Last Updated: Feb 02, 2013
Nature lovers from around the world come to Costa Rica for the sole purpose of wildlife watching. Although Costa Rica represents only .03% of the planet's surface, it is one of the most biologically diverse places in the world with more than 4% of the total species found on earth.
For a country the size of West Virginia, Costa Rica has a dazzling diversity of wildlife. From the cool cloud forests of Monteverde to the tropical lowlands along the coast, travelers will encounter an amazing variety of animals. Visitors can travel just two hours within the country and find themselves in a completely different climate and terrain, with flora and fauna unique to that region.
Roseate spoonbills, toucans, kingfishers, motmots, hummingbirds, frigate birds, scarlet macaws, ibises, sparrows, warblers, herons, hawks, kites and the resplendent quetzal - the list goes on and on. The bird population here is notable with more than 900 recorded species. Even in the country's major cities, parrots squawk raucously overhead while the clay-colored robin, the national bird of Costa Rica, sings its sweet song in the tree tops.
Four species of monkeys, including one sub-species endemic to Costa Rica’s Manuel Antonio National Park, two species of sloth, 103 species of bats, six species of cats, three species of anteaters, and at least 82 other species of mammals inhabit Costa Rica. Several of these species are endangered and can be found within the country's national parks, reserves and refuges.
Corcovado National Park is one of these treasured places, and is considered one of the most biologically diverse places on earth. The park hosts many rare and endangered species including the Baird’s tapir, at least four species of wildcat, and white-lipped peccaries.
Turtle tours are a popular activity in the northern Caribbean beaches of Tortuguero National Park and other spots throughout Costa Rica.