Great places to explore diverse wildlife in Costa Rica
December 22, 2022
Costa Rica is home to some of the world’s most beautiful wildlife and ecosystems. Nearly six per cent of the world’s biodiversity can be found within its borders. Tourists flock to Costa Rica every year to explore its diverse wildlife and take part in activities like ecotourism, bird watching, and animal preservation efforts.
In this article you can find out why Costa Rica has become such an attractive destination for eco-tourists and I will introduce you to some of the best places to explore wildlife in Costa Rica. Enjoy!
Ecotourism in Costa Rica
Costa Rica is a tropical country located between Nicaragua and Panama. Its lush rainforests and beaches provide you with plenty of opportunities for exploration and adventure. The country is also renowned for its commitment to environmental conservation; it protects over 25 per cent of its land through national parks, reserves, and protected areas. As a result, many endangered species are able to thrive in their natural habitats. Think about sloths, sea turtles, parrots, toucans, and monkeys. The wildlife in Costa Rica is truly amazing and Costa Rica is definitely the most beautiful country I’ve visited so far! Look at the cute baby sloth and the beautiful toucans on the pictures above!
The country has become one of the leading countries in ecotourism (the practice of visiting natural areas while minimizing human impact on these environments). The government has implemented strict regulations that require tour operators to adhere to responsible tourism practices, such as reducing waste production or avoiding contact with wild animals. I think this is really good. Additionally, you can participate in activities such as reforestation projects or beach cleanups.
If you’re planning to do any activities that involve (wild) animals, make sure you follow your feelings. If you have any doubt that your activities harm the environment or any animals, just skip the activities. Unfortunately, still many animals are harmed by tourist attractions each year.
Great places to explore wildlife in Costa Rica
Take a night tour in the Monteverde Cloud Forest Biological Reserve or in La Fortuna
One of the best places to see Costa Rica’s wildlife is the Monteverde Cloud Forest Biological Reserve. This biodiverse reserve consists of over 40 square miles (100 km2) of cloud forest that contains hundreds of species of plants and animals—including numerous endangered species like jaguars, pumas, ocelots, Baird’s tapirs and resplendent quetzals. You can also spot sloths hanging from trees as well as sea turtles nesting on nearby beaches along the Pacific Coast. Other animals commonly found here include parrots, toucans, monkeys, and iguanas. These rainforest animals are essential components of the local ecosystem; they not only help keep plant populations balanced but also act as prey for larger predators like pumas and jaguars.
Moving away from the rainforest and to the coast provides you with an excellent chance of spotting Whales; head to Uvita, often cited as one of the best places to see whales in the world. With two distinct seasonal migrations, humpback whales pass the coastline twice a year. Booking a whale-watching trip is the best way to get out on the water and see the whales for yourself. When I did the whale spotting tour, I saw a mother and baby whale splashing around. It was so much fun!
Stop at the crocodile bridge on your way to Jaco
For a chance to see another saltwater creature head towards Jaco and stop off at the renowned Tárcoles Bridge also known as the crocodile bridge. Most transportation companies make a quick stop at the bridge for a lunch break. It’s the perfect place to have some food and to look down from the bridge and see large 4-6 meter saltwater crocodiles doing their thing. This was so impressive!
Discover monkeys in Manuel Antonio National Park
If it’s monkeys that you wish to see head to Manuel Antonio National Park. Mind your stuff and food if you enter the National Park, because the monkeys are very smart. They stole my banana bread haha. You can see four species of monkeys inside the park, some are more elusive than others:
The Howler Monkey – often heard before they are seen, these are the largest monkeys in the national park and are dark brown in colour.
The Capuchin Monkey is another common site – easily distinguished due to their white faces and a common site due to their social inquisitiveness.
The Squirrel Monkey – Being a rusty brown colour and small in stature makes them harder to spot. Listen out for a squeaky call and you may see one in the treetops.
The Spider Monkey – An endangered species means their numbers are small, however, you might be lucky to see their acrobatics in the trees.
Explore wildlife and marine ecosystems at Osa Penisula
Home to over fifty percent of Costa Rica’s wildlife species, Osa Peninsula is a place that you can’t skip when you’re in Costa Rica. The entire Osa Peninsula is bursting with wildlife, rainforest, freshwater, and marine ecosystems. Due to limited development and environmental protection, encounters with wildlife are abundant.
Spend time in Drake Bay for excellent marine life sightings or visit the Corcovado National Park. This park is home to nearly 463 bird species and 140 mammal species including monkeys, tapir, toucans, sloths, and scarlet macaws. If you’re lucky you also might see jungle cats like the jaguarundi, puma, margay, ocelot, or the endangered jaguar. The park has long been celebrated as one of the most biologically diverse places in the world.
From its vibrant jungles teeming with exotic wildlife to its crystal clear beaches lapped by gentle waves from the Pacific Ocean, there’s no denying that Costa Rica is one of nature’s greatest marvels. Whether you want to observe rare species up close or simply enjoy some leisurely beach time surrounded by paradise-like beauty, there’s something for everyone here. If you want an unforgettable experience exploring nature at its finest, Costa Rica should be your next destination. With so much unique wildlife waiting for you around every corner, you won’t regret your decision!