Santa Rosa National Park, the first national park established in Costa Rica, protects some of the last remaining tropical dry forest in the world. It is part of the Area de Conservación Guanacaste World Heritage site.
Santa Rosa National Park
Santa Rosa National Park, the first national park established in Costa Rica, was created in 1971. The park covers an area of 49,515 ha (122,354 acres) and protects some of the last remaining tropical dry forest in the world.
Originally created to protect the scene of the Battle of Santa Rosa. It is also within the larger national Guanacaste Conservation Area. The park is is part of the Area de Conservación Guanacaste World Heritage site.
Santa Rosa was originally a farm located in northwestern Guanacaste Province. Today an old hacienda building, "La Casona," functions as the monument commemorating the fallen heroes of the different battles that took place here.
The Interamerican Highway (Pan-American Highway) is along its eastern edge, where the adjacent Guanacaste National Park is located.
Guanacaste National Park was created in 1989 to connect Santa Rosa National Park with the high elevation cloud forest of Orosi and Cacao volcanoes and across the continental divide to the Caribbean rain forest of Northern Costa Rica.
The hope is that together these two parks protect enough land to ensure sufficiently large habitats for wide-ranging species such as jaguars and mountain lions while simultaneously creating a biological corridor for birds and insects to make local seasonal migrations between the dry forest and the evergreen cloud and rain forests.
Ten unique natural habitats are found within in the Santa Rosa National Park. They include savannas, deciduous forest, marshlands and mangrove woodlands. Areas of the Isthmian-Pacific moist forest ecoregion and moist Pacific Coast mangroves ecoregion habitats are protected here.
Fauna includes coyotes, peccaries, white-nosed coatis, Baird's tapirs, sea turtles, and terrestrial turtles. The three species of monkey are Geoffroy's spider monkey, mantled howler and white-headed capuchin. Several cat species are also present: jaguarundi, ocelot, cougar and jaguar, though they are rarely seen.
There are two important sea turtle nesting beaches in Santa Rosa: Naranjo and Nancite.