A wildlife holiday in Costa Rica is an unforgettable experience, taking nature enthusiasts to one of the most biodiverse regions of the world, where beautiful birds live alongside remarkable mammals. Though the dense cloudforests and lowland forests of Costa Rica are typically difficult habitats in which to see mammals (which are more elusive and less numerous than many of the avian residents), under expert naturalist guidance it is possible to see some spectacular species in their wild habitats. In some of the major tracts of preserved wild land in the country – Corcovado National Park, Carara National Park and La Selva Biological Station – these species include Central American Spider Monkey, Baird’s Tapir, Southern Tamandua and Brown-throated Three-toed Sloth.
Corcovado National Park
In the southern region lies Corcovado National Park, the finest of the country’s national parks. It is a definite must-visit destination for mammal enthusiasts on a wildlife holiday in Costa Rica. The park protects 424 square kilometres of land on the Osa Peninsula, notably encompassing the largest area of primary rainforest that remains along the Pacific coast of the Americas. Commonly sighted mammals in the rainforest include Northern Tamandua, Central American Spider Monkey, Mantled Howler Monkey and Squirrel Monkey. The rare Baird’s Tapir is often seen on morning walks. As the largest land mammal in Central America, it is an impressive sight on the forest floor and an especially rewarding sighting for visitors. The most elusive of all the mammals in Corcovado National Park are the Puma and Jaguar, with which the forest is well-populated, but sightings are very rare.
Carara National Park
The main draw of Carara National Park is its bird life: it has one of biggest bird lists of any destination in the country. Mammal enthusiasts visiting on a wildlife holiday in Costa Rica will not be disappointed, however, as the dense forest is home to the delightful White-faced Capuchin monkeys and the Southern Tamandua anteater. The expert naturalists leading the group will keep a keen eye out for these elusive species to ensure the greatest possibility of a sighting.
La Selva Biological Station
The primary rainforest around La Selva Biological Station in the Caribbean lowlands, near the Sarapiqui River, is among the most biologically rich tracts of land in the country. It is a rewarding destination for those on a wildlife holiday in Costa Rica, including for mammal enthusiasts. The forest is home to the intelligent Central American Spider Monkey and the rather less active Hoffmann’s two-toed sloth. Living primarily in the trees, this sloth sleeps for 15 to 18 hours each day, interrupted with short periods of activity during both the day and the night. It blends well into its surroundings, but can be spotted by an expert.