Top Costa Rica National Parks

Introduction to Costa Rica National Parks & Reserves​

Welcome to the stunning world of Costa Rica National Parks & Reserves! Nestled in Central America, this biodiverse country is a nature lover’s paradise. With its lush rainforests, majestic volcanoes, and pristine beaches, Costa Rica offers an array of national parks that showcase its incredible natural beauty.

Costa Rica is home to over 25 national parks and reserves, each with its unique charm and ecological significance. These protected areas play a crucial role in preserving the country’s rich biodiversity and are a testament to Costa Rica’s commitment towards conservation.

No matter which national park you choose to explore in Costa Rica, be prepared for awe-inspiring landscapes and unforgettable adventures. Whether it’s trekking through rugged terrain or simply relaxing amidst nature’s wonders, these parks offer something for everyone.

Top National Parks in Costa Rica

Tortuguero National Park

Tortuguero National Park is a true gem of Costa Rica, located on the northeastern coast. Known as the “Land of Turtles,” this park provides a haven for these majestic creatures during nesting season. It’s not just turtles that call this place home though – Tortuguero is teeming with an incredible variety of wildlife.


As you explore the park’s lush rainforests and winding waterways, keep your eyes peeled for monkeys swinging through the trees, colorful birds fluttering overhead, and maybe even a lazy sloth hanging from a branch. The park is also home to jaguars, tapirs, and countless other species that thrive in its diverse  ecosystems. One of the best ways to experience Tortuguero National Park is by taking a boat tour along its canals. Glide silently through the water as your knowledgeable guide points out hidden treasures like caimans basking in the sun or rare bird species nesting in treetops.


If you’re lucky enough to visit during turtle nesting season (July to October), be prepared for an awe-inspiring sight. Witnessing massive sea turtles making their way up the beach to lay their eggs is truly unforgettable.

Tortuguero National Park offers so much more than just turtle spotting. Its untouched beauty and abundant wildlife make it a must-visit destination for nature lovers seeking an authentic Costa Rican experience.


Pupular hotels inculde the Evergreen Lodge which is located in the middle of the stunning rainforest next to a river. When you go here we recommend you to go on our 2 nights and 3 days package that includes three meals a day and three amazing excursions. At the Laguna Lodge Tortuguero, there are no accessible roads and the grounds surrounding the lodge must be explored by boat. Still, this hotel lest you experience  every aspect of the park in ultimate comfort.

Turtle nesting in Tortugero national park

Arenal Volcano National Park

Arenal Volcano National Park is a must-visit destination in Costa Rica for nature and adventure enthusiasts. This park is home to the iconic Arenal Volcano, one of the country’s most active volcanoes. With its towering presence and stunning scenery, it offers a unique experience for visitors.


The volcano itself is a sight to behold, with its symmetrical cone rising dramatically from the surrounding rainforest. Hiking trails wind through the park, allowing you to get up close and personal with this natural wonder. As you explore the trails, keep an eye out for wildlife such as monkeys, sloths, and colorful bird species.


For those seeking adventure, there are plenty of activities to choose from in Arenal Volcano National Park. You can go zip-lining through the canopy or take a thrilling white-water rafting trip down the nearby rivers. If relaxation is more your style, visit one of the many hot springs that are fed by natural geothermal activity.


No matter how you choose to explore Arenal Volcano National Park, be prepared to be amazed by its beauty and power. It’s no wonder why this park is considered one of Costa Rica’s top attractions! 


There are plenty of accommodations near the Arenal Volcano that cater to diverse needs and preferences, ensuring a perfect match for every traveler. Nayara Springs offers an adults-only retreat, perfect for couples seeking romance or solitude with private plunge pools and luxury amidst nature. Arenal Lodge invites families and adventurers to a genuine lodge experience with panoramic volcano views, comfortable accommodations, and activities that immerse guests in the surrounding natural beauty. Here you can find more hotels near the Volcano Arenal.  

View of the Arenal Volcano
Suspension bridge in the jungle in Arenal National Park

Manuel Antonio National Park

Manuel Antonio National Park is one of Costa Rica’s most popular and stunning natural treasures. Located on the Central Pacific Coast, this park offers a unique blend of lush rainforests, pristine beaches, and diverse wildlife  resulting in the definition of natural paradise. 

As you enter the park, you’ll be greeted by towering trees that create a magical canopy overhead. The trails wind their way through this verdant landscape, inviting visitors to explore and discover hidden gems along the way.

What truly sets Manuel Antonio National Park apart is its breathtaking coastline. With turquoise waters gently lapping against golden sands, it’s no wonder why this park draws beach lovers from far and wide. There are four beaches in the park, all of which have pristine beaches. Whether you want to relax under swaying palm trees or take a refreshing dip in the ocean, the beaches here are simply paradise. 


While exploring the park’s trails or lounging on its beaches, keep an eye out for some of Costa Rica’s most iconic wildlife species. From playful monkeys swinging through treetops to colorful birds flitting about in search of nectar, every corner of Manuel Antonio National Park offers a chance for an unforgettable animal encounter.

If you’re looking for adventure beyond hiking or beachcombing, there are also opportunities for snorkeling and kayaking within the park boundaries. Dive into vibrant coral reefs teeming with tropical fish or paddle along tranquil mangrove forests.

Looking for places to stay, Gaia Hotel and Nature Reserve merges luxury with eco-consciousness in Costa Rica’s coastal rainforest. This adults-only haven offers rejuvenating spa treatments, gourmet dining, and private nature tours, making it ideal for romantic escapes or tranquil retreats, all within an eco-sustainable framework. Hotel Villabosque with its 20 rooms isa great option for you who likes smaller hotels compared to resorts. The hotel is affordable and you only have 500 ft (150 m) to the beach and 650 ft (200 m) to the national park entrance.

Pristine bech view at Manuel Antio National Park

Cahuita National Park

Cahuita National Park, located on the Caribbean coast of Costa Rica, is a hidden gem that offers a unique and diverse natural experience.

Spanning a compact 10.7 square kilometers, Cahuita National Park is among Costa Rica’s smallest national parks. This wedge-shaped territory stretches from Punta Cahuita to the main highway and notably includes the coral reef situated approximately 500 meters offshore. 

Here, you can snorkel along the colorful coral reef just meters away from shore. Swim amongst schools of tropical fish and maybe even spot a majestic sea turtle gliding gracefully through the water. Please be aware that independent snorkeling is not allowed; visitors are required to arrange a guided tour or hire a guide to explore the underwater scenes.
The park features a single trail that starts at Kelly Creek and stretches 7 kilometers to the Puerto Vargas ranger station. It hugs the shoreline of Playa Blanca for much of its distance, offering a broad, leaf-covered path that resembles a road, punctuated by stretches of boardwalk and natural debris.. Keep your eyes peeled for monkeys swinging from tree to tree or sloths leisurely hanging upside down. The park is also home to an incredible variety of bird species, making it a haven for birdwatchers.


Costa Rica is truly a paradise for nature lovers and adventure seekers. With its incredible biodiversity, lush rainforests, stunning coastlines, and majestic volcanoes, the country boasts some of the most spectacular national parks in the world.

From the remote wilderness of Tortuguero National Park to the fiery landscapes of Arenal Volcano National Park, each park offers a unique experience that will leave you in awe. Whether you’re hiking through dense forests, spotting exotic wildlife, or relaxing on pristine beaches, Costa Rica’s national parks provide endless opportunities for exploration and discovery.

Cahuita National Park showcases both terrestrial and marine ecosystems with its vibrant coral reefs teeming with colorful fish. And Manuel Antonio National Park captivates visitors with its breathtaking vistas and abundant wildlife encounters.

These national parks not only serve as conservation areas but also offer educational programs and research initiatives to promote environmental awareness and preservation. They are a testament to Costa Rica’s commitment to sustainable tourism and protecting its natural treasures for future generations.

So, if you’re planning a trip to Costa Rica, make sure to include visits to these amazing national parks in your itinerary. Immerse yourself in nature’s wonders as you embark on unforgettable adventures amidst lush jungles, towering volcanoes, sparkling rivers, and pristine beaches.

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