Lonely Planet review
Santa Rosa is a wild space of pristine beaches, tropical dry forests and savannahs of thorn trees and swaying jaragua grass. The wildlife on Península Santa Elena is both varied and prolific, especially during the dry season. The rainy months of September and October are best for turtle watching. Here you'll find arribadas (mass-nesting) of up to 8,000 olive ridley sea turtles.
Established in 1971, this national park is one of the oldest in Costa Rica - it's also one of the biggest, spanning 38,674ha (95,565 acres). Santa Rosa is one of the best-developed, though still simple, camping facilities of the nation's parks.
The surfing at Playa Naranjo is world-renowned, especially near Witches Rock, famous for its 3m (9.8ft) curls (not recommended for beginners). Although this is a beach break, there are rocks near the river mouth. Be especially careful near the estuary as it's a rich feeding ground for crocodiles during the tide changes. The surfing is equally legendary off Playa Portero Grande at Ollie's Point.
Buses between Liberia and the Nicaraguan border of Peñas Blancas stop at the entrance; rangers can help you catch a return bus. Alternatively, arrange private transportation from a hotel in Liberia.