Costa Rica National Parks
Very good, a total of 25.6 percent of Costa Rica’s surface area is protected. These areas, mainly national parks, have been declared protected zones or protected areas (Area de Conservación).
Managed since the beginning of the 1970s by a national park administration (Servicio de Parques Nacionales). Then the SINAC (Sistema Nacional de Áreas de Conservación) was founded in 1994 as the responsible authority for the protected areas. So far so good, sometimes the organization and supervision is not without problems.
Costa Rica is a real natural paradise with a huge variety of animals and plant species. Every time we discovered one of the exotic animals or beautiful plants, we were thrilled.
During our tour through Costa Rica in 2008, we got to know several interesting areas and places. The following travelogue is supposed to inform you about our journey.
First, we want to describe the area in the north of Sámara and its attractions.
The turtle camp on Buena Vista beach
Approximately 3.5 km north of Sámara, located on the beach of Buena Vista, you can find the turtle project ASVO (Asociación de Voluntarios para el Servicio en las Areas Protegidas), which is exists since September 2005.
The conservation project seemed to be very well- organized and we even met a lot of volunteers there. The task of the volunteers is to monitor the whole beach and to look for arriving turtles. They do that for 24 hours a day. Moreover, they have to identify beach sections and collect eggs, which they bring to a special protected zone. When the turtles slip, which mostly takes place in the afternoon, the volunteers bring them near the water, which makes it easier for them to crawl into the sea.
At Buena Vista beach, you have the chance to see all four major types of turtles, including the largest among them – the leather turtle.
For more information please call Annette Nierhoff: 00506/8899-8986 (placement of volunteers).
The beach of Barrigona
About 7 km north of Sámara, right next to the beach of Playa Buena Vista, there once was the Hotel Hacienda Dorado. Nearby you can find the beautiful and unspoiled beach of Playa Barrigona with its white sand. ‚Abby‘ Lelchuk, together with some American partners, had bought the Hacienda Dorada in 1990 and designed three luxury houses.
Since that time, there were some famous guests at the hotel, for example Goldie Hawn, Kurt Russell, Kate Hudson and George Harrison. In 2007, Mel Gibson bought the 168 hectares. Some time ago, his former neighbor in Malibu, Britney Spears, visited him at his new property in Costa Rica. During her visit, the local press was nearly going crazy. There were numerous articles published in the newspapers and hundreds of Paparazzi crowded the beach of Barrigona. In mid-August 2008, another VIP from Hollywood visited Mel Gibson, it was Bruce Willis. However, this time, everything was kept top secret, so that nobody, not even the press, was informed and both actors were able to enjoy a quiet weekend.
Usually, the beach of Barrigona is deserted. It has a beautiful waterfall, crystal clear water and fine white sand. For about ten years now, one can reach the beach via a public street. Here, at the beach of Barrigona, we have spent wonderful days – a romantic place for relaxation and daydreaming.
Individual hotel for people who love nature
Another place where you can dream and relax is the hotel Paraíso del Cocodrilo, which we found by chance. It is near the turtle conservations project, right behind the beach of Buena Vista. After just 10 minutes of walking you reach the beach. We often visited the camps in the evenings, in order to observe the arriving turtles.
During the day we mostly relaxed at the beach of Barrigona or made some exciting trips to the palm beach of Carrillo, which has a lovely little fishing port. The palm beach of Carrillo is a Caribbean- style beach and it is quite different from the other beaches.
The hotel itself is situated in a beautiful natural area. There are numerous exotic animals, a large pool and a good restaurant. The expression individual Costa Rica hotel seemed to be the most appropriate for us.