Las Baulas National Park

Nestled on the idyllic Pacific coast of Costa Rica, Las Baulas National Park (in Spanish: Parque Nacional Marino Las Baulas) is a fascinating and vital corner of biodiversity, covering a land area of 175 km²; 7.7 km² on land, 171.36 km², or 12 nautical miles in the marine sector. This natural gem is home to the mighty leatherback turtle and offers an unforgettable experience to its visitors. Immerse yourself in the beauty of the park, encounter its fauna and flora, and discover why Las Baulas is an essential destination for any nature enthusiast.


Las Baulas National Park

Brief History of Las Baulas National Park

Las Baulas National Park was created in 1991 with the main objective of protecting the leatherback turtles, which choose this place every year to lay their eggs. This marvelous species is critically endangered, and the park plays a crucial role in its conservation.

Location and How to Get There

The park is located in the province of Guanacaste, about 275 kilometers west of the capital, San José. It can be reached by car or bus from the capital or from the nearby city of Tamarindo.

General Features

Geography and Climate

Las Baulas National Park stretches along the coast and includes several beaches, including Playa Grande, Playa Ventanas, and Playa Langosta. The climate is tropical dry, with a rainy season from May to November and a dry season from December to April.


Las Baulas harbors a great variety of species, including mammals, birds, reptiles, and plants. The star of the park is undoubtedly the leatherback turtle, but visitors can also find monkeys, crocodiles, iguanas, and a wide variety of birds.


Main Ecosystems

The park features three main ecosystems: sandy beaches, mangroves, and tropical dry forests, each with its own variety of plants and animals.

Notable Plant Species

Among the most notable plant species are various types of mangroves, ceibas, guanacastes, and many species of orchids and bromeliads.


Representative Animal Species

In addition to the leatherback turtles, the park is home to other species such as howler monkeys, raccoons, crocodiles, a variety of birds like the brown pelican, white heron, and kingfisher, among others.

The Importance of Leatherback Turtles

Leatherback turtles are the largest species of sea turtles and are critically endangered. Playa Grande is one of the few places in the world where these majestic creatures come to nest, making this park a place of utmost importance for their survival.

Tourist Activities

Observing Leatherback Turtles

Observing leatherback turtles during the nesting season is a truly exciting and educational experience. Guided night visits by professionals allow visitors to witness this natural event in a respectful manner without disturbing the turtles.

Hiking and Excursions

Las Baulas offers several trails that pass through different ecosystems of the park, allowing visitors to explore the flora and fauna of the area. It is recommended to use guides for a more enriching experience.

Water Activities

The park’s beaches are also ideal for surfing, diving, and snorkeling, allowing visitors to enjoy the rich marine life of the area.

Conservation and Sustainability

Conservation Challenges

Despite conservation efforts, Las Baulas faces several challenges, such as urban development in nearby areas and pollution. It is essential for visitors to follow the park regulations to aid in its preservation.

Conservation and Environmental Education Projects

There are several projects focused on the conservation of the leatherback turtle and on environmental education for the local community and visitors. These projects aim to ensure a future for these magnificent creatures and for the park as a whole.

Tips for Visitors

Best Time to Visit

The best time to visit is during the nesting season of the leatherback turtles, which runs from October to March. However, any time of the year offers an incredible experience thanks to the rich biodiversity of the park.

Rules and Recommendations

It is essential to follow the park rules, such as not touching the turtles or their nests, not taking flash photographs during night visits, and not leaving trash behind. It is recommended to wear appropriate clothing for the tropical climate and bring water and sunscreen.

Practical Information

Accommodation and Food

There are several accommodation options in the areas near the park, ranging from luxury hotels to more budget-friendly choices. Local restaurants offer a wide variety of delicious Costa Rican and international cuisine.

Services and Facilities

The park has a visitor center, parking, bathrooms, and some trails with facilities for people with limited mobility. It is advisable to hire the services of local guides to fully enjoy the park visit.

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