The Costa Rica Animals

An abundance of life!

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Costa Rica Animals Will Amaze You

This country is world-renowned for its abundant and diverse exotic Costa Rica wildlife. With over 500,000 species of wild animals, many rare, endangered and endemic, Costa Rica animals are some of the most diverse in the world. From the adorable sloths to playful monkeys, tiny colorful tree frogs to mammoth 16 foot crocodiles; from endangered Jaguars to tiny wild jungle cats; from pre historic iguanas to the rainbow of more than 918 species of tropical birds; from gentle giants like the whale shark and giant sea turtle to tiny but deadly snakes and frogs.

Animals are the most beautiful when in their natural habitat. So when you visit Costa Rica, we can help you select the destinations where you will get the best chance to spot certain types of wildlife. Watch sea turtles come ashore to lay their eggs in Tortuguero National Park or catch white faced capuchin monkeys trying to steal your snacks in Manuel Antonio. Wake up to the sound of howler monkeys in Guanacaste and the Nicoya Peninsula, watch a lazy sloth taking a nap in Puerto Viejo by the Caribbean Coast or spot the stunning humpback whales in Drake Bay, Osa Peninsula. Why not come and find as many Costa Rica animals as you can on your next Costa Rica vacation.


There are thousands of fascinating birds to see in Costa Rica. One of the Most famous being the Scarlet Macaw and the keel-billed toucan. They can be spotted in most of Costa Rica’s national parks. Spot both the Scarlet Macaws the Great Green Macaws. These cool birds are very intelligent and range between 35 – 50 years old. Also, look out for the Resplendent Quetzal. Found in the humid Rainforests mainly in San Gerardo De Dota and Monteverde. This amazing bird is picture perfect. Palo Verde National Park is one of the best places in Costa Rica for the passionate birder.

Within Costa Rica, you will find approximately 50 different kinds of Hummingbirds. These feather friends love to drink nectar from flowers bird feeders and beat their wings at an alarming rate. You will hear their signature humming as they fly by. Too, the MotMot is a very common bird in Costa Rica seen most throughout the country. Three different kinds are evident here, the Turquoise billed Motmot, the Tody Motmot, and the Broad Billed Motmot. 


Birds of Costa Rica

The Birds of Costa Rica are Astonishing, Amazing and Colorful, they come in sizes from a small as your finger to standing taller than some children. And of Course a wide range of bird calls. For the birders among us, Costa Rica is possibly the best country in the world to visit.  

quetzal in monteverde

The Resplendent Quetzal

The Resplendent Quetzal belongs to the Trogan Family and its bright colored feathers and long tail can be seen in the Cloud Forests of Costa Rica. It is one of Costa Rica’s many treasures and treat for birders to see. 


Costa Rica Mammals are found all over this great country, the Baird’s Tapir, one of the rarest mammals in Costa Rica. It is the largest land mammal in Costa Rica and Central America. They reach up to two meters in length and can weigh up to 400 kilograms. They are very docile and don’t bother anyone. The young ones are born with white stripes down the sides. This camouflage is to protect from predators, it is great hiding method. The strips slowly fate as they grow. 

Take a peek at these article about Costa Rica mammals and the best Costa Rica Animals.

Kids Saving the Rainforest Wildlife Sanctuary Titi Monkeys


Costa Rica has four species of monkeys including The Squirrel Monkey, Howler monkeys, Spider monkeys and lastly the capuchin monkeys. You will also find these guys all over the country but mainly in the Coastal areas. The howlers are by far the loudest with a deep-throated call at 5 in the morning. And the Squirrel Monkey is the smallest. With the other two species being average size. What an amazing part of the Costa Rica Animals.

Costa Rica Attractions and Costa Rica Points of Interest


Sloths are located all over Costa Rica. If you have an eye for spotting things look to the trees. You might just find one taking a nap a slowly making his way to the tasty leaves they prefer. There are two species of Sloths in Costa Rica the Brown-Toed Sloth and the Three-Toed Sloth. 


Jaguars and Wildcats

The elusive Jaguar is Costa Rica’s largest cat. A very hard sight to see as their numbers have drastically diminished over the past years. Although, if you are fortunate enough to find one you will both in awe and scared for your life. They reside mainly in protected areas such as Corcovado National Park.

Costa Rica Agouti


The Agouti is a tropical rodent that lives in both dry and wet rainforests. It looks like a combination of a squirrel and a rabbit, or a large guinea big. In Costa Rica you can find them in Corcovado National Park, Santa Rosa National Park and the Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve. Agoutis are active during the day and are important seed dispersers for tropical rainforest plants. They bury seeds and only come back to them if they are unable to find fruit to eat. The seeds left behind grow and provide even more food the Agouti. 

Territorio de Zaguates

Territorio de Zaguates

 Territorio de Zaguates or in English land of Stray Dogs. This is an amazing territory located in the mountains of Heredia. Directly north of San Jose, you will find a large farm full of stray dogs.


This country also holds many species of reptile. They have all kinds of different sizes from as small as your baby finger to longer than a car. Reptiles may not be the fluffiest or cutest of animals but they certainly are amazing. Some of them hold so much strength while others have a large variety of colors. One being Iguanas, most of the time in trees. They tend to be a lazy reptile similar to sloths. But you do have to be careful as they do bite and have whip-like tails to defend themselves. A defense mechanism they have is to actually drop their tails if a predator is trying to catch them. Although initially painful it is well worth staying alive to relax in the trees.

Also, Geckos are found literally everywhere in Costa Rica. Under your bed in your closet on the ceiling and then running out your door. They are not mean or vicious, they won’t bite your finger off and they make an interesting sound that you might mistake for other small animals. Geckos are very small, as small as your little finger and can grow as big as your hand. They love to eat small bugs, including worms, crickets, and really anything it can find. 

Check out these articles on reptiles.

Snakes in Costa Rica

There are many, many, snakes in Costa Rica. You will find them in trees under rocks, in places that you didn’t know they could fit. Although generally if you’re not bugging them they will leave you alone. One of the most aggressive and well-known snakes here is the Fer-de-lance. It isn’t the most venomous but still is very dangerous. They are aggressive and widespread throughout the country making them the leader of snake attacks. Other snakes you find here include the Eyelash viper, Coral snakes, and Boa constrictors also much more. 

Palo Verde Crocodile

Crocodiles and Caimans

The American Crocodile or in this case the Costa Rican Crocodile. They are our biggest reptiles and notably so. Crocodiles range in sizes of 3-4 meters in length and larger one reaching 5 or more meters. Crocodiles are found in Costa Rica waterways. Particularly you will find many at the Tarcoles bridge. heading toward the Pacific from San Jose. 


This Country is also well known for insects, Spiders, Scorpions, Butterflies, Mosquitoes. If you can name it Costa Rica more than likely has it and in great numbers. Size is another factor, everything seems just a little bit bigger than everywhere else probably due to the fact of how nature flourishes here. One of the biggest is Beetles. Especially the Hercules beetle, it is massive. Not enough with the size, it can also fly. Most Beetles here wait until nightfall to come out and play. That is when you will see the most action from any bug here.

Look out for Scorpions. As a general rule the smaller the scorpion the more you have to worry about it. The big ones carry less venom even though they may seem worse it is the smaller ones that carry the most potent of venom recipes. Make sure you look out for these guys, look in your shoes under your pillow anywhere you think one might be. Although they aren’t extremely common especially in the central valley.

Look at all the different bugs!

Costa Rica butterfly farm morpho


One of the most beautiful parts of the insect world is butterflies. They range in all shapes, sizes and color patterns here. The biggest and most popular among these is the Morpho Butterfly they grow up to 15 centimeters in width. The Morpho are found deep in the rainforest and love to come out during the day they bask in the sunlight and snack on nearby flowers. 

mosquitoes in costa rica tips for avoiding them mosquito


Mosquitos, also known as ‘zancudos’, are found no matter where you go in the world. They may be the most annoying bug of them all. Especially recently you have to watch how much you get bitten because of the Zika virus. Before you come to Costa Rica make sure to bring bug repellant in whatever form you can find.

Marine Life

Marine Life in Costa Rica is full of amazing species and specimens. Some include Costa Rica mammals for example Whales and dolphins whereas others include reptiles, like sea turtles. You will also find a large variety of different fish, not just in the oceans but in lakes and rivers. One of the biggest fish you find in the Costa Rica waters is the Billfish otherwise known as a marlin or sailfish. So cool to see such a large variety of creatures. 

One of the Largest fish around is the whale shark, they are classified as both a whale, a shark and a fish. It is interesting to see how different species cross over into multiple categories. 

Sport Fishing in Costa Rica


You will not be disappointed by the abundance of fresh and saltwater fish in Costa Rica. Fishers have a great time trying to catch the wahoo, machaca, snook and the famous rainbow bass (also known as the guapote). If you are more interested in snorkeling or scuba diving in Costa Rica you can see spotted eagle rays, starfish, eels, sea turtles, dolphins, angel fish, sea horses and octopus!

Hotel Rancho Corcovado Dolphins

Whales and Dolphins

Dolphins are a very excited and playful species and love jumping out of the water for you to see them alongside boats. You will find these delightful guys in most of Costa Rica’s waters, especially along the Golfo Dulce. Whale watching and Dolphin tours are a great way to see them.

Green Sea turtle 


Also among our marine friend are sea turtles. Firstly found crawling towards the open ocean when just hatched. You will find these guys on both the Caribbean side mainly in Tortuguero and the Pacific side. As adults, they come back to their starting point to lay eggs. Ones that come to Costa Rica are the Olive Ridley, the leatherback sea turtle, green, and hawksbill. In Las Baulas National Marine Park and Ostional Wildlife Refuge, you can see hundreds of turtles nesting and baby turtles making their way to the ocean in the morning.


When you pick up a book on Costa Rica travel, you will likely see a colorful little frog gracing the cover. Costa Rica’s amphibians are possibly the most beautiful amongst the country’s fauna. With boundless color patterns, these creatures can be found in various sizes. From giant toads to tiny frogs, discover which ones you can find in Costa Rica!

Red Frog

Poison Dart Frogs

These frogs are also referred to as Arrow Frogs. There are currently 8 known species in Costa Rica. The name sounds quite intimidating. That is why it is commonly believe that upon touching them, you will get poisoned and die. However, the poison is not potent enough to penetrate through our unbroken skin. This doesn’t mean you should go around and touching frogs, though. Perhaps an unknown cut will cause some trouble! 

Wildlife Refuge Frog

Red - Eyed Frog

Also referred to as the gaudy leaf frog or red – eyes leaf frog, it is easily recognized because of its hypnotic red eyes. You can spot these frogs throughout most of the country and once you are familiar with their distinctive call, you can even track them!

Glass Frog

Glass Frog

Rather than impressing us with dazzling colors, this frog mesmerizes us with its translucent qualities and unique looking eyes. The Glass Frogs are a little bit harder to spot so make sure to book an expert guide to help you. Does this little frog look familiar? That might be because Kermit the Frog is based on it!

Lemus Leaf Frog

Lemur Leaf Frog

Lemur Leaf Frogs have sadly been dropping in population. The likely explanation for this is that like some other frog species, they have been exposed to a fungus that caused infectious diseases. Fortunately, measures are being taken to conserve them. It would be a shame to lose such a beautiful creature with silvery eyes and piercing green skin!

Harlequin Toad

Harlequin Toad

The Atelopus, otherwise known as the Harlequin Toad, are small and brightly colored amphibians found from; Costa Rica even all the way to Bolivia. There is a high number of Harlequin Toad species and they have all been badly affected by the amphibian declines. Some of them are endangered where others have sadly become extinct.

Cane Toad

Cane Toad

The Cane Toad is pretty recognizable because of its size. They are generally very large with a maximum length leading up to 24 centimeters! You can spot the Cane Toad on the Central American mainland. If you want to see the larger ones, you should make way to less populated areas.

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