Costa Rica: a haven for animal lovers

I tend to choose my holidays based on the wildlife I can see, as I absolutely love catching sight of exotic creatures up close. If you’re the same, and find it fascinating to see wild animals face-to-face, going on a holiday to Costa Rica could be the ideal getaway for you.

Huge population of animals

Costa Rica may be small in size, but it certainly makes up for it in terms of how many animals live in this Central American country. Despite only accounting for a tiny 0.03 per cent of the planet’s surface area, it is in the top 20 of countries with the richest biodiversity.

I was surprised to find out that Costa Rica has 16.9 bird species and 4.9 mammal breeds in 1 sq km, compared with 0.2 types of birds and 0.05 mammal species in the same area in Brazil – which says a lot seeing as I have always thought of Brazil as being well-known for its abundant wildlife.

There are so many breeds of animal in Costa Rica, it will almost feel as though you will spot a different creature everywhere you turn!

Explore the rainforest

The best place to find the majority of these beautiful animals is the rainforest and Costa Rica has plenty of lush greenery for you to explore. I would head to La Amistad International Park, as this is the biggest natural reserve in the country.

It covers nearly 200,000 hectares in Costa Rica, but the same proportion of the park is neighbouring nation Panama, so it is – in a word – huge! One of the first things I would do after I’ve landed is join a tour to explore the national park, as this is where I could get close to some 400 species of bird, 213 breeds of mammal and 263 types of amphibian and reptile. That is certainly enough wildlife for me to see on one trip!

The one creature that I would love to spot in the wild, though, is the jaguar. This is the biggest cat in Central and South America, so catching sight of it would be amazing! These mammals thrive in the jungle and can live for up to 15 years in the wild. But, despite them weighing up to 113 kg and measuring 6 ft in length, they remain threatened as many hunters seek them for their fur. So if you do get to see one in the wild, make sure you enjoy the moment!

Uncover an underwater paradise

It isn’t just on land that you can come face-to-face with exotic creatures, and you will see beautiful animals below the surface of the water as well. Costa Rica benefits from having two coastlines, one on the Pacific Ocean and the other on the Caribbean Sea. Therefore, the range of marine life you can see on a holiday to Costa Rica is varied.

Divers can expect to spot the likes of hammerhead sharks, humpback whales, hawksbill turtles and bottle nose dolphins, particularly if you take a trip to Cocos Island off the west coast of the country.

And the rest…

I’ve mentioned just a few of the animals you can spot in Costa Rica, but other exotic creatures you can lay your eyes upon include the following, so make sure you have your camera ready at all times!

• Scarlet macaws
• Howler monkeys
• Toucans
• Three-toed sloths
• Red-eye tree frogs
• Tapirs
• Anteaters
• Hummingbirds