The Spectacular Sights of a Wildlife Holiday in Costa Rica
Costa Rica is one of those exotic places that evoke images of colourful, tropical and exciting nature travel; indeed, if you embark on a wildlife holiday in Costa Rica you will not be disappointed. Th...
Costa Rica is one of those exotic places that evoke images of colourful, tropical and exciting nature travel; indeed, if you embark on a wildlife holiday in Costa Rica you will not be disappointed. This wonderful little country in South America has a very progressive approach to wildlife conservation and, consequently, 12% of the total land mass is protected - with specific areas and habitats (such as forests, mangrove swamps, the famous paramos and the coral reefs) all being carefully preserved.
A wildlife holiday in Costa Rica will see you staying in privately owned lodges, which have been set up specifically for visitors to enjoy sighting the many species that make the different areas home. A small group will afford you the opportunity to get the most out of your experience. Here are some of the best areas for sightings.
Arenal is a well-known attraction in the country, and many a wildlife holiday in Costa Rica will include it on the itinerary. The stunning Arenal Volcano dominates the park, and although regular firework displays can be seen emerging from its crater, it has not exploded for some time. Of the 850 bird species in the country, nearly all of them live in this area. Keep an eye out for the spectacular Resplendent Quetzal, in particular. Of the large mammals, the Moose, White-faced Monkeys, Jaguar, Deer and infamous Fer-de Lance are all possible sightings.
Monteverde is a complete contrast to Arenal, and the misty, green cloud forests here are home to a huge diversity of wildlife. It is here you'll have the best chance of spotting the elusive Quetzal, but there is much more to see as well. The area is networked with excellent walking trails and it is the perfect place for an enthusiastic nature lover to explore.
Manuel Antonio National Park
Manuel Antonio National Park is the smallest national park in the country. But, while small it may be, it is home to some of the most incredible beaches in South America. Where the dry, coastal rainforests meet the Pacific Ocean, White-faced and Squirrel Monkeys, iguanas, sloths and toucans have made their home. Visitors can explore the winding sandy paths and take in the wonderful flora and fauna the area has to offer.
Another coastal gem is Tortuguero, one of the world’s major nesting grounds for the Green and Leatherback Turtles. If you visit from April to May or July to October, you will be greeted with one of Nature's most amazing sights, as the huge expanses of sands become covered with nesting females laying their eggs. The many river channels of the Tortuguero National Park are home to a plethora of plant and animal life, which can be explored by motorboat or canoe.
Down in the southwest of the country is the Osa Peninsula, which is a truly wonderful place to discover on a wildlife holiday in Costa Rica. Reportedly, more than half the native species of wildlife can be sighted in the vast area of primary rainforest here, including the Black-cheeked Ant Tanager, the Yellow-billed Cotinga and the Golfo Dulce Poison Dart Frog.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Marissa Ellis-Snow is a freelance nature writer. If you’re looking for a wildlife holiday in Costa Rica Naturetrek specialises in expert-led natural history and wildlife tours worldwide. Naturetrek brings over 25 years of experience to polar expeditions and tours to other spectacular regions on Earth.