Protected Areas of Costa Rica

Source: WDPA
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Protected area highlights for Costa Rica (January 31, 2008):


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Total Area of nationally recognized protected areas (% of Costa Rica's Territorial Area)




- Terrestrial (% of Costa Rica's Terrestrial Territorial Area)




- Marine and Littoral Protected Area




Note that some protected areas include both terrestrial area and marine area




Nationally recognized protected areas greater than 1,000 km2




Nationally recognized protected areas greater than 10,000 km2




Wetlands of International importance (Ramsar Sites)




UNESCO-MAB Biosphere Reserves




There are 11 wetlands in Costa Rica recognized as important under the the Convention on Wetlands Ramsar Convention:

Site NameMarine or
Caño NegroTerrestrial9,969 
Cuenca Embalse ArenalTerrestrial67,296 
Humedal Caribe NoresteBoth75,310 
Isla del CocoMarine99,62397,232
Laguna RespringueMarine75 
Manglar de Potrero GrandeMarine139 
Palo VerdeBoth25,419 
Turberas de TalamancaTerrestrial192,520 

Other international recognized areas of significance in Costa Rica are:

  • Cordillera Volcánica Central Bisphere Reserve - UNESCO-MAB Biosphere Reserves
  • La Amistad Biosphere Reserve - UNESCO-MAB Biosphere Reserves
  • Area de Conservación Guanacaste - World Heritage Site
  • Cocos Island National Park - World Heritage Site
  • Talamanca Range-La Amistad Reserves / La Amistad National Park - World Heritage Site

The latest World Database on Protected Areas reports 218 nationally recognized protected areas in Costa Rica (43 more than in the summary above):

    Site NameIUCN
    Marine or
    Abrojo - Montezuma Anthropological Reserve-Terrestrial1,480 
    Acuíferos Guácimo y Pococí Protective ZoneVITerrestrial4,270 
    Agua buena National Wildlife RefugeIVTerrestrial182 
    Alberto M. Brenes extension-Terrestrial600 
    Alberto Manuel Brenes Biological ReserveIaTerrestrial7,794 
    Arenal National ParkIITerrestrial12,010 
    Arenal-Monteverde Protective ZoneVITerrestrial27,059 
    Aviarios del Caribe National Wildlife RefugeIVTerrestrial55 
    Bahía Junquillal National Wildlife RefugeIVBoth44555
    Bajo Chirripó Anthropological Reserve-Terrestrial16,950 
    Barbilla National ParkIITerrestrial12,098 
    Barra del Colorado National Wildlife RefugeIVBoth92,0001,526
    Barra Honda National ParkIITerrestrial2,325 
    Boruca Brunka Anthropological Reserve-Terrestrial12,470 
    Bosque Alegre National Wildlife RefugeIVTerrestrial850 
    Bosque de La Mula-Terrestrial450 
    Bosque Eterno de los Niños Santa Elena Private Reserve-Terrestrial5,000 
    Bosque Nacional Diriá National Wildlife RefugeVITerrestrial2,800 
    Bosque Nublado de Monteverde Private Reserve-Terrestrial10,500 
    Braulio Carrillo National ParkIITerrestrial48,158 
    Brazo del Angel-Terrestrial  
    Cabagra Bribrí Anthropological Reserve-Terrestrial27,860 
    Cabo Blanco Strict Nature ReserveIaBoth1,1721,629
    Cabo Blanco extension-Terrestrial3,410 
    Cacyra National Wildlife RefugeIVTerrestrial37 
    Cahuita National ParkIIBoth23,46823,290
    Cahuita extension-Terrestrial156 
    Camaronal National Wildlife RefugeIVBoth234 
    Caño Negro National Wildlife RefugeIVTerrestrial9,969 
    Caraigres Protective ZoneVITerrestrial3,400 
    Carara National ParkIITerrestrial5,312 
    Cataratas de Cerro Redondo National Wildlife RefugeIVTerrestrial645 
    Cerro Atenas Protective ZoneVITerrestrial900 
    Cerro Dantas National Wildlife RefugeIVTerrestrial30 
    Cerro de La Cangreja Protective ZoneVITerrestrial1,937 
    Cerro El Jardín Forest ReserveVITerrestrial2,650 
    Cerro La Cruz Protective ZoneVITerrestrial234 
    Cerro Las Vueltas Biological ReserveIaTerrestrial801 
    Cerro Los Naranjos-Terrestrial60 
    Cerro Nara Protective ZoneVITerrestrial2,280 
    Cerro Tambor-Terrestrial  
    Cerros Cocorí y Coronel-Terrestrial  
    Cerros de Escazú Protective ZoneVITerrestrial7,060 
    Cerros de la Carpintera Protective ZoneVITerrestrial2,407 
    Cerros de Rosario, Caballito, El Obispo y Jesús-Terrestrial  
    Cerros de Turrubares Protective ZoneVITerrestrial2,340 
    Chirripó National ParkIITerrestrial51,641 
    Chirripó Cabécar Anthropological Reserve-Terrestrial66,200 
    Chirripó extension-Terrestrial3,000 
    Chompipe, Guararí y Corinto-Terrestrial  
    Conte-Burica Anthropological Reserve-Both11,910345
    Corcovado National Park-Both44,5132,044
    Cordillera Volcánica Central Forest ReserveVITerrestrial61,541 
    Corredor Biológico Braulio Carrillo-Poás-Terrestrial  
    Corredor Biológico Miravalles-Tenorio-Terrestrial  
    Corredor Biológico Tenorio-Arenal-Terrestrial  
    Corredor Biológico Tortuguero-Terrestrial8,000 
    Corredor Braulio Carrillo-Irazú-Terrestrial  
    Corredor Corcovado-Piedras Blancas-Terrestrial  
    Corredor Fronterizo National Wildlife RefugeIVBoth59,084162
    Corredor Hitoy Cerere-PILA-Terrestrial9,000 
    Corredor Monteverde-Golfo de Nicoya-Terrestrial  
    Corredor Rincón de la Vieja-Miravalles-Terrestrial  
    Costa Esmeralda National Wildlife RefugeIVBoth2221
    Coto Brus Anthropological Reserve-Terrestrial7,500 
    Cuenca baja del Río Savegre-Terrestrial  
    Cuenca del Río Abangares Protective ZoneVITerrestrial4,408 
    Cuenca del Río Banano Protective ZoneVITerrestrial9,225 
    Cuenca del Río Barranca-Terrestrial  
    Cuenca del Río Siquirres Protective ZoneVITerrestrial681 
    Cuenca Río Tuis Protective ZoneVITerrestrial4,095 
    Curú National Wildlife RefugeIVBoth75 
    Donald Peter Hayes National Wildlife RefugeIVTerrestrial210 
    Dr. Archie Carr National Wildlife RefugeIVTerrestrial44 
    El Chayote Protective ZoneVITerrestrial847 
    El Rodeo Protective ZoneVITerrestrial2,222 
    Estacion Experimental Forestal Horizontes-Both7,300 
    Estero Corral de Piedra-Terrestrial250 
    Estica National Wildlife RefugeIVTerrestrial  
    Familia Ingalis National Wildlife Refuge-Both  
    Fernando Castro Cervantes National Wildlife RefugeIVTerrestrial1,382 
    Fila Costeña-Terrestrial  
    Fila Cruces y Zapote-Terrestrial  
    Finca Barú del Pacífico National Wildlife RefugeIVTerrestrial332 
    Finca Del Estado Protective Zone-Terrestrial1,920 
    Finca Hacienda La Avellana National Wildlife RefugeIVTerrestrial508 
    Finca La Virgen-Terrestrial1,923 
    Finca Las Delicias Protective Zone-Terrestrial1,380 
    Forestal Golfito S.A. National Wildlife RefugeIVTerrestrial2,810 
    Gandoca-Manzanillo National Wildlife RefugeIVBoth9,4494,983
    Génesis II Private Reserve-Terrestrial  
    Golfito National Wildlife RefugeIVBoth2,81011
    Golfo Dulce Forest ReserveVITerrestrial67,287 
    Grecia Forest ReserveVITerrestrial2,000 
    Guanacaste National ParkIITerrestrial38,461 
    Guatuso Anthropological Reserve-Terrestrial2,723 
    Guayabo National MonumentIVTerrestrial217 
    Guaymí de Osa Anthropological Reserve-Terrestrial2,703 
    Hacienda Copano National Wildlife RefugeIVTerrestrial105 
    Hitoy-Cerere Biological ReserveIaTerrestrial9,154 
    Iguanita National Wildlife RefugeIVBoth44537
    Internacional La Amistad National ParkIITerrestrial193,929 
    Isla Damas Wildlife Refuge-Terrestrial  
    Isla del Caño Biological ReserveIaBoth2005,207
    Isla del Coco National ParkIIBoth154,319194,830
    Isla Pájaros Biological ReserveIaBoth411
    Islas Guayabo Biological ReserveIaBoth156
    Islas Negritos Biological ReserveIaBoth142143
    Jaguarandi National Wildlife RefugeIVTerrestrial105 
    Joseph Steve Friedman National Wildlife RefugeIVTerrestrial19 
    Juan Castro Blanco National ParkIITerrestrial14,258 
    Kecöuldi Anthropological Reserve-Both3,5381
    La Aldea humedales-Terrestrial  
    La Bolsa-Terrestrial800 
    La Ceiba National Wildlife RefugeIVTerrestrial273 
    La Cureña Forest ReserveVITerrestrial6,307 
    La Ensenada National Wildlife RefugeIVTerrestrial492 
    La Jacinta-Terrestrial800 
    La Marta National Wildlife RefugeIVTerrestrial1,295 
    La Potenciana-Terrestrial  
    La Selva Protective ZoneVITerrestrial2,815 
    Lacustrino Bonilla Bonillita Protective Zone-Terrestrial20 
    Lacustrino Pejeperrito Protective Zone-Terrestrial0.7 
    Laguna del Paraguas-Terrestrial12 
    Laguna La Poza Ballena-Terrestrial3 
    Laguna Las Camelias National Wildlife RefugeIVTerrestrial81 
    Laguna Madrigal-Terrestrial56 
    Laguna Maquenque-Terrestrial682 
    Laguna Sierpe-Terrestrial1,200 
    Laguna Sonzapote-Terrestrial3,300 
    Lagunas Corral de Piedra-Terrestrial3,750 
    Lagunas del Río Cañas-Terrestrial389 
    Las Camelias National Wildlife RefugeIVTerrestrial180 
    Las Tablas Protective ZoneVITerrestrial19,602 
    Limoncito National Wildlife RefugeIVBoth1,056221
    Lomas de Barbudal Biological ReserveIaTerrestrial2,279 
    Lomas de Sierpe-Terrestrial  
    Los Arce Private Reserve-Terrestrial168 
    Los Arrepentidos-Terrestrial  
    Los Santos Forest ReserveVITerrestrial60,700 
    Manuel Antonio National ParkIIBoth68242,016
    Manuel Antonio extension-Terrestrial  
    Marino Ballena National ParkIIBoth5,5755,229
    Marino Las Baulas de Guanacaste National ParkIIBoth22,23325,335
    Mata Redonda National Wildlife RefugeIVTerrestrial372 
    Matambú Anthropological Reserve-Terrestrial1,710 
    Matina Forest Reserve-Both400155
    Medio Queso-Terrestrial  
    Miravalles Protective ZoneVITerrestrial12,416 
    Montes de Oro Protective ZoneVITerrestrial1,820 
    Nacientes Río Cañas-Terrestrial  
    Nairi Awari Anthropological Reserve-Terrestrial4,820 
    Nicolás Wessberg Strict Nature ReserveIaTerrestrial61 
    Nicoya-PALECO Forest Reserve-Terrestrial19,135 
    Nosara Protective ZoneVITerrestrial923 
    Ostional National Wildlife RefugeIVBoth3208,055
    Pacuare Matina Forest ReserveVITerrestrial415 
    Palo Verde National ParkIIBoth16,80466
    Palustrino Corral De Piedra Protective Zone-Terrestrial2,490 
    Pejeperro National Wildlife Refuge-Both592151
    Peñas Blancas National Wildlife RefugeIVTerrestrial2,400 
    Península de Nicoya Protective ZoneVITerrestrial21,738 
    Piedras Blancas National ParkIIBoth14,8281,356
    Playa Hermosa National Wildlife Refuge-Both3,6983,654
    Portalón National Wildlife RefugeIVTerrestrial415 
    Preciosa Platanares National Wildlife Refuge-Terrestrial  
    Punta Burica-Terrestrial  
    Punta Leona National Wildlife RefugeIVTerrestrial34 
    Punta Río Claro National Wildlife RefugeIVBoth247210
    Quebrada Morpho Private Reserve-Terrestrial82 
    Quebrada Rosario Protective ZoneVITerrestrial  
    Quitirrisí Protective ZoneVITerrestrial40 
    Rancho La Merced National Wildlife RefugeIVTerrestrial508 
    RHR Blancas National Wildlife RefugeIVBoth59 
    Riberino Zapandi Protective Zone-Terrestrial10 
    Rincón de la Vieja National ParkIITerrestrial14,083 
    Rio Casas Protective Zone-Terrestrial660 
    Río Grande Protective ZoneVITerrestrial1,500 
    Río Macho Forest ReserveVITerrestrial69,604 
    Río Navarro y Río Sombrero Protective ZoneVITerrestrial6,440 
    Río Pacuare Forest ReserveVITerrestrial13,060 
    Rio Tiribí Protective ZoneVITerrestrial647 
    Río Tiribí Protective ZoneVITerrestrial650 
    Río Toro Protective ZoneVITerrestrial4,249 
    San Ramón Protective ZoneVITerrestrial7,800 
    San Vito-Terrestrial9 
    Santa Rosa National ParkIIBoth37,21746,391
    Sutubal Protective Zone-Terrestrial104 
    Taboga Forest ReserveVITerrestrial296 
    Talamanca Bribrí Bribrí Anthropological Reserve-Terrestrial43,690 
    Tamarindo National Wildlife RefugeIVTerrestrial500 
    Tapantí National ParkIITerrestrial6,080 
    Tayni Anthropological Reserve-Terrestrial16,216 
    Telire Anthropological Reserve-Terrestrial16,260 
    Tenorio Protective ZoneVITerrestrial5,277 
    Térraba Anthropological Reserve-Terrestrial9,350 
    Térraba Sierpe Forest Reserve-Both27,0544,883
    Tivives Protective ZoneVIBoth2,368284
    Tortuguero Protective ZoneVIBoth13,00042,483
    Tortuguero National ParkIIBoth18,94652,681
    Transilvania National Wildlife RefugeIVTerrestrial63 
    Ujarrás Cabécar Anthropological Reserve-Terrestrial19,040 
    Volcán Irazú National ParkIITerrestrial2,309 
    Volcán Poás National ParkIITerrestrial5,600 
    Volcán Tenorio National ParkIITerrestrial12,819 
    Volcán Turrialba National ParkIITerrestrial1,578 
    Werner Sauter National Wildlife RefugeIVTerrestrial140 
    Zapatón Anthropological Reserve-Terrestrial2,855 
    Zona de Emergencia Volcán Arenal Forest ReserveVITerrestrial5,286 

    Return to Protected Area Collection for Latin America and the Caribbean

    Return to the Latin America and the Caribbean Collection

    Further Reading:

    1. World Resources Institute(accessed May 26, 2009)
    2. World Database on Protected Areas (accessed May 26, 2009)



(2009). Protected Areas of Costa Rica. Retrieved from


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