Santa Rosa National Park provides a cornucopia of unique and bizarre wildlife within a massive protected area in the northwest corner of Costa Rica. Its many ecosystems include beaches, mangroves, marshes, tropical forests, savannahs and deciduous forests. Among these ecosystems live jaguars, pumas and ocelots, though they’re very shy, as well as spider monkeys, capuchin monkeys, tapirs, coatis, 250 species of birds and huge iguana and bat populations.
The park is great for hiking enthusiasts, photographers and people who want to learn more about the wide variety of flora and fauna native to Costa Rica. It’s a short drive from Liberia’s international airport and is best accessed in summer (December to April) when the roads are a little less rugged.
Santa Rosa is Costa Rica’s first national park, established in 1971 to protect the site of a famous Battle of Santa Rosa that took place here in 1856, when the Costa Rican peasant army defeated William Walker’s forces here in a decisive 14 minute battle. It was also the site of battles against invaders from Nicaraguans. Visitors can visit La Casona, a former farm building used by those peasant soldiers that has been converted into a monument honoring their bravery in protecting the country.