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Costa Rica National Parks

Costa Rica’s territory covers approximately 51,000 square kilometers and more than 25% of this land is either a national park or a protected area. Costa Rica has 161 parks and refuges; you will be able to find information about many of them on this site. These protected areas are the treasure of this country since thousands of tourists and local people come every year to witness these natural protected marvels. The most visited parks in Costa Rica are: Poas Volcano, Manuel Antonio National Park,Tortuguero, Cahuita and Arenal.

The rest of the parks get very few visitors basically because there is no proper information available for potential tourists. This section of Costa Rica Guides will provide you with full descriptions of Costa Rica National Parks – their size, location, directions and facilities. A map of each park with its trails is also available to help you plan your Costa Rica vacation.

In the protected areas of Costa Rica you can enjoy different activities such as hiking, camping, mountain biking, snorkeling, sea kayaking, and birdwatching. These activities can be done year round but is good to check a Costa Rica weather chart, because rain in some areas may be intense.

Number of protected areas


Area in Hectares

% of the Territory
of Costa Rica


National Parks




Biological Reserves




Protected Zones




Forest Reserves




Wildlife Refuges








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When to visit Costa Rica and its parks

Costa Rica’s weather has an enormous variety of microclimates – while in a certain areas you may experience some rain, in other nearby areas you may witness a beautiful sunny weather. There are two climatic seasons in Costa Rica. The dry season (Costa Rica’s summer) and the green season (Costa Rica´s winter). During the green season you will usually experience rain during the day for short periods.

Costa Rica’s weather is very unpredictable, especially now due to global warming effects. However, Costa Rica is beautiful year round and can be visited at any time. During September and October is when most of the rain usually occurs, but for those who want to witness the Arenal Volcano with all its activity and no clouds covering its peak, these are the best months to see it.
National Parks and Fees

There are different entrance fees to the different national parks, but most parks charge between $7 to $15 per person (adults and children), for a full day.

Costa Rica was one of the first Latin American countries to recognize the importance of protecting natural resources. Nearly 25% of the country’s territory, and part of its maritime zone, has been declared National Parks and Protected Areas. As well, there are several private initiatives dedicated to protect the environment, many of them helped by international organizations and universities.

Costa Rica National Parks History

In 1970, Costa Rica created the National Park System, administered by the SINAC (National Conservation Areas System) since 1994. The SINAC is in charge of providing maintenance, organization and strategic planning in all areas of the protected territories.
Eleven Protected Areas (also known as Conservation Areas) have been established to the date. Within these areas, SINAC protects more than 186 areas, including national parks, biological reserves, forest reserves, and wildlife refuges.

Costa Rica’s Biodiversity

Hundreds of mammals, reptiles, birds, amphibians, insects, fish, fungus and plants take refuge in Costa Rica’s Protected Areas, many of them considered to be endangered species worldwide. Some international organizations have shown an interest in studying these species and their habitats, in order to stop the number of specimen from dropping down.

Ecological and Economical Value of Protected Areas in Costa Rica

Protected Areas have provided us with raw materials, food, water and recreational opportunities over the years, and have a fundamental value in maintaining life on Earth. In Diseño Web Costa Rica, the tourism industry has greatly benefited from the existence of National Parks and Protected Areas, as thousands of foreign visitors come to explore these natural treasures every year.

Interesting Facts about Costa Rica National Parks

First Park to be foundedPoás Volcano National Park
Smallest ParkManuel Antonio National Park, 16 km²
Largest ParkLa Amistad International Park, 1991 km²
Most visited ParkPoás Volcano National Park