Santa Rosa National Park, Guanacaste

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Costa Rica is a country full of natural wonders. There is something to suit every traveler’s personal taste in adventure. To see some of the best this special country has to offer, visit the Santa Rosa National Park. This is just one of the many national parks and nature reserves found in Costa Rica, many of which are top visitor destinations. Costa Rica National Parks provide valuable habitat to native wildlife, so you are sure to see many native creatures when you visit. Be sure to have your camera ready as you enter Santa Rosa National Park.

The Beaches

Summer is the perfect time to explore the beaches located in Santa Rosa. While the rainy season stimulates the lush rainforest growth characteristic of this park, the forest dries up in the summer. This leaves beaches and trails clear for exploring. Many great hiking trails snake through the park, so you can take a leisurely hike down to the beaches to take in the scenery and experience stunning forests and waterfalls.

Exceptional Surfing Conditions

Serious surfers as well as first-timers can experience peak surfing conditions right on the beach during their visit. Playa Naranjo is located in the northeastern area of the Guanacaste Region of the park, a top surfing destination. Not to be confused with the town of the same name, Playa Naranjo is instantly recognizable by the long stretches of golden sandy beaches and strong breaks. You can also see a rocky formation just off the coast; this is known as Witch’s Rock. This A-frame rock breaks to the left and right, so surfers who enjoy every style will be able to find pleasure on the water here.

Historic Landmarks

This national park was founded in 1972, making it the very first to be founded in the country. Its founding commemorates the historic battle of the Hacienda Santa Rosa. This battle pitted a plucky group of Costa Rican volunteers against an invading American force led by William Walker. In the Santa Rosa portion of the park, you can find the historic mansion La Casona. In the mansion are many items of historical interest, including military memorabilia and photographs commemorating the battle that took place in the area.

10 Habitats To Explore

The Santa Rosa National Park is part of the Guanacaste Conservation Area. As a result, there are many different ecosystems to be found within the park’s boundaries. There are 10 distinctive habitats found within the park, including the following:
  • Oak forests

  • Evergreen forests

  • Marshlands

  • Deciduous forests

  • Littoral woodlands

  • Savannahs

  • Mangrove swamps

These habitats are home to more than 10,000 insect species and 115 animal species, which includes around 250 species of birds. Look for animals such as whitetail deer, leatherback turtles, jaguars, collared peccaries, jaguarundis, and coatimundis while you are in the park. You can try to spot some of the 100 species of reptiles as well. For example, travel to Playa Nancite to find olive ridley turtles nesting along the white sands.

Camping in the Park

As befits the first national park founded in Costa Rica, the Santa Rosa National Park boasts some of the very best camping spots to be found. The facilities are well-maintained and comfortable for campers of every level of experience. Designated camping areas are located throughout the more than 49,000 hectares of park land. You can relax and unwind in the natural beauty that characterizes this part of the country and take in the scenery at your own pace.

Santa Rosa National Park is a dream destination for anyone who loves wildlife, surfing, or exotic destinations. Visiting this national wonder should be a priority while you are in Costa Rica.