Area:  4,351.6 sq. miles
(Largest province: 22% of national area)
Population:  358,137 (2000)
Main City:  Puntarenas
Population Density:  82.3 per square mile
Elevation:  13 feet
Average Temperature:  80.7°F
Annual Rainfall:  59-83 inches

Cabo Blanco Absolute Natural Reserve

Located on the Nicoya Peninsula, the Cabo Blanco Absolute Nature Reserve protects the marine life and dry forest habitats of the area. The park also houses the San Miguel Biological Station, a center for the education of natural conservation.

Manuel Antonio National Park

Once an island, this incredible, clover-shaped peninsula is one of the most popular national parks in Costa Rica. The thin stretch of land, now connecting the former island to the mainland, is lined on both sides with gorgeous beachfronts. The bulk of the park is comprised of serene hillside rainforests. Monkeys, sloths, iguanas, toucans and scarlet macaws are just some of the inhabitants that tourists come to see here. There are also large cliffs and vistas that provide hikers with amazing ocean views.

Carara National Park

The Carara National Park is home to Costa Rica’s largest remaining Scarlet Macaw population. With an immense diversity in many other bird species, this park is a birdwatcher’s dream.

Corcovado National Park

Located on the Osa Peninsula, Corcovado National Park is home the impressive Corcovado Basin. The low plain of the basin is riddled with beautiful creeks and rivers, while the highlands in the northwest region of the park are made of stunning plateaus. Due to the intense amount of tectonic activity in the area, landslides are common here. This enormous drainage network has a long and beautiful beach, complimented by magnificent cliff-sides and caves.

Ballena National Marine Park

Located between Playa Hermosa and Playa Piñuela on the South Pacific Coast, Ballena National Marine Park serves as a haven for endangered marine life. The park’s goal is to encourage and maintain the reproductive habits of these sea creatures. This national park is a popular spot to experience the whales and dolphins of Costa Rica.

Piedras Blancas National Park

Originally part of the Corcovado National Park, Piedras Blancas has grown into a full-fledged wildlife refuge. The park protects the rainforests of Golfo Dulce as well as the rare wildlife that inhabit the forests.

Caño Island Biological Reserve

The Caño Island Biological Reserve is found just off of the Osa Peninsula. This beautiful island is full of lush rainforest and is a popular spot for snorkeling and scuba diving.