Despite its small size, Costa Rica possesses no less than five percent of the world’s total biodiversity, in part due to its position as a transition zone between temperate North and tropical South America, and also thanks to its complex system of interlocking micro-climates, created by differences in topography and altitude. This biological abundance (which includes over 885 species of birds and a quarter of the world’s known butterflies) is now safeguarded by one of the world’s most enlightened and dedicated conservation programmes – about 25 percent of Costa Rica’s land is protected, most of it through the country’s extensive system of national parks and wildlife refuges.

Costa Rica’s national parks range from the tropical jungle lowlands of Corcovado to the grassy volcanic uplands of Rincón de la Vieja, an impressive and varied range of terrain that has enhanced the country’s popularity with eco-tourists. Outside the park system, however, land is assailed by deforestation – ironically, there are now no more significant patches of forest left anywhere in the country outside of protected areas.

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Costa Rica features

The latest articles, galleries, quizzes and videos.

The best hikes in Costa Rica

The best hikes in Costa Rica

Over a quarter of Costa Rica’s landscape is protected by its comprehensive system of national parks, wildlife refuges and biological reserves. As well as …

28 Mar 2018 • Rough Guides Editors insert_drive_file Article
9 tips for travelling in Costa Rica

9 tips for travelling in Costa Rica

Inspired by pictures of Costa Rica’s primordial-looking shores, rainforests brimming with exotic creatures and steaming volcanoes that tower above the clouds?…

03 Oct 2017 • Chloe Cann insert_drive_file Article
14 magical sunrises that prove it's worth getting up early

14 magical sunrises that prove it's worth getting up early

Looking through the Rough Guides photography archive, one kind of shot stands out again and again: pictures captured at sunrise. Sure, there's nothing more temp…

16 Apr 2015 • Eleanor Aldridge insert_drive_file Article
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