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Costa Rica's National Parks

Costa Rica's National Parks Holidays

Costa Rica's protected areas encompass approximately 30% of the country's total land area and within this lie over 30 national parks, 51 wildlife refuges and 21 reserves. One of the most bio diverse countries in the world, these parks and protected areas showcase an amazing range of flora and fauna with environments ranging from low lying wetlands to lofty cloud forests and smoking volcanoes to rugged beaches. Information on some of the more well-known parks like Arenal Volcano National Park, Manuel Antonio National Park, Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve, Tortuguero, etc can be found separately.

Below you will find a little information on some parks you may not be as familiar with, these are often overlooked by many visitors to Costa Rica and therefore much quieter, allowing for a more serene interaction with nature.


Rainforest, Rivers & Rapids
14 days / 13 nights
from £2,849
  • Rio Perdido hotel
  • Arenal
  • Rafting the Pacuare River
  • Puerto Viejo

  • Costa Rica Wildlife Adventure
    14 days / 13 nights
    from £3,073
  • Tenorio Volcano National Park
  • Sarapiqui Valley
  • San Gerardo de Dota
  • Golfo Dulce

  • Discover Costa Rica
    15 days / 14 nights
    from £2,299
  • Tranquil boat trip through Tortugeuro National Park
  • Guided nature walk in the world-famous Monteverde Cloud Forest
  • Relax on Manuel Antonio’s amazing beaches
  • Two night stay in a remote rainforest lodge
  • Hiking at La Fortuna and Savegre Valley
  • Admire the imposing Arenal Volcano

  • Wellness, Wildlife & Waves
    11 days / 10 nights
    from £3,024
  • Yoga & relaxation
  • Ocean vibes
  • Deliciously fresh food


    Brauilo Carrillo National Park
    Brauilo Carrillo National Park
    Just a short drive from San Jose lies a vast expanse of primary and secondary rainforest full of wildlife. The park boasts an extraordinary biodiversity, due largely to the wide range of altitudes the park is spread across. Within the reserve you can find emerald lagoons, gushing waterfalls and towering (now dormant) volcanos. The park can be explored on hiking trails or via the aerial tram which soars through the tree canopy.
    Palo Verde National Park
    Palo Verde National Park
    Combining vast wetlands with tropical dry forest this little known park has a unique geography and is home to an astonishing diversity of bird life. A key meeting place for a large concentration of aquatic and migratory birds, in green season these wetlands swell and attract huge numbers of birds including the rare scarlet macaw, wood storks and herons. The park can be explored on foot and on jeep safari or on a boat tour down the Tempisque River, where you can also find huge crocodiles, monkeys and iguanas on the river banks.
    Tenorio Volcano National Park
    Tenorio Volcano National Park
    The Río Celeste is one of Costa Rica’s most spectacular rivers. Winding through the forests of the Tenorio National Park, this magnificent river gets its vibrant turquoise colour as a result of a chemical reaction between volcanic minerals. The trails through this park are reasonably challenging (especially when it's wet!) but very beautiful and the hike Rio Celeste Waterfall is well worth the effort.
    Carara National Park
    Carara National Park
    Located on the Pacific Coast, ecosystems merge here as tropical dry forest meets the tropical rainforest of the humid south coast. The unique environment is home a huge diversity of flora and fauna and this is one of the few places you can see the rare scarlet macaw as well as ocelots, kinkajous, monkeys and sloths. The Rio Tarcoles forms a northern boundary to the park and is inhabited by large crocodiles for most of the year. These huge reptiles can be seen from 'Crocodile Bridge' or a cruise along the river.
    Rincon de la Vieja National Park
    Rincon de la Vieja National Park
    Rincon de la Vieja is one of the largest and most active volcanos in Costa Rica. This huge volcano sits in the centre of the national park which spans 35,000 acres and is split into two sections; Las Pailas and Santa Maria. Las Pailas means 'the cauldrons' in Spanish and refers to the impressive volcanic activity the park is famous for. Steaming fumaroles, mini geysers, bubbling volcanic mud pits and natural hot springs can be found dotted across the park. There are a number of trails across the park and it's a mecca for adrenaline activities. If you want to stay near the park Hacienda Guachipelin is an excellent option.
    La Selva Biological Station
    La Selva Biological Station
    Lying in the north east of the country, the Sarapiquí valley is a great destination for nature enthusiasts and here you will find La Selva Biological Station. On the banks of the fast flowing Sarapiquí River and in the surrounding lowland forest are a number of eco lodges and research centres which provide visitors with a unique flora and fauna viewing experience. La Selva is a fascinating neotropical research station offering nature lovers a unique opportunity to learn about the ecosystems of this incredible area. Here you can see many colourful tree frogs, toucans and howler monkeys.
    Caño Negro Wildlife Refuge
    Caño Negro Wildlife Refuge
    Off the beaten track on the Nicaraguan border, the Caño Negro Wildlife Refuge occupies an area of 25,000 acres of wetlands, rainforest and swampland and is considered one of the richest areas in biological diversity in Costa Rica. Primarily known for its bird watching, it is also home to many wild animals, including sloths, three types of monkeys, caimans, lizards, bats and a variety of flora native to these wetlands.
    Poas Volcano National Park
    Poas Volcano National Park
    Only 90 minutes from San Jose, Poas Volcano is one of Costa Rica's largest and most active volcanoes and is a great example of the geothermal forces that shaped Costa Rica. View the smoking crater and look down into the bubbling turquoise lake. The national park has partially reopened (after closure due to increased volcanic activity) to allow visitors access to an observation platform over the huge crater. Whilst this park definitely doesn't fit into the 'lesser visited' category it certainly deserves a mention! Visitors who want to stay close to the park can stay in the Poas Volcano Lodge.


    Hotel Rio Perdido

    Tenorio Lodge

    Selva Bananito Lodge
    Selva Bananito

    Hotel Hacienda Guachipellin
    Ricon De La Vieja
  • Pool
  • Restaurant & bar
  • Spa

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    Costa Rica's National Parks Fast Facts

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    Recommended Immunisations

    Diphtheria/Tetanus/Polio booster
    Hepititis A (vaccine recommended)
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    Visa information given is given for British citizens holding a valid UK passport with at least 6 months validity remaining. Immunisation guidelines assume routine UK childhood immunisation has been given and will not apply to all situations. Medical advice should be sought. Your Trailfinders consultant will advise you of the specific visa and immunisation requirements for your trip.


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