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Wildlife Holidays in Costa Rica

Costa Rica Wildlife Tours

Costa Rica Wildlife Holidays

Discover Costa Rica

Wildlife Holidays in Costa Rica
15 Days from £ 3,499
£ 3,149

Guided Group (Excl. Flights)

Experience the Costa Rican rainforest, mountains and coast


Discover Costa Rica – with Dominical

15 Days from £ 3,099

Guided Group (Excl. Flights)

Experience the Costa Rican rainforest, mountains and coast


Costa Rica's Coastal Secrets

Wildlife Holidays in Costa Rica
15 Days from £ 4,099
£ 3,689

Guided Group (Excl. Flights)

Unrivalled wildlife viewing and Costa Rica's coastal wonders 


Natural Highlights of Costa Rica

Wildlife Holidays in Costa Rica
8 Days from £ 2,199

Guided Group (Excl. Flights)

Jungles, mountains and coast: Costa Rica is a natural paradise


Costa Rica Adventure

Hanging bridges
15 Days from £ 3,599

Guided Group (Excl. Flights)

Natural highlights from the Caribbean to the Pacific Coast.


Top 5 Animals to See on a Costa Rica Wildlife Holiday

Scarlet Macaws: Often seen during our Costa Rica wildlife holidays, the scarlet macaw is easily recognised by its brightly coloured plumage. It is the largest of the parrot family and is mostly spotted along the Pacific Coast of Costa Rica. Its high-pitched squawk is also instantly recognisable, meaning these beautiful birds are usually heard before they’re seen. In Costa Rica the macaw is known as lapas and their huge beaks are used to crack open the tough shells of nuts and seeds. They tend to congregate in large flocks when they are roosting and feeding.

Turtles: Arguably the most synonymous with Costa Rica, the turtle often draws visitors here from all over the world to witness their mating and nesting habits. Tortuguero is the most well-known place for the endangered green turtle, which comes to lay eggs on the beach between the months of July and October. The Hawksbill, Giant Leatherback and Loggerhead turtles also nest here, and you can watch their eggs hatch and the babies make their short journey to the ocean between November to January. On our Costa Rica Adventure tour, you’ll enjoy a night time trip to Camaronal Beach to see the turtles nesting and laying their eggs in the sand.

Sloths: With their adorable smiling faces and sleepy heads, the cuteness of the sloth is hard to resist. On our Costa Rica wildlife tours, you’ll have the opportunity to get up close to these furry creatures with tours in Esquinas Rainforest Nature Reserve, Tortuguero and Monteverde, where they are most often seen napping in the trees. The sloth sleeps up to 20 hours a day high up in the forest canopies and did you know they also have algae covering their fur to camouflage them from predators?

Howler Monkeys: Another noisy creature that lives in the forests of Costa Rica is the Howler monkey. Named after its piercing call, it is heard swinging through the trees of Manuel Antonio National Park, Monteverde, Arenal and along the Caribbean Coast. They tend to live in small groups and the alpha male is usually the one heard howling the loudest. They can weigh up to 22 pounds with a body of up to 3 feet long. So, if you’re keen to spot a Howler monkey on one of our Costa Rica wildlife tours, just listen out for their unique cry.

Dolphins: Boasting a stunning coastline along the Pacific and Caribbean oceans, Costa Rica is a wonderful place to visit to see dolphins in the wild. On our Discover Costa Rica Wildlife Holiday, we take you on a private boat trip off the beach of Carrillo to look for Bottlenose and Spinner dolphins, which are often spotted playing in the ocean. Dolphins are extremely inquisitive and friendly creatures and sometimes they’ll even swim under the boat. In Costa Rica, dolphins are found throughout the year on the Pacific Coast so there’s a much greater chance of you spotting them on Costa Rica wildlife holidays.

FAQs on Costa Rica Wildlife Holidays

Where is the most wildlife in Costa Rica?

Everywhere you go, Costa Rica is brimming with wildlife, but we seek out the best spots where you’ll most likely come face-to-face with some of the country’s most impressive creatures. Tortuguero National Park is undoubtedly one of the best places to visit on our Costa Rica wildlife holidays. The Park is made up of swamps and meandering waterways where you’ll discover hundreds of species of birds, monkeys, butterflies, iguanas, caiman and the famous Costa Rica turtles, including the Hawksbill, Loggerhead, Green turtle and Giant Leatherback.

On our Costa Rica wildlife tours, you’ll explore various rainforests which are buzzing with fascinating creatures such as toucans, monkeys, sloths, possums and coatis. In particular, Monteverde is a great place to experience animal encounters on our Costa Rica wildlife holidays. But if it’s marine animals you’re looking for, then head to Manuel Antonio National Park where the marine reserve plays host to dolphins, whales and turtles as well as land mammals such as white-faced capuchin monkeys, mantled howlers and three-toed sloths.

What is the most common way to see animals in Costa Rica?

On our Costa Rica wildlife tours, we take you right to the heart of the action with guided walking tours along trails through the rainforests and boat trips down rivers and canals. You can also sail out onto the ocean to spot dolphins and whales in their natural habitat. The slow pace of the tours means you have a greater chance of meeting the local wildlife and watching them interact in their own environments.

What is the wildlife in Costa Rica?

Well, where do we start? With over 500,000 different animal species occupying this beautiful country, there are far too many to list them all. But some of the most iconic you could see on our Costa Rica wildlife holidays include:

Scarlet macaws
Various species of turtles
Dolphins and whales

Are there any bears in Costa Rica?

While they might not resemble the big grizzly or brown bears you’re most likely imagining, there are several small bears that can be found in Costa Rica, and these include the coati, kinkajou, slender bear, sloth and raccoon. Mostly inhabiting the jungles and hiding in trees, you might be lucky enough to spot one of these species, however, the racoon and coati are most commonly seen.

When’s the best time to visit Costa Rica?

Depending on what you want to see will determine the best time to visit Costa Rica. Although the temperatures are moderate throughout much of the year, the tropical climate does mean that you should always expect and prepare for some rain. Between December and April is the dry season and is a great time for viewing Costa Rica wildlife, however, these months do tend to attract the tourist crowds. In between the downpours during May and November, there is also lots of sunshine, which makes lush conditions for exploring the national parks.

Where can I see turtles in Costa Rica?

The best place to see turtles in Costa Rica is undoubtedly at Tortuguero National Park, along the North Caribbean Coast. There are four species of turtles that can be found here, including the green sea turtle, the leatherback turtle, the loggerhead turtle and the hawksbill turtle. The beaches of Tortuguero National Park provide nesting sites for the turtles, with Tortuguero Beach being the largest. The best times to see green turtles here is from July to mid-October and you’ll most likely spot leatherbacks between February and June.

When is the best month for whale watching in Costa Rica?

With humpback whales occupying the waters along the Pacific Coast for approximately eight months of the year, Costa Rica boasts one of the world’s longest whale watching seasons. The best months for Costa Rica wildlife tours that include whale watching are January to February and August to September. This is when these majestic mammals start to breed, meaning they are much more active. Humpback whales are most often spotted from August to October and December to April. You might also get to see other species such as sperm whales, killer whales and pilot whales.

What is Arenal National Park known for?

Wedged between the San Carlos plains and the foothills of Cordillera de Tilaran in northwest Costa Rica, Arenal National Park plays host to the dormant Chato Volcano and the country’s largest and most active volcano, Arenal. You’ll also find the largest lake here, Lake Arenal, which lies beneath the volcano and is surrounded by tropical rainforest teeming with wildlife. While exploring the national park, you’re most likely to spot white-faced monkeys, howler monkeys, deer, parrots and tapir. Formed by Arenal’s devastating eruption in 1968, lava rocks and lava fields make up many of the trails that wind through the park.

This was a jam-packed itinerary, with many walks and other activities, combined with a lot of driving. We moved on every two days, which was necessary to see everything, but it also meant there was no down time. Although this was a wildlife trip, at times the wildlife was rather shy. Some walks we saw very little. We probably saw more wildlife on the boat trips. Our expectations were probably not realistic, but we expected toucans and sloths to be hanging off every branch. It’s not like that (at least in the dry season). We didn’t see a sloth until halfway through the trip when there was one on a tree next to our hotel. Never saw a yellow-billed toucan, although we did see other toucans and toucanets (never knew there was such a thing!). Final count was around 150 different birds, as well as many other creatures (many of which we didn’t know existed). So the wildlife was amazing, but you need to know it doesn’t necessarily just pop out at you. On some walks, especially in Manuel Antonio, there were so many other groups looking at the same thing that it was quite difficult to get in to see things and was quite tiring at times. The walks throughout the trip were also very slow and we understand the pace was to suit looking for wildlife but walking so slowly was difficult and tiring in the heat.

Kurt Mills Discover Costa Rica

My perspective is that of a fit and active gent in his early 70’s. Also, this is my first trip with Exodus. As another reviewer has noted, “Discover Costa Rica” is almost exclusively a nature trip. The itinerary touches only slightly on the peoples, history and culture of Costa Rica. This is also an active trip! You’re on the move every second day: bags packed and ready for loading by 7:00 AM with 8:00 AM departure. There’s not much downtime throughout this two-week trip.

It struck me that on a nature trip like this, the wildlife needs to “get the memo” that we’re coming. The wildlife needs to show up! Seriously, the forces of climate/climate change, local weather, and seasonality can come together in a way that limits the opportunity for wildlife viewing. Such was my experience. Several of the nature walks yielded very little in terms of wildlife viewing. In no way do I fault our group leader. He was VERY knowledgeable. I can’t imagine anyone trying harder to find wildlife for our tour group to view. So . . . enjoy the walk in the tropics and any wildlife you see is a bonus might be a good mindset.

Most of the wildlife I saw was birds. It seems silly almost to state the obvious. Birds are actually quite small as compared with other wildlife, say, an elephant you might spot on a trip to Africa! A bird can come into view, alight on a branch, and then, within a few seconds, disappear into the lush vegetation. There’s limited opportunity to observe the creature and perhaps take a few photos. I wish I’d considered this more before embarkation!
Accommodation was perfectly serviceable, clean rooms and well maintained. This is not luxe accommodation but it’s not spartan either. It was perfectly in line with the amount I paid to take the tour. The food was varied and tasty. Lots of it!

In my opinion, Discover Costa Rica is a good trip that could be great if the itinerary was tweaked a bit. For openers, I would get rid of one two-night stop (suggest Monteverde as we saw almost nothing) and create two other three-night stops. This would allow for a little downtime. I would also add some trip experiences such as the farm visit on the final day. These added experiences might focus on the people, history, and culture of Costa Rica. This way, if the wildlife “doesn’t get the memo”, there are still some high-quality experiences that the traveler will cherish.

Douglas Parker Discover Costa Rica

Great way to see a lot of Costa Rica with the huge benefit of a private vehicle and guide. All accommodation was a high standard as well as good and ample food in all hotels.

Michelle Burton Discover Costa Rica