23 Pictures of Wonderful Animals You’ll Find in Costa Rica

Tropical Toucan
Tropical Toucan | © James Anderson/Tartan Group
Jenn Parker

There are few places in the world that host such a diversity of animals in such a relatively small stretch of land. Costa Rica is only 51,100 square miles (19,700 square kilometers). It is commonly compared in size to the European state of Denmark, or the the state of West Virginia in the United States. However, five per cent of the Earth’s bio diversity calls Costa Rica home. For this reason, Costa Rica is an incredible destination for animal and nature lovers. There is a very good chance that during your visit to this treasure of a country that you will have multiple special animal encounters.

The Howler monkey is the second loudest animal in the world – behind the kakapo – and as a group can be heard around three miles (five kilometers) away. There are four breeds of monkey native to Costa Rica, including the mantled howler, Geoffroy’s spider monkey, Central American squirrel monkey and the white-headed capuchin.

The Howler monkey is the second loudest animal in the world
Spider monkeys communicate in cute little chirps
Charismatic white-faced capuchin are likely to come steal your food

Central America is home to some wonderfully unique creatures including the sloth and pizote.

The iconic and idyllic sloth smiles slowly
The sneaky pizote – or codimundi – is opportunistic and always hungry
Sweet face of a tapir

Costa Rica provides a home to six species of wild cats. Sadly, due to poaching and loss of habitat, their numbers are in decline and they can mostly be found in nature reserves or remote and mountainous areas.

A stunning jaguar lurks in the dense jungle
The elusive and very rare ocelot hunts under the cover of night

Off the Costa Rican shores, 25 different species of whales and dolphins can be found, as well as its coastline providing nesting areas for turtles.

December through April hosts the most migrating humpback whales on the Pacific coast
Dolphin spottings are a regular occurrence
Ostional is famous for its leatherback turtle arribadas
Iguanas love hibiscus flowers and fresh fruit
Caymons cruise the jungle rivers

Costa Rica is home to more than 900 species of birds, including the largest population of scarlet macaws in Central America. More than 10,000 types of insect have also been counted on the peninsula.

A regal hawk is one of more than 900 bird species in Costa Rica
Macaws are truly exquisite birds which nest in their thousands in Costa Rica
Toucans come in all different color combinations
The motmot is commonly seen together with its mate
The mesmerizing Blue Morpho butterfly

Frogs come in numerous colors and varieties in Costa Rica – in fact 193 different species of frogs and toads live here, along with 139 species of snakes.

Red-eyed tree frog is a poster child creature of Costa Rica
Beautifully patterned poison dart frog
Look, but don’t touch this poison arrow frog
An intense pop of color on this eyelash viper

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