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Memories of Costa Rican wildlife

Added 28 Jul 2014
Memories of Costa Rican wildlife

Costa Rica has proven to be a popular holiday destination for Explore staff. Many members of the team have visited the Central American country and here they share their favourite wildlife memories of the country.

Working as a Tour Leader in Costa Rica you are pretty much guaranteed the sightings of some of the most exotic bird life in Central America but what I was not prepared for was all the other amazing surprises we got along the way. Starting at the coast with the turtles then heading inland seeing three types of monkeys, a tapir, the elusive sloth and many iguanas… then up to the mountains in search of the quetzal. One of the funniest things I have seen with wildlife was when two spider monkeys were sitting near the group on the beach in Manuel Antonio. I'd prepared the group to keep their food under lock and key as the monkeys had been known to snatch food from unaware tourists, but they were not prepared for the monkeys helping themselves to their passports – the chase that pursued was quite funny but a happy ending as they dropped them from the tree.
Yvonne Ramsay, Senior Operations Manager

costa rica sloth

Costa Rica is all about nature, learning more about the rainforest and trying to spot animals. I was very happy with the variety of wildlife I saw - I saw iguanas everywhere I went, all four types of monkeys that they have in Costa Rica (howler, squirrel, capuchin and spider), lots of frogs (frogs are not my favourite creature, but these were very small and colourful e.g. red with black legs etc so even I liked them!) and on a nightwalk I saw a tarantula. However, Costa Rica is best for birdlife; it has more species than much bigger places like North America or Europe. The bird everyone always wants to see in Costa Rica is the resplendent quetzal (they were considered divine by ancient civilisations) and I am pleased to say I saw one in Monteverde. My favourite wildlife sighting though was sloths in Manuel Antionio.
Linda Harris, Product Manager

I’ve seen lions, whales, silver back gorillas but strangely spotting a sloth in a Costa Rican forest canopy is one of my true travel highlights. Perhaps it stems back to when,  as a kid, I was particularly good at scrabble. Those of you that have played understand the power of knowing obscure two-lettered words and will certainly know of the infamous Ai – the South American three-toed sloth. Sadly this only lives in Brazil, nevertheless it was extraordinary to watch its Central American cousin. What else has an eco-system in its fur and who else better epitomises the whole notion of “slow travel”? It is impossible not to be impressed by a creature that descends to the forest floor once a week to defecate, and for whom the act of copulation takes 25 minutes (I wonder who had the boring task of timing that!)
John Telfer, Product and Operations Director

costa rica butterfly

My highlight was travelling down the river and, in between white-water rapids, our group was able to enjoy the endless displays of wildlife around us. I loved watching the variety of birdlife in particular, something I wasn’t expecting, as well as the dragonflies and butterflies around the river beds.
Prue Stone, Yield and Capacity Manager

costa rica rhinocerous beetle

We went to a banana plantation – that was interesting, but much more exciting were the rhinoceros beetles in the surrounding area. The driver put two on sticks for me to hold – briefly, I was assured! – just to get a photo. And then a coachload of Americans arrived and all wanted photos of me and my new friends. So I stood there with the scary beasts inches from my fingers for what seemed like an eternity …
Teresa Mozley, Customer Relations Executive

 To get your own taste of Costa Rican wildlife, find out more about our small group and tailor-made options for travel to the country.