Tucked away between two continents and nestled between two seas, Costa Rica is a centre of biodiversity bursting with a huge array of natural wonders and incredible wildlife. It may be a small country but in Costa Rica, wildlife holiday opportunities abound and you’ll be impressed by the sheer variety of species you will encounter. In a landscape covered with lush rainforest, the country has made a home for more than 500,000 different species, which equates to around 4% of the world’s plants, insects and wildlife.
If you’re considering a Costa Rica wildlife holiday, make sure you keep your eyes open for some of these exotic animals.
The Strawberry Poison Dart Frog
This colourful creature is absolutely unique, with the ability to morph from being red bodied with blue legs to green with black spots! Designed to survive in dense forests, the frogs are found throughout Central America. In the wild they are toxic, with their poison being created from the natural elements found in the habitat. These tiny reptiles are by no means endangered and you won’t have any trouble sighting them.
The American Crocodile
Another of the country’s more common inhabitants is the American Crocodile. Growing to over 10ft long, they are often seen much longer here. If you are on a Costa Rica wildlife holiday, you may see these reptiles congregating near bridges where tourists tend to stop and throw them food in exchange for a photo. Unfortunately, the crocodiles’ existence is now threatened, due to loss of habitat.
White-headed Capuchin Monkey
This clever little creature is seen all over the country and, hanging out in large groups of up to 40, they can live up to 50 years. They have been known to use tools as weapons and to get food, and they have also been seen rubbing plants on themselves, possibly for medicinal purposes. Some experts speculate this is what gives them their longevity.
Golden Orb Weavers
This stunning spider spins gold silk that attracts bees and offers them a means of camouflage in the trees. The webs are incredibly strong and have even been known to trap birds. This, the oldest surviving spider, has a nasty bite but would never attack a human unless threatened.
These stealthy nocturnal cats are rather small compared to some of the other wild cats, growing to about double the size of a domestic cat. They have huge feet that help them climb trees and, once an endangered species, now thrive in the country due to conservation efforts.
If a Costa Rica wildlife holiday is on your agenda, make sure you look out for the species above, but there are plenty more you’ll encounter along the way as well.
Marissa Ellis-Snow is a freelance nature writer. If you’re looking for a Costa Rica wildlife holiday Naturetrek specialises in expert-led natural history and wildlife tours worldwide. Naturetrek brings over 25 years of experience to polar expeditions and tours to other spectacular regions on Earth.