National Parks

Print PDF

If you are one of the many tourists who desire a natural (and not to mention beautiful) setting in which to walk, explore and simply absorb the surroundings, one of the seven National Parks in Guanacaste would be the perfect location for you to explore. These parks offer even more than just beautiful landscapes and pretty sights, they offer a view into the wonderful biodiversity of the ecosystems which has been a contributing aspect in the shaping of Costa Rica's distinct culture.



Guanacaste Conservation Area

The mission of the Guanacaste Conservation Area is to conserve the biodiversity of the ecosystems, while at the same time serve as a model of development that integrates the management of the Area to the society and preserves cultural patrimony within the GCA.

The Guanacaste Conservation Area is an assembly of protected areas that are located in the northwest extreme of the Province of Guanacaste. It has an extension of 120,000 hectares in its terrestrial part and 70,000 hectares in the marine part.

The GCA, as it is better known, is comprised of a vast diversity of ecosystems. The GCA preserves particular characteristics suitable for the conservation of the biodiversity with representations of humid forest of the Caribbean to dry zones of the Pacific, passing trough dry, rainy, and cloudy forests, to mangrove swamp and savannahs.


Arenal-Tempisque Conservation Area (ATCA)

The Arenal-Tempisque Conservation Area includes part of the volcanic mountain range of Guanacaste and the Tilarán Mountains. The Miravalles and Tenorio volcanoes are of the greatest significance, as is the Arenal reservoir too. The reservoir is the main source of energy (more than the 70% of the Costa Rican electric power is generated in Arenal, which also produces 100% of wind and geothermal power) and irrigation for the country, and has experienced the most significant development of tourism within the area. The Arenal lagoon is pictured below.


On the other hand, the area contains a high diversity of environments, ecosystems, and species. It is divided into eight zones of different life that extend from dry tropical forest to the rain forest of middle altitude, with many zones in ecological transition. Due to the vast variations in altitude (of the sea level to the 2080 meters of height), diverse climatic regions exist, and geological formations from many different ages are present.


Tempisque Conservation Area (TCA)

The Tempisque Conservation Area is an area with many topographical differentiations, as it rises from sea level to 1,018 meters (Cerro Azul). The area holds many natural resources within its secondary, humid, and dry forests; pasturelands, lagoons, and mangrove swamps, among others.

This area is responsible for the conservation and protection of the middle and low basins of the Tempisque river and some hills of the peninsula of Nicoya. It also protects and conserves the biodiversity of the marine resources, the wildlife, the hydrologic state, the dry tropical forest, the sources of water and natural springs, the habitat of water birds, the wetlands, the spawning of the turtles, and the zone maritime-terrestrial among others.