Costa Rica is one of the most biodiverse countries in the world. The nation’s 32 national parks form around 25% of it, and it has more than 500,000 different plant and animal species. Costa Rica also features countless wildlife refuges, as well as numerous forest and biological reserves. Come and discover the animals of Costa Rica during an unforgettable vacation!
Some of the animals you can see in Costa Rica stand out thanks to their rarity or non-existence back home. A vacation here also gives you an unmissable chance to see them in their natural habitat.
Which Animals of Costa Rica Will You Find?
One of these special species is the tapir. These cumbersome-looking mammals play a major role in spreading seeds throughout the forests of Costa Rica. They stand out for their short elephant-like trunk which helps them grab their food, and can weigh up to 600 pounds. You can see tapirs at Corcovado National Park, Santa Rosa National Park, or Monteverde Cloud Forest.
Sticking with native Costa Rican hoofed mammals, another sight for fascinated eyes is the peccary. These cute little wild pigs live in small herds in the tropical rainforest and low-lying shrub forests of Costa Rica. They are omnivorous and feed on insects, grubs, roots, fruit and cacti.
More Iconic Animals of Costa Rica
Another really cute mammal is the white-faced capuchin monkey. These Costa Rican animals are very intelligent and live in groups of up to 30. They can usually be seen in Palo Verde National Park, Manuel Antonio National Park and along the Osa Peninsula.
The penultimate mammal to highlight is the three-toed sloth. This iconic animal lives high up in the treetops, climbing down once a week to eliminate waste. Find out all about them during a fun visit to the Sloth Sanctuary or the Sloth Institute. You can also see them in the wild at Manuel Antonio National Park, the Osa Peninsula, or Tortuguero National Park. And if you’re lucky, you might see a sloth on the road near Arenal Volcano, though sightings are rare.
Finally, in the mammal class at least, is the breathtaking ocelot. Secretive and rarely seen, this beautiful feline can be seen in wildlife sanctuaries like La Paz Waterfall Gardens Nature Park. You’ll need to be eagle-eyed and lucky to see one, but it’ll be well-worth the effort!
Reptiles and Birds, Oh My!
A long-time resident of Costa Rica is the impressive American crocodile, which you can see in Palo Verde National Park. Other popular sighting spots are the Corcovado, Santa Rosa, and Tortuguero National Parks. Crocodiles are more active at night and tend to bask for hours during the day. Measuring up to 3 meters long, they are skilled swimmers and are top of the local food chain.
Saving the best until last, one of the most iconic animals of Costa Rica is the rainbow toucan. This stunning bird has a unique call, with a frog-like croak instead of a chirp. They are fruit eaters and stand out for their multicolored beaks. There are in fact 6 different species of toucan in Costa Rica, so you can try to spot them all during your vacation!
Tours to See the Animals of Costa Rica
If you want to see these animals in the wild, then try one of the great outdoor tours on offer.
The Diamante Adventure Pass mixes zip lines with an animal reserve for a fun day out. Find animals like sloths and jaguars, along with birds in the aviary, plus butterflies, insects and frogs.
If you’re staying at Dreams Las Mareas resort, you can also extend the Diamante tour combining it with ATVs on the ATVs Zip Lines and Nature Full Day Trip. That’s how you mix adrenaline with the natural world!
Another great choice is the Palo Verde and Liberia Sightseeing Tour, which takes you to Palo Verde National Park. On this boat ride, say hello to various birds, crocodiles and monkeys who live on the Tempisque River.
In conclusion, don’t pass up the chance to visit the incredible Costa Rica national parks. While you see the diverse animals of Costa Rica, you get to enjoy the country’s stunning surroundings. So make the most of your time here and combine animal watching with zip lines and ATVs on one of the tours. Also, don’t forget your binoculars!