The wildlife & animals of Costa Rica


Costa Rica is one of the most bio-diverse regions on Earth with more than 800 species of birds, four monkey species, and even two type of sloth. There are also literally more species of mammals, reptiles, and even insects (more than 35,000 species!) than you’ll have a chance to encounter in several vacations.

Here’s a quick preview of just a very few of the animals you might encounter depending on where your Guanacaste vacation takes you:

Monkeys: In addition to the howler monkey, there are three additional monkey species to look out for – the Capuchin, spider and squirrel monkeys. You’re most likely to see howlers while you’re in Guanacaste, while the highly-endangered squirrel monkey is found only in Manuel Antonio National Park and on the Osa Peninsula. Manuel Antonio is also a great place to view Capuchin monkeys, where they travel in large numbers and occasionally steal picnic lunches from inattentive tourists.

Turtles: Costa Rica is very protective of its turtle species, all of which are on the endangered list due to previous decades of hunting and poaching of their eggs. Guanacaste itself has several areas where, with advance approval, visitors can take in the nesting grounds of the leatherbacks, the world’s largest species of sea turtle. Nesting season generally lasts from October through February – check with our concierge and we’ll be happy to arrange a tour for you.

Wild Cats: There are six species of wildcats in Costa Rica, ranging from the highly-endangered jaguar  to the tiny Tigrillo, which is only as large as a common house cat and lives in the upper elevations of Costa Rica’s cloud forests. While it’s highly unlikely that you’ll see a cat in the wild, while you’re staying in Guanacaste you can visit Las Pumas, an animal rescue center. Again, ask your concierge and we’ll make arrangements for your visit.

“Unusual” Animals: Never a region to do things by half measures, Costa Rica’s ecology wasn’t “content” to evolve just one kind of sloth – you can find two in our country, the two-toed and three-toed sloth. The tamandua is the most numerous species of anteater you may see, while the giant and silky anteaters are more rare and thus an even more exciting find. The other more “unusual” (for people who don’t live in tropical areas, that is) animals you might see include armadillos, agoutis (similar to our guinea pigs), tapirs and peccaries.

But don’t worry – not every animal you see in Costa Rica will be unfamiliar to you. We also have squirrels, bats, and even raccoons.

There are many reasons to choose Guanacaste as your home-away-from home: our beaches, fine restaurants, and proximity to two different oceans ensures that you’ll never be bored. In addition, though, it’s nice to note that the Costa Rican government and people are working diligently to preserve the many hundreds of animal species that call our country home – not just so we can enjoy them, but so they will be here for our grandchildren and great-grandchildren as well.

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Our Managing Director, Alon, has been to over 40 countries in his quest for the perfect adventure. He has biked the death road in Boiliva, trekked 500 miles across northern Spain on the Camino de Santiago, cycled from Brussels to Florence and hiked the five sacred mountains of China. Pygmy Elephant is how he spreads his love for adventure and self discovery in the world.

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