List of national parks and national forests in Costa Rica

There are currently 26 National Parks of Costa Rica, which are managed under the umbrella of SINAC (Sistema Nacional de Areas de Conservacion), a department of Costa Rica’s Ministry of Environment and Energy (MINAE). Costa Rica’s progressive policies on environmental protection and sustainable ecotourism in the National Parks System have been lauded as a model for other countries. The rainforests, tropical forests, marine areas and wetlands of Costa Rica are the subject of many university and scientific organization studies. The enrichment of the world’s knowledge of these important habitats is an invaluable contribution from the National Parks System of Costa Rica.

List of national parks and national forests in Costa Rica:

1. Arenal Volcano National Park and national forests

Arenal Volcano National Park (Spanish: Parque Nacional Volcán Arenal) is a Costa Rican national park in the central part of the country, forming the Arenal Tilaran Conservation Area. The park encompasses the Arenal Volcano, the most active in the country, which had previously been believed to be dormant until a major eruption in 1968. It neighbours Lake Arenal, which is the site of the country’s largest hydroelectricity project, the Lake Arenal Dam.

2. Barbilla National Park and national forests

Barbilla National Park is a National Park in the Caribbean La Amistad Conservation Area of Costa Rica located on the eastern slopes of the Cordillera de Talamanca. It protects forests as well as Laguna Ayil and Cerro Tigre and the Dantas River watershed, covering parts of both Cartago and Limón Provinces. The Park has the Barbilla Biological Station on site, as well as an administrative building located in Brisas de Pacuarito.

3. Cahuita National Park and national forests

Cahuita National Park is a national park in the Caribbean La Amistad Conservation Area of Costa Rica located on the southern Caribbean coast in Limón Province, connected to the town of Cahuita. It protects beaches and lowlands and attracts tourists and other visitors who are able to scuba dive and snorkel in the protected marine area which contains the Coralline Reefs, as well as being a nesting ground for sea turtles. This is also one of the nicest and least developed beaches in Costa Rica.

4. Diria National Park and national forests

The Diria National Park, until 2004 the Diria National Forest Wildlife Refuge, is a National Park of Costa Rica south of Santa Cruz in the Guanacaste Province, and forms part of the Tempisque Conservation Area. It protects both dry and at higher elevations humid tropical forest in the central highlands of the Nicoya Peninsula, including the watersheds of the Diria, Tigre, Verde and Enmedio rivers which have been created a terrain of deep valleys with steep slopes.

5. Guanacaste National Park and national forests

Guanacaste National Park, in Spanish Parque Nacional Guanacaste, is part of the Area de Conservación Guanacaste World Heritage Site, is a National Park in the northern part of Costa Rica, from the slopes of the Orosí and Cacao volcanoes west to the Interamerican Highway where it is adjacent to the Santa Rosa National Park. It was created in 1989, partially due to the campaigning and fund-raising of Dr. Daniel Janzen to allow a corridor between the dry forest and rain forest areas which many species migrate between seasonally.

6. Irazú National Park and national forests

Irazú Volcano National Park, or in Spanish the Parque Nacional Volcán Irazú, is a National Park in the Central Volcanic Conservation Area of Costa Rica that encompasses the area around the Irazú Volcano in Cartago Province which incorporates what used to be the Ruben Torres Rojas Forest Reserve now called the Prusia Forest Reserve. The volcano is still active although the last major eruptions were between 1963 and 1965, with occasional minor eruptions and some small lava flows since that time.

7. Juan Castro Blanco National Park and national forests

Juan Castro Blanco National Park is a National Park, part of the Arenal Huetar Norte Conservation Area, in the northern part of Costa Rica about 100 km north of San José, to the east of Ciudad Quesada in Alajuela Province. It contains the active Platanar Volcano as well as the dormant Porvenir Volcano. It was created in 1992 covering an area of rain and cloud forest, however there are not yet any public facilities at the park.

8. La Amistad National Park and national forests

The La Amistad International Park, or in Spanish Parque Internacional La Amistad, formerly the La Amistad National Park, is an Transboundary Protected Area in Latin America, management of which is shared between Costa Rica (Caribbean La Amistad and Pacific La Amistad Conservation Areas) and Panama, following a recommendation by UNESCO after the park’s inclusion in the World Heritage Site list.

9. Manuel Antonio National Park and national forests

Manuel Antonio National Park, in Spanish the Parque Nacional Manuel Antonio, is a small National Park in the Central Pacific Conservation Area located on the Pacific coast of Costa Rica, just south of the city of Quepos, Puntarenas, and 132 km (82 mi) from the national capital of San José. Established in 1972 with an area enumerating 4,014 acres (16.24 km2) (the smallest of any Costa Rican national park), it is the destination of as many as 150,000 visitors annually and well known for its beautiful beaches and hiking trails.

10. Palo Verde National Park and national forests

The Palo Verde National Park, in Spanish Parque Nacional Palo Verde is a National Park of Costa Rica, part of the Tempisque Conservation Area, that contains much of the area of the valley of the Tempisque River and covers an area of 45,492 acres in Guanacaste Province, 30 km west of Canas. The surrounding region is mostly tropical dry forests, and the Park concentrates on conserving vital floodplain, marshes, limestone ridges, and seasonal pools from the encroachment of civilization which was putting the ecology of the area at risk.

Other National Park and national forests in Costa Rica

There’re some other national parks and national forests in Costa Rica, that we don’t have enough time and information to list them here. They are:  Barra Honda National Park, Braulio Carrillo National Park, Carara National Park, Chirripó National Park, Cocos Island National Park, Corcovado National Park, La Cangreja National Park, Las Baulas National Marine Park, Maquenque National Park, Piedras Blancas National Park, Poás Volcano National Park, Rincón de la Vieja Volcano National Park, Santa Rosa National Park, Tapantí National Park, Tenorio Volcano National Park, Tortuguero National Park, Turrialba Volcano National Park.