Costa Rica is proud to protect a large amount of its land – about 13,000 square kilometers (5,019 square miles) – in national parks and reserves.
Since 1970, Costa Rica has developed a wide network of national parks, which are administered by the National System of Conservation Areas (SINAC). Since 1994, SINAC has been part of the Ministry for the Environment and Energy, and is in charge of maintenance, organization, and strategic planning of all protected areas around the country.
SINAC is responsible for 28 national parks, as well as various biological and forest reserves. Costa Rica’s protected areas conserve hundreds of plant and animal species, among them birds, amphibians, insects, fish, plants and fungi. Additionally, SINAC administers many areas of geological, architectural and historical interest that are subject to study by many institutions from around the world. Some of our species are considered to be very important, since many are in danger of extinction due to habitat destruction.
National Park List: http://www.conozcacostarica.com/parques/parquesnacionales.htm
RECOMMENDATIONS IN EFFECT THROUGHOUT THE COUNTRY
In order to control public access to intensive and extensive use zones and wildlife areas that belong to the National System of Conservation Areas, the following regulations have been established to guide visitor activity in national parks and biological reserves.
Adherence to following regulations is the responsibility of visitors to our different Conservation Areas:
- Respect all general and specific regulations.
- Adhere to the established hours of operation.
- Park vehicles in areas established for this purpose.
- Clean up trash in the area, or deposit rubbish in trashcans marked for this use.
- Maintain and keep clean all facilities and installations open to public use.
- If you witness anyone in violation of these regulations or values, report these acts immediately to the corresponding authorities. This is how we keep our facilities clean, so that all may enjoy them.
- Visitors will have access only to authorized routes and trails, and may only enter park sectors that the National Park Service designates for public use.
- Respect signs, warnings, fences and markers.
- Photography, videography and recordings of our natural resources are not permitted for commercial use.
- Do not smoke in areas that have high risk of fire.
- Visitors to all Conservation Areas are responsible for any risks that may present themselves during their visit, including during use of the facilities within these areas.
- Causing any damage to infrastructure, vegetation, animals or other area resources is strictly prohibited.
- In order to enter and remain in a protected area, it is required to purchase a daily use ticket or pay the price of admission, in accordance with services received. Any exceptions to this rule are detailed in Decreto N 21163 MIRENEM.
- Visitors must save their payment receipts for the duration of their stay, as these may be requested at any time by employees of the National Park Service.
- It is prohibited to extract firewood from the forest or surrounding areas, and to build fires of any kind.
- All sound equipment, recorders, radios and other such devices must be kept at appropriate volume levels.
- Within park boundaries, it is prohibited to consume liquor and other drugs, in accordance with that established in the Law of Psychotropic Substances. When it is evident that a person is under the effect of these products, entrance will be denied or he/she will be asked to leave the premises.
- It is prohibited to enter national parks and biological reserves with weapons of any kind, machetes, or other implements for the extraction of gold and other products or interests.
- It is not permitted to enter these areas with pets of any kind.
- In accordance with Laws No. 6084, 7317, 7174, and all other connected regulations, hunting and/or the extraction of any object or material, no matter how small, is not permitted.
- Provoking scandals or exhibiting a lack of morals is prohibited.
- It is prohibited to throw away natural waste materials of any kind – trash, sewage water, oils, etc. – into the environment, including rivers, ocean, forest, paramo, facilities, etc.
- Security regulations for visitors, both written and also those that are communicated verbally by park employees, are obligatory.
- Violation of any of these established rules, directives or recommendations made by National Park Service employees will authorize park rangers to expel visitors from the park or reserve.
- Political propaganda, advertisements, or other similar interests are not permitted within national park and biological reserve limits.
- Fishing within National Park System areas is not permitted, except in those situations outlined in Article 10 of Law 6084.
ACTIVITIES OPEN TO WILDLIFE AREA VISITORS
- Mountain climbing
- Sail boating
- Snorkeling and scuba diving
SERVICES AND FACILITIES OPEN TO WILDLIFE AREA VISITORS
- Natural trails
- Picnic areas
- Lookout points
- Camping areas
- Emergency landing areas
- Scientific Research Stations
- Potable Water
- Exhibit rooms
Please visit http://www.guiascostarica.com/areas.htm for a list of parks.