Best National Parks to see in Costa Rica: Pure life and nature

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The best National Parks to see in Costa Rica will give you a thousand anecdotes to tell your friends and a unique experience. As you may already know and if you don’t, you learn something new every day 🙂 visiting Costa Rica is synonymous with natural paradise, green, virgin and pure life!

That’s why we want to share with you the best National Parks to see in Costa Rica. Are you ready to travel for a few moments to the wildest and most natural areas of the place?

Corcovado National Park

Entrance to Corcovado National Park

This paradise is one of the best National Parks to see in Costa Rica and is located in the Osa Peninsula, one of the most pristine and best-preserved areas of the country.

Also, it is a little touristic terrain, so if you do the Corcovado National Park tour you can enjoy the peace of nature 100% and more easily see the inhabitants of Corcovado.

In our experience in Corcovado we got to see the most charismatic animal in the park, do you know what it is? We are talking about the famous Costa Rican Tapir.

But the fauna of this paradise is not summarized with the tapir. There are many more species that are worth a close look, such as iguanas, wild pigs, sloths, monkeys like the Capuchin and the Howler…

And if you are a fan of birds, relax, in this rainforest, you will find toucans and parrots, among others. Just remember to bring your binoculars!

Tapir in Corcovado Park

As for the landscape, this is one of the best national parks to see in Costa Rica. It offers you cloud forests, swamps, beaches, and mangroves. And they all share something in common: paradisiacal landscapes of dreams.

No wonder it is the most biodiverse area of Costa Rica(it has 2.5% of the world’s flora and fauna) and has been dubbed the”most intense place on Earth” by none other than National Geographic.

<Corcovado National Park in  Costa Rica

You must keep in mind that to have an unbeatable experience touring Corcovado you need to know what to bring to the jungle and choose well the tour with guide 😉

Barefoot Guide to Corcovado

San Josecito Beach

Also, near Corcovado National Park is one of the best paradisiacal beaches, where the sunrises are unique. We are talking about San Josecito Beach.

This beach is located in the region of Drake Bay, where you can do different activities. One of them is hiking trails like the Drake Bay Beach and San Josecito Beach hiking. It’s crazy, it’s on our highly recommended list, to repeat!

So, if you want to have the full experience, don’t miss San Josecito Beach!

Beach route to San Josecito

Caño Island Biological Reserve

As you might imagine, Caño Island Biological Reserve is not a park but it is so spectacular that it deserves to be on the list of the best National Parks to see in Costa Rica.

This tropical island is located northwest of the territory, near Corcovado National Park. What makes it special are its coral reefs, the largest and best-preserved in Costa Rica. It is well worth discovering this treasure of the South Pacific.

The origin of this paradise is fascinating. It was formed some 50 million years ago by the movement of tectonic plates and thus a 3.26 km² terrain emerged.

As we mentioned before, it is a biological reserve, so it is completely protected, especially its marine life. For example, the number of divers is controlled and visitors are not allowed to modify any of the marine life.

Caño Island snorkelling

The beauty of Caño Island is underwater, where more than 60 species of marine animals live. We are talking about sea turtles, rays, moray eels, dolphins, humpback whales … The jewel in the crown!

The blue waters of the area will allow you to see the marine life perfectly if you go snorkeling or diving in Caño Island. It is considered one of the best dive spots worldwide.

Caño Island Reef

The glorious reefs will amaze you. No matter how many pictures you see, you will not be able to know their beauty and dimensions. We assure you that doing these activities will be a unique and lifelong experience.

Finally, Isla del Caño also has a lot of archaeological value and keeps its secrets on its surface, such as the stone balls, a mystery! To this day there are many hypotheses about the origin or utility of these rocks but no clear answer.

Arenal Volcano National Park

This Costa Rica national park can be found in the north of the country. In a nutshell, the Arenal Volcano National Park is famous for its volcano (which gives the place its name), magnificent views and hot springs.

The Arenal Volcano is one of the most famous and active volcanoes in the country, although it has had very little activity for some years. It gives a special and magical touch to the park, as its views are breathtaking.

Also, you can make a thousand trails to get lost and discover the terrain in depth. In some, you can touch the lava flows of the mythical eruption of 1992 and the remains of ancient eruptions.

But not everything revolves around the volcano, along the park are located different falls like the Fortuna, and thermal waters as the Tabacón Hot Springs.

Arenal Volcano Park Views

Cahuita National Park in Costa Rica

If when you think about the Caribbean the image of pristine beaches and white sand comes to your mind, Costa Rica’s Cahuita National Park is full of these paradisiacal places. Pura Vida!

This is one of the best national parks in the country. You’ll find it north of Puerto Viejo, southeast of the Costa Rican territory.

Here live species such as capuchin monkeys, howler monkeys, Apaches, sloths, oropel snakes… This last snake, with its intense yellow color, will leave you speechless.

 Cahuita National Park animal

Also on the coasts inhabit different marine animals such as rays, a great variety of fish, and mollusks. All fauna that you can see up close if you visit the place.

If what you like is hiking, here you can walk along the Caribbean coast and enjoy the rainforest at the same time 🙂

Cahuita National Park Trail

Tortuguero National Park

In the same region as Cahuita Park, there is another of the bests national parks to see in Costa Rica. It is recognized for the nesting of sea turtles on its Caribbean beaches.

This event of mother earth attracts the attention of many travelers and they decide to go between June and October to experience the green turtle nesting. And if you are looking for the famous leatherback turtle, we recommend going between January and June.

But there are not only turtles in Tortuguero National Park! You can discover a great diversity of reptile, bird and mammal species such as spider monkeys.

All this variety of living creatures is made possible by its landscape. From canals and lagoons to tropical forests and Caribbean beaches. It is clear, Tortuguero is one of the best national parks to see in Costa Rica, a whole world to discover.

Tortuguero National Park Beach

Manuel Antonio National Park

To conclude with the list of the best national parks to see in Costa Rica, we introduce you to Manuela Antonio National Park, located in the South Pacific and relatively close to San Jose.

In this place you can also come across sloths, iguanas, monkeys, pelicans, toucans… A huge list of tropical animals. This area is usually very crowded by tourists, could it be its turquoise blue and crystal clear water beaches that leave visitors amazed, or the views from its panoramic viewpoints?

Manuel Antonio Park iguana

It’s time to say goodbye, and if you decide to visit one of the best parks to see in Costa Rica let us warn you that the country’s monkeys and raccoons love your lunch, so be careful 😉

Which national park will you visit first?


Lucia's life motto is "go with the flow". She lets herself go with the flow and joins any plan.

She has been lucky enough to travel to many different places, but her perfect trip is any place with sun, sand and sea. Indecisive by nature, she would not know how to choose between the Canary Islands or the Balearic Islands in Spain, or between Mexican and Peruvian food. Maybe that's why she will never say no to a trip... She has to find answers!

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