Aug 122017

Central America is an area filled with natural beauty. Its people have been preserving their nature by creating protected areas and national parks. There are tons of great parks in each country so it can be hard to decide which ones to visit as you travel through this part of the world. To make it all easier here is a list with the ones you absolutely can’t miss:

1. Corcovado National Park – Costa Rica

This is the ‘most biologically intense place in the world’ and is home to 4% of the world’s total fauna species. Some common wildlife sightings are monkeys, exotic birds, iguanas and tapirs.

This national park is located in Costa Rica’s Osa Peninsula. It consists of beautiful white sanded beaches and pristine rain forests.

The entrance fee is $ 10. The hours are from Monday to Friday 7:30 a.m. to noon, and 1:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.

2. Manuel Antonio National Park – Costa Rica

This Costa Rican national park is located on the Pacific coast and offers the perfect combination of rain forest, beaches and reefs. Here you get to see white faced monkeys, coatis, whales, bats and dolphins. This is one of the best places to enjoy all sorts of water sports and up close encounters with wildlife!

If you want to visit it make sure you get there between 7am and 4pm and always remember it is closed on Mondays. The entrance fee is $ 10 per person and children under 12 free.

3. Poas Volcano National Park – Costa Rica

This national park is home to an active volcano with a beautiful turquoise colored lagoon in its crater. It is located in the Central Valley region, just a short drive away from San Jose City. This is Costa Rica’s most visited park and one of the only places where you can walk up to the crater of an active volcano.

The entrance fee of this national park is $ 7 per person and it is open from 8:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. if you are a student and have your ID you might get a small discount.

4. Tikal National Park – Guatemala

This national park is located in Guatemala’s Northern department. It was the country’s first national park and was created to protect the rain forest. It is also home to the most important Mayan Ceremonial site that has ever been found. Here you may find jaguars, crocodiles and tons of monkeys.

This park is open from 6am to 6pm every day of the year and the entrance fee is between $ 25 and it is valid only the day it is purchased.

5. Pacaya Volcano National Park – Guatemala

This national park is located on the southern department of Escuintla and hosts the active Pacaya Volcano. It is popular among travelers interested in seeing lava flows just one meter away from them. In this park you may find some bats, snakes, frogs and different kinds of birds.

I don’t recommend visiting this park without a guide because it can be dangerous if you don’t know the terrain. The entrance fee is of $ 5 and is open from 7am to 7pm. But the most popular tours start at 1 pm for night lava viewing.

6. Copan Ruins National Park – Honduras

This national park is located on the western region of Honduras, just a short drive away from Guatemala. It is home to the Copan Mayan ruins which are known for having some of the most beautiful and most elaborate Mayan stelae. It is also surrounded by really old towns with beautiful hotels and lots of history.

The park is open every day from 8:00am to 4:00pm and the entrance fee is $ 15 if you want to visit the museum you will have to pay an extra $ 7 and an extra $ 5 for the tunnels.

7. Masaya Volcano National Park – Nicaragua

This national park was created in 1979 as the country’s first national park. It is home to twin volcanoes -Masaya Volcano and Nindiri Volcano and a total of 5 craters. The Masaya Volcano is also known as Popogatepe meaning the “Mountain that burns” in the language of the indigenous Chorotega. In this park you will also find coyotes, raccoons, iguanas, deer and monkeys. If you want to see a crater expelling gas and hot lava inside of it visit the Santiago crater.

Marina K. Villatoro is an expat living with her family and traveling in Central America. Central America has some of the best national parks in the world.

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