Costa Rica is known for being an eco-friendly and sustainable destination. The things you can experience are unlimited! Of course, you are totally in your right to come just to lay down all day under the sun and sip a fresh Margarita or discover unknown beaches in order to find the perfect wave to catch but if you are an animal lover there are Animal Excursions you can experience here that you won’t do anywhere in the world.
There’s a lot to see in whatever part of this little fierce country you decide to stay.
HUMPBACK WHALE WATCHING
If you are on the Pacific Coast or want to drive until there, you can’t miss whales! Costa Rica is known to have the longest season of Humpback Whales in the world as it is the only place where they breed and have their babies. The best time is mid-July through October and the best place is the Drake Bay in the Osa Peninsula where you will be lucky to see mama whales with their babies and larger males groups busy chasing “the girls”, those old rascals! Nevertheless, you can spot them all over the Pacific coast from November through April.
JAGUAR RESCUE CENTER
Located in Puerto Viejo de Talamanca, this Jaguar Rescue Center was founded in 2008, and since then, they have rescued around 700 animals per year, 40% of them successfully released back in nature. Let’s be clear, despite the name, you won’t see any jaguar, but it’s a great chance to have a close look to sloths, monkeys, tropical birds, ocelots and to all those animals that are not so easy to spot in the wild, but most importantly, you’ll have the chance to support their cause.
Became famous thanks to Animal Planet and The Dodo, the Sloth Sanctuary is a must-see if you are in love with these cute peaceful animals. The place is located near Cahuita and has been doing a great job since 1997, in rescuing and rehabilitating sloths.
Unless you live in Florida, crocodiles are one of these predators that usually fascinate and scare at the same time. The Tarcoles River is the chance to see a whole bunch of these big reptiles all together in the wild. The amount of American crocodiles in this river is astounding. So much that this river is considered to have the highest population in the world! If you are heading to Jaco, Manuel Antonio, or the Osa Peninsula, then you are obliged to pass this bridge. Take a few minutes to stop, it’s worth it!
Since Costa Rica is known for being fulfilled with wildlife, there many animal excursions that you can do no matter where you are staying.
The term mariposario came from mariposa that is the Spanish name for butterfly and they are literally butterfly observatories. The mariposarios are magic places that you can find all over Costa Rica; The reason these places are so common is because the country host more than 1250 butterfly species and 8000 moth species.
TURTLE NEST WATCHING
Costa Rica is a sea turtle paradise. Whether you are staying on the Pacific or the Caribbean coast you can have a chance to witness this spectacular event. Even though turtles come all year round, the best chances are to be in the right place at the right time, so if you are a turtle-lover, make sure to plan ahead a little. If you are on the Pacific Coast, the perfect place is Playa Ostional between August and November while on the Caribbean coast, the Tortuguero area from mid-June to early November is a win-win.
TURTLE HATCH WATCHING
Watching turtles coming from the ocean to lay their eggs is one thing, witnessing a new baby turtle come to life is a totally whole new different experience! There are dozens of small turtle conservation projects along both coasts and most maintain a nursery. On the Pacific side you really need to be lucky since there are no schedules online and most of the reserves don’t have phones or call service. Unless you want to show up and tempt fate, it’s better if you ask around, locals are great for information. On the contrary, on the Caribbean side, starting in July and until October, baby turtles will show up frequently so you’ll have a very good chance to see them.
The most famous of the animal excursions! Every hotel, taxi driver, a dude in street, the tour operator will offer you the famous horseback riding. It’s a great excursion to spend time with your family while immersing yourself in nature and having the opportunity to reach those wild spots that you couldn’t reach by car or foot. Unfortunately, since it’s a common excursion, especially in those places full of tourists, there are many offering this service and it’s not uncommon to see people exploiting poor horses for profits without giving them the care they need. Just do us a favor, make sure that the one you pick is a respectful person and if you are not sure, just ask locals who’re the best in town, they’ll know for sure!
SNORKELING AND SCUBA DIVING
Costa Rica’s ocean territory is much larger than the country itself and includes a variety of scenarios, from vibrant coral reefs, flourishing atolls to volcanic rock formations, providing perfect spots for all different levels. The best diving places are Cocos Island and the Murcielago (bat) islands, both requiring intermediate to expert knowledge. Regarding the snorkeling, there are different points where you’ll be able to do it but we recommend lean on a tour operator or expert as it’s very difficult to find in Costa Rica a place exempt of waves and currents. Finally, snorkeling is often included as an option on sailing and catamaran tours, so you might want to consider it and kill two birds with one stone!
RESPECT THEM! We have the chance to cohabit the world with such precious gifts that nature gave us, so whatever you choose to do and to experience, always remember to respect the animals and their habitat, they deserve it!