National Parks

National Parks Palo Verde National Park[img][/img]The Palo Verde National Park of Costa Rica protects forested areas as well as an extensive marshland between the Tempisque and Bebedero rivers of Guanacaste. The density and variety of bird species that have been inventoried at Palo Verde is the primary reason that the park was created. A major attraction of this park is the seasonal swampland that provides temporary habitat for thousands of migratory waterbirds (November-February). But the tropical dry forest that covers most of the park contains such animals as coatis, agoutis, monkeys, white-tailed deer and black iguanas, and crocodiles can frequently be seen along the riverbanks. Scarlet macaws, ibis, roseate spoonbills and frigate birds are among the most common bird species along the Jabiru, the biggest bird in Costa Rica in danger of extinction.The Ostional National Wildlife Refuge[img][/img]The Ostional National Wildlife Refuge is located in the towns of Santa Cruz and Nicoya. The refuge comprises an area of 300 Ha on land and 800 Ha of ocean. This Refuge protects marine turtle species, such as the Olive Ridley (Lora) and Leatherback (Baula) at Playa Ostional on the Nicoya Peninsula Costa Rica. Nesting at this beach are considered the largest in the world, with as many as a million sea turtle eggs laid in the beach nesting areas each year.   Rincón de la Vieja Volcano National Park[img][/img]Rincón de la Vieja, the largest volcano in the country's northwest, comprises a remote volcanic complex in the Guanacaste Range. At least nine eruptive vents are located within a 15-kilometer-wide caldera. The twin cone of 1,916 meter Santa Marí­a volcano, the highest peak of the Rincón complex, features an inactive crater 500 meters across. Covering the upper slopes of a forest-draped volcano, Rincón de la Vieja National Park features a 125-acre/50-hectare expanse that contains small geysers, bubbling mud pots and hot springs. The Thermal mud pools, waterfall swimming areas and freshwater lakes are also available for visitor use. The forests above contain also a wealth of wildlife, including quetzals, three-wattle bellbirds, blue morpho butterflies, tapirs, tayras, peccaries, coatis and three species of monkeys.Horseback riding is available, and there is hiking leading to bubbling mud pools. Hardy hikers can even ascend to the summit.Barra Honda National Park[img][/img]This small park on the Nicoya Peninsula protects the flora and fauna of the tropical dry forest and has an extensive network of caves. The calcareous formations of the limestone caverns are the main visitor attraction. The caves range from a few feet to over 780 feet deep. The Terciopelo cavern, open to the public, is an extremely vertical descent. The abundant variety of cave formations is in pristine condition. There you can hire local guides to lead you through the caverns, but the descent into the darkness-using a climbing ladder and ropes-is not for the fainthearted. The hike takes an energetic hour over a winding and, in places, steep trail. Several trails in the park lead through the forest to scenic overlooks, which give tired hikers a minute to rest while they get their cameras out.Marino Las Baulas National Park[img][/img]Las Baulas National Marine Park (Parque Marino las Baulas) is located on the Pacific coast of Costa Rica near the town of Tamarindo. It supports the largest nesting colony of leatherback sea turtles (baulas) on the Pacific Coast of Costa Rica, with a population size of about 800 female turtles nesting per year. Nesting season is approximately November through April.    Santa Rosa National Park[img][/img]This Pacific coast park was the scene of Costa Rica's most famous military victory in 1856. An army, led by U.S. adventurer William Walker, invaded from neighboring Nicaragua and fought fiercely for about 15 minutes before being defeated by Costa Ricans. The park is now the site of one of the largest remaining dry tropical forests in Central America. Monkeys, armadillos, anteaters and deer are the main attractions, although five big cat species are present, as are scarlet macaws. (Pacific oliveback ridley sea turtles nest at night on Nancite Beach in September and October. The park also has mangrove estuaries, beautiful deserted beaches and many birds. La Casona, a farmhouse on the site of the original battle, was lovingly replicated in 2002 after a fire destroyed the original structure. The Historical Museum at La Casona in Santa Rosa National Park contains exhibit rooms with antiquities and information and specimens from around the ACG. Trails around the site lead to interesting artifacts of the various battles in the area. It's now a museum open daily.