From night hikes in the jungle to canopy tours through the Cloud Forest of Monteverde to seeing sea turtles lay eggs in Tortuguero, Costa Rica is a tropical paradise for animal lovers. The tiny Central American country is only about the size of West Virginia but has one of the rich biodiversities found anywhere on earth. If it’s wildlife you’re interested in, Costa Rica is the place for you.
Each year the country receives over 2 million visitors from around the world, and while some may come just for the beaches, the waves, and the surf, all will experience the rich wildlife that lives in this lush country. Situated just about the isthmus of Panama, this country is a bridge between North and South America and as such is home to thousands of different animal species, not to mention the plants and insects that call Costa Rica home. Wildlife tourism is a major draw for Costa Rica and the country has taken great strides to protect the natural environment and all the creatures that live here.
One of the main draws of this tropical paradise is the nesting sea turtles that return year after year to lay their eggs. In the northern Caribbean town, Tortuguero, which means land of turtles, visitors can take a night tour to see the endangered Green Turtle lay their eggs, or depending on the time of year, see the new hatchlings make their journey to the sea. Other beaches also offer sea turtle night tours, but Tortuguero, accessible only by boat or by plane remains of the most isolated and untouched corners of the country. In addition to sea turtles, this region, in the Limon province is also home to caiman, crocodiles, and iguanas. While night tours are a great time to view sea turtles, day hikes and kayak trips provide animal lovers other chances to glimpse the many animals that live among the waterways and mangroves.
You don’t have to take a tour to spot some of the other wildlife that inhabits this country teeming with animals. Sloths, both two toed and three toed, can be spotted in the trees throughout the country. Monkeys, howler, spider, capuchin, and squirrel, live throughout the country as well although you’re more likely to spot certain monkeys in select regions. And for bird-watchers, Costa Rica is a dream-come-true, home to over 900 species of bird, including six different toucans, macaws, hummingbirds, and the red and green quetzal, considered to be one of the most rare and beautiful birds in the world.
The coastal regions are home to a wide variety of animals and the cooler climate of the Central Valley and the extensive Monteverde Cloud Forest contain even more animals. The country is alive with everything from small lizards and birds, to large reptiles and big cats, such as jaguars, jaguarondi, ocelots, and puma. While sightings of big cats are rare, they do happen every once in a while.
Visiting Costa Rica has never been easier with direct flights from the United Kingdom through Thomson Airways and British Airways and multiple direct flights from various airlines from both the U.S. and Canada.