Get off the beaten track in Costa Rica
There are few countries on earth as rewarding as Costa Rica when it comes to spotting spectacular wildlife in a richly varied, but small, piece of land. On a wildlife holiday in Costa Rica, you can be gliding past alligators and crocodiles in mangrove forests one day, then spotting birds of paradise in the cloud-forest canopy the next.
With local guides who are experts in their field, you can get right off the beaten track to the untouched wilderness you would never find yourself, and with their help spot wildlife like howler monkeys, red-eyed tree frogs, and if you’re really, really lucky, leopard or ocelot.
Why Costa Rica is the perfect wildlife holiday destination
Costa Rica is blessed with twelve distinct biomes, including cloud forest, tropical rainforest, beaches, volcanoes, mangrove forest, and rivers and waterfalls. This, combined with the fact that millions of years ago what we now know as the country of Costa Rica formed a land bridge between North and South America, creating a melting pot of different flora, fauna and animals, means there is an incredible amount of wildlife you can spot on a holiday in Costa Rica.
The country is also a leading example of how to protect the natural environment through ecotourism. The government has incentivised farmers to cultivate trees rather than cattle, and as the country rakes in 1.92 billion dollars per year through the ecotourism industry, which focuses on protecting and preserving biodiversity, locals have a clear reason to also conserve the wild areas.
All this means that 27% of Costa Rica’s land has protected status, creating havens for wildlife all over the country. It also means that the money you spend on a wildlife holiday in Costa Rica goes towards protecting the country’s greatest asset for attracting tourists – its environment and biodiversity.
Top spots for spotting Costa Rica’s animals
Virtually the entire country is crawling with life, but if you’re looking for something specific, then it’s good to have an idea of where you want to visit to get the very best experience, as well as the best time to visit Costa Rica for your wildlife needs.
For example, if you’re keen on seeing turtle nesting, you want to arrive on the Pacific coast (in particular the Nicoya Peninsula) in the months from September to November. On the Caribbean coast, Tortuguero is one of the best areas, at any time between March and October.
Head to the mangrove forests on the Pacific coast (in Puntarenas Province) for sightings of caimans, iguanas and capuchin monkeys, with the possibility of combining your wildlife spotting with a Costa Rican surf holiday. Of course, Costa Rica’s many national parks and conservation areas also make great places to spot wildlife, like Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve, where you can see spider monkeys, porcupines, hummingbirds, scarlet macaws and so much more.
Why choose Not In The Guidebooks?
We’re passionate about helping people find the most amazing experiences on their travels, through meeting local people, exploring new places, and discovering alternative activities that make holidays special. We do this by carefully selecting partners in countries around the world who are experts in their local area, sourcing interesting people who can guide you through immersive experiences.
We’ve got local partners all across Costa Rica, from the Pacific coast to the Caribbean. Choosing a Not In The Guidebooks holiday in Costa Rica means you don’t have to choose between a beach holiday or an activity-filled break, you can get the best of both worlds with a unique trip.