Costa Rica

Natalie. Wildfoot travel's Antarctica Cruise Expert AdvisorWildfoot Travel’s Natalie Greenhalgh reflects on her time in Costa Rica and the wildlife she encountered on her adventure.

I’ll never forget the first time I heard Howler Monkeys … the loudest of all the primates in the world. I was in Tortuguero National Park in Costa Rica on a small canoe with just my husband and our guide.

We were floating down one of the canals very early in the morning around dawn. The morning mist was still rising and I remember thinking how peaceful and beautiful the surroundings were when suddenly, I heard an almighty roar amongst the rainforest that lined the riverbank. It was terrifying. Like something out of a horror film! I froze and held my breath as our guide told us about the animal behind the noise. A day later whilst enjoying a trek in the area, I was surprised to see how relatively small these monkeys were in relation to the noise they make!

Travelling along the canals early in the morning offers a superb way to see the natural wildlife.

Tortuguero is most famous for…you guessed it…turtles. Green Sea Turtles, leatherback and Hawksbill turtles nest on the beaches here. Taking a guided trip to the beaches at night, you will be rewarded with the sight of turtles struggling up the beach as they dig their nest and lay their eggs. Or if you’re really lucky, you might spot newly hatched turtles racing to the sea.

Tortuguero turtle

Tortuguero, world renowned as a sanctuary for turtles

This is just one of the many National Parks on offer in Costa Rica. As a country, it has so much to offer, especially for wildlife enthusiasts. Costa Rica 0.03 percent of the earth’s surface bit it contains nearly 6 percent of the world’s biodiversity.  Around 25% of the country’s land area is in protected national parks and protected areas, the largest percentage of protected areas in the world.

Corcovado National Park is well known for its biodiversity (including big cats and tapirs) and is the only national park in Costa Rica where you can see all 4 Costa Rican species of Monkey. Manuel Antonio National Park is home to hundreds of bird species, three toed sloths and not to mention a vast diversity of tropical plants and wildlife.

Costa Rican Toucan

Costa Rica is world famous for its incredible birdlife

Monteverde Cloud Forest is also not to be missed. With over 26,000 acres of Cloud Forest, the reserve consists of 6 ecological zones with 90% of those being primary forest. It also has an extremely high biodiversity with 100 species of mammals, 400 bird species, 120 reptilian and amphibian species and 2,500 plant species. If you have ever wanted to try zip lining, then this is the spot to do it…you could almost class a zip lining tour as a safari! I saw howler monkeys, white faced monkeys and Toucans as I zipped through the rainforest. I ended my ziplining tour as “superman”!  Zip lining horizontally at a height of 180 meters, I felt like a bird whilst soaring over the mountains and pasture. It’s certainly an experience I will never forget.

The varied scenery on offer in this country is second to none. Stepping off the bus in La Fortuna, the gateway to Arenal National Park, I was amazed to see this huge volcano just sitting at the end of town…which is still active! Home to beautiful waterfalls, huge hanging bridges in the Rainforest and thermal hot springs, a trip to Costa Rica wouldn’t be complete without visiting this fascinating area.

Arenal National Park, a spectacular area of natural beauty

Arenal National Park, an area of spectacular natural beauty

With coastlines on both the Pacific and Caribbean, there are many beach spots to relax after a busy trip around this wonderful country. One of my favourites being Puerto Viejo de Talamanca on the Caribbean coast in the south. It has such a great laid back Caribbean vibe and the town itself is very lively with great bars and restaurants. The beautiful palm tree lined beaches with crystal clear blue waters are a great spot to relax at the end of a busy and exciting tour of Costa Rica.

Beautiful beaches of Costa Rica

Beautiful palm tree lined beaches with crystal clear blue waters in Costa Rica

Whether it’s a private guided tour, self-drive tour or small group tour, we have a huge variety of trips on offer along with first-hand experience and a real passion for this destination.

Check out this gallery of photos from our Costa Rica wildlife & adventure holidays.

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