Costa Rica National Parks

In 1970 Costa Rica formed a national park system that has won worldwide admiration. Costa Rican law declared inviolate 10.27 percent of a land once compared to Eden; an additional 17 percent is legally set aside as forest reserves, "buffer zones," wildlife refuges, and Indian reserves. The National Conservation Areas System protects more than 186 areas, including 32 national parks, eight biological reserves, 13 forest reserves, and 51 wildlife refuges. The National parks/reserves of Costa Rica, that are the lure for 90 percent of all visitors to the park system--are Manuel Antonio, with its beautiful beaches; Braulio Carrillo, with its rainforest right beside a highway; Tortuguero, a watery, forested world teeming with wildlife and beauty; Irazú, where on a clear day you can see both the Caribbean and the Pacific; and Poás, where you can peer into a steaming crater and see the earth's crust being rearranged. Besides providing Costa Ricans and foreign travelers with the privilege of admiring and studying the wonders of nature, the national parks and reserves protect the soil and watersheds and harbor an estimated 75 percent of all Costa Rica's species of flora and fauna, including species that have all but disappeared in neighboring countries.

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