This unique park is home to the Arenal volcano, the most spectacularly active in Costa Rica. The elevation of the Park lands range from 1,000 to 1,657 meters (3,281 to 5,436 feet). The habitats represented here are cloud forest margin/edge, freshwater river, and regenerating tropical rainforest-lowland.
One of Costa Rica's newest national parks, Ballena National Park was created to conserve someof the marine resources of the South Pacific region. This park extends out into the Pacific Ocean to the West for 9 kilometers, and is 6 kilometers wide. Because it includes such a large area of open ocean, plus islands and long, wide beaches, the park is ideal for scuba diving and beachcombing activities. Getting its name from the Spanish world for whale, "ballena," the Park has several species of whales in or near its boundaries.
Once covered by the waters of the Pacific Ocean, Barra Hondo National Park lies among reef formations – made of calcified green and blue seaweed, tiny sea protozoan, sponges and porcupines, and limestone rocks. Barra Hondo National Park is surrounded by these tall reef rocks that rise up to 300 meters and also constitute a major portion of Barra Hondo hill. Barra Hondo Peak, made largely of this reef limestone, rises more than 1,000 feet. Although the calcareous formations of the limestone caverns are the main visitor attraction, only about 50% of the complex has been explored. The most attractive caves are the Velvet, Tampa and Santa Ana — with stalagmites and stalactites, columns, pearls, flowers, needles, popcorn, shark’s teeth and other formations. A guide is required.
Limestone caves, Calcareous cave formations
white face monkey, coyote, armadillo, deer, raccoon, pizote, fox, stinky fox, copetona magpie, zapayol or catano, red-headed zopilote
“Ron Ron”, tempisque, jobo, the “naked Indian”, poroporo, gallinazo, soncoya, guanacaste, carco, madroño and peine de mico.
Information center, restrooms, potable water
2,295 hectares (5,669 acres)
Province of Guanacaste, 22 kilometers north of Nicoya
Noted for its cloud forest and the rainforest that covers the park, Braulio Carrillo National Park also has several dormant volcanoes: Cerro Chompipe, Cerro Cacho Negro, Cerros las Tres Marias. Barva and the resultant crater lakes: Barva, Danta and Copey. Braulio Carrillo abounds with flora and fauna species in its multiple ecosystem zones, which feature innumerable rivers and waterfalls. With over 4,500 mm of rainfall per year, the park is fundamental for the protection of the water resources of the Sector Norte (Sarapiqui) hydroelectric project, which supplies water to a large portion of the Central Valley.
Protects beaches and lowlands of the southern Caribbean coastal region of Costa Rica. Exceptional scuba diving and snorkeling abounds in the protected marine area, which contains a coral reef and the associated sea life. Plus, the southern beach is a known nesting ground for several varieties of sea turtles.
Diving, snorkeling among Mature Coral Formations, white sand beaches, turquoise water
Coral: elkhorn, smooth brain, Venus sea fans, sea urchins. Fish: French angelfish, blue parrotfish, barracuda, queen angelfish, sea cucumber, lobster, green turtle, crustaceans
Howler monkeys, white face monkeys, raccoons, white-nosed coatis, green ibis, yellow-crowned night heron, Northern boat-billed heron.
The name translates to “Place of Eternal Waters,” and is home to Costa Rica's tallest peak: 3,761m (12,336 ft.) Mount Chirripó. All areas of the Park are quite a challenging hike. But on a clear day, you can see both the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea from its tallest summit. Advance reservations are required: 506-771-3155
Rock climbing, glacial lakes, Wildlife, Rain Forest, Savannah of the Lions
Increasingly popular but still very remote, and no there are no roads — only dirt tracks lead into this park. It is the largest single block of virgin lowland rainforest in Central America and is the largest and only tropical primary lowland rainforest in the world. Looking south from Punta Dominical to the Osa Peninsula, this park is comprised of 134,771 acres on land and 5,928 acres of sea. Corcovado National Park receives more than 200 inches of rain per year and is less than a one hour boat ride of Punta Dominical.
Corcovado is widely regarded as one of the world’s most biologically diverse regions. Costa Rica, and specifically Punta Dominical, actively supports efforts to conserve this unique natural resource.
Home to at least 400 species of birds, 140 of mammals, 116 of amphibians and reptiles, 6,000 of insects, 40 species of fresh water fish. The park’s six distinct ecosystems shelter scarlet macaws, jaguars, pumas, tapirs, poison-dart and golden frogs, the harpy eagle, and other endangered species. There are also four species of sea turtles.
500 species of trees; eight habitats from mangrove swamp and jolillo palm grove to mountain forest.
Information center, picnic areas, camping, restrooms, showers, potable water