Although Costa Rica is a small territory, it makes up about 5% of the earth’s biodiversity. Fortunately, this natural treasure is protected by the National System of Conservation Areas, preserving a total of 25% of the national territory.
Visitors can enjoy the country’s majestic volcanoes, Pacific and Caribbean beaches, tropical dry, wet, and rainforests, as well as exhilarating jungle landscapes, all without travelling long distances.
Arenal Volcano National Park
Located 15 kilometres from Fortuna in the northwest part of Costa Rica, between the foothills of the Cordillera de Tilaran mountain range and the San Carlos plains, Arenal Volcano National Park is one of the most visited destinations in the Northern Zone. Several trails—Heliconias, Coladas, Tucanes and Los Miradores—allow observation of much of the park’s flora and fauna, as well as the remains of lava tracts.
Cocos Island National Park
This national park was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1997 for its unmatched natural beauty and rich biodiversity. The blue-turquoise water is extraordinarily clear and makes a great habitat for an abundance of marine life, making this island one of the most extraordinary places in the world for diving. It also has beautiful evergreen forests and numerous impressive waterfalls.
Las Baulas National Marine Park
The park’s main attraction is the Leatherback Sea Turtle nesting, which is the largest such nesting ground in the world, and the sea turtle itself is an endangered species that is protected in Costa Rica.
Within the refuge, another big attraction is the mangrove with full grown trees. The most common mangrove types are: red, black, white, and tea. These mangrove forests are an optimal place for fish, crustaceans and mollusks to thrive. While reptiles, amphibians and birds are also abundant.
Barra Honda National Park
This park measures some 5,000 acres and protects an important geological resource, which is a system of caves with stalactite and stalagmite formations. The Barra Honda Peak is 1,476 ft. high and is made up of old coral reefs that were pushed up by tectonic faults.
Nineteen caves have been discovered. The Terciopelo Cave is open to the public because it is the easiest to access. The area provides a park, potable water, restrooms, lodging, an information centre, trails, and lookout points where visitors can take in the scenery of the Tempisque River.