Discover the wonderful wildlife of Costa Rica on a wildlife adventure that will change the way you see the world. Here, lizards walk on water and frogs have strawberry-red eyes, spiders spin webs of golden silk, and rainbow-coloured flocks of birds soar through the sky. Our Costa Rica wildlife holidays take you on unforgettable journeys of discovery, from its sublime Caribbean and Pacific coastlines to its dense jungles where you’ll get to meet some of the country’s most magnificent animals.
Costa Rica has one of the most diverse ecosystems in the world and its tropical climate makes it a breeding ground for exotic flora and fauna. Our Costa Rica wildlife tours have itineraries that are packed with adventures. While one day you’ll be sailing along the rich waterways of Torguguero, the next you’ll be hiking through the rainforest listening to the distinctive sounds of howler monkeys and squawking toucans.
On a Costa Rica wildlife holiday, you’ll explore all this and more, as the country is home to some 5% of the world’s animal and plant species. You’ll also visit the mist-shrouded canopies of the Santa Elena Cloud Forest Reserve, where monkeys can be seen swinging through the leafy canopies. Hike through Arenal Volcano National Park and visit the famous mud pools, look for dolphins off Carrillo beach, and perhaps watch green turtle hatchlings scramble towards the sea during nesting season. There is so much to discover on all our Costa Rica wildlife holidays, you’ll be talking about your trip for years to come.
Costa Rica Wildlife Holidays
15 Daysfrom£ 3,399
Guided Group (Excl. Flights)
Experience the Costa Rican rainforest, mountains and coast
Top 5 Animals to See on a Costa Rica Wildlife Holiday
Scarlet Macaws: Often seen during our Costa Rica wildlife holidays, the scarlet macaw is easily recognised by its brightly coloured plumage. It is the largest of the parrot family and is mostly spotted along the Pacific Coast of Costa Rica. Its high-pitched squawk is also instantly recognisable, meaning these beautiful birds are usually heard before they’re seen. In Costa Rica the macaw is known as lapas and their huge beaks are used to crack open the tough shells of nuts and seeds. They tend to congregate in large flocks when they are roosting and feeding.
Turtles: Arguably the most synonymous with Costa Rica, the turtle often draws visitors here from all over the world to witness their mating and nesting habits. Tortuguero is the most well-known place for the endangered green turtle, which comes to lay eggs on the beach between the months of July and October. The Hawksbill, Giant Leatherback and Loggerhead turtles also nest here, and you can watch their eggs hatch and the babies make their short journey to the ocean between November to January. On our Costa Rica Adventure tour, you’ll enjoy a night time trip to Camaronal Beach to see the turtles nesting and laying their eggs in the sand.
Sloths: With their adorable smiling faces and sleepy heads, the cuteness of the sloth is hard to resist. On our Costa Rica wildlife tours, you’ll have the opportunity to get up close to these furry creatures with tours in Esquinas Rainforest Nature Reserve, Tortuguero and Monteverde, where they are most often seen napping in the trees. The sloth sleeps up to 20 hours a day high up in the forest canopies and did you know they also have algae covering their fur to camouflage them from predators?
Howler Monkeys: Another noisy creature that lives in the forests of Costa Rica is the Howler monkey. Named after its piercing call, it is heard swinging through the trees of Manuel Antonio National Park, Monteverde, Arenal and along the Caribbean Coast. They tend to live in small groups and the alpha male is usually the one heard howling the loudest. They can weigh up to 22 pounds with a body of up to 3 feet long. So, if you’re keen to spot a Howler monkey on one of our Costa Rica wildlife tours, just listen out for their unique cry.
Dolphins: Boasting a stunning coastline along the Pacific and Caribbean oceans, Costa Rica is a wonderful place to visit to see dolphins in the wild. On our Discover Costa Rica Wildlife Holiday, we take you on a private boat trip off the beach of Carrillo to look for Bottlenose and Spinner dolphins, which are often spotted playing in the ocean. Dolphins are extremely inquisitive and friendly creatures and sometimes they’ll even swim under the boat. In Costa Rica, dolphins are found throughout the year on the Pacific Coast so there’s a much greater chance of you spotting them on Costa Rica wildlife holidays.
FAQs on Costa Rica Wildlife Holidays
Where is the most wildlife in Costa Rica?
Everywhere you go, Costa Rica is brimming with wildlife, but we seek out the best spots where you’ll most likely come face-to-face with some of the country’s most impressive creatures. Tortuguero National Park is undoubtedly one of the best places to visit on our Costa Rica wildlife holidays. The Park is made up of swamps and meandering waterways where you’ll discover hundreds of species of birds, monkeys, butterflies, iguanas, caiman and the famous Costa Rica turtles, including the Hawksbill, Loggerhead, Green turtle and Giant Leatherback.
On our Costa Rica wildlife tours, you’ll explore various rainforests which are buzzing with fascinating creatures such as toucans, monkeys, sloths, possums and coatis. In particular, Monteverde is a great place to experience animal encounters on our Costa Rica wildlife holidays. But if it’s marine animals you’re looking for, then head to Manuel Antonio National Park where the marine reserve plays host to dolphins, whales and turtles as well as land mammals such as white-faced capuchin monkeys, mantled howlers and three-toed sloths.
What is the most common way to see animals in Costa Rica?
On our Costa Rica wildlife tours, we take you right to the heart of the action with guided walking tours along trails through the rainforests and boat trips down rivers and canals. You can also sail out onto the ocean to spot dolphins and whales in their natural habitat. The slow pace of the tours means you have a greater chance of meeting the local wildlife and watching them interact in their own environments.
What is the wildlife in Costa Rica?
Well, where do we start? With over 500,000 different animal species occupying this beautiful country, there are far too many to list them all. But some of the most iconic you could see on our Costa Rica wildlife holidays include:
Scarlet macaws Frogs Iguanas Various species of turtles Sloths Monkeys Coatis Dolphins and whales Caiman Armadillos Porcupines Possums
Are there any bears in Costa Rica?
While they might not resemble the big grizzly or brown bears you’re most likely imagining, there are several small bears that can be found in Costa Rica, and these include the coati, kinkajou, slender bear, sloth and raccoon. Mostly inhabiting the jungles and hiding in trees, you might be lucky enough to spot one of these species, however, the racoon and coati are most commonly seen.
When’s the best time to visit Costa Rica?
Depending on what you want to see will determine the best time to visit Costa Rica. Although the temperatures are moderate throughout much of the year, the tropical climate does mean that you should always expect and prepare for some rain. Between December and April is the dry season and is a great time for viewing Costa Rica wildlife, however, these months do tend to attract the tourist crowds. In between the downpours during May and November, there is also lots of sunshine, which makes lush conditions for exploring the national parks.
Where can I see turtles in Costa Rica?
The best place to see turtles in Costa Rica is undoubtedly at Tortuguero National Park, along the North Caribbean Coast. There are four species of turtles that can be found here, including the green sea turtle, the leatherback turtle, the loggerhead turtle and the hawksbill turtle. The beaches of Tortuguero National Park provide nesting sites for the turtles, with Tortuguero Beach being the largest. The best times to see green turtles here is from July to mid-October and you’ll most likely spot leatherbacks between February and June.
When is the best month for whale watching in Costa Rica?
With humpback whales occupying the waters along the Pacific Coast for approximately eight months of the year, Costa Rica boasts one of the world’s longest whale watching seasons. The best months for Costa Rica wildlife tours that include whale watching are January to February and August to September. This is when these majestic mammals start to breed, meaning they are much more active. Humpback whales are most often spotted from August to October and December to April. You might also get to see other species such as sperm whales, killer whales and pilot whales.
What is Arenal National Park known for?
Wedged between the San Carlos plains and the foothills of Cordillera de Tilaran in northwest Costa Rica, Arenal National Park plays host to the dormant Chato Volcano and the country’s largest and most active volcano, Arenal. You’ll also find the largest lake here, Lake Arenal, which lies beneath the volcano and is surrounded by tropical rainforest teeming with wildlife. While exploring the national park, you’re most likely to spot white-faced monkeys, howler monkeys, deer, parrots and tapir. Formed by Arenal’s devastating eruption in 1968, lava rocks and lava fields make up many of the trails that wind through the park.
The whole trip was amazing. The organisation was great, guides superb and game viewing simply stunning.
It was very hot, much hotter than I expected but the activities were early morning or evening which made everything bearable. The wild camping days were great fun, if very basic, but a great experience. Our guide Onary was a fantastic cook and some of our best food was in that wild camp.
A holiday of contrasts -the hubbub of Kathmandu, the magnificence of the Annapurna range and the luxury of the Bahari Jungle Lodge in Chitwan.
We had a superb tour guide in Kathmandu who was happy to answer any question and who took us to see the living goddess! Our original hotel was very average but we were moved to the much more upmarket Yak and Yeti for the final night, which was the original hotel when we booked the trip and is now advertised for future trips.
I really enjoyed the trekking experience, the scenery was spectacular, the lodges were very comfortable, the food really good and the staff excellent. Our guide and porters were amazing, it was very sad bidding them farewell.
Chitwan was a complete contrast, much warmer, very luxurious. We were kept busy there. The jeep safari was my favourite, fortunately we did this early in the morning when the park inhabitants are more lively. To get to the National Park we simply took a boat across the river from the lodge, so easy! We didn’t see a tiger but saw several one horned rhinos, including a mother and calf whom we observed for some time. It would have been great to have one more day there to chill, to enjoy a dip in the pool, to sit on our balcony of our lovely ‘hut’.
Our last full day, the ‘approximately 5 hours’ on a coach turned into about 8 hours on a holiday, a day when traffic is much quieter than normal. We did not arrive in Kathmandu until about 4pm, it left little time to do anything before our farewell meal. I would have preferred to pay a little extra to fly! It was a disappointing end to our holiday.
My family saved up money to have a holiday of a lifetime. We were promised in the brochure and online that this was a Premium holiday with 4/5* hotels, an expert guide and superb mountain views. This was not the holiday we received in many areas. Some parts such as the trekking and lodges were excellent but as you will see below in my comments a lot fell short of what we had paid for and I would not book another ‘premium’ holiday with Exodus again.