Add “wad of cash” to your list of essentials for an excursion to Costa Rica’s national parks.
Entry fees jumped about 67% this year, the nation’s environment ministry recently announced.
The modest Tico and foreign resident (with a cédula) fare jumped from 600 colones (about $1.20) to 1,000 (about $2). But foreign tourists will see the price increase between $3 and $15, depending on the park.
According to the Environment and Energy Ministry (MINAE), the average price of entry into a national park will be $10 for foreign tourists, up from $7 last year.
By comparison, entrance fees to the world-famous Yellowstone National Park in the United States were $12 per person on foot, bike or skis, or $25 per automobile.
The increase in Costa Rican parks compensates for inflation, which hovers around 65%, according to Environment Minister Roberto Dobles.
Dobles told the daily La Nación that the Finance Ministry had agreed all funds raised be directed into the park system, where it can be used for maintenance and staffing. In the past, he said, fee increases found their way into other ministries and uses.
For those hiking Chirripó, the country’s highest peak at 3,820 meters, the typical three-day stay required to summit the mountain will now cost $45.
Other popular parks – including Tortuguero, in the northeast Caribbean, and Poás, the park whose volcano hovers over the Central Valley, saw fees rise $3, to $10.
There are nearly 200 protected areas in the country, ranging from indigenous reserves to wildlife refuges and national parks.
Costa Rica’s national park system has won worldwide admiration. Parklands and refuges now cover upward of 25% of the national territory.
The Cost of Enjoying Costa Rica
Fees for nationals, which include residents, and citizens of other Central American countries, and for foreigners, who generally pay
five times more, have gone up. Some examples of what visiting a national park now costs a foreigner:
Park Old fee New fee
Manuel Antonio $7 $10
Volcán Arenal $6 $10
Tortuguero $7 $10
Volcán Poás $7 $10
Cahuita $6 $10
Chirripó $15 $15*
*The new fee is good for one day, whereas the old was valid for two days.
Source: La Gaceta, the official government newspaper.