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How to See Sloths, Monkeys, and Exotic Birds on a Trip to Costa Rica

Costa Rica has become one of the better known destinations for ecotourism. The advantages of visiting Costa Rica include ease of access (it’s only a couple hours by plane from Texas), stability, beaches and mountains just a short drive from San Jose, exciting activities, well-trained guides, and so on.

Of course, the country’s wildlife also enjoys center stage as a main attraction and includes such exotic tropical animals as monkeys, huge blue Morpho butterflies, strange sloths, and hundreds of beautiful birds. The following are a few tips on seeing these and other animals when visiting Costa Rica:

  • Hire a guide: This is arguably the most guaranteed method for seeing lots of Costa Rican wildlife. Just make sure that the guide is experienced in finding what you want to see.
  • Visit Costa Rica national parks and other protected areas: These are the best places to experience a good variety of Costa Rican biodiversity. Take a slow and observant walk through the forest, be patient, and you will see some of the rainforest’s hidden treasures.
  • Sloths are common in the humid lowlands: Two species of sloths can be found in many parts of Costa Rica but the best places to see these strange animals is to look for what appear to be hairy blobs in trees in humid, lowland areas. Sloths are more common at such sites as Manuel Antonio and the Puerto Viejo de Talamanca area.

    Sloths are usually seen up in the trees and not on the ground but it can happen!
  • Where do you see monkeys?: Lowland parks and protected sites are the best places for seeing wild monkeys, especially in areas with extensive forest. Watch for them by looking and listening for the movement of tree branches in the canopy of the forest. A couple of the best places to see monkeys are Corcovado National Park and Tortuguero National Park.

    Howler Monkeys are seen in many parts of Costa Rica.
  • Exotic birds: Colorful and interesting birds are much easier to see than sloths and monkeys. You will find them just about everywhere but the best places are areas of extensive humid forest. Watch for birds like trogons, hummingbirds, motmots, macaws, and parrots in places like Carara National Park, Monteverde, and the Puerto Viejo de Sarapiqui area.
    Montezuma Oropendolas are just one of many exotic birds that are commonly seen in Costa Rica.

    The Rufous-tailed Jacamar lives in rainforest areas of the country.

Learn about the birds waiting for you in Costa Rica and enrich your trip to Costa Rica with the Costa Rica Birds Field Guide app.

Enjoy the lite version for free!

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