explore costa rica

Santa Rosa National Park

Don't forget to book your vacation rentals with us

Every traveler to Costa Rica should make time to see Santa Rosa National Park’s alluring appeal and rich natural history. This impressive destination located in the province of Guanacaste, invites travelers to immerse themselves in its natural wonders wishing they never had to leave. Embark on an unforgettable journey as we reveal everything you need to know to enjoy this place to the fullest.

Overview of Santa Rosa National Park

Santa Rosa National Park, established in 1971, spans 495 square kilometers (191 sq mi) and is known for its diverse ecosystems, historical significance, biodiversity, being a world heritage site, and having the most well-known dry tropical forest in Central America.

Due to the little amount of rain that falls during the dry season (December to May), Santa Rosa National Park is regarded as a dry forest. It features an extensive network of hiking trails, offering visitors the opportunity to experience diverse local flora and fauna. The coastline around it offers unspoiled beaches like Playa Naranjo, Playa Nancite, and Playa Santa Elena, with golden sands, clear waters, and excellent surfing.

The park also houses La Casona, a pivotal site in Costa Rica’s independence struggle, which is open for visitors to explore its history through guided tours and exhibits. In the park, you have access to different recreational activities like camping, horseback riding, hiking, mountain biking, camping, and more.


Santa Rosa National Park, located in Guanacaste province, offers diverse habitats, historical sites, and recreational opportunities. Accessible from Liberia’s International Airport, only 53 km (33 miles) away it is a popular tourism destination for both domestic and foreign visitors to experience Costa Rica’s natural beauty and cultural heritage.

Hours and Cost

Santa Rosa National park is open everyday from 8:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.
The entrance cost is $15 for adults and $5 for children and you can buy your tickets online here.

Things to Do in Santa Rosa National Park

A plethora of activities await you at Santa Rosa National Park, where stunning scenery blends with history. Through these exhilarating outdoor pursuits, you will discover every square inch of this Costa Rican treasure.


Visit La Casona

La Casona, located within Santa Rosa National Park, is significant to the history of Costa Rica, as it served as the scene of the most well-known battle in this country’s history. Originally a farmhouse dating back to the 19th century, La Casona became a symbol of resistance during the Battle of Santa Rosa in 1856, a pivotal moment in Costa Rica’s fight for independence from foreign domination.

It served as a strategic stronghold for Costa Rican forces against the American filibuster William Walker and his mercenaries. Today, La Casona stands as a museum within the park, preserving the memory of this historic battle and offering visitors insights into the park’s rich cultural heritage and its role in shaping Costa Rica’s identity.


Hike through beautiful trails

Santa Rosa National Park boasts a network of hiking trails that wind through its diverse ecosystems, offering visitors immersive experiences in nature. You can experience a little bit of everything, from leisurely strolls to challenging treks while marveling at the shades of towering trees in the dry tropical forest. Find peace in the serene atmosphere while climbing to scenic viewpoints that overlook the Pacific Ocean and surrounding landscapes.


Explore different habitats while observing its wildlife

Ten distinct ecosystems are protected by Santa Rosa National Park, which makes it unique from all other parks worldwide. This park has two swamps, deciduous forests, littoral woodland, mangrove and mesquite-nacascol, savannahs and marshlands, and oak and evergreen forests. With this variety of ecosystems, it comes with a large number of wildlife too, including 250 bird species and 100 mammals.


Visit different beaches

Santa Rosa National Park has some of the country’s most sought-after and unspoiled beaches situated along Costa Rica’s northern Pacific coastline. Among these, Playa Naranjo stands out not only for its picturesque sandy shores but also for its crucial role as a breeding ground for delicate olive ridley sea turtles, Pacific green turtles, and the endangered leatherback sea turtles.

Additionally, the park includes Playa Blanca, celebrated for its secluded white sands and relatively calm, clear waters, as well as Playa Nancite, a serene beach where olive ridley sea turtles exclusively nest within the park’s confines. With limited lifeguards and the presence of rip currents, swimming is advised with caution. This remote coastal haven offers a rare opportunity for solitude and discovery amidst its natural beauty.



Santa Rosa National Park is a popular destination for surfing enthusiasts, with Playa Naranjo being the epicenter of the sport. It offers consistent swells and challenging breaks, including legendary waves like Witch’s Rock and Ollie’s Point.

Beyond Naranjo, the park has hidden gems like Playa Blanca and Playa Nancite. However, due to limited lifeguards and potential rip currents, surfers must exercise caution and follow safety guidelines. Despite these challenges, the park remains a popular destination for surfing enthusiasts.


Picnicking and unwinding

The park has a number of picnic areas that are perfect for having lunch or snacks in the company of nature’s unparalleled beauty. These picnic places provide lovely scenery and chances to see animals, whether you’re taking a break from trekking or just searching for a quiet place to unwind or meditate.


Camping in different sectors of the park

If you like camping, Santa Rosa National Park provides various amenities to enhance such an experience. These include lookout points, drinking water facilities, campsites, dormitory accommodations, picnic areas, restrooms, and parking lots. Camping is permitted for a fee of $19 per adult and $9 per child. The park is expansive and divided into eight biological and ranger stations within three sectors: Murciélago, Santa Elena, and Santa Rosa.

The Murciélago Sector, named after its abundant bat species, features the Islas station and Bat Islands accessible by boat, offering basic amenities and drinking water.

The Santa Elena Sector encompasses the Santa Elena and Naranjo Stations, providing camping facilities, restrooms with showers, and charcoal grills, although visitors need to bring their own drinking water.

The Santa Rosa Sector includes the Nancite and Santa Rosa stations, featuring La Casona historical monument and museum, as well as vital turtle nesting sites accessible only by foot from the Naranjo station during the nesting season. This sector offers campsites, charcoal grills, potable water, and restrooms with showers.


Horseback riding

Santa Rosa National Park offers about 10 different trails with a captivating combination of natural beauty and historical intrigue that you can explore with your equine friend. As you wander the park’s winding trails, you’ll be enveloped by the enchanting sights and sounds of Costa Rica’s rich biodiversity. The park’s diverse landscapes, from dense tropical forests to expansive grasslands, provide a picturesque backdrop for horseback exploration.


Visit another national park next door

Santa Rosa National Park and Guanacaste National Park are situated next to one another, only 10 km (6,2 miles). Included in the UNESCO World Heritage Site, Guanacaste Area de Conservación, they are notable for their biodiversity and conservation activities. The two parks jointly safeguard a wide variety of locally native plant and animal species, and they share comparable environments, such as tropical dry forests.

The historical and cultural significance of these parks—which feature archeological sites and artifacts from Costa Rica’s colonial past—makes them noteworthy as well.

Book Your
Costa Rica Vacation
Ready to experience the beauty and adventure of Costa Rica? Book your vacation now and discover all that this stunning destination has to offer!

The Best Time to Visit

The park’s dry tropical woods are best enjoyed during the dry season, which runs from December to April. The hiking trails are dry and simple to find. During the dry season, animals gather around water sources, making this the ideal time to watch wildlife.

On the other hand, since during the rainy season (May through November), the waterfalls are more active, this is a fantastic time to visit if you want to take in the park’s rich greenery and waterfalls. Take into account though that paths will be muddy and slick, so it’s crucial to wear suitable footwear. During this time of year, a large number of migratory birds visit the park and may be easily recognized.

What to Pack

When visiting Santa Rosa National Park, it is essential to pack appropriately for the tropical climate and outdoor activities. Here are some essential items to bring:
  • Breathable and lightweight apparel ideal for trekking and outdoor adventure.
  • Robust hiking boots or shoes with adequate traction.
  • Sun protection including a wide-brimmed hat, sunglasses, and sunscreen.
  • To fend off mosquitoes and other biting insects, bring insect repellent.
  • Snacks to enjoy during your time in the park.
  • Binoculars or a camera to record beautiful scenery and wildlife encounters.
  • A light rain jacket to protect you from unexpected outdoor showers.
Costa Rica’s dedication to environmental protection, ecotourism, and cultural preservation is shown at Santa Rosa National Park. The park provides a multitude of experiences for visitors of all interests, whether they choose to explore ancient woods alive with animals, learn the history of sites that date back centuries, or simply take in the beauty of immaculate beaches. In addition to making priceless memories, seeing the beauty of Santa Rosa National Park will help with the ongoing efforts to save the planet’s priceless natural resources.

Do you need a place to stay?

If you are planning your trip to Costa Rica and still have not chosen where to stay, we have a wide selection of extraordinary vacation rentals for every budget and preference.

Other Attractions

After you have visited volcanoes and national parks you may want to observe (or cool off in) some of the many beautiful waterfalls while in Costa Rica. Be sure to view our full list of things to do in Costa Rica to ensure you’re experiencing all of the main attractions while on your vacation.
Find a Property