The tropical dry forests are the most threatened of the world’s major tropical forest types and Costa Rica is endowed with one of the largest remaining tropical dry forests in Central America. With intertwined trees and exotic animals, it’s a fascinating part of the world to explore. Located near the North Pacific Coast, Guanacaste National Park is one of Central America’s most beautiful forest areas.
Guanacaste is one of the most threatened forest ecosystems in the world and in the 1980s it was nearly completely cleared to make room for livestock. Thankfully this disaster was avoided, but even so, its size has dramatically decreased from over 550,000km² in the 16th century to less than 440km² today. The staff of the Guanacaste National Park Conservation Area work tirelessly to restore and rejuvenate this beautiful area, planting 4,000 - 9,000 trees every year in the most exposed areas so the forest's future is brighter than ever.
Guanacaste is ripe for exploration and contains an incredibly diverse range of wildlife and plant species, with a total of over 235,000 fascinating species. Expect to see a variety of fascinating animals on your visit, such as black iguanas, howler monkeys, three and two-toed sloths and white-faced capuchin monkeys. With an English-speaking local tour guide, you’ll be able to learn about the wildlife and experience the beauty at your own pace. As you trek through the forest, you’ll notice the variety and vividness of the flora. Over time, the forest plants have adapted to the long dry season by very effectively holding in moisture so they’re able to sustain their luscious green leaves throughout the year, creating a unique sight, visible from space and distinguishable from the arid surrounding landscapes. The Guanacaste National Park Conservation Area also encompasses two young volcanoes (estimated to be under 7,500 years old) that stand strikingly amongst the forests making the experience of visiting here even more unique.
While in the area, there are a number of other must-experience activities. You can circle the forest in a private helicopter trip to take in the beauty from a sky-high vantage point. Or a thrilling jungle zip line experience might be your method of choice to explore the intertwined rainforest. Zip through the forest high above the floor while taking in the stunning views.
If you’re looking for a more relaxing, rejuvenating experience, the nearby mud baths are just the ticket. They are said to help with body detoxification, relaxation and circulation... and they're great for some messy family fun too. The all-natural mud originates from the volcanic soil combining with the hot springs. Relax and enjoy the mineral-rich mud while being surrounded by the beauty and tranquillity of the rainforest.
For a more physically challenging adventure, try a whitewater rafting adventure on the Cucaracho River in Rincón de la Vieja National Park, Guanacaste National Park's equally stunning neighbour.
We'd highly recommend stopping to explore the active Arenal volcano, located in north-western Costa Rica that looms large and ominous over the pastured green hillsides that surround its base. Stay for long enough and you might even experience the intense vibrations as the volcano stirs to life!
Arenal is also the perfect location for the thrilling activity of waterfall rappelling. Experienced guides will help you explore the rainforest, beginning with small rappels down gentle waterfalls to help you find your feet before building up to larger more powerful waterfalls. It will certainly get your heart pumping!
Trust our Travel Consultants to design the perfect bespoke Costa Rican adventure for your family. We'll plan every detail to ensure your Central American adventure is an unforgettable family experience.
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