Costa Rica has a total of 28 National Parks and 72 areas that are either protected zones, biological reserves or wildlife refuges, covering over 26% of the total area of the country.
Tourists both local and foreigners prefer coastal and mountain destinations, those that are conveniently located, are easily accessible and of course, those that have more attractions to offer.
According to information by the Costa Rica Tourism Board the 5 most visited National Parks in Costa Rica are:
1. Manuel Antonio: Located in the Pacific coast, this park receives over 360 thousand tourists every year, attracted by the beautiful beach, lively community and lush nature. This National Park is actually receiving an big investment this year to improve its infrastructure and make it more accessible and tourist friendly.
2. Poás Volcano: The Poás Volcano in Alajuela is the second in the list of most visited parks in 2016 with almost 340 thousand visitors every year. The fact that it is relatively close to San José, its magnificence and the beautiful vegetation that surrounds it makes it a top choice specially among those that want to do a day tour and also stop by some of the touristic spots close by; however, the activity the volcano has had in the past few weeks forced the authorities to make the decision of closing the park to visitors for security reasons.
3. Marino Ballena: The famous whale tale of the Pacific coast of Costa Rica is visited every year by close to 143 thousand people, attracted not just by this wonderful natural formation but also by the whale, dolphin watching tours, and the festival celebrated every September.
4. Irazú Volcano: Located in Cartago, the easy access from San Jose to this National Park puts it among the most visited. This is the tallest volcano in the country and it has appropriate infrastructure for visitors. An average of 140 thousand visitors stop by Irazú every year.
5. Tortuguero: The top 5 list is completed with Tortuguero located in the Caribbean coast of Costa Rica. A preferred destination among eco-tourists, many who come to this remote area to witness the “arribadas” or arrival of sea turtles that choose Tortuguero as their nesting site, navigate through the canal, and enjoy a few days of complete contact with nature. This park receives almost 58 thousand tourists annually and it is one of the most important conservation sites in Costa Rica.