Costa Rica is one of the most biologically diverse locations in the world. A rich mosaic of natural landscapes ranging from golden beaches to towering volcanoes is home to an astonishing rainbow of avian, mammal, amphibian, and reptile species.
Costa Rica has more than 1 million hectares (nearly 4,000 square miles) of national parks, wildlife reserves, and forests that are home to more than 220 species of reptiles, 205 species of mammals, 160 species of amphibians, 800 species of birds, and 1,200 species of butterflies.
One of the top wildlife attractions in Costa Rica is the variety of monkeys that inhabit the country. Four different species can be found both in high-altitude cloud forests as well as the lush jungle lowlands: spider monkeys, capuchin monkeys, howler monkeys, and squirrel monkeys. Occasionally, two other species can be found in the country as well: Geoffroy’s tamarin and Panamanian night monkeys.
Six of the seven known sea turtle species can be found in Costa Rica. Sea turtles use protected beaches to lay their eggs. The five turtle species found in Costa Rica are: leatherback turtles, Oliver Ridley turtles, green (sea) turtles, loggerhead turtles, and hawksbill turtles. Other reptiles found in Costa Rica include 70 species of lizards, 120 species of snakes, American crocodiles, and the spectacled caiman.
More than 175 amphibian species make their home in Costa Rica, including poison dart frogs, the iconic red-eyed tree frog, Bufo toads, giant toads, salamanders, smoky jungle frogs, and the rainforest rocket frog.
Not to be outdone, more than 250 species of mammal thrive in the forests and jungles of Costa Rica. These include two species of sloths, the white-nosed coati, tapir, jaguars, ocelots, margays, little spotted cats, pumas, jaguarundi, deer, anteaters, tayra, and dozens of species of bats, including spectral bats (the largest in the Western Hemisphere) and vampire bats.
But it is the diversity of avian species that is perhaps Costa Rica’s most famous attraction. Nearly 900 species of birds have been documented in Costa Rica, more than found in all of Canada and the United States combined. Costa Rica’s smallest bird is the scintillant hummingbird (at just 2.4 inches long) while the largest is the jabiru (that can weigh up to 14 pounds).
The Manuel Antonio Surf School and Camp is the premier surf school in the country that can help arrange an unforgettable surfing vacation that will immerse visitors in the amazing wildlife of Costa Rica.