Costa Rica stretches from the Pacific Ocean to the Caribbean Sea and possesses a distance of 200 miles. The variety of landscapes and microclimates that can be enjoyed in one day, make this country a paradise destination. In just 19,691 square miles, the traveler can find sun and beach, adventure, nature, and culture.
Although the country is small and it covers only 0.03% of the planet’s surface, it has the privilege of being the habitat of 5% of the existing biodiversity worldwide. 25.58% of its territory is protected, by the government, under diverse forms of conservation. However, there is another 26% of reserves that are managed by private companies, which totals over 50% of its national territory that is currently protected. Costa Rica is among the 20 richest countries in biodiversity on Earth in species density. This means that is possible to find more species on 1,000 km2 in Costa Rica, than in the same area in countries such as Brasil or Colombia.
The country also owns a great cultural legacy, whose manifestations can be appreciated in symbols such as the ox cart, a national symbol that highlights because of its beauty and color. Also, Costa Rica has an indigenous heritage from tribes such as the Chorotegas, Cabécares, Malekus, Bribris, Borucas, among others.
With a total area of 9529 km2 and over 700 kilometers of coastline, the tourism unit Guanacaste, comprises the Pacific coast of Costa Rica from the border with Nicaragua to the mouth of the River Bongo in the Nicoya Peninsula. This unit houses an important portion of the Costa Rican cultural and natural heritage. Not in vain there are a significant number of protected coastal areas including in where life develops with exuberance in aquatic, terrestrial and mountain ecosystems.
The incomparable beauty of its landscapes ranging from tropical dry forest to the low forest montano and its hot climate, as well as its fertile nature, have made Guanacaste one of the places most frequented by local and international tourism. It also homes the impressive Papagayo Gulf Touristic Pole and, the Daniel Oduber International Airport which gets a lot of charter flights and regular flights from the United States.
The Costa Rican national territory in its entirety (51,100 square kilometers) is under the jurisdiction of 11 large conservation areas that were created in 1998, being these, administrative divisions of SINAC. About 25% of the territory is included within national parks, refuges and protected areas within these eleven conservation areas.
Visit our nearby National Parks:
Rincón de la Vieja
This National Park is home of the greatest volcano of the Cordillera de Guanacaste, the Rincón de la Vieja, that means “old woman’s corner”. The volcano has two peaks – Rincón de la Vieja and Santa María – and nine craters. Hike on the Enchanted Forest trail; soak in the hot springs; feel as if you traveled to the Jurassic era and watch the Pilas de Barro (mud pots) where boiling mud explodes in belching bubbles and the superheated mineral-rich pools are tinged with a rainbow of colors; keep walking on to Las Hornillas, vapor geysers that spit up odoriferous steam and gases; watch tapirs drink water at Los Jilgueros Lagoon; and many other sites you’ll fall in love with.
Santa Rosa National Park protects large fragments of tropical forest (forest that formerly covered all Guanacaste). This forest is home to a wide variety of wildlife, among mammals the following can be seen: jaguars, pumas, tapirs, deer and peccaries. Among birds, peacocks, magpies, toucans, osprey, etc. Reptiles include the hawksbill, leatherback, olive ridley and green turtles.
Besides this, this park protects an important symbol of the Costa Rican history … the house of Santa Rosa.
This 19,000-hectare park has seasonally dry forest on limestone outcrops and extensive wetland vegetation bordering the Tempisque River that flows into the Gulf of Nicoya. This oasis form a haven for aquatic birds, more than 300 species of neotropical birds roost or nest here. You might see curassows, anhingas, white ibises, jaribus (world´s largest stork), black-bellied whistling duck and the blue-winged teal. The mammal fauna is equally rich and visible, particularly during the dry season when peccaries, armadillos, jaguarundis, coatis, agoutis, deer, and monkeys are attracted to the water holes and trees full of fruits that feed them.
More information here (Spanish only)
Its surface covers 18.402.51 hectares of forests and volcanic territory. Within its territory the Tenorio Volcano massif consist of several cones and craters, as well as the Celeste River, a point of great tourist attraction. Is the area of richest biodiversity conservation within the Conservation Area Arenal-Tempisque.
The area protected by the Tenorio Volcano National Park is considered of great natural value. The site has large areas of virgin forest, since human encroachment has been relatively low. This has allowed the conservation of natural habitats vital for the preservation of endangered species such as the agouti, tapir and puma.
Let your mind run wild with the spiraling and twisting formations of the caverns in Barra Honda. Of the 42 known caverns, only 19 have been explored. Descend 100 feet underground and visit Caverna Terciopelo with rare dripstone formations such as the called the organ. Terciopelo´s three chambers are named for the formations within Mushroom Hall, Hall of the Caves, and Caverna Nicoya. This last one encloses pre-Columbian remains dating back two millennia. Be surprised by a number of rare species, blind salamanders, and blind fish that have evolved as a result of the complete darkness far below ground. Deeper caves exploration is available for professionals requiring the proper speleology equipment.
More information here. (Spanish only)