10 Methods to Discover Costa Rica’s Vibrant Wildlife


Attributable to its distinctive topography and its tropical local weather, Costa Rica is a haven for wildlife. The nation lies between the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea and has two mountain ranges that run by way of almost all the size of the nation. The dense forests, sprawling seashores and huge nationwide parks are estimated to be house to greater than 500,000 animal species, making it a dream vacation spot for biologists and eco-tourists alike!  

If you happen to’re questioning when’s the proper time to go, there are two seasons in Costa Rica: the dry season and the inexperienced season. The inexperienced season may be very lush, however the climate is extra unpredictable as heavy rainfalls might be anticipated on any given day. The dry season that runs from November to April ought to assure principally sunny days, however you may even see fewer flowers. November and early December are the perfect time to go to, because it’s the shoulder season when flowers begin blooming, timber are inexperienced, and the climate is usually dry. However no matter once you select to go, you’ll see plenty of wildlife year-round in Costa Rica. 

The nation has put key measures in place to guard its wildlife, and also you’ll discover loads of ecolodges and different eco-friendly lodging, all providing a variety of unforgettable sights and actions. Listed here are 10 out of doors exercise concepts in your subsequent journey in Costa Rica: 

1. Hike by way of the jungle and spot wildlife  

There are 3 foremost sorts of forests in Costa Rica:  

  • Rainforests, that are lush, moist, and heat, making them the right habitat for complicated and wealthy ecosystems. Whereas they cowl solely 6% of our planet, they symbolize about 51% of Costa Rica’s territory.  
  • Cloud forests, that are all the time humid because of their excessive elevation. They’re positioned within the highest elements of mountains or volcanoes, the place you will get the phantasm of dwelling within the clouds. They represent only one% of the world’s forest space, however Costa Rica’s cloud forests contribute 2.5% of Earth’s biodiversity!  
  • Tropical dry forests, which are typically dryer and thus much less lush than their counterparts, making them splendid for recognizing wildlife, resembling monkeys and sloths.   

Wherever you’re staying, there’ll most definitely be a path onsite or close by. I like to recommend doing a mixture of self-guided and toured hikes. I noticed a number of wildlife wandering alone, together with howler monkeys, white-faced capuchins, iguanas, frogs, and toads, however you may see much more with a neighborhood information who is aware of their environment.  They’ll take you off the overwhelmed path and present you pure wonders you wouldn’t have suspected had been there. You’ll additionally study extra in regards to the ecosystems. One other enjoyable thought is to go for a guided evening stroll within the forest. You’ll have the ability to hear all of the critters perched within the timber after sundown and see shiny eyes looking at you each time you lookup. Perhaps skip this one in case you’re simply spooked at midnight!  

2. Discover a wildlife reserve 

Whereas monkeys and lizards are widespread sights in Costa Rica, some critters like sloths, armadillos, or tapirs are more durable to identify until you go deeper within the jungle. Analysis the totally different areas rigorously in case you want to see a particular animal, then decide the kind of tour that fits your journey degree.  

Some firms provide tour packages that embody a trek far off the overwhelmed path for just a few days the place you’ll be absolutely immersed in nature. Whereas the concept sounds nice on paper, ask your self in case you’re prepared to sleep in the midst of the jungle for just a few nights with minimal consolation, understanding that bugs and snakes are exterior your tent, or inside it! I got here near heading out on the same trek throughout my final journey, however realized upon reflection that I needed a extra snug journey. Perhaps subsequent time! 

There are numerous different methods to expertise the wildlife in Costa Rica. For instance, you may go for a one-day go to in a wildlife centre. Diamante Eco Journey Park is likely one of the hottest. Positioned in Guanacaste, this animal sanctuary is “one of many best Wildlife Training Facilities in Costa Rica”. You’re assured to see sloths and jaguars, and your cash goes in the direction of supporting rescued animals. Plus, you’ll get to satisfy a nationwide superstar: Lucy the sloth! She’s not the one sloth resident, however she’s essentially the most well-known. I bear in mind her face was featured in all places, from airport terminals to roadside billboards, to advertise the park.   

3. Volunteer for the animals   

One other strategy to spend time round animals, whereas doing a great deed, is to volunteer. As you may think about, there are lots of alternatives to assist conservation efforts in Costa Rica. Whereas donations are all the time helpful, it’s additionally fulfilling to donate a few of your time. You’ll be able to study quite a bit, meet the locals, and create a singular journey reminiscence. I visited Verdiazul, a company that protects turtle eggs in Playa Junquillal. Costa Rica is a nesting floor for six out of the 7 endangered turtle species on the planet. Attributable to habitat loss brought on by human actions resembling fishing and tourism, and the decline of sea grass beds, about 61 % of the world’s 356 turtle species are threatened or extinct, in line with the College of California. Whereas I didn’t get to see turtles, I met a gaggle of devoted people and discovered in regards to the instrumental work that long-term volunteers do within the space. Additionally they instructed me how vital it’s to keep away from excursions that assure seeing and interacting with turtles, as these can severely disrupt their pure habitat and possibilities of survival.   

4. Go chook watching 

Costa Rica is a paradise for chook watchers, with over 900 resident chook species and thousands and thousands of birds migrating by way of the pure hall between South and North America. Two of essentially the most famend are the keel-billed toucan and the scarlet macaw. However there are additionally many smaller varieties which can be simply as vibrant and value your consideration. La Selva Organic Station is likely one of the most enjoyable locations to go chook watching, as greater than half the species of birds within the nation both reside there or migrate by way of the realm in the course of the 12 months. Monteverde Cloud Forest Organic Reserve within the North of the nation is one other prime location for birders. And in case you’re fortunate, you would possibly spot a uncommon resplendent quetzal; one of many world’s most stunning birds, in line with specialists. If neither of those reserves work in your itinerary, there are numerous different chook watching spots in Costa Rica, so don’t overlook to pack your binoculars! 

5. Style domestically grown espresso and chocolate 

Costa Ricans take their espresso severely. The nation’s various geography and tropical local weather are optimum for rising the perfect beans. Go to a plantation or join a coffee-tasting class to study in regards to the native beans. I did the latter, and the very first thing I used to be instructed is that Costa Rica is the one nation on the planet the place it’s unlawful to supply any espresso aside from 100% Arabica. Since Arabica was the primary sort of espresso ever grown within the nation and it has a greater repute, Robusta was banned within the Nineteen Eighties. I additionally discovered that the altitude and the rising setting have a big affect on the flavour.   

If, like me, you want each chocolate and low, you can even go to a cocoa farm. Cocoa has many well being advantages – if consumed unsweetened and moderately – resembling offering antioxidants, minerals, and wholesome fat. It’s additionally a staple in our kitchens to make all kinds of scrumptious treats. As widespread as it’s, I solely found just a few years in the past what a cocoa fruit seems like. It made me understand how uninformed and disconnected I used to be from the meals that’s in my fridge. You’ll study the whole lot you might want to learn about chocolate on web site, and the domestically made chocolate bars make for prefect journey presents in your family members, as they slot in each suitcase.  

6. Find out about flowers and medicinal vegetation

Costa Rica will not be solely house to numerous animal species, however it is usually ample in beautiful unique flowers with over 9,000 recorded species! Some can solely be present in Costa Rica. The attractive Guaria Moradas Orchid is the nationwide flower; there are greater than 1,500 species of orchid within the nation. It usually adorns altars throughout Easter and is believed to deliver success and luck in addition to promote household concord, peace, and love.  

A few of these flowers, together with 300 species of medicinal vegetation, are sometimes utilized by locals as pure treatments for his or her well being advantages. For instance, the torch ginger flower is used to facilitate digestion and to spice up the immune system, whereas the noni, often known as cheese fruit, is a liver and cardiovascular tonic that helps to manage blood sugar ranges and relieve pores and skin irritations. There are botanical gardens all through the nation the place you may admire and study extra about them. You would possibly even see them within the wild in case you go to the proper spots.  

7. Stroll amongst butterflies  

One other exercise that may add some color to your journey is visiting butterfly sanctuaries. There are over 1,500 butterfly species and 12,000 moth species in Costa Rica, which symbolize 18% of the world’s inhabitants!  The Blue Morpho is the most well-liked because it’s one of many greatest. It’s recognizable by its vivid blue colors and huge wings. Among the finest locations to identify this blue big, together with different species, is the Arenal Butterfly Backyard. The park is family-run and places nice effort in supporting the conservation of endangered species and defending pure ecosystems. 

8. Set sail for a ship tour within the mangrove forests  

Mangroves are salt tolerant timber that develop the place freshwater streams and rivers meet the ocean. They’re one of many world’s most endangered ecosystems as a couple of third of the planet’s mangrove space has disappeared within the final 4 a long time because of local weather change. I did a ship tour by way of the estuaries of Tamarindo, and it was by far some of the memorable moments of my journey. The surroundings was breathtaking, and I noticed a number of monkeys and tropical birds, in addition to massive crocodiles within the water. The one factor separating the mangrove river, the place these massive reptiles reside and Tamarindo’s seaside, the place lots of of individuals swim on a regular basis, is an invisible barrier created by the actions of the water. Our information instructed us that crocodiles don’t like swimming the place there are waves, in order that they naturally cease the place the river meets the ocean. Once I went for a dip on the seaside after the tour, I couldn’t keep away from the considered a crocodile snatching my legs…  

9. Dive and discover the underwater landscapes  

Costa Rica means ‘Wealthy Coast’ which is becoming, because the nation is surrounded by water. There are diving websites for all ranges. Snorkelers can keep by the shore the place they’ll be rewarded with the sight of lovely reef beds and vibrant fish. Superior divers would possibly encounter manta rays and white tip reef sharks, and will even see a humpback whale in the event that they’re fortunate! You may as well rent a ship to discover the shores of Costa Rica’s islands for diving, resembling Cocos Island if you wish to see hammerhead sharks. If you happen to’re scuba diving or free diving over 40 metres, bear in mind so as to add Sports activities & Exercise Protection to your journey insurance coverage to make sure you’re protected in each state of affairs.  

10. Bathe in scorching springs

Throughout my final journey to Costa Rica, I stayed at Rio Perdido, a wide ranging ecolodge within the tropical forest of the Guanacaste area. You’ll be able to learn extra about my keep and what makes this ecolodge particular by studying 8 Should-visit Eco-friendly lodging From Across the Globe. There’s a geothermal river on the grounds of the ecolodge the place friends can swim and luxuriate in complimentary mud masks introduced from a close-by volcano.  

Moreover being a terrific web site for butterflies as beforehand talked about, the Arenal Volcano Nationwide Park is house to spectacular landscapes, making it the right cease for all kinds of outside adventures. Because of the area’s geothermal exercise, there are lots of pure scorching springs within the space. Among the finest spots to take pleasure in a heat tub is Eco Thermales Sizzling Spring. At this eco sustainable family-run enterprise, you may strive 4 totally different swimming pools of hypo-thermal magnesia-filled waters with totally different temperatures, the place you may chill out in a beautiful setting. To fulfill their sustainability requirements and guarantee friends absolutely benefit from the idyllic ambiance, solely 100 guests are allowed at a time, so be sure you ebook forward!     

I hope you’re now impressed to decide on Costa Rica as your subsequent journey vacation spot. 

Bear in mind to pack the proper journey insurance coverage in your adventures, and to deliver sunblock and robust mosquito repellent. I forgot to use repellent as soon as after a dip within the river, and I acquired lined in bites inside minutes.  

I hope you could have a unbelievable journey exploring the gorgeous pure landscapes of Costa Rica, and that you just make a number of furry associates alongside the best way! 

Protected travels,


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