Costa Rica is world famous for its natural wonders. One of the guests on my monthly relocation tours referred to the country as a “nature lover’s Disneyland.” He was spot on in that there are scores of activities for nature lovers found here.
Costa Rica’s national parks are just one of its main attractions. 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, as well as 12 other conservation regions that protect the distinctive and diverse natural habitats found throughout the country.
Here are just a few of the country’s most popular parks that retired expats, tourists and Costa Ricans can enjoy.
Located next to the city of Alajuela, this active volcano boasts one of the largest craters in the world. For those who do not like to travel far, the volcano is a good option since it is in the country’s central valley. A variety restaurants and other venues are found in the vicinity.
Located high above the city of Cartago at around 10,000 feet, this giant it is a sight to behold. One can virtually experience a birds-eye-view when looking at the landscape below. Most people only experience this sensation while peering through the window of an airplane except this panoramic view is even more spectacular.
Often referred to by the locals as “Turri,” this volcano is a must for those who like to hike. There are other outdoor activities nearby like the Guayabo Archaeological monument.
The crater is not accessible but there are trails for hiking. However, the main attraction is the proximity of Río Celeste, famous for its distinctive turquoiseblue colored water produced by a chemical reaction. The river borders several hot springs and has one large waterfall. Río Celeste is truly a natural wonder and has to be seen to be believed.
Known for its nesting turtles and wetlands (humedales), Tortuguero National Park is located in Costa Rica’s northeastern Limón Province.
Besides its beaches the area features rivers teeming with wildlife. Visitors can explore these waterways by boat and see a variety of fauna like monkeys, sloths, parrots, crocodiles, caimans and other exotic and indigenous species.
Cahuita National Park was established in 1970 to protect a large coral reef off the Caribbean coast. It features gorgeous white sand beaches, a verdant and lush jungle, and an abundance of flora and fauna. Visitors can also sample the area’s unique Afro-Caribbean culture in and around the town of Cahuita. Try some of the local mouth-watering dishes when visiting.
World-famous Manuel Antonio is one of the country’s national treasures. Its paradisiacal beaches and flora and fauna stand out. When viewed from above, at the Hotel Mariposa, the site is absolutely breathtaking. The sunsets from are even more spectacular. I always joke with the groups of clients on my retirement tours that after viewing this particular sunset they will be ready to sign on the dotted line to live here.