Want to See Bats? Go to Santa Rosa National Park, Costa Rica
If you are traveling to Costa Rica for a vacation and are in the northwestern province of Guanacaste be sure to take a day trip to Santa Rosa National Park. To get there take the Inter-American highway (highway 1) north from Liberia. Drive about 35 km north from Liberia and watch for the signs to the park.
Santa Rosa National Park preserves the most important example of dry tropical forests as well as mangrove swamps in Central America. This park has been merged with Guanacaste National park and protects a very large area in the Northwestern Province of Guanacaste in Costa Rica.
This park does not have a lot of visitors. Perhaps the reason is that it is off the beaten path. In fact the day we were there we saw only two other cars.
What is so interesting about Santa Rosa National Park? More than half of the one hundred and fifty species of mammals found in this park are bats. Including the famous vampire bat. The area where these bats can be seen is named the Murcielago Sector. The word Murcielago means bat.
What else would I expect to see in Santa Rosa National Park? 1. More than 250 species of birds reside here. One of the most beautiful is the Magpi-Jay, a large blue and white funny looking bird that sings many different songs.
2. Beautiful dream-like beaches with names like Playa Nancite, Playa Naranjo and Playa Portero Grande You need a 4 wheel drive vehicle to get to these beaches, esp in the rainy season when the rivers can swell and you need to cross them in the car. And you need a map which you get from the ranchers station when you first enter the park. These beaches are virtually isolated with soft white-beige sand and big waves, simply gorgeous! The water is cold, but we went for a swim anyway.
3. A Cultural Museum to Explore. The Museum: La Cason de Santa Rosa. Lots of bats inside this building! This is a historical landmark . It is the site of the famous battle of 1856 when a North American named William Walker was driven out of Costa Rica along with his band of renegades who were trying to take over Costa Rica and make it into a slave colony.
4. The Olive Ridley Sea Turtle comes ashore at a beach named Playa Nancite. These turtles come in the thousands in September and October to lay their eggs in this soft white sandy beach.
You will need to obtain a map when you enter the park, and you should have a 4×4 vehicle. At the park entrance station at the Santa Rosa Sector you can purchase a map for $1. The map shows the roads, trails, etc. Also, La Casona Museum offers additional information.
Read more about Santa Rosa National Park, see photos, and get directions: costarica-nationalparks.com/santarosanationalpark.html