Written by Pete Scott

Discover The Amazing Wildlife of Costa Rica!

White Faced Capuchin Monkeys In Costa Rica

White Faced Capuchin monkeys in the Costa Rican Jungle

People visit beautiful Costa Rica for a variety of reasons, and one of those reasons is the amazing wildlife!

If you love nature and animals, Costa Rica is a paradise for you. It is a small country in Central America, but it has more than 500,000 kinds of living things. That is about 4% of all the species on Planet Earth!

Crocodile in Costa Rica

Crocodile at the Tárcoles river in Costa Rica

You can find amazing wildlife in many places in Costa Rica, such as the Osa Peninsula, where you can see monkeys, tapirs, sloths, and jaguars among hundreds of birds; Tortuguero National Park, where you can watch sea turtles, crocodiles, monkeys, sloths, birds, and frogs from a boat or on the sand; and Cahuita National Park and Gandoca-Manzanillo Wildlife Refuge, where you can enjoy the relaxed Caribbean vibe with palm trees, coral reefs, and colorful fish. Costa Rica also has a great network of parks and reserves, a lot of ecolodges to stay in, and many professional guides to help you. Costa Rica is one of the best destinations in the world for nature lovers and wildlife enthusiasts.

Why Costa Rica Is A Wildlife Haven

Costa Rica has a rich history of conservation and environmental awareness. The country has protected more than 25% of its land area as national parks, wildlife reserves, and private sanctuaries. It has also invested in renewable energy sources, such as hydroelectricity, geothermal, wind, and solar power, to reduce its carbon footprint and preserve its natural resources.

Coral Reef Pacific Coast of Costa Rica

Costa Rica's location also contributes to its biodiversity. It lies between two continents and two oceans, creating a bridge for wildlife migration and a meeting point for different ecosystems. It has 12 distinct life zones, ranging from tropical dry forest to cloud forest, each with its own unique flora and fauna. It also has more than 1,200 kilometers of coastline, offering access to coral reefs, mangroves, estuaries, and islands.

What You Can See In Costa Rica

With over half a million different kinds of animals and plants, many of them unique or at risk, Costa Rica is a biodiversity hotspot. Here are some of the amazing creatures you can encounter in Costa Rica:

Toucan in Costa Rica

Keel Billed Toucan in Costa Rica

Birds: Costa Rica is home to more than 900 kinds of birds, such as toucans, macaws, hummingbirds, quetzals, trogons, motmots, tanagers, oropendolas, parrots, hawks, eagles, owls, herons, pelicans, flamingos, and penguins.

jaguar in Costa Rica

Jaguar in the Costa Rican Rainforest

Mammals: More than 200 kinds of mammals live in Costa Rica, such as monkeys, sloths, anteaters, armadillos, tapirs, jaguars, pumas, ocelots, peccaries, coatis, raccoons, skunks, bats, whales, dolphins, and manatees.

Basilisk Lizard In Costa Rica

Basilisk Lizards can run on the surface of water

Reptiles and Amphibians: More than 400 kinds of reptiles and amphibians can be found in Costa Rica, such as crocodiles, caimans, turtles, tortoises, lizards, snakes (including venomous ones), frogs (including poison dart frogs), toads (including cane toads), salamanders (including lungless salamanders), and caecilians.

Blue Morpho Butterfly

Blue Morpho Butterfly in Costa Rica

Insects and Arachnids: Costa Rica has more than 300,000 kinds of insects and arachnids (and likely many more that are still unknown), such as butterflies (including the blue morpho), moths (including the atlas moth), beetles (including the rhinoceros beetle), ants (including leafcutter ants), bees (including stingless bees), wasps (including tarantula hawks), flies (including botflies), mosquitoes (including malaria vectors), dragonflies (including helicopter damselflies), spiders (including tarantulas), scorpions (including bark scorpions), ticks (including Lyme disease vectors), mites (including chiggers), and centipedes (including giant centipedes).

Humpback Whale in the Pacific Ocean Costa Rica

Humpback Whale Osa Peninsula Costa Rica

Where To See Costa Rica's Wildlife

If you love wildlife, Costa Rica has plenty of options for you. Different areas and habitats have different kinds of animals to see. These are some of the best places to see wildlife in Costa Rica:

Marino Ballena National Park, South Pacific Coast: This is famous for marine animals like the humpback whale species that come back to mate here every year, and for the whale tail-shaped sand bar that shows up at low tide. Whales and dolphins can be seen from these green rainforest beaches all year long. You can also see monkeys, iguanas, sea turtles, toucans, and sloths in the area.

Costa Rica Baird's Tapir

The Baird's Tapir is exclusive to Costa Rica

Corcovado National Park, Osa Peninsula: This is the top place to see wild animals in their natural environment, with both kinds of sloths and all four kinds of monkeys that live in Costa Rica being easy to find there. You can also see tapirs, jaguars, pumas, ocelots, peccaries, coatis, raccoons, skunks, bats, whales, dolphins, and manatees

Iguana in Costa Rica

Iguanas are prevalent in the Manuel Antonio National Park

Manuel Antonio National Park: This is the smallest national park in Costa Rica, but it has a lot of biodiversity. You can see monkeys, sloths, iguanas, toucans, tree frogs, and coatis along rainforest trails that go to white sand beaches. This is one of Costa Rica's most visited tourist places, so be ready for some crowds.

Quetzals are a rare bird found in Costa Rica

Monteverde Cloud Forest. This is a heaven for bird lovers, with many hummingbird species, orchids, and the rare quetzal. The nocturnal two-toed sloth can also be seen on a guided night hike. The cloud forest is a special ecosystem that has many unique and endangered species.

River Rafting In Costa Rica

Costa Rica River Rafting

How You Can Experience Costa Rica's Wildlife

There are many ways to experience Costa Rica's wildlife. You can join guided tours or explore on your own. You can stay in eco-lodges or camp in the wild. You can hike on trails or zip-line through the canopy. You can snorkel or dive in the ocean or kayak or raft on the rivers. You can birdwatch or photograph or simply observe and enjoy.

beach in Costa Rica

Sunset Costa Rica Beach

Whatever you choose to do in Costa Rica's wildlife wonderland, you will be amazed by the beauty and diversity of nature. Costa Rica is a country that celebrates and protects its wildlife, and invites you to share in its wonders. Don't miss this opportunity to discover the amazing wildlife of Costa Rica. Book your trip today and get ready for an unforgettable adventure.

How To Plan Your Costa Rica Wildlife Trip

Costa Rica is a great destination for wildlife lovers, but you need to plan ahead to really enjoy it!. Here are some suggestions to help you have a wonderful wildlife experience:

Pick the best time to go: Costa Rica has a dry season and a rainy season. The dry season lasts from December to April, and the rainy season lasts from May to November. The best time to go depends on your preferences and activities. For instance, if you want to watch humpback whales, you should go between July and October or between December and March. If you want to see sea turtles laying eggs, you should go between July and December. If you want to save money and avoid crowds, you should go during the rainy season, but be ready for some rain and mud.

Volcano Arenal Costa Rica

Arenal Volcano (Volcán Arenal in Spanish) has been dormant since 2010

Arrange your flights and lodging: Costa Rica has two international airports: Juan Santamaría International Airport in San José and Daniel Oduber Quirós International Airport in Liberia. You can choose the airport that is nearer to your destination. You can also travel within the country by domestic flights or buses. For lodging, you have many options, such as eco-lodges, hotels, hostels, or camping sites.

Pack wisely: Costa Rica has a tropical climate, so you will need to pack light and airy clothing, as well as a raincoat or poncho. You will also need sunscreen, insect repellent, a hat, sunglasses, a water bottle, and a camera. For wildlife watching, you will need binoculars, a field guide, and cozy hiking shoes. You can also bring some snacks and cash for tipping guides or buying souvenirs.

Sloth in the jungles of Costa Rica

Three-Toed Sloth in Costa Rica

Be respectful of the wildlife: Costa Rica is a country that values and safeguards its wildlife, and you should do the same. When you visit national parks or wildlife reserves, follow the rules and regulations, and listen to your guides. Do not feed, touch, or bother the animals, and keep a safe distance from them. Do not litter or harm the environment, and support local conservation efforts. Remember that you are a visitor in their home, and behave accordingly.

Costa Rica is a country that will astonish you with its beauty and variety of nature. Whether you want to see monkeys, sloths, whales, or birds, you will find something to admire in this tropical paradise. Don't miss this chance to explore the amazing wildlife of Costa Rica. Book your trip today and get ready for an incredible adventure!

Whale Tail - Gulf of Nicoya, Costa Rica