La Cangreja National Park

In southern Costa Rica, a country known for its natural wealth, you will find a destination that stands out even in this environment: La Cangreja National Park (in Spanish: Parque Nacional La Cangreja). This conservation gem is home to a mighty diversity of flora and fauna, offering visitors the opportunity to explore landscapes that are as beautiful as they are unique. Get ready to embark on a journey that will lead you through lush jungle trails, murmuring waterfalls, and towering peaks from where you can admire the mightiness of nature in its purest form.

Introduction to La Cangreja National Park

La Cangreja National Park

Brief History

La Cangreja is one of the youngest national parks in Costa Rica, officially established in the year 2002. The park takes its name from the dominating mountain in the landscape, known as Cerro La Cangreja. The creation of this park has been essential for the protection and preservation of an important ecosystem and a vital habitat for many species.

Geographical Location

Located in the province of San José, this park covers an area of over 2,570 hectares, surrounded by a mix of humid tropical forests and transitional forests. Its geographical location places it in a privileged spot in Central America, in the Puriscal canton, Mercedes Sur and Chires districts, at the geographic coordinates: N 4956392 O 1072932. The park’s entrance is 35 kilometers southeast of the city of Santiago de Puriscal.

How to Get There

The most common route to reach La Cangreja National Park is from the city of San José, the capital of Costa Rica. It can be reached by road through the Interamericana Sur, followed by a journey through secondary roads.

Biodiversity of La Cangreja


La Cangreja National Park is home to a wide variety of animals, including mammals, birds, reptiles, and amphibians. Among these, you can find the white-faced monkey, coatis, agoutis, several species of snakes, and an impressive variety of birds such as the violet trogon and the highland motmot. The park’s fauna is a true delight for nature lovers.


The park showcases diverse and vibrant vegetation, including primary forest, secondary forest, and areas of natural regeneration. Here, you will encounter everything from gigantic ceiba trees to exotic orchids and ferns. La Cangreja is an impressive display of Costa Rica’s lush tropical flora.

Endemic and Endangered Species

La Cangreja serves as a refuge for several endemic and endangered species. This park is crucial for the survival of species such as the jaguar, Baird’s tapir, and the harpy eagle. Your visit contributes to the conservation efforts of these unique and threatened species.

Natural Attractions

Trekking Trails

La Cangreja offers several trekking trails for outdoor enthusiasts. These trails traverse diverse landscapes, from humid forests to the summit of Cerro La Cangreja, providing spectacular views of the surrounding scenery.

Waterfalls and Rivers

Within the park, you will find a series of beautiful waterfalls and rivers, many of which form natural pools perfect for a refreshing dip after a hike. Cascada El Salto is one of the most impressive, with its water cascading from over 40 meters high.

Viewpoints and Panoramic Points

The park has several viewpoints and panoramic points from which you can appreciate the stunning beauty of the landscape. From the summit of Cerro La Cangreja, you can enjoy a panoramic view of the entire park and its surroundings.

Activities and Experiences


Due to the rich biodiversity of the park, birdwatching is a very popular activity among visitors. Here, you can find a variety of tropical birds, including several species of hummingbirds, trogons, motmots, and much more.

Night Hikes

For the more adventurous, night hikes offer a completely different perspective of the park. This is the best time to see some of the park’s nocturnal inhabitants, such as armadillos, bats, and various types of insects and amphibians.

Nature Photography

With its lush flora and fauna, La Cangreja is an ideal place for nature photography. Whether you’re interested in capturing wildlife portraits, breathtaking landscapes, or intimate forest details, this park will provide countless opportunities.

Practical Information for Visitors

Best Time to Visit

Although the park is beautiful throughout the year, the best time to visit is during the dry season, which runs from December to April. During these months, rains are less frequent, and the trails are more accessible.

Park Rules and Safety Recommendations

It is important to remember to respect all park rules to ensure your safety and the conservation of wildlife. This includes not feeding the animals, not leaving trash, and staying on marked trails.

Available Services and Accommodation

The park has restrooms, picnic areas, and a visitor center with information and park maps. As for accommodation, there are several options near the park, ranging from eco-friendly hotels to local lodgings.

Conservation and Sustainability in La Cangreja

Conservation Initiatives

La Cangreja National Park is involved in various conservation initiatives, including the protection of endangered species and the restoration of damaged habitats. Your visit helps fund these important conservation efforts.

Contribution to Local Sustainable Development

In addition to conservation, the park also contributes to local sustainable development by creating employment opportunities and promoting ecotourism in the region. By visiting the park, you are directly supporting these efforts.

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