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Top 10 Costa Rica National Parks

Updated on August 8, 2014

Costa Rica Travel Destinations-Best Costa Rica National Parks

Costa Rica is a tiny country which is situated in Central America bordered by Nicaragua to the north, Panama to the southeast, the Pacific Ocean to the west and the Caribbean Sea to the east. The country is rich in biodiversity featuring one of the the largest percentage of protected areas in the world. Costa Rica has over 25 national parks, here is a list of the top 10.

1-Manuel Antonio National Park

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Manuel Antonio National Park is a small natonal which is located on the Pacific Coast of Costa Rica near the city of Quepos. Its is one of the most popular destination in Costa Rica receiving as many as 150,000 visitors annually. The park is known for its stunning beaches and diverse wildlife, Here you'll spot sloths, Mantled Howler monkeys, Squirrel Monkeys, and White-headed Capuchin monkeys.Also the area is rich with marine life.

2-Corcovado National Park

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Corcovado National Park is situated in the Southwest part of Costa Rica on the OSA Peninsula which is an area that is extremely rich in biodiversity. According to National Geographic , the park is "the most biologically intense place on the planet,". Here you'll find jaguars,crocodiles, caymans, tapir, macaws, spider monkeys, white faced capuchin monkeys, white nosed coati to name just a few. This is definitely one the best parks in Costa Rica to spot wildlife and is a popular ecotourism destination. Because of its isolation and inaccessibility, the park remains largely undisturbed.

3-Tortuguero National Park

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Tortuguero National Park is located on the the Caribbean coast of Costa Rica and is known for it's canal system.The park is abundant with wildlife like sloths, monkeys, crocodiles, caymans, toucans, macaw, lizards and frogs.The beaches are prime nesting grounds for the Green and Leatherback turtles. This is one of the top parks to view wildlife and can be only reached by small plane or river boat.

4-Arenal Volcano National Park

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Arenal Volcano National Park is located in the Tilarán and Guanacaste mountain region of Costa Rica. The park features two volcanoes, the 5,357-foot (1,633-meter) Arenal Volcano and the 3,740-foot (1,140-meter) Chato Volcano. While the Arenal Volcano is still active, at certain times lava flows can be seen. The Chato Volcano is inactive and has a collapsed crater that contains a picture-perfect lagoon. This is an amazing area of the country to explore for it's spas and and for the many outdoor adventure activities that are available.

5-Poas Volcano National Park

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Poás Volcano National Park covers an area of 16,000 acres and features Poás Volcano which is still quite active with frequent small geyser and lava eruptions.The summit of the Poás Volcano is 8,900 feet (2,700 m). and is composed of a large crater which is 950 feet deep. This is a very popular tourist destination as it is close to the capital city of San Jose..

6-Cocos Island National Park

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Cocos Island is an uninhabited island which is located in the Pacific Ocean roughly 550 kms(340 mi) off the shore of Costa Rica. The island is rich in marine life and features a large population of Hammerhead sharks, rays, dolphins and other marine species. Because of this,Cocos Island National Park was designated an UNESCO World Heritage SIte in 1997. The island is also a top scuba diving destination and is considered a "must-do" for any serious scuba divers.

7-Braulio Carrillo National Park

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Braulio Carrillo National Park features rugged mountains, dormant volcanoes, deep canyons and rivers. The parks has five life zones ranging from tropical wet to cloud forest and is home to more than 500 species of birds, and 135 species of mammals including hundreds of butterfly species,howler and capuchin monkeys, tapirs, jaguars, pumas, ocelots, deer, and quetzals.

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8-Chirripó National Park

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Chirripó National Park is located in the middle portion of the Talamanca Range of Costa Rica and is home to Cerro Chirripó, which at 3820m (12,538 ft), is the highest mountain in Costa Rica. The park is popular with hikers both locals and tourists who come to climb the mountain as Chirripó is one the prominent peaks in the world.

9-Irazú Volcano National Park

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The main attraction to Irazú Volcano National Park is the still active Irazú Volcano whose distinctive crater is unusual greenish yellow coloring .

10-Cahuita National Park

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Cahuita National Park is located on theCaribbean side of Costa Rica. The park is comprised of many undeveloped beaches and attracts tourists who come to scuba dive and snorkel in the protected marine area which contains the Coralline Reefs. The Coralline Reefs are rich in marine life and is home to many species of coral, molluscs, crustaceans and fish.

Thanks for Visiting - Whats your favorite Costa Rican National Park

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    • Senora M profile image

      Senora M 5 years ago

      I went to Arenal on my honeymoon. Cool lens! *blessed*