masaya-volcano-national-park-nicaraguaCentral America is an area filled with natural beauty that every traveler should see. The locals and natives of these lands have been trying to preserve this beauty for anyone that wants to enjoy it in the future by creating protected areas and national parks. After a lot of traveling throughout Central America with my family, I also realized that this is a kid’s Nature Playground.

Here are the top National Parks to visit:

1. Manuel Antonio – Costa Rica This Costa Rican national park is located on the Central Pacific region. It is a beautiful park here you can choose between exploring the rain forest, allowing your kids to play on one of its gorgeous beaches or chilling out with wildlife that come up really close. Like – white-faced monkeys, coatis, insects, birds, iguanas, and bats.

copan-national-park-honduras2. Masaya Volcano National Park – Nicaragua Nicaragua’s first national park and is home to two volcanoes: Masaya Volcano and Nindiri Volcano and a total of 5 craters. The Masaya Volcano is also known as POPOGATEPE meaning the “MOUNTAIN THAT BURNS” in the language of the indigenous Chorotega. Imagine how your kid would feel looking inside of a crater expelling gas with hot lava from a safe distance.

3. Tikal National Park – Guatemala This national park is home to the Tikal Mayan Ruin compound, one of the most important Mayan Ceremonial sites ever found. My boy’s impression when he saw the temples of the main plaza for the first time was: WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOW!!!!!!!!!

4. Poas Volcano National Park – Costa Rica This national park is home to an active volcano really close to San Jose City. This is Costa Rica’s most visited park. The thing almost all travelers come here for is the beautiful turquoise colored lagoon in its crater. To get to it you have to do a short and easy walk in the middle of the forest as you look for local wildlife.

tikal-national-park-guatemala5. Copan Ruins National Park – Honduras This national park located close to the Guatemalan border, on the western region of Honduras is home to the Copan Mayan ruins. This isn’t just another Mayan City in ruins, it is the place where you will find the most beautiful and most elaborate Mayan stelae.

6. Corcovado – Costa Rica
This national park was called by the National Geographic as “the most biologically intense place on earth”. That is because it is home to over 4% of the world’s total fauna species & many different eco-systems. It is located in Costa Rica’s Osa Peninsula.

7. Pacaya Volcano National Park – Guatemala This national park is only minutes away from Antigua Guatemala and hosts the active Pacaya Volcano. This volcano is active at very low levels so you can take a tour up to the lava flows. I don’t recommend visiting this park without a guide because it can be dangerous if you don’t know the terrain. But it is a fun and popular day trip for locals and travelers.

Marina K. Villatoro is an expat living with her family and traveling in Central America. Learn some more interesting facts about traveling in Central America.