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Tropical Toucan | © James Anderson/Tartan Group
Tropical Toucan | © James Anderson/Tartan Group
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23 Pictures of Wonderful Animals You’ll Find in Costa Rica

Picture of Jenn Parker
Updated: 2 March 2017
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 | © James Anderson/Tartan Group
The Howler monkey is the second loudest animal in the world | © James Anderson/Tartan Group
Spider Monkey
Spider monkeys communicate in cute little chirps | © James Anderson/Tartan Group
Charismatic white-faced capuchin are likely to come steal your food
Charismatic white-faced capuchin are likely to come steal your food | © thejaan/Flickr
The coy squirrel money peaks out from the trees | © James Anderson/Tartan Group
The coy squirrel money peaks out from the trees | © James Anderson/Tartan Group

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

The iconic and idyllic sloth smiles slowly | © James Anderson/Tartan Group
The iconic and idyllic sloth smiles slowly | © James Anderson/Tartan Group
The sneaky pizote or codimundi is opportunistic and always hungry | © James Anderson/Tartan Group
The sneaky pizote – or codimundi – is opportunistic and always hungry | © James Anderson/Tartan Group
Sweet face of a tapir
Sweet face of a tapir | © Alberto Gonzalez/Flickr

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 jungles | © David Puttock
A stunning jaguar lurks in the dense jungle | © David Puttock
The elusive and very rare ocelot hunts under the cover of night | © Valerie/Flickr
The elusive and very rare ocelot hunts under the cover of night | © Valerie/Flickr

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 costa of Costa Rica | © James Anderson/Tartan Group
December through April hosts the most migrating humpback whales on the Pacific coast | © James Anderson/Tartan Group
Dolphins spottings are a regular occurrence | © Ingo Ronner/Flickr
Dolphin spottings are a regular occurrence | © Ingo Ronner/Flickr
Ostional is famous for its leatherback turtle arribadas | © Jolene Thompson/Flickr
Ostional is famous for its leatherback turtle arribadas | © Jolene Thompson/Flickr
Iguanas love hibiscus flowers and fresh fruit
Iguanas love hibiscus flowers and fresh fruit | © Care_SMC/Flickr
Caymons cruise the jungle rivers | © James Anderson/Tartan Group
Caymons cruise the jungle rivers | © James Anderson/Tartan Group

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 830 bird species in Costa Rica | © James Anderson/Tartan Group
A regal hawk is one of more than 900 bird species in Costa Rica | © James Anderson/Tartan Group
Macaws are truly exquisite birds | © James Anderson/Tartan Group
Macaws are truly exquisite birds which nest in their thousands in Costa Rica | © James Anderson/Tartan Group
Toucans come in all different color combinations | © James Anderson/Tartan Group
Toucans come in all different color combinations | © James Anderson/Tartan Group
The Mot Mot is commonly seen together with their mate | © James Anderson/Tartan Group
The motmot is commonly seen together with its mate | © James Anderson/Tartan Group
Memorizing Blue Morpho butterfly | © Greg Zenitsky/Flickr
The mesmerizing Blue Morpho butterfly | © Greg Zenitsky/Flickr

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
Red-eyed tree frog is a poster child creature of Costa Rica | © hehaden/Flickr
Beautifully patterned poison dart frog
Beautifully patterned poison dart frog | © Selbe Lynn/Flickr
Look, but don't touch this poison arrow frog | © Knut Amtenbrink/Flickr
Look, but don’t touch this poison arrow frog | © Knut Amtenbrink/Flickr
An intense pop of color on this eyelash viper
An intense pop of color on this eyelash viper | © Natalie McNear/Flickr