Costa Rica has long had a reputation for conservation and promoting sustainable tourism. Costa Ricans are rightly proud of their scenic country and its wonderful wildlife. As a consequence the 25% of Costa Rica that is protected land and national parks is well managed and, unlike many other countries, the wildlife here is easily accessible and often visible.
Costa Rica is a small country but has three climate zones: the central highlands, the Pacific coast and the Caribbean coast; and several micro-climates, which allows for the great biodiversity seen in the country. Costa Rica hosts 5% of the world’s biodiversity including over 800 species of birds.
Costa Rica has many different types of national parks, including rainforest, cloudforest, tropical dry forest and mangroves. Given the size and infrastructure of Costa Rica it is relatively easy to move around the country to experience these different environments, although some parks do close for part of the ‘green season’. Popular parks include the waterways of Tortuguero, Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve and the rainforests of Corcovado and Manuel Antonio.
One of the great experiences of this part of the world is waking up to the roar of a howler monkey. However there are many equally memorable events waiting to happen once awake: seeing (and hearing) scarlet macaws flying overhead, glimpsing a sloth nursing its baby up in a tree branch, spotting a curious capuchin monkey watching from above, suddenly noticing a caiman in the river, seeing a Jesus Christ lizard walking on water – to name but a few.
There are many opportunities for wildlife spotting in Costa Rica, from mammals to butterflies and tiny tree frogs, which will enhance any holiday. However if wildlife is the focus of your holiday then Costa Rica is a great choice, as many different species can be seen in a relatively short amount of time. It is particularly good for bird-watching.