... Santa Rosa National Park ...
by Infocostarica Staff

This national park in Costa Rica was established because of a battle that took place there on March 20, 1856, that barely lasted fifteen minutes. At this battle, troops of filibusters that wanted to take over and enslave Costa Rica, retreated because of the attack of Tico troops. The flora and fauna of the area are fortunate that this battle took place in this area, because without its occurrence, hundreds of species and their ecosystem would now be extinct or endangered.

Santa Rosa National Park - imagen 1

Currently there’s an old hacienda house, which is where the filibusters took shelter during the short battle. There is a small display of guns and other artifacts used, as well as a historical display of pictures and of the leaders at the time. Other battles, of lesser significance, were fought here in 1919 and 1955. There are some small tanks that were left abandoned on pastures around the park’s administration.

The Parque Nacional Santa Rosa, with its 50,000 hectares of coastline, forest and savannah, protects numerous species of flora and fauna, including 253 species of birds, 10,000 of insects (including 3200 butterfly species), 100 of amphibians and reptiles and 115 mammal species. The mammals include around 50 species of bats, many white-tailed deer, white-nosed coati, peccary and howler and capuchin monkeys. The most common birds are magpie jays, trogons, orange-breast parakeets and black hawks. The most endangered species in the park is the ocean turtle, including the olive ridley, the hawksbill, the green and the leatherback turtles. These beautiful and peaceful animals lay use the beaches of this park as main nesting sites, that are of extreme importance for all of tropical America.

Santa Rosa National Park - imagen 2

Apart from these animals, Santa Rosa protects ten different habitats, which include the two different swamps- mangrove and mesquite-nacascol- as well as forests –oak, evergreen, deciduous hillside and littoral woodland- and also a savannah area. The whole province of Guanacaste suffers from severe droughts during the dry season (Dec.-April), but thanks to the forest cover in the park, Santa Rosa doesn’t suffer from the effects of the drought as badly.

The park is open daily from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., and the entrance fee is $ 15 on the same day or $10 in advance. Santa Rosa is 260 km. away from San Jose and 35 km. north of Liberia, but the long drive is definitely worth it for those who are interested in history, nature and even camping and surfing. The gorgeous beaches of Naranjo and Nancite are famous among surfers and campers. The camping sites are some of the best in Costa Rica; there are four of them, and they cost $2 per person. The facilities are the following:La Casona has bathrooms and grill pits; Playa Naranjo has outhouses, showers and grill pits; Estero Real has outhouse toilets and grill pits but no water; Playa Nancite, which has no water or other facilities, requires a permit. Even though you can buy drinks in the Administration Center, it’s advisable to bring a lot of water, especially if you’re planning to stay and camp.

The park’s entrance is 35 km. north from Liberia, and it’s well marked from the highway. At the entrance, where you pay and receive a map, you must continue 6 km. or so, until reaching the administration center (tel. 695-55-98). Here, you might want to make reservations for lunch, which is very good and moderately priced. You can also ask for additional information or for the services of a guide, which usually cost $10 to $15. After exploring the exhibitions in the “casona” (old hacienda house), which even has an interesting kitchen area, you might want to walk the paths through the forest or to the beaches of the park. If you’re lucky to visit Playa Nancite during the “arribada” or the nesting time of the olive ridley turtles, you might witness the awesome natural phenomenon of 7000-8000 turtles coming ashore during the evening.

The Santa Rosa National Park is one of Costa Rica’s most remote protected areas, but it’s also of great historical and natural significance. One of its greatest assets is that it offers many activities for different types of local and foreign visitors. History buffs, nature lovers and surfers all come to Santa Rosa during different times of the year to enjoy of all of its treasures.