Approximately 25% of Costa Rica is protected land and national parks. It hosts many species of flora (including many orchids) and fauna, such as monkeys, sloths, iguanas, frogs, butterflies, sea turtles and many types of birds. As a nation it has a reputation for protecting its wildlife and promoting ‘green’ policies.
Panama has the second largest rainforest in the world after the Amazon and has the most diverse wildlife in the area. The types of flora and fauna are similar to Costa Rica, although it does also have endemic species.
Guatemala has distinct mountainous and lowland areas so its flora and fauna is again very diverse, with many species being endemic. In the lowlands, Tikal National Park lies in the Maya Biosphere Reserve that covers 10% of Guatemala. Here it is possible to see not only typical rainforest species (including monkeys and many types of birds) but also the impressive ancient Maya city of Tikal, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Belize is 60% forests and is a great place for bird-watching. The forests are also home to mammals such as monkeys and the elusive jaguar. As with Guatemala many of Belize’s Mayan sites also lie within rainforests combining nature and history. Belize’s coastline hosts the second longest barrier reef in the world, offering exceptional snorkelling and diving opportunities.
Central America has many opportunities for wildlife spotting, particularly for birds and monkeys, which will greatly enhance any holiday to the area. With wildlife there are never any guarantees but if there is something particular that you wish to see it is worth spending time planning your visit to maximise your chances.