Top eleven animals to see in Costa Rica

Costa Rica is bursting with wildlife. Visitors are sure to experience all sorts of encounters. Here are a few animals that you can see there.

1. Sloths

Sloths are popular in Costa Rica. Every visitor wants to see sloths in Costa Rica for their adorable face and snug body. You will find both two-fingered sloths and three-fingered sloths in Costa Rica. You can see sloths in the humid and lush rainforest areas in Cahuita, Dominical, La Fortuna, Manuel Antonio, Monteverde, Osa Peninsula, Puerto Viejo, and Tortuguero.

2. Howler Monkeys

Howler monkeys are famous for their screams. Visitors often hear them from a long distance before they see howler monkeys. One can spot them in the rainforests of Costa Rica. The best places to see howler monkeys are Arenal Volcano National Park, Manuel Antonio National Park, Guanacaste, Monteverde, Nicoya Peninsula, and Osa Peninsula. They build nests on tall trees and one has to look high to see them.

3. White face Monkeys

These monkeys are quite intelligent and active. They live in groups of more than 20 members. Visitors can find these cute creatures in many of the Costa Rica national parks.  They are abundant in the Manuel Antonio National Park and you can also find them sometime near Manuel Antonio beaches. You can also find them in Arenal, Monteverde, Nicoya, Osa Peninsula, Tortuguero, and Palo Verde. 

4. Spider Monkeys

They are common throughout Costa Rica. With the help of their long limbs and long tail, they swing from one branch to another in the forest. These monkeys move in large groups and they are mostly fruit eaters. They also scream when they sense danger. These live in remote places. You can find them in the coastal forests, especially on the west coast and the Osa Peninsula.

5. Squirrel Monkeys

These small monkeys are also known as Mono Titi. You can find them on the Southern Pacific coast of Costa Rica. They are the most endangered monkeys in Costa Rica and live in large troops ranging from 20 to 75 members. They are abundant in Manuel Antonio. Visitors can also see them in Corcovado National Park, Osa Peninsula.

6.  Baird’s Tapir

It is a fantastic animal of Costa Rica.  Baird’s Tapirs can grow from 6 to 8 feet. They use their long, flexible snout to eat vegetables. Tapirs are agile and can climb stiff hillsides.  Earlier they were there almost throughout Costa Rica. Now, one can find them in some protected areas like Corcovado National Park.

7. Crocodiles

Costa Rica boasts a huge crocodile population. They live in rivers, swamps, and lagoons and can be as large as 25 to 30 feet. Visitors have the best chance to see crocodiles from the Tarcoles River Bridge. One can find hundreds of crocodiles roaming below. Crocodile tours are also there. These take one closer to crocodiles.

8. Green Iguanas

These animals can be seen munching tree leaves. They have unique camouflaging properties like chameleons and one can hardly spot them if they are not moving. They dwell in the bushy areas of the lowland forests on the coast. Being cold-blooded animals, they love the sun to keep their bodies warm. These can grow up to about 6 feet and may weigh about twelve pounds.  Visitors can find them in Manuel Antonio National park.

9. Turtles

Costa Rica is a unique destination to see sea turtles such as Atlantic Ridley, leatherback, and Olive Ridley. One can see them on both the Pacific and the Caribbean sides. July to December is the best month to watch sea turtles. During this time they gather on the Costa Rican coast en masse. Visitors can watch turtles in Las Baulas National Park, Tortuguero, Santa Rosa National Park, Ostional Wildlife Refuge, Gulf of Papagayo, Gandoca Manzanillo Wildlife Refuge, and Playa Hermosa Wildlife Refuge.

10. Whales

Costa Rica boasts one of the longest seasons for humpback whales.  You can find Antarctica humpback whales in Costa Rica from July to November, and California humpback whales from December to April. December to March is the time for the North Atlantic humpback whales. Visitors can watch whales in Drake Bay, Puntarenas, Osa Peninsula; Marino Ballena National Park in Uvita; and the Gulf of Papagayo. Whale watching at the Gulf of Nicoya, Manuel Antonio, and Golfo Dolce is also possible.

11. Dolphins

Spotted and bottlenose dolphins can be seen year-round in Costa Rica. Dolphins love to play in waves. So, they are common to spot while kayaking! Visitors can see dolphins all along the Pacific coast. One can see them in the Golfo Dolce and near Limon on the Caribbean side.

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