Santa Rosa National Park, Costa Rica

Parque Nacional Santa Rosa (Guanacaste Province)

Parque Nacional Santa RosaOne of the oldest, largest and most popular parks in Costa Rica, Santa Rosa contains numerous animals and habitations, as well as being an important historical site.

Santa Rosa National Park has one of the world's last tropical dry forests, evergreen forests, savannahs, mangrove swamps and over 240 species of plant, meaning that the wildlife is equally as varied. There are 155 species of mammal, including 50 species of bat and amongst many others, you are also likely to see howler monkeys and white tailed deer. In addition, there are 250 types of bird, over 100 amphibian and reptile species plus a massive 3800 different types of moth and butterfly! It is easier to spot the animals during the dry season when there is less foliage around for hiding in.

Those interested in marine life will be able to enjoy the largest number of Olive Ridley turtles nesting in all of Latin America. Between July and December, Playa Nancite is laden with turtles but visits are restricted to twenty people a day so reserve your place! There are also some great spots for expert surfers on Playa Naranjo - Roca Bruja (Witches Rock) and Ollie's Point produce absolutely enormous waves all year long.

Historically, Santa Rosa is important for having been the site of the 14 minute Battle of Santa Rosa in 1856 when William Walker was finally defeated. La Casona marks the spot of this important national event, however, this charming house was burnt down in 2001 by a father and son who were bitter about having been prohibited from hunting in the park. In its place is now a careful reconstruction of the original which houses an interesting historical museum.

The park is located only 35km from Liberia by car or there is a direct bus which takes 4 hours from the city.