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Costa Rica National Parks: Natural Treasures

Proportionately, Costa Rica National Parks protect more land than any other country's park and reserve system. In fact, the National Conservation Areas System (SINAC) of Costa Rica protects close to 30% of the country's territory through parks, reserves, wildlife refuges, and "buffer zones."

costa rica national parks - rio celesteThat means plenty of beautiful, protected areas for flora and fauna. Not surprisingly, Costa Rica national parks have become a huge draw for tourists.

The conservation system includes a total of 190 areas comprised of 34 national parks, 13 forest reserves, 56 wildlife refuges, 8 biological reserves, 14 wetlands and 32 protected zones. These all fall into 11 specific conservation areas - and represent a lot of gorgeous places to visit and hike. Just don't forget your camera!

Most Popular Costa Rica National Parks

Manuel Antonio National Park -- The most beautiful beaches in the country can be found here on the Central Pacific coast, just south of Quepos.

Tortuguero National Park -- Dubbed the Venice of Costa Rica, canals weave through mangroves and jungle in this wildlife haven on the north Caribbean coast, where there is also a huge sea turtle nesting ground -- the source of its namesake.

Arenal Volcano National Park -- Watch glowing lava spew from the cone of this iconic volcano in the highlands of Costa Rica, then soak your bones at one of the luxurious hot springs in La Fortuna.

Monteverde Biological Cloud Forest Preserve -- The mists of the cloud forest shroud a diverse and lush habitat that the reclusive resplendent quetzal calls home, and it makes for a gorgeous location for canopy tours.

Corcovado National Park -- Explore some of the most untouched wilderness in Costa Rica on the Osa Peninsula, where thousands of rare and exotic flora and fauna can be found.

Poas Volcano National Park -- Walk through the mist of this easily accessible volcano just north of San Jose which features the largest active crater in the world.

Volcan Rincon de la Vieja National Park -- Hike past bubbling mud pits, steaming fumaroles, dramatic waterfalls, and two huge volcanic cones in this park which is just 25km northeast of Liberia.

These are merely the most popular Costa Rica national parks, reserves, and refuges; many more are strewn about the country. Each place has its own unique features but all are testament to the unique and beautiful geography, vegetation, and wildlife of Costa Rica.

Whether hiking, mountain biking, or taking photos, the parks are nature's playground. It is undeniable that visiting one of the national parks of Costa Rica is something that should be on every visitor's to-do list. Just don't forget your camera!

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