Costa Rica holds 7 percent of the total global biodiversity and one of the reasons why it does it; is the natural parks and protected reserves or areas across its lands and oceans. This small country has been paying attention to preserve the natural resources not only with those two models; but also, encouraging people with huge lands or farms to take this direction too.

How many National Parks are in Costa Rica?

There are currently 30 National Parks in Costa Rica, all of them administrated by SINAC (Sistema Nacional de Areas de Conservacion), which is part of one of the Government institutions. SINAC is also the Institution who establish rules and regulations to visit the parks, in their website you may purchase entry tickets to visit volcanoes, mountains among other parks.

These are the current parks in the country:

  • Arenal Volcano National Park
  • Ballena National Marine Park
  • Barbilla National Park
  • Barra Honda National Park
  • Braulio Carrillo National Park
  • Cahuita National Park
  • Carara National Park
  • Chirripó National Park
  • Coco Island National Park
  • Corcovado National Park
  • Guanacaste National Park
  • Irazú Volcano National Park
  • Juan Castro Blanco National Park
  • La Amistad International Park
  • Las Baulas de Guanacaste National Marine Park
  • Los Quetzales National Park
  • Manuel Antonio National Park
  • Palo Verde National Park
  • Piedras Blancas National Park
  • Poás Volcano National Park
  • Rincón de la Vieja National Park
  • Santa Rosa National Park
  • Tapantí – Macizo Cerro de la Muerte National Park
  • Tenorio Volcano National Park
  • Tortuguero National Park
  • Turrialba Volcano National Park

What Costa Rica National Parks are open to a tourist?

All of the parks are open to the public in general, due to the COVID-19 situation, the rules and protocols to visit the park have changed, and now, it’s necessary to purchase entry tickets subject to availability before visiting the parks, among other protocols depending on the park you want to visit.

Read all the official information about Purchasing and Reserving tickets

on the following page. Read SINAC’s Reserve and Purchase Info

In the following link, you can create an account and reserve or purchase tickets without third party fees. Create an account and Purchase or Reserve Here.

What can tourists see in the National Parks?

When visiting these parks, tourists are going to see a lot of flora according to the region where the park is located. Exotic plants from dry-forest, rain forests, paramo, mangrove, cloud forests, etc.

If you are into bird watching, our parks won’t disappoint you, just to give you an example Manuel Antonio which is the smallest National Park in Costa Rica, is the house of 184 species of birds.

Trees and rivers are not excluded from these wonders you may appreciate when visiting the parks. Tapanti and Braulio Carrillo parks are two great spots to see huge trees and different kinds of them.

Monkeys and snakes are all over the place if you are in one of the tropical rainforests parks located on one of the two coasts. Mammals and other animal species are not that easy to spot, but if you walk quietly, and pretty early in the morning you might see other species too.

Are you into bugs you will love our parks? From the Morpho Butterfly to the Bullet Ant, you will find lots of species and types of them. There are tons of insects in Costa Rica National Parks. In fact, I will recommend you to carry with you a good mosquito repellent to avoid suffer an attack from those bloodsuckers.

General Rules and Regulations while visiting National Parks in Costa Rica:

  1. Always use the official entry to the park and not illegal entries, in case you get lost in the park or in case you suffer an accident, authorities must know your route or the area you are visiting to help you as soon as possible.
  2. Bring pets since they are not allowed to enter National Parks.
  3. Beers and Alcoholic Drinks, this one is easy to skip, but I would not recommend you to set up a party while visiting one of the parks.
  4. Drugs, regular cigarettes are not allowed either; if one of the security national park guards caught you with drugs, they will ask you to leave the park, and they might call the police.
  5. Hunting and fishing; are forbidden in Costa Rica.
  6. Camping is not allowed in Costa Rica National Parks.
  7. Taking out with you: plants, animals, seashell, or any other element of the park is forbidden, and you might get arrested if you get caught.
  8. Make fire; this will get you kicked out of the park, do not start fires in Costa Rica National Parks.
  9. If you are walking on trails, stay on the path, do not get into the forests to explore; it’s pretty dangerous.
  10. Leaving garbage on any section of the park might get you in trouble with the police; and also causes damages to the park. Please take all trash out of the park.

FAQ About National Parks in Costa Rica

What is the oldest park in Costa Rica?

Santa Rosa National Park in Guanacaste is the oldest and largest National Parks in Costa Rica. It was established back in 1971 and protects Central America’s largest remaining section of tropical dry forest, as well as several turtle species.

What is the smallest national park in Costa Rica?

Manuel Antonio National Park in Puntarenas is Costa Rica’s smallest National Park; however, its size does not affect the diversity of wildlife in its 6.83 km2 (3 sq mi) is unequaled with 109 species of mammals and 184 species of birds.

What percentage of the country is protected land?

Costa Rica has protected approximately 28% of its land in national parks, reserves, and wildlife refuges. Out of that 28%, 12 % is in the system of national parks. These parks are spread throughout the country in many different ecoregions. The other 16% are reserves and wildlife refuges.

How many protected areas are there in Costa Rica?

As to date, Costa Rica has 28 national parks, 58 wildlife refuges, 32 protected zones, 15 wetland areas/mangroves, 11 forest reserves, and 8 biological reserves. 

12 other conservation regions protect the distinctive and diverse natural habitats found throughout the country.

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I am a 41-year-old Costa Rican hardworking and adventurous father, who enjoys hiking, mountain biking, reading, and taking photographs. I consider nature contact and the time you spend in it is one of the best investments you can ever do!. No matter if you are doing something traditional or something more adventurous, all of us should dedicate some time per month to get into the wild. My intention with this blog is to help you to obtain a fabulous experience when traveling in general or visiting Costa Rica.

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