La Cruz & Penas Blancas Lomas Barbudal Nature Preserve
This national park was first established in 1989 in order to protect the region’s wildlife during seasonal migrations through the grasslands at the foot of the Volcan Orosi. Many rare and endangered species live in the area, and make their seasonal trek from the upper reaches of the cloud forest on the slopes of the volcanoes to the deciduous forests of the Santa Rosa National Park on the Santa Elena Peninsula.
Although the Panamerican Highway divides the two parks, they still serve a useful function. Only through consistent protection of such migratory routes – as in the Serengeti National Park in Tansania – can the future of endemic fauna be guaranteed in this region.
The two volcanoes, Orosi (1,487 m) and Cacao (1,659 m) crown the 36,000hectare Guanacaste National Park, which begins about 20 kilometers north of Liberia. Four biological research stations are located in the park and have incredible views. The Maritza, Pitilla, Mengo and Cacao stations mainly serve to observe animals and to protect natural reforestation in the lower reaches of the cloud forest.
The government of Costa Rica plans to eventually join the national parks of Guanacaste, Santa Rosa and Rincon de la Vieja into a gigantic megapark containing more than 100,000 hectares.
The Guanacaste National Park was created to protect native animal species, rather than to provide recreational areas for human visitors. For this reason very little has been done to develop a tourist infrastructure.