Parque Nacional Tortuguero
‘Humid’ is the driest word that could truthfully be used to describe Tortuguero, a 311-sq-km coastal park that serves as the most important breeding ground of the green sea turtle. With annual rainfall of up to 6000mm in the northern part of the park, it is one of the wettest areas in the country.
Parque Nacional Chirripó
Costa Rica’s mountainous spine runs the length of the country in four distinct mountain ranges, of which the Cordillera de Talamanca is the highest, longest and most remote. The cordillera’s highlight and the focus of the high-altitude Parque Nacional Chirripó is Costa Rica’s highest peak, Cerro Chirripó (3820m). The only way up Chirripó is on foot.
Reserva Natural Laguna de Apoyo
A vision in sapphire set into a lush forest crater, this 200m-deep, 200-centuries-old crater lake is said to be the country’s cleanest and deepest. The warm undersea fumaroles feed the healing and slightly salty waters, howler monkeys bark overhead every morning and there's a cool air that make this a favorite respite for peace-seeking travelers.
Parque Nacional La Tigra
A beautiful national park just a short hop from the capital, Parque Nacional La Tigra encompasses a cloud forest and eight hiking trails. There’s an abundance of (elusive) wildlife – from pumas to peccaries – as well as towering trees, lichens and large ferns, bromeliads and orchids. It can be chilly up here: bring adequate clothing.
Quezaltepeque (Volcán San Salvador) has two peaks. The higher peak, at 1960m, is called Picacho. The other, Boquerón (Big Mouth), is 1893m high and has a second cone within its crater – 45m high and perfectly symmetrical – formed in 1917. A paved road affords an easy climb to top, from where the view of San Salvador is unbeatable. Entry to the park costs US$3.