National Parks near me is a list of 5 protected areas near Central Pacific/Jaco, Costa Rica.
Costa Rica created a network of national parks since 1970’s, which has been
administered by SINAC since 1994. This is a department of the Ministry of the Environment and Energy in charge of the maintenance, organization and strategic planning of all protected areas in the country.
In Costa Rica you can find more than 50 reserves and National Parks, which occupy 25% of the country’s land mass and oceanic waters.
1. Carara National Park.
Carara is a National Park in the Central Pacific Conservation Area that is located near the Pacific coast of Costa Rica, between the counties of Turrubares (whom belong to San Jose) and Garabito. It’s located 75 km from San José and 15 km northwest of Jacó Beach. Popular amongst birders from all corners of the globe but very little known to general tourism due is proximity to Manuel Antonio National Park, although Carara is the real deal when it comes to biodiversity untamed, many explorers that prefer to avoid big crowds find this little gem a much pleasant hike. Apart from its 448 species of birds you can also find anything from poison dart frogs to wild Pumas.
It is a very popular national park for bird watchers. Due to the combination of two large ecosystems Dry Tropical Forest from the Northwestern part of Mesoamerica and the Amazonian rainforest from south east. You will find easy and flat trails from 1 to 3 km. It has the only wheelchair access trail in all national parks of Costa Rica.
With approximately 52 km2 of surface, this park protects the basin of the Grande de Tárcoles river, near Orotina, and includes second largest remaining populations of Scarlet Macaw (Ara macao) in the country.
In Carara three life zones are distinguished: the humid tropical forest transition dry humid, the very humid tropical forest transition humid and the premontane very humid forest with its basal transition. Currently, Carara is considered a biological island due to the intense agricultural uses that dates back to pre-Columbian times. This condition makes Carara the last remnant of transitional forest in the country, since it is located between the dry forest of the Mesoamerican region and the characteristic tropical humid forest of the South Pacific. This protected wilderness area is considered a living laboratory where the structure and functioning of tropical ecosystems and the relationships between them can be studied.
Birds are hard to see, even colored ones, if you don’t know where to look. The vegetation cover in the treetops is quite dense and this also complicates it, so it is better to hire a guide to visit this park. Mangrove Birding Journeys has the staff and the necessary equipment to give you the best of experiences, it also has a beautiful property next to the Tarcoles River and is located just 10 minutes from Carara National Park. That’s why Carara is the first position in national parks near me.
2. Manuel Antonio National Park.
Manuel Antonio is the second of National Parks near me. It’s a natural conservation area located on the central Pacific coast of Costa Rica, in the county of Quepos, province of Puntarenas.
Manuel Antonio was selected by Forbes Magazine in 2011 among the list of the 12 most beautiful parks in the world, it is a jewel for the whole family. And it is that despite the fact that it is one of the smallest in the country, it is one of the most visited thanks to its easy access and the diversity of its ecosystems: tropical humid forests that reach its white sand beaches, considered one of the best of the country, mangroves, islands, coral reefs and a 14-hectare lagoon. What it lacks in size it makes up for in natural
beauty. El Camino del Perezoso is one of the essential trails, with impressive panoramic views of the park’s foothills with impressive views of both the ocean and rainforest.
The park is located about 157 km south of the capital city of San José and 7 km south of the city of Quepos, between Damas and Matapalo. It was established on November 15, 1972 with an area of 1,983 ha in the terrestrial part and 55,000 ha in the marine part, dedicated to conservation, research and ecological tourism oriented towards environmental education.
Manuel Antonio has white sand beaches bordered by deep green jungle that look like something out of a movie. You will see them appear among the trees as you walk through the jungle. There are many trails that will take you to any corner of the park.
And there are trails for all fitness states: totally flat, suitable for families or a little steeper.
The views from the trails are spectacular, especially the one that borders Punta Catedral. From there you can observe the sea and if you are lucky a whale or two during the breeding periods from July to early December.
3. Marino Ballena National Park.
The Marino Ballena National Park is located in the Bahía Ballena distric of Osa, Puntarenas province. It’s named after the whales tail shape that you can see during the lowtide and its very popular spot for beach comers. Humpback whales migrate from July to October, and again from December to March, going from the northern and southern hemispheres through the tropical waters of Costa Rica.
It is curious that, seen from the air, the tomboy that forms this national park in Punta Uvita is shaped like a whale’s tail, but it is precisely what we have been looking for here are the humpback whales that come to reproduce. They are observed with the naked eye from the shore, but it is better to go by boat to meet them to see them up close.
Along with them, various types of dolphins also give a show in its waters. For the enjoyment there are also beaches of such beauty as Bahía Uvita, Ballena and Piñuela, mangroves bordering the rivers, coral reefs to avoid diving and a valuable fauna among which there are turtles that nest on this coast between May and November.
Marino Ballena National Park has golden sand beaches, cliffs, coral reefs, islands, and mangroves. South of the borders of Parque Marino Ballena, you will find the famous sea caves of Playa Ventanas. In the park you can dive and snorkel to see its incredible coral reef and its fish.
Marino Ballena is one of the best places to practice diving and snorkeling in Costa Rica and is also the third on distance in the national parks near me.
4. Corcovado National Park.
5% of the biodiversity of the entire planet lives in Costa Rica. If Costa Rica owns 5%, Corcovado National Park owns 2.5% of the biodiversity of the entire planet. Even National Geographic has defined it as the most intense place in the world.
Corcovado National Park is located on the Osa Peninsula in southwestern Costa Rica, and is part of the Osa Conservation Area. It was created on October 24, 1975, and covers an area of 42,560 land hectares and 3,354 marine hectares. It is considered a very important piece in the wide system of national parks and biological reserves in the country. The biological diversity is amazing. National Geographic has defined it as the most intense place in the world, biologically speaking its estimated that no place in the
world (which has a similar extension) is home to greater biological wealth.
5. Piedras Blancas National Park.
The Piedras Blancas National Park (PNPB) is a protected natural area, located between the counties of Osa and Golfito, province of Puntarenas, in the southern part of Costa Rica.
The renowned National Geographic magazine Discovercops ranked in 2016 as the best national park in the world and occupying more than half of the Osa Peninsula. Its tropical nature is exuberant, the trees are so tall, the green acquires infinite shades and there are animal species to bore, from jaguars and tapirs to macaws, toucans, iguanas and all species of monkeys found in the country. Most are seen effortlessly, either during a hike along its main jungle trails, such as the one that runs from La Leona to Sirena or from Sirena to Los Patos, or on shorter tours around the different ranger stations.
It occupies the northwestern sector of the Golfo Dulce, with a predominantly mountainous relief. It belongs to the Osa Conservation Area (ACOSA), within the SINAC system of protected wild areas. Its main access is through the town of La Gamba, in Golfito.
Piedras Blancas National Park is located on the South Pacific Coast of Costa Rica, on the Osa Peninsula. It is close to the Corcovado National Park, more than 300 km south of the capital.
In this park you will have the opportunity to see immense waterfalls, lush rainforests, virgin beaches, intact coral reefs and a multitude of mammals, birds, insects, reptiles and amphibians.
It is one of the best parks for observing migratory and residential birds.
Monteverde (Cloud Forest Reserve): Although Monteverde is not located in the Pacific area of Costa Rica, it can be considered in the National Parks near me, due its best access entry is from Puntarenas-Sardinal.
The Monteverde Biological Reserve is located in the Northwest of Cosa Rica. The trails are very comfortable and make the visit very pleasant, an unique experience for everyone including families with small children and elder visitors.
Imagine walking through thick vegetation of intense green color while the mist moves continuously and the sound of animals roaring the high canopy.
From the Mirador de la Ventana you can see incredible views of the reserve. The forest is at 1600 meters and the temperatures are cool, better keep warm during the rainy season. Home of what is consider to be the most elegant, beautiful bird on the America’s; the Resplendent Quetzal (Pharomanchus moccino costarricensis), a bird so striking that the entire economy of Santa Elena (proper name of this mountain village), depends on the wellbeing of such specie. Proving that conservation and preservation can create wellness to both humans and nature.