The 5 Most Beautiful Butterfly You Can Admire on the Costa Rican Pacific Coast

There are butterflies everywhere in Costa Rica. This abundance and diversity bring extra life and beauty to the country’s forests and gardens. And Guanacaste is no exception. That’s why you won’t certainly be disappointed when you’ll visit our beach towns!

Butterflies and moths are essential to plants because of their role as flower pollinators. The National Biodiversity Institute (INBIO) has estimated that there are 16,000 butterfly and moth species in Costa Rica, around 18% of the world’s species, as well as 90% of the species that are found in Central America. Incredible!

These fascinating creatures may be enjoyed during any time of year, but they are most apparent in the rainy season, primarily June and July. Their beauty lies not just in the colors and designs of their wings but also in their amazing adaptations for survival and reproduction.

Here are the 5 most famous and beautiful butterflies you could be lucky to see while discovering the Pacific Gold Coast:

Blue Morpho

The stunning blue morpho is the most well-known rainforest butterfly. It can be frequently seen along forest trails, woodland streams in lowland and middle elevations of the Caribbean and Pacific slopes. It’s famous for its iridescent eyecatching blue wings, a characteristic trait that only males have. These butterflies are also one of the largest in the world, with a wingspan of 8 inches.

Owl Butterfly

Common to see in the lowland dry forests of Guanacaste, they are one of the largest species you can observe in Costa Rica. Owl butterflies are most active at dawn and dusk. They feed on rotting fruits such as mangoes, bananas, and pineapples. Their characteristics are giant spots on their wings that resemble owl eyes and are actually a defense strategy.

Cracker Butterfly

Very common all over Costa Rica, can be seen in Guanacaste during the rainy season. Their camouflage allows them to seem to disappear when they land on a tree trunk. What makes this butterfly special is the sound males do with their wings to chase away other butterflies or during courtship displays. The sound can be heard up to sixty feet away! Who knew butterflies could be so noisy?

Glass Wing Butterfly

This migratory species can be encountered in gardens around San Jose but also in forest openings of the Pacific area. As you can imagine, their very unique feature is its transparent wings that make it difficult for a predatory bird to track them in flight. Ingenious!

Malachite Butterfly

This is one of the most spotted butterflies you can find in Guanacaste. It loves sunny days! Its green patterned wings resemble stained glass, or the mineral malachite, which is what it was named after. In addition to visiting flowers, they have a diverse diet that includes decaying fruit, deceased animals and bat droppings, Yummy!

As already said, if you visit this amazing area during the rainy season, you will probably bump into them on the streets, in the gardens of your hotel or while doing a tour among forests and waterfalls. But if you want to be sure to see them all, or most of them, you can visit a Butterfly Observatoire (called in Spanish “mariposario”) where you can learn all about them.

 

Written by Deborah Freddo, executive assistant.

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