Costa Rica: a rainbow in shades of green

In this land covered in vast natural parks, ecological reserves and rainforests, with volcanoes and spectacular beaches, Mother Nature is the undisputed star, and green is the ubiquitous colour. Take a look at our photo gallery and marvel at just how many shades of green there are in the Costa Rican landscape.

That fact that 25% of Costa Rica is classified as a protected area – a proportion no other country can boast – says a lot about the country's wealth of flora and fauna and the generosity of Mother Nature. And fortunately for the world, the inhabitants have had the sense to preserve this wildlife treasure trove. To witness the green sea turtles spawning in Tortuguero National Park, to walk through the dense rainforest of Manuel Antonio National Park, to watch as incandescent lava drips from the crater of the Arenal volcano while you bathe in the hot springs that flow at the foot of this magnificent giant, to glimpse the jewelled brightness of the legendary quetzal as it flashes through the air in the Monteverde Reserve, to swing in an aerial tram through the tree canopy, to dive off the beaches of Guanacaste... there are so many thrilling, unforgettable experiences awaiting in this land that stretches between the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea in the heart of Central America.  Once you've seen the photos, will you be able to resist discovering this paradise for yourself?

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Tapanti National Park, Costa Rica
Tapanti National Park is one of the wettest areas of Costa Rica; one of the most attractive excursions in the park is to the banks of the great Orosi River, where it is possible to swim / © Instituto Costarricense de Turismo 

Kayaking, Tortuguero National Park, Costa Rica
One of the best ways to enjoy the Tortuguero National Park and observe the varied wildlife is to take a kayaking trip / © 

Braulio Carrillo National Park, Costa Rica
The tropical rain forest, like the other forests of Braulio Carrillo National Park, considered the 'lungs of San Jose', is home to hundreds of species of orchids and ferns / © Instituto Costarricense de Turism 

Braulio Carrillo National Park, Costa Rica
The high rugged mountains, lush forest, two extinct volcanoes, waterfalls, winding rivers and beautiful cloud forest of the Braulio Carrillo National Park, in the splendid Central Valley of Costa Rico, offer an unforgettable experience for nature lovers / © Instituto Costarricense de Turismo 

Irazu volcano, Costa Rica
Irazu, which gives its name to a national park, is an active volcano with a long history of eruptions. On clear days, both the Pacific and the Atlantic are visible from the top of the crater / © Instituto Costarricense de Turismo 

Manuel Antonio National Park beach, Costa Rica
The aerial tramway (left) through the rainforest in the Central Valley affords a close-up view of the tree canopy; the Manuel Antonio National Park (right) is the smallest of the country's national parks, and is famed for its beaches / © Instituto Costarricense de Turismo – Edgar Menestrel 

Whitewater rafting, Sarapiqui River, Costa Rica
The impressive white waters of the Sarapiqui River drain from the lake located in the crater of the Poas Volcano / © Errol Barrantes 

Poas Volcano, Costa Rica
The crater of the Poas Volcano rises to 2,708 metres and is one of the largest in the world. The many fumaroles located in the inner cone of the crater emit large amounts of gases and steam, and the park is sometimes closed due to sulphuric gas levels / © Instituto Costarricense de Turism 

Poas Volcano National Park and Carara National Park, Costa Rica
Green is not the only colour in the Costa Rican palette, but not all the Poas Volcano National Park is as grey and bleak as the main crater (left); located on the Pacific coast, about 50 kilometres west of the capital San Jose, the Carara National Park (right) is a popular destination for bird watchers / © Edgar Menestrel – Juan Amighettu 

Whitewater rafting, Tortuguero National Park, Costa Rica
The Tortuguero National Park, in the north east of the country, is very humid and rich in natural habitats including rainforest, swamps and lagoons; it is home to a multitude of animals, including the endangered green sea turtle and almost 400 species of birds / © 

Cahuita National Park, Costa Rica
Cahuita National Park, on the Caribbean coast of Costa Rica, is just one of the unspoiled green areas in this country that boasts 40 natural parks and where 25% of the land is protected  / © Rodrigo Montenegro