Traveling is one of the most wonderful activities you could plan and live. And thanks to all technological advancements, you can do this easily nowadays. However, tourism has a big impact on our environment and this calls for more sustainable ways to travel. You can pack fewer clothes, choose more eco-friendly means of transportation, and buy less bottled water. Another way to minimize your footprint to the Earth is to stay more in each destination and avoid traveling by plane every two days. This allows you to live the trip and enjoy the beauties of the country you visit. And Costa Rica is a country that demands extra time. It is a country that is known for its amazing and full-of-life rainforests, beaches, volcanoes, jungles, and wildlife. Here are 40 animals that live in Costa Rica and that will make you want to visit the Central American country now.
We all know that hummingbirds are known for the distinctive sound they make when they beat their wings when flying. There are 338 known hummingbird species in the world and 50 of them are found in Costa Rica.
When you need to think about a parrot species, what image of parrots comes to your mind? It is very probable to be an image of a Toucan, a big black parrot with a yellow head and a big black and yellow bill.
They are very vocal birds and you will hear them when they fly or play in groups of 3 to 15 individuals. You can spot Toucans in tropical and subtropical forests across all Central America. In Costa Rica, they are seen in Carrara National Park or Manuel Antonio National Park.
3. Scarlet Macaws
Scarlet Macaws are known for their colorful plumage, and the macaws found in Costa Rica are the most colorful of them all.
It is scarlet, brilliant red color with blue accents on its tail and yellow and blue on its wings. Scarlet Macaws can be spotted in Carate and Corcovado National Parks.
4. Great Green Macaws
They are similar to Scarlet Macaws, only the color of their plumage is different. They have bright olive-green colors with blue accents on their wings. Unfortunately, Great Green Macaws are endangered and only 10% of their original habitat has remained. You can spot them near Sarapiqui River.
5. Brown Pelicans
Brown Pelicans can be found on Costa Rica’s Pacific coast. Even though pelicans have an impressive size, brown pelicans are actually the smallest pelicans from the family. They have amazing light-yellow eyes.
6. Resplendent Quetzals
This is the most amazing bird species in Central America. It is known for its amazingly vibrant plumage and its long tail that is visible in adult individuals. You can find it in national parks such as Poas Volcano and La Amistad.
7. Red-Eyed Tree Frogs
This amphibian is iconic for its vibrant colors of the body. Its body is lime green with a white underbelly. It also has blue and yellow stripes on its inner legs.
8. Blue Jeans Poison Darts Frogs
Like most amphibians in Costa Rica, this species is also known for its bright red color. Its back legs are blue, hence the name of Blue Jeans. It is the most studied frog species.
9. Glass Frogs
This amazing amphibian is known for its transparent underbelly, hence the name of Glass Frog. It has yellow fingertips and incredible white eyes with blue stripes.
10. Cane Toads
Although its colors are not so bright and impressive as of the other species of frogs, Cane Toads hold the record for the world’s largest toad.
Members of the raccoon family, Coatimundis have a white nose and small white ears. It is mistaken for a large cat and it lives in tropical rainforests and mangrove estuaries.
Anteaters are just some small bears that eat ants. Costa Rica is home to three subspecies of Anteaters that can be found in Corcovado National Park.
13. Baird’s Tapirs
Tapirs are a cute combination of a bear, a hippo, and an elephant, but are most closely related to horses and rhinos. They are herbivores and eat mostly fruits and leaves and can be seen in Corcovado National Park.
About 110 species of bats can be found solely in Costa Rica. The most popular species are the Jamaican Fruit Bat, the Vampire Bat, the Fishing Bulldog Bat, and the Honduran White Bat.
15. Howler Monkeys
As the name suggests, this monkey species is best known for its howls. They can be heard from up to three miles away. They can be found in Arenal Volcano and Corcovado National Park.
Jaguars are the only Panthera species that can be found in Central America. They are found in Corcovado and Santa Rosa National Parks.
17. Collared Peccaries
Collared Peccaries are similar to pigs because of their nose, but are much closer to a wild boar in aspect. They are pretty common in Costa Rica and can be found in Corcovado National Park.
Margays are the world’s second-smallest species of wild cats. They have large brown eyes and a brown coat with distinctive stripes and spots.
19. White-Faced Monkeys
They are also known as Capuchin monkeys and are among the most intelligent primates of the Americas. You can see them in Manuel Antonio National Park.
20. Squirrel Monkeys
They are among the smallest primates in Costa Rica and the most endangered ones. They live exclusively in Manuel Antonio National Park.
21. Spider Monkeys
The most common species is the Spider Monkey with black hands. It is one of the most agile monkey species because of its long tail.
It is a rodent that is similar to a huge guinea pig. Its white spots on its brown fur are its distinctive feature. You can see it in forested areas of Central Valley.
Kinkajous likes flower nectar and sweet fruits. They are nocturnal and live mostly in dense forest canopies. You can spot them if you embark on a night tour in the Osa Peninsula and Monteverde.
24. Green Sea Turtles
The coasts of Costa Rica are known for their important nesting sites of Green Sea Turtles. Their nesting sites can be visited on an eco-friendly tour in Tortuguero.
25. Leatherback Sea Turtles
Their skin is black and they can live up to 70-80 years in the wild. They are the largest species of all marine turtles and they can be seen in the Gandoca-Manzanillo Wildlife Refuge.
Lots of dolphin species can be spotted on the Costa Rica coast. Among these are the bottlenose dolphins, Risso’s dolphins, spinner dolphins, and striped dolphins.
Dolphins are among the most intelligent mammals in the world and have a special communication system of whistles. They are common to regions such as Papagayo, Montezuma, and Drake Bay.
27. Orca Whales
They are the largest species of the dolphin family and are also known as killer whales. You can see them along the Pacific Coast, in Ballena National Marine Park, and near the Cocos Island National Park. Males are almost twice as large as females, with a weight of almost nine tones.
28. Spotted Eagle Rays
Spotted Eagle Rays can be easily observed among coral reefs due to their distinctive colors, white spots on dark blue or black dorsal bodies.
Their long tails help them escape when they are hunted. Also, their long tails have two to six venomous spikes. They can be seen during a diving expedition near Playa del Coco, Cano Island, and Cocos Island.
29. White Indian Manatees
These aquatic herbivorous mammals live on the entire Caribbean coast, but they are shy and can be rarely seen. The closest living relatives are the elephant and the hyrax.
About 25 whale species are known to migrate to and mate in Costa Rican waters. Among these are the humpback whale, one of the largest whale species, dyde whales and sei whales. Drake Bay in the Osa Peninsula is known for its whale watching season.
31. Spectacled Caimans
Caimans can be found near wetlands and rivers. They are aquatic animals and fresh waters are their favorites. You can spot spectacled caimans in Tortuguero, Tempisque River, near Arenal and Corcovado National Park.
32. Basilisk Lizards
The Basilisk Lizards are also known as Jesus Christ lizards because of their ability to run on water. There are three subspecies found in Costa Rica: Emerald Basilisk, the Common Basilisk, and the Brown basilisk. They live mostly in wet and moist areas, such as Tortuguero, Turrialba, and the Reventazon River.
33. Eyelash Palm Pit vipers
The Eyelash Palm Pit vipers is a venomous snake that is known across Costa Rica for its vibrant colors. It can be bright yellow, red, brown or green. It lives mostly in wet and cloud forests and you can spot it in Tortuguero, Arenal, La Fortuna, and the Osa Peninsula.
34. Green Iguanas
Unfortunately, Green Iguanas are endangered and can be seen only in Tortuguero, Areal and along the Guanacaste’s Gold Coast. They are the largest species of iguanas in Central America and they are known for their ability to drop their tails if they are attacked. The tail regenerates afterward.
35. Fer-de-lance Snake
Fer-de-lance snake is the most known pit viper of Costa Rica. It does not have bright colors, but a brown body with dark brown stripes. They are venomous and aggressive, so you should be careful when you go hiking. You can see them in Corcovado National Park, and around Papagayo.
Insects and Arachnids
Costa Rica is home to 90% of all butterfly populations of Central America. Here can be found a lot of species of neotropical butterflies, as well as 18% of all butterfly species in the world. The most known are the Blue Morpho, Owl Butterfly, Florida White, and the Ruby-spotted Swallowtail butterfly.
37. Hercules Beetles
You may know this species like the rhinoceros beetle for its longhorns. The name Hercules comes from its power to carry things that weigh 850 times its body weight. They are harmless and they can be found across all Costa Rica.
38. Leafcutter Ants
This species of ants is known for its ability to chew leaves to create edible fungus. They have strong and powerful jaws and they can carry heavy things of about 20 times their body weight. They can be found in all areas of Costa Rica.
Most people are scared of tarantulas, as they kind of have a bad reputation. These small and hairy creatures are not aggressive and they are mostly active during the night. There are a lot of interesting species of tarantulas in Costa Rica: the Bluefront Tarantulas or the Zebra Tarantula.
40. Rainbow Grasshopper
The Rainbow Grasshopper is an amazing and colored species of grasshopper. It can have multiple color combinations with red, green, blue, yellow, and black.
Costa Rica is a country that has immense diversity. It is known for its wet habitats like clouds and rainforests, and also for incredible wildlife. Costa Rica is home to hundreds of species of animals that are unique in Central America.
If you visit national parks, you can spot mammals such as jaguars, monkeys, bats, and tapirs. If you choose to dive, you can see the amazing marine life of Costa Rica with turtles, dolphins, and eagle rays. You can also see frogs, snakes, and reptiles as well as a wide range of birds and parrots.
Cover image: Toucans, iconic animals of Costa Rica, photo by Zdeněk Macháček on Unsplash
Author Bio: Susan Saurel is a full-time digital marketer and writer. Susan lives in Houston, Texas, but she spends most of her spare time traveling around the globe and visiting National Parks. She offers writing services and reviews on topics such as climate change, wildlife, and pollution.