The Amazing Animals of Costa Rica

Costa Rica is a natural paradise that is home to a myriad of extraordinary creatures. Visitors encounter a vibrant tapestry of wildlife, including vibrant toucans, enigmatic jaguars, and charismatic sloths. Prepare to be awestruck by the breathtaking beauty and unique adaptations of these amazing animals as we celebrate the unparalleled wonders of Costa Rica’s rich and diverse ecosystems.

  • Howler Monkey

    Howler Monkey

    Howler monkeys are known to be a highly vocal species. Their low-pitched howl, which can sound quite intimidating to those that haven’t heard it, is done first thing in the morning. These howls are meant to let other howler monkeys know others of their kind where they are eating leaves, so no there will be competition or fighting over resources. All howler monkeys are born a brown color, but males of the species turn black when mature. They have not been known to be aggressive towards humans, with some even being kept as pets.

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  • Keel-billed Toucan

    Keel-billed Toucan

    The keel-billed toucan is a bright-colored example of wildlife in Costa Rica. Though there are many types of toucans around Costa Rica, this one is the most colorful of the birds, with rainbow colors around its head and a lightweight beak. One of the largest toucans, these birds are a highlight for any birdwatcher—or any traveler, for that matter—when visiting the beautiful forests of Costa Rica.

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  • Green Iguana

    Green Iguana

    Located along the Pacific and Caribbean coasts of Costa Rica, green iguanas are found all around Central and South America… as well as some Caribbean islands. The traveler will mostly see this common iguana lounging in the sun to soak up UV rays. Some of the larger of the species can get up to six feet long. They can also fall from a height of 130 to 160 ft without harming themselves.

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  • Common Basilisk

    Common Basilisk

    A species of lizard that can grow up to a length of 2.5 ft, the common basilisk is excellent at climbing and swimming. This basilisk is found in Costa Rica, as well as most of Central America and South America. They have large fins on the head, back, and tail. It is also known as the ‘Jesus lizard’ because of its ability to run on water for short distances.

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  • Panamanian White-faced Capuchin

    Panamanian White-faced Capuchin

    A familiar monkey by its medium size, white face and black body, this capuchin is found in tropical forests. This omnivore prefers the canopy of trees over the ground. They are considered to be one of the most intelligent monkeys, second to spider monkeys — even using tools to accomplish small tasks. Vocal animals, they use barks and coughs along with body language to communicate.

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  • Eyelash Viper

    Eyelash Viper

    A brightly colored viper, the eyelash viper has the classic looks of a venomous snake with its wide, triangular head. They do have a neurotoxic bite but are not known for being aggressive and deaths from bites are rare. They get their name from small horns above their eyes, making it look as if they have eyelashes.

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  • Great Green Macaw

    Great Green Macaw

    The common image of a parrot is that of a great green macaw. Its feathers are primarily green with blues, reds, and whites accented. Found around Central America, these large birds are known to be generally comfortable around humans — even letting travelers feed them where they are used to people.

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  • Strawberry Poison-dart Frog

    Strawberry Poison-dart Frog

    The strawberry poison-dart frog is colorfully bright, colors to warn off humans and animals from touching its skin. These colors range from red, blue, yellow, white, green, orange to black. As the name implies, this frog secretes a poison that will cause paralysis, swelling, and nausea — though it is rarely fatal, and they only reach up to less than an inch in length.

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  • Spectacled Caiman

    Spectacled Caiman

    The spectacled caiman is a crocodile found along the banks of water in Costa Rica. They can grow up to a length of 8 ft and can, like alligators and other crocodiles, become aggressive if threatened. Mostly hunting at night, they can also be spotted lounging about on banks.

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  • Manatees


    Thriving in brackish waters around Costa Rica, manatees are the gentle giants of these waters. They can weigh up to 1,000 pounds, and about 100 of them are found around Tortuguero National Park in Costa Rica, with lots of chances to go swimming and snorkeling with them. A pleasant encounter with nature for the traveler in Costa Rica.

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  • Jaguars


    The enigmatic and powerful jaguars of Costa Rica distinguish themselves from other large felines through their affinity for water. These adept swimmers can traverse considerable distances. Rivers and their surroundings serve as playgrounds, bathing spots, and hunting grounds for these majestic creatures, who excel at ambushing fish in pools and streams.

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