The variety of the country’s topography makes for an exciting and interesting Costa Rica nature travel vacation. From the rugged flanks of the Rincon de la Vieja volcano to the secluded white sand beaches on two coasts, from the lush greenery of the lowland rainforest to the lofty elegance of the Monteverde Cloud Forest, Costa Rica is a pioneer in preserving her natural beauty. Over eleven percent of the country is national park. There are over 25 of them. These parks range in size from the 524-acre Guayabo National Monument to the over 468,000 acre La Amistad National Park. They encompass beaches, rainforests, an active volcano, and a pristine mountain lake. Consider a few of the highlights:
Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve
The Monteverde Cloud Forest is the centerpiece of any Costa Rica nature travel vacation. Covering over 26,000 acres of primary forest, Monteverde boasts a rich variety of flora and fauna, including the elusive and most-prized bird, the quetzal. The park has a well-maintained trail system and excellent guides to make sure you get the most from your trip.
Manuel Antonio National Park
The most popular national park in Costa Rica, the Manuel Antonio National Park is home to a lowland rainforest as well as some of the country’s best beaches. Located along the central Pacific coast and inland, this park’s most famous resident is the tiny, endangered squirrel monkey. These small brown monkeys have dark eyes surrounded by white rings and very long tails. They travel in large bands, so it’s likely you’ll see quite a few. The beaches are wide with powdery white sand and are surprisingly unpopulated for so beautiful a setting.
Arenal National Park
No Costa Rica nature travel vacation would be complete without a trip to the north and the Arenal Volcano and the adjacent Lake Arenal. This relatively new park gives visitors a chance to get an up-close view of the lava flows. A little further away from the volcano, there are some excellent hiking trails. The elevation leads to constant 25 mile-per-hour winds along the lake, making Lake Arenal one of the world’s best windsurfing spots.
Corcovado National park
The southern part of Costa Rica is home to Corcovado National Park, the largest single block of virgin lowland rainforest in Central America. This park, with only dirt tracks leading to it, is still remote enough to preserve its natural beauty. This area is tropical, receiving over 200 inches of rain per year and is home to the prized, scarlet macaw as well as the puma and the endangered, jaguar.
Chirripo National Park
Along Costa Rica’s central Pacific coast lies Chirripo National Park. This park includes the highest point in the country, Mt. Chirripo, and in good weather, you can see both the Caribbean Sea and the Pacific Ocean from here. There is also a nice network of climbing trails along the mountain.
A Costa Rica nature travel vacation is a great way to see a diverse slice of wilderness, wildlife, and plant life without the tourist trappings. Costa Rica has made a great effort in preserving her natural landscape and graciously, she shares it with the world.