Costa Rica’s national park system is a sprawling and complex network of protected rainforests, tropical dry forests, cloud forests, marine areas, and wetlands all booming with plant species and wildlife found nowhere else in the world. With an estimated 5% of the world’s biodiversity found within these national parks, it’s no wonder that Costa Rica is often referred to as ‘the living Eden’ by many scientists and naturalists who make the trek across the globe to visit these protected areas. Costa Rica’s strong conservation efforts has significantly preserved much of the natural land and resources and proudly boasts 25% of its landmass as nationally recognized preserved land which is the highest in the world.
With 50 National Parks within Costa Rica, visitors have a seemingly endless supply of different exotic locations to explore. The cavernous monstrosity of limestone at Barra Honda National Park offers some exciting challenges for the adventurous types who wish to repel nearly 800 feet to the caverns bottom. Marino Ballena National Park contains the largest coral reef on the Pacific side of Central America and also provides a antastic spot for viewing the humpback whale as it makes its annual migration through the warm coastal waters of Costa Rica. Regarded as the best in the country, the stunning Manuel Antonio National Park is home to curious white faced monkeys, two toed sloths, easy walking paths and secluded beaches and was listed by Forbes in 2011 among the world’s 12 most beautiful national parks. Head on over to the less populated Caribbean coast and stop at Tortuguero National Park which is home to the nesting site of the leatherback turtle.
There’s never a shortage of highly educated naturalist guides who are willing to share their park secrets. With an array of hiking options so close in proximity you can soak up the best of each eco-system. One day you can be canoeing down the watery forest of the Tortuguero National Park, and on another day you can be trekking the stunning new trails within Manuel Antonio National Park with its gorgeous and hidden beaches. The possibilities are endless and offer visitors glimpses into the enchanted world of Costa Rica’s National Parks.