Visiting Costa Rica’s national parks has always been at one’s own risk. However, starting last week, on January 1, 2020, foreigners and nationals visiting many of the country’s national parks will be covered by an insurance policy.
The Sistema Nacional de Áreas de Conservación (SINAC) – National System of Conservation Areas – says that visitors who enter national parks legally – official entrances and follow the posted park rules – will be covered in the case of injury or death.
The insurance policy will also cover damage, break-in or theft of vehicles parked in official parking areas.
The cost of the insurance provided by the state insurer, the Instituto Nacional de Seguros (INS), is included in the admission of the following national parks:
- Parque Nacional Cahuita
- Parque Nacional Santa Rosa
- Oficinas Regionales en Liberia y Santa Rosa
- Reserva Nacional de Vida Silvestre Bahía Junquillal
- Monumento Nacional Guayabo
- Parque Nacional Braulio Carrillo: sectores Quebrada González y Volcán Barba
- Parque Nacional La Cangreja
- Parque Nacional Los Quetzales
- Parque Nacional Volcán Irazú, sector Prusia
- Parque Nacional Volcán Poás
- Reserva Forestal Grecia, Bosque del Niño
- Parque Nacional Tapantí, Macizo de la Muerte
- Parque Nacional Chirripó
- Parque Nacional Corcovado
- Parque Nacional Bahía Ballena
- Parque Nacional Carara
- Parque Nacional Manuel Antonio
- Reserva Biológica Isla del Caño
- Refugio Nacional de Vida Silvestre Playa Hermosa-Punta Mala
“This is a unique policy in the country. Its particularity is given by the type of ecotourism services offered by Sinac. The purpose of this policy is to protect visitors, who enter through official sites, from common risks that may arise during their stay in the protected wild areas,” said Grettel Vega, executive director of the SINAC.
Vega added that the regional directorates are also expected to improve their signaling within protected wild areas, to inform tourists regarding the areas that are enabled for access and those that are prohibited to the general public.
Failure to comply with these indications and enter restricted areas would be under one’s own responsibility, thus not covered by the policy, explained Hazel Calderón Jiménez, Administrative and Financial Director of the SINAC.
The SINAC is hoping to expand insurance coverage to all of Costa Rica’snational parks this year.