Thanks to sparse foliage, it's not difficult to spot wildlife within Santa Rosa's tropical dry forest, especially if you're with an experienced guide.There's impressive flora and fauna, and even on a half-day visit you might see monkeys, birds, deer, and coatis hiding in the dry-forest vegetation.
Santa Rosa's wealth of natural beauty is due in part to its remoteness–-it isn't as busy as some of Costa Rica's other parks. Most trails are easily accessible and relatively flat.
To get anywhere in the park, you must have a 4WD, and many roads are impassable in rainy season. The park headquarters, a historic ranch house and museum called La Casona, and a nearby camping area are 7 km (4½ miles) from the Pan-American Highway via a paved road.
From park headquarters it's 11 km (7 miles) to Playa Naranjo, where the famed Witch's Rock surf break is located (surfers get there by boat). Playa Nancite—the site of one of the world's few completely protected olive
ridley turtle arribada, or mass nesting (accessible primarily to biologists and students; permit required)—is an additional 5 km (3 miles) by footpath north of Playa Naranjo. It is best to visit the park with a guide, since some areas are poorly marked, and you're likely to see wildlife you probably would have missed otherwise. (For more information, see the highlighted listing in this chapter.)