Costa Rica's volcanoes, mountains, jungles, waterfalls, and pristine rain forests are home to a rich and varied array of wildlife. In fact, Costa Rica has the highest density of biodiversity in the world and the wealth of wildlife is the reason many want to go on holiday to Costa Rica. Crammed into the relatively small land mass are a mind-boggling 615 species that make Costa Rica their home. Your holiday to Costa Rica will almost undoubtedly have some form of eco-tourism; twenty-five percent of Costa Rica is dedicated to wildlife reserves and national parks.
There are four species of sea turtles in Costa Rica—leatherbacks, green turtles, hawksbills, and olive ridley turtles. You can see turtles nesting on both the Caribbean and Pacific coasts. They nest late at night between July and November and hatchlings also come out late at night. One of the best places to see sea turtles nesting is at Ostional Wildlife Refuge, just north of Nosara. On the Pacific coast, Finca Baru Wildlife Refuge is a nesting site for olive ridley turtles or you can see Atlantic green sea turtles nesting in famous Tortuguero National Park.
Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve
Imagine seeing the strikingly colourful quetzal (Costa Rica’s national bird), 30 different species of hummingbirds, jaguars, and Barid’s tapir. Wandering through the misty oasis of Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve you will come face to face with nature. The brilliant green forest canopy is home to a rich array of wildlife, as well as is home to 400 types of orchids. The reserve also has bat jungles, snake zoos, frog ponds, and butterfly gardens.
Bastimentos Marine Park
As the name indicates, this marine park is under water. The main parts of the park are centred around the Cayos Zapatillas, two small islands that have stunning snorkelling and scuba diving among coral gardens, deep canyons, and underwater caves. On the north coast the Laguna de Bastimentos is home to caimans, crocodiles, and freshwater turtles. Playa Larga is home to four species of endangered turtles.
Manuel Antonio National Park
This park was the first major eco-tourist destination and today is still one of Costa Rica’s most popular. Look to the skies and you will see a slow-moving sloth camouflaged in the trees; the beaches are filled with turtles and colourful fish; playful howler, white-faced, and squirrel monkeys swing from branch to branch.
This beautiful rainforest reserve protects 300 species of birds and is the ideal destination for the avid bird watcher. If you look to the skies you will see birds such as royal flycatchers, white-necked puffbirds, snowy contingas, and sunbitterns. Hike more than five miles of trails to see the wildlife, including 50 species of reptiles, 43 species of amphibians, and 95 species of mammals, and traverse the suspension bridge across the Sarapiqui River for a treetop view of the wildlife scuttling below.