Costa Rica, a landmass encompassing only 0.03% of the earth’s surface, contains 5% of earth’s biodiversity- a density that is unmatched anywhere else in the world. Excluding some arid (tropical dry forest) regions in Guanacaste Province, Costa Rica is green and lush the year round.
Around 27% of the country’s land area is in protected national parks and other various protected areas. Costa Rica has successfully managed to diminish deforestation and habitat destruction from some of the worst rates in the world from 1973 to 1989, to almost zero by 2005.
Corcovado National Park, is worldwide renowned among ecologists for its biodiversity (including big cats and tapirs). Here you can expect to see an abundance of wildlife. In Corcovado you will see all 4 Costa Rican monkey species, inncluding the white-faced-capuchin, the mantled howler, the endangered Geoffroy’s spider monkey and the squirrel monkey, found only on the Pacific coast of Costa Rica and a small part of Panama.
Tortuguero National Park on the Caribbean side is home to spider-, howler- and white-throated capuchin monkeys; the three-toed sloth and two-toed sloth; 320 species of birds; and many more reptiles. The park is recognized for the annual nesting of the endangered green turtle, and is the most important nesting site for the species giant leatherback, hawksbill, and loggerhead turtles.
Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve is home to about 2,000 plant species, including numerous orchids. Over 400 types of birds and more than 100 species of mammals can be found there.
Over 850 species of birds have been identified in Costa Rica. As is the case in much of Central America, the avian species in Costa Rica are a mix of North and South American species. The country’s abundant fruit trees, many of which bear fruit year round, are hugely important to the birds, some of whom survive on diets that consist only of one or two types of fruit. Some of the country’s most notable avian species include the Resplendent Quetzal, Scarlet Macaw, Three-wattled Bellbird, Bare-necked Umbrella-bird, and the Keel-billed Toucan. Costa Rica is a center of biological diversity for reptiles and amphibians, including the world’s fastest running lizard, the spiny-tailed iguana (Ctenosaura similis).