The main comparative advantage of Costa Rica is its system of national parks and protected areas, which cover about 25% of the national territory, the largest in the world in percentage, and that harbors a rich variety of flora and fauna, which is estimated to contain 5% of the world’s biodiversity in less than 0.1% of the Earth’s landmass.
In addition, Costa Rica has numerous beaches in both the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea, with both coasts separated by only a few hundred kilometers. Also, tourists can safely visit several volcanoes located in National Parks. At the beginning of the 1990s, Costa Rica became known as the “poster child” of ecotourism worldwide, a period in which arrivals of foreign tourists reached an average annual growth of 14% between 1986 and 1994.
The perfect place for people looking for an adventure in the middle of tropical nature.
Costa Rica is a succession of natural parks full of exotic fauna, paradisiacal beaches, beautiful volcanoes, and friendly people. The magnificence of its tropical forests and the preservation of the natural environment mean that trips to this impressive land are permanently oriented towards the practice of ecotourism: enjoying the imposing nature of its territory while respecting its biological diversity.
Top Destinations in Costa Rica
Tortuguero National Park
A key terrain for the reproduction of turtles in the Caribbean, Tortuguero National Park is the habitat and nesting site for four of the eight species of sea turtles in the world. Known for its winding rivers or canals and beautiful lagoons, this area is also home to the famous manatee, which is in danger of extinction.
Corcovado National Park and Drake Bay
Located on the beautiful Osa Peninsula, the Corcovado National Park has been called one of the most biodiverse places on the planet. Along with Bahia Drake, this region has become a hot spot for ecotourism for those who want to be one with nature.
Nosara and Playa Guiones
Nosara is a quiet beach community, ideal for surfers and for nature lovers. Located where turtles encounter monkeys, this serene and unspoiled corner of Costa Rica has enjoyed both the protection of the national park system, as well as the efforts of the local citizens’ association that keep the beaches impeccable and ensure hundreds of hectares of protected forest interspersed with small-scale development.
Tamarindo, Playa Langosta and Playa Grande
Located on the north coast of the Pacific Ocean, Tamarindo and the surrounding beaches are some of the most accessible beach towns in the region. With crystal clear turquoise waters and perfect weather, Tamarindo is one of the most popular tourist destinations for good reason. Tamarindo has a little “something” for all tastes. If a family is looking for an adventure getaway or a couple who prefers to relax on their honeymoon, this city has the comforts and serenity of several destinations in one.
Rincon de La Vieja
Ecological diversity abounds in the Rincon de la Vieja National Park, one of the parks in the Guanacaste Conservation Area. This park is a mandatory destination when you are in the province of Guanacaste. In more than 34,000 acres, Rincon de la Vieja has space for two volcanoes, 32 rivers and streams, and an incredible variety of flora and fauna.
In the park, you can perform various activities, such as hiking, horseback riding, enjoying hot springs, swimming, picnicking and camping. Rincon de la Vieja is approximately 15 miles northeast of the city of Liberia, capital of the province of Guanacaste.
Amazing Flora and Fauna
Rincon de la Vieja houses a great variety of tropical forests, including clouds and mountainous ecosystems. Exotic and rare flora and fauna find refuge here including kinkajous, pumas, a variety of monkeys, sloths, tapirs, and jaguars. The rare emerald tucancillos and the colorful motmots shine in the sunlight along with vibrant and wild orchids. The trees of Laurel and Guanacaste form the perfect canopy to give habitat and conditions to birds and mammals.
The old Rincon de la Vieja volcano erupted for the last time in 1983, with a minor ash and lava emission in 1991. Nowadays, adventurous visitors can take a day trip to the top through a hiking trail. Six miles that originate in Las Pailas. The trip along the way will reveal several different ecosystems. You will see the Von Seebach, the main crater of the volcano, periodically throwing steam as evidence of its geothermal activity.
Those who complete the walk will be rewarded with breathtaking views of the Nicoya Peninsula and Lake Nicaragua. If the skies are exceptionally clear, you can see Lake Los Jilgueros and almost all of Costa Rica. If you are considering doing the trek, be sure to bring water to stay hydrated and clothing that protects you from potential inclement weather. In a country full of national parks and nature reserves, the Rincon de la Vieja National Park is like no other in Costa Rica. For a long time, you will remember the wild flora and fauna in this main park in the province of Guanacaste.
The landscape here is a work of art. Even the most stressed clerk gives in to the feeling of peace and tranquility. It is a sky that smells of sulfur because it is located on the slopes of Tenorio volcano, in the national park that bears the name of the Colossus.
Rio Celeste, its waterfalls and Los Teñideros are the main attractions of the destination; but, inside the park, there are more treasures: thermal waters, panoramic views, nature trails, wildlife sightings …
The Tenorio Volcano National Park is the protected wild area richest in biodiversity of the Arenal Tempisque Conservation Area. There, socio-environmental, tourism and conservation activities are carried out. It is located between the cantons of Guatuso and Upala, of Alajuela; and Cañas, Bagaces, and Tilarán, from Guanacaste.
Returning to the wonder of the Celeste River, there are two key points in the tour that leaves anyone open-mouthed. The first one is the waterfall, where the sprays, which crash with fury against the turquoise water, generate a show that seems to be taken from a magical realism novel. The waterfall can only be admired from a distance since it is forbidden for tourists to bathe in it, or in any other natural scenario of the conservation area. This is due to technical, legal and administrative precautions.
Orchids and Felines
This paradise has a 3.5-kilometer path that allows tourists to get in touch with nature. The walk demands some physical condition, so the adventurers are suggested to manage their energies and be equipped with a bottle of water and comfortable shoes. The visitor can invest between four and five hours (taking into account the strategic stops to take pictures and admire the landscapes) doing the tour.
The world famous Arenal Volcano is iconic. Notably, the classic conical shape rises over La Fortuna in northwestern Costa Rica. Arenal erupted in 1968 after years of inactivity. Currently, it is one of the most visited National Parks in Costa Rica.
One of the most visited places in Costa Rica is Monteverde, north of the province of Puntarenas. Monteverde is home to one of the rarest habitats on Earth, the cloud forest, along with an amazing variety of flora and fauna. The Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve is unique in comparison to other tropical rainforests of Costa Rica, with a constant haze and is hence its name. The high humidity at this point, 1,600 meters above sea level, creates fog and provides a dense cloud cover over the area.
Monteverde Butterfly Garden
Along with the great variety of animals and plants in Costa Rica, you will also find plenty of insects. Monteverde offers one of the best and most numerous butterfly farms in the country, which exhibit butterflies in an amazing variety of colors and patterns. Visit this butterfly garden in Monteverde to see swallows, zebra butterflies with their black and white stripes, the bright blue morpho butterfly and the transparent or crystal winged butterfly, known for its translucent wings.
Monteverde Cloud Forest
Eight different biological zones are distinguished in this environment rich in humidity, which houses several thousand species of animals and plants through its 26,000 hectares. The reserve is a paradise for bird lovers, with more than 500 species; Do not forget your binoculars to see the resplendent quetzal, whose green plumage contrasts very well with its red chest and belly, the blue-throated tucancillo and the mystic and loud bellbird. Be on the lookout for pumas, monkeys, and jaguars, as well as the red-eyed tree frog that serves as an icon of Costa Rica.
Costa Rica is the perfect tropical paradise for all nature lovers. When you visit this country, you will be more than welcome to admire and amaze with the beautiful volcanoes, national parks, and all its biodiversity. We are waiting for you with open arms.