National Parks & Biological Reserves
Approximately 12 percent of Costa Rica is made up of parks, reserves, and wildlife refuges. There are 39 parks in all, organized into nine sections. Each section is made up of one or more national parks or absolute reserves. Forest preserves and protected land surround these areas and help to protect them from encroachment by the industrialized world.
In the past, the national parks were funded primarily by international conservation organizations, but this funding has come to a halt. There is a fee to get into the parks now: $6 per person per day, $1 per day for Ticos (whose primary support comes from their taxation).
Travelers may also visit the surrounding private reserves which act as buffers for the national parks.
While most national parks have camping facilities, many of the refuges and reserves do not. Contact the conservation offices for details about the particular parks, road conditions, weather, and if you'll need to make reservations.
Most national parks and reserves are extremely wild places. Staying attentive and exercising caution are very important when walking around. Always keep your bearings, maintaining an idea of where you are going and where you came from. In addition, stay aware of how long you have been gone. When it comes to the wildlife, always keep your distance. You'd be surprised what animals have been known to attack unwitting tourists when agitated. And, lastly, remember where you are. The national parks and reserves of Costa Rica create the habitats of countless species of flora and fauna. These lands deserve your utmost respect.
Below is a checklist of things that hikers are recommended to do:
- Just as a precaution, prepare for the worst
- Inform someone of your plans: where you're going and when you'll be back
- Wear layers of clothing
- Wear boots
- Bring any medication you might need
- Pay attention to your surroundings: take care of where you step and what you touch
It is recommended that you bring the following items:
- Light sleeping bag
- Flashlight (with extra batteries)
- Snacks (granola bars, dried fruit, candy)
- Poncho or sheet of plastic to serve as a shelter
- First aid kit
Pack everything in plastic bags. Remember, rain is a definite possibility, depending on where you are and what season you are traveling in.
If you get lost:
If you happen to get lost in the jungle, there are two things to keep in mind. Firstly, stay calm and don't panic. This will only lead to further distress and exhaustion. Secondly, always think before you act. It is better to take a few extra moments to consider all of your options, then rushing into a strategy that leads to less than favorable results.
The first thing you should always do is try to retrace your steps. If this is unsuccessful, you will likely be spending the evening in the wild. Build a shelter either from your tent, or, if you don't have one, branches, brush and any plastic you have. Remember to leave enough of the afternoon to do this - building a shelter in the darks is next to impossible. Remember to place all of your colorful items on top of your shelter. This will draw attention to your location from the air.
If you have neglected to tell anyone about where you were going, there is a good chance that no one will come looking for you. At this point, your best course of action is to find a river or steam and follow it downstream. Do this only during the day, as hiking alone at night is extremely treacherous. Do this until you reach civilization.
Those who have survived a long period of time in the Costa Rican wilderness did so by nourishing themselves. Finding a source of clean water and hunting animals are good strategies. Many have also survived from subsisting on palmito, the edible core of certain small palm trees. If you are hiking alone, make sure you are able to identify plants that have palmito.
Location: Costa Rica
|Manuel Antonio National Park Tour|
Location: Manuel Antonio