Exotic birds and jungle wildlife helped put Costa Rica on the map as one of the globe’s top ecotourism destinations. The national park system makes it possible to go for a hike in rainforest, cloud forests, and other tropical habitats where you can see parrots, macaws, toucans, iguanas, monkeys, sloths, and other wildlife. Since these animals are protected and in some places, accustomed to people, they are also easier to photograph than many other countries. Here are a few tips to see and take pictures of exotic toucans, parrots, and other colorful tropical animals:
- Where to see Scarlet Macaws: Thanks to protection and reintroduction efforts, this big, spectacular parrot is common and easy to see at many sites on the Pacific coast. Some of the best places are Carara National Park, the village of Sierpe, and eco-lodges on the Osa Peninsula. Look for this brilliant red, yellow, and blue bird as it feeds in almond trees next to the beach.
- Where to look for parrots: There are several species of parrots and parakeets that live in Costa Rica and many are common. The best places to look for them are in fruiting trees that grow in the gardens of eco-lodges, at certain fruit feeders (such as the one at Laguna del Lagarto), and the forested grounds of eco-lodges in many parts of the country. They also occur in national parks but can be difficult to see and photograph as they perch in the tall canopy of the forest.
- Seeing toucans in Costa Rica: Visitors to Costa Rica will be happy to know that toucans are pretty common in a lot of places. The two large species (Keel-billed and Black-mandibled Toucans) are fairly common at many lowland rainforest sites, and in the Arenal Volcano area. The smaller toucans (the aracaris) are also fairly common in the same places. Look for the beautiful Emerald Toucanet at any cloud forest site (such as the Monteverde area and other sites in the highlands).
Bring the Costa Rica Birds Field Guide app to learn about and identify parrots, macaws, toucans, and hundreds of other exotic tropical birds.