Start planning your Costa Rica nature tour
Costa Rica has astonishing biodiversity. Unlike anywhere else on this planet, it’s packed with rainforests, volcanoes, caves, lakes, waterfalls, rivers, and beaches, and is home to thousands of animal species. Nature trips in Costa Rica offer endless possibilities for exploration, while the country's widespread sustainable practices ensure the preservation of its natural beauty. Being a world-leader in sustainable tourism, Costa Rica is the ideal destination for if you’re looking to see the wonders of nature with respect for local ecosystems.
What makes Costa Rica's nature unique?
Costa Rica's landmass is small, but its biodiversity is huge. Home to 500,000 species of animals, representing 4% of the world's biodiversity, Costa Rica has the highest density of biodiversity in the world. Its natural parks abound with mammals such as monkeys, sloths, tapirs, and big cats, while incredible bird species inhabit its treetops. Around 30% of the country's territory has a protected status, proving Costa Rica takes the protection of its natural richness seriously.
The best national parks and natural sites in Costa Rica
There are Costa Rica national parks and natural sites to suit everybody's needs—whether you're looking to enjoy hiking, birdwatching, outdoor sports, or wildlife spotting. These are some of the best national parks and natural sites in Costa Rica:
See an unmistakable landmark at El Arenal Volcano National Park
El Arenal is an active volcano with a remarkable conical shape. The national park surrounding the volcano is great for hiking and other outdoor activities, while the hot springs on the foot of the volcano are the perfect spot to revitalize tired feet.
Take to the skies at Monteverde Cloud Forest
The mystical Monteverde Cloud Forest is permanently covered in a veil of mist, caused by low-hanging clouds that sit in the region. Suspension bridges offer unique panoramas of the rainforest canopy, and up-close views of the extraordinary wildlife inhabiting the treetops.
Meet curious creatures at Corcovado National Park
Costa Rica's largest national park is remote and wild, but it’s also one of the world's most pristine nature sanctuaries. Featuring 13 major ecosystems, it's home to some of the country's shyest and most rare animal species, including tapirs, jaguars, and macaws.
Turtle paradise at Ostional Wildlife Refuge
The Ostional Wildlife Refuge is an important nesting ground for Oliver Ridley sea turtles, which lay their eggs on the beach here. During "arribada", which occurs once a month in the rainy season, thousands of turtles descend on the beach to create their nests.
Escape the crowds at tranquil Los Quetzales National Park
Los Quetzales National Park, located in the highlands, is home to the renowned namesake bird: the brightly colored quetzal. The nearby town of San Gerardo de Dota is a peaceful little mountain retreat and the ultimate place to escape the crowds and the heat.
What's the best time of the year to experience Costa Rica's nature?
Costa Rica has a tropical climate, with stable hot temperatures year-round and distinct dry and rainy seasons. The dry season lasts from December to April, while the rainy season can be experienced between May and November. Although the dry season is the most convenient and popular time for Costa Rica nature trips, some travelers prefer the rainy season as it's less-crowded, discounted rates are available, the jungle is at its greenest and the wildlife is very active.