Destination Guides

11 animals to look out for in Costa Rica

Costa Rica is covered in blankets of protected jungle and rainforest, where wildlife spotting opportunities are in abundance. With over 500,000 species of animals, Costa Rica is one of the world’s most biodiverse countries. Costa Rica is a haven for bird-lovers, but in addition to the variety of feathered inhabitants, Costa Rica has hundreds of exotic land animals to see in the wild, including six species of wild cats.

Here are just some of the amazing wildlife that you can spot when travelling Costa Rica:


Squirrel Monkey

squirrel monkey in a tree in costa rica
© 2018 Clare Baranowski

One of many species of monkey found in the tropical forests of Costa Rica, are Squirrel Monkeys. Spending 99% of their lives in the trees, look out for these cute, fluffy faces up above your heads.


Collared Aracari

Collared aracari in Costa Rica
© 2018 Clare Baranowski

A type of toucan, the Collared Aracari is one of the many exotic birds found in the Costa Rican forests. It can be spotted by its bright markings and large distinctive bill.


Howler Monkey

Howler Monkey Costa Rica
© 2018 Clare Baranowski

Native to South and Central America, Howler Monkeys are famous for their loud screams, which can travel miles through the rainforests.


American Crocodile

American crocodile in Costa Rica water
© 2018 Clare Baranowski

One of the larger crocodile species, the American Crocodile can be found in many rivers, lakes across Costa Rica, and can even be spotted in the Caribbean Sea.


Great Curassow

female currassow bird costa rica
© 2018 Clare Baranowski

The Great Curassow is a large bird found in the Costa Rican rainforest. Like a pheasant, the Curassow has a long tail, males being black and females coming in three different colour combinations.



tapir in costa rica
© 2018 Clare Baranowski

Tapirs are large herbivorous mammals, with pig shaped bodies and short trunk noses. These strange looking animals are closely related to horses, donkeys and rhinos.


Scarlet Macaw

Scarlet macaw costa rica
© 2018 Clare Baranowski

These large colourful parrots are found across South America, but more rarely spotted in Costa Rica on the Pacific Coast. Having suffered from local extinction in the country due to the parrot trade, if you’re lucky you may spot The Scarlett Macaw reaching speeds of 35 miles (56 kilometres) per hour up ahead.


Three-toed Sloth

three toed sloth with baby in costa rica
© 2018 Clare Baranowski

Officially the world’s slowest mammal, the Three-toed Sloth moves with so little pace, that algae can grow on its fur. As nocturnal animals, sleeping 15 to 20 hours a day, sloths live high up in the treetops and are very difficult to spot.


Eyelash Viper

Eyelash pit viper Costa Rica
© 2018 Clare Baranowski

Known locally as Bocaracá the Eyelash Viper is found in many colour variations across Costa Rica. This venomous snake gets its name from the two to three raised scales, or ‘eyelashes’ above its eye.


Tent Bats

tent bats in costa rica
© 2018 Clare Baranowski

Forest-dwelling tent bats get their name from the peculiar behaviour of making tent-like structures out of leaves.


Tree Porcupine

tree porcupine costa rica
© 2018 Clare Baranowski

A porcupine might have up to 30,000 quills and can be found across the Americas. The Mexican Hairy Dwarf Porcupine, found in Costa Rica’s national parks, has a pale head and dark coloured body.


This is just small selection of the amazing Costa Rican wildlife that you can see in this biodiverse country. Go on the lookout for Costa Rica’s birds and animals in the various national parks and forest reserves on the Costa Rica Eco Adventure.


Image credits: © 2018 Clare Baranowski, Marine Biologist and Zoologist

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