Costa Rica has quickly become a destination for outdoor enthusiasts, who want to connect with nature and awaken their spirit of adventure. With 5 percent of the world’s known biodiversity, the country has maintained a long-term commitment to conservation with 26 percent of its land mass under national protection. With an impressive list of 28 national parks and 8 biological reserves, those seeking to travel to the Central American nation can begin by exploring one of the five most visited parks in the country:
1- Arenal Volcano National Park, Alajuela
There is no denying that the Arenal Volcano National Park is one of the most spectacular sights in Alajuela. Experience the majesty of Costa Rica firsthand and see one of the most active volcanoes in existence today up close. While the volcano has not exhibited any activity recently, scientists still believe that it Arenal is not dormant. There is a good chance that it may return to its previous majesty at any time. If you find yourself visiting the city of Alajuela in Costa Rica, and you want to see a sight with a little power behind it, consider an exciting and scenic trip to the national park surrounding Arenal. Of course, the park is perfectly safe to visit. If the volcano ever is at risk of erupting in a way that could pose a danger to guests, an evacuation would be held far in advance.
2 – Manuel Antonio National Park, North Puntarenas
Along the central pacific coast in the North Puntarenas area of Puntarenas Province sits a Costa Rican paradise known as Manuel Antonio National Park. Its land area consists of 682 hectares (approximately 7,000 acres); however, it also has an additional 55,000 hectares (136,000 acres) of marine park. It is one of the smallest and most popular national parks in Costa Rica.
Visitors to Manuel Antonio can enjoy a relaxing day on one of four pristine beaches or take a hike through the vibrant, green rainforest. From tide pools alive with crustaceans to endangered monkey species to stunning scenic vistas, Manuel Antonio National Park is a spectacular vacation destination.
3- Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve, North Puntarenas
Imagine walking through the clouds thousands of feet above sea level. At the Monteverde Cloud Forest Biological Reserve, you can embrace the misty atmosphere, which serves as one of the most coveted ecotourism destinations in Costa Rica. The reserve encompasses a 26,000 acre biozone, brimming with a marvelous diversity of wildlife and plant life. There’s no question that Monteverde Cloud Forest is truly a nature lover’s paradise.
The Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve is located in the northern part of the Puntarenas province on the Continental Divide. It is six kilometers east of the town of Santa Elena and around 150 kilometers from San Jose. Without a doubt, the Monteverde Cloud Forest Biological Reserve is one of the most breathtaking nature reserves in the entire world.
4 – Rincón de la Vieja National Park, Guanacaste
Ecological diversity abounds at Rincón de la Vieja National Park, one of the parks in the Guanacaste Conservation Area. This park is a must-visit destination when you are in the Guanacaste Province. At over 34,000 acres, Rincón de la Vieja has room for two volcanoes, 32 rivers and streams, and an incredible variety of flora and fauna.
A number of activities can be enjoyed at the park such as hiking, horseback riding, enjoying hot springs, swimming, picnicking, and camping. Rincón de la Vieja is approximately 15 miles northeast of the city of Liberia, which is the capital of the Guanacaste Province.
5 – Guanacaste National Park, Guanacaste
Part of the Guanacaste Conservation Area, the Guanacaste National Park is another one of Costa Rica’s stunning national parks and wildlife reserves. Located north of Liberia on the east side of the Pan-American Highway, this national park lies in the northern region of the province of Guanacaste.
A roughly four-hour drive from the Costa Rican capital city of San Jose, the Guanacaste National Park was created in 1989 to connect with the Santa Rose National Parkto form one of the largest biological reserves in the world.