Costa Rica National Parks


About Costa Rica National Parks National Parks

Costa Rica national parks are a testament to the country’s commitment to conservation and biodiversity. With over 30 national parks and protected areas covering approximately 25% of its territory, Costa Rica boasts some of the most diverse and ecologically rich landscapes in the world. From lush rainforests and misty cloud forests to pristine beaches and active volcanoes, each national park offers a unique glimpse into the country’s natural wonders.

Costa Rica’s national parks are home to an incredible array of wildlife, including colorful birds, exotic mammals, reptiles, and amphibians. Visitors can explore dense jungle trails, swim in crystal-clear rivers, and marvel at cascading waterfalls, immersing themselves in the sights and sounds of the tropical wilderness.

With ecotourism at the forefront of its tourism industry, Costa Rica’s national parks provide unparalleled opportunities for adventure, education, and conservation, making them a must-visit destination for nature enthusiasts and conservationists alike.

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Costa Rica National Parks's National Parks

Arenal National Park view across lake

Arenal Volcano National Park

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Corcovado National Park. sunsetting on horizon

Corcovado National Park

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1. How many national parks are there in Costa Rica?

Costa Rica has 29 national parks. These national parks cover a significant portion of the country’s territory and are renowned for their diverse ecosystems, stunning natural beauty, and rich biodiversity.

Each national park in Costa Rica offers unique opportunities for exploration, adventure, and wildlife viewing, making the country a premier destination for ecotourism and nature lovers.

2. What is the largest national park in Costa Rica?

The largest national park in Costa Rica is La Amistad International Park (Parque Internacional La Amistad), which is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

La Amistad International Park is located in the southern part of Costa Rica, bordering Panama. It is a transboundary park that extends into both countries, with the Costa Rican portion being the largest.

Covering an area of approximately 401,000 hectares (about 990,000 acres), La Amistad International Park protects a vast expanse of pristine rainforest, cloud forest, and high-elevation habitats. The park is home to an incredible diversity of flora and fauna, including many endangered species such as jaguars, tapirs, quetzals, and numerous species of orchids and trees.

La Amistad International Park offers visitors opportunities for hiking, birdwatching, wildlife observation, and exploring one of the most biodiverse regions in Central America.

3. What is the smallest national park in Costa Rica?

The smallest national park in Costa Rica is the Las Baulas National Marine Park (Parque Nacional Marino Las Baulas). Established in 1991, Las Baulas National Marine Park covers an area of approximately 445 hectares (about 1,100 acres).

Located on the Pacific coast in the province of Guanacaste, Las Baulas National Marine Park is primarily known for its nesting beaches for the critically endangered leatherback sea turtle (Dermochelys coriacea).

These beaches, including Playa Grande, Playa Langosta, and Playa Ventanas, provide important nesting habitat for these majestic creatures, which can weigh up to 700 kilograms (1,500 pounds) and reach lengths of over two meters (six feet).

In addition to protecting nesting sites for leatherback sea turtles, Las Baulas National Marine Park also conserves important mangrove ecosystems, estuaries, and marine habitats, providing refuge for a variety of marine species.

Visitors to the park can participate in guided tours to observe nesting turtles, enjoy recreational activities such as swimming and surfing, and learn about marine conservation efforts.

4. What was the first national park in Costa Rica?

The first national park in Costa Rica is the Irazú Volcano National Park (Parque Nacional Volcán Irazú). Established on August 30, 1955, Irazú Volcano National Park protects the area surrounding the Irazú Volcano, one of Costa Rica’s most iconic and active volcanoes.

Located in the Central Valley region of Costa Rica, Irazú Volcano rises to an elevation of 3,432 meters (11,260 feet) above sea level, making it the highest volcano in the country. The park encompasses an area of approximately 2,309 hectares (about 5,705 acres) and features diverse ecosystems, including cloud forests, paramo (high-altitude grasslands), and barren volcanic landscapes.

Visitors to Irazú Volcano National Park can explore hiking trails that lead to viewpoints overlooking the volcanic crater, which contains a stunning green crater lake called Diego de la Haya. On clear days, visitors can enjoy panoramic views of both the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans from the summit of the volcano.

The park also offers opportunities for birdwatching, photography, and experiencing the unique geological features of the volcano.