Costa Rica

Dave Lauridsen
Local Experts: Costa Rica, Ashley Harrell

By Local Expert Ashley Harrell

Best Places to Spot Wildlife in Costa Rica

1
Corcovado National Park

Corcovado National Park

Perhaps the least tame wilderness in all of Central America, this protected rainforest area is braved only by the most intrepid travelers and nature aficionados. When I was there, I saw every kind of Costa Rican monkey in the span of just a few feet. I also spotted the famous crocodiles and bull sharks that make the park’s rivers terrifying to cross, particularly at high tide. 

2
Tortugero National Park

Tortugero National Park

In the far northeastern corner of the country, this park is accessible only by plane or boat, and is home to many amphibians and birds that exist nowhere else in the country. It’s also one of the world’s foremost turtle nesting beaches, with Olive Ridleys and leatherbacks regularly coming ashore to lay their eggs. 

3
Cerro Chirripó

Cerro Chirripó

Summiting Cerro Chirripó, Costa Rica’s tallest peak, is a national rite of passage. The 12,533-foot-tall mountain promises serious adventurers stunning views over the misty cloud forest.

4
Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve

Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve

Wandering the lush reserves near the mountain town of Santa Elena, guests are often struck by the abundance of life and greenery. Here, large swaths of protected land are home here to monkeys, sloths, anteaters, and coatimundi. This is also a prime viewing spot for frogs, snakes, and other amphibians. 

5
Manuel Antonio National Park

Manuel Antonio National Park

Although this is the smallest national park in the country, it contains a preponderance of wildlife that can be easily viewed by guests (particularly with a guide to point it all out). Sloths are common, as are monkeys. And all kinds of fascinating creatures can be seen in the ocean that borders the park. 


Visit the Best Places to Spot Wildlife in Costa Rica

Manuel Antonio National Park
Costa Rica
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Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve
Costa Rica
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Cerro Chirripó

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Tortugero National Park
Costa Rica
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Corcovado National Park
Costa Rica
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