecosystems and show little or no signs of human activity. This aligned with attractive options and facilities for educational and recreational visitors elevates a protected area to the status of National Park.
There are 28 national parks in Costa Rica. From the famous Cocos Island, declared Natural World Heritage by the UNESCO, only accessible after a 32-hour boat journey, to the very popular Manuel Antonio National Park, often named as having one of the most beautiful beaches in the world.
Where to stay
Backpack through the Corcovado National Park, on the Osa Peninsula, and lay your head at the Corcovado Jungle Lodge. Spectacular wildlife abounds in this remote area: jaguars, tapirs, sloths, coatis, turtles, crocodiles and more.
Staying at Aninga, Evergreen, Pachira, Laguna or Mawamba lodges on the Northern Caribbean coast allow for easy access to the Tortuguero National Park, famous for the seasonal arrival of several species of sea turtles. Check nesting and hatching schedules and get ready to observe the wondrous cycle of life of these beautiful reptiles.
Stay at La Cusinga Lodge or Cristal Ballena Boutique Hotel and Spa if whale watching is on your bucket list. From there visit Marino Ballena National Park on the Southern Pacific Coast. To improve your chances to see humpback whales visit September through October.
Rio Celeste Hideaway Hotel in the Northern area of Guatuso, provides practically next door access to the Tenorio Volcano National Park. Here, the impossibly light blue waters of the Rio Celeste Waterfall and its magical enchanted rain forest await.
The Rincon de la Vieja National Park offers trails to visit waterfalls, hot springs, picnic areas, healing volcanic mud baths and more. Stay close by at Hacienda Guachipelin, a sprawling property offering adventure tours without leaving its 3,400 acre ranch.
What to visit in Costa Rica
In conclusion, if you are undecided about places to visit during your Costa Rican vacation, National Parks are a wonderful guide to the flora and wildlife. Whether its your first time in Costa Rica, you are an avid birdwatcher and nature lover, there is something here for you to enjoy.
Article by Katie Widdowson