Discovering exotic wildlife in Costa Rica

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Costa Rica is bursting with exotic, varied wildlife and locations to explore. The Scarlet Macaw is a native resident of the country, with its stunning red, blue and yellow plumage as well as the red eyed tree frog and the adorable three toed sloth. It’s the perfect place for the family of intrepid explorers, looking to get up close and personal with some of these creatures and experience a whole new meaning to the term ‘wild side’ while on their travels.

There are numerous destinations within the country to enjoy Costa Rican wildlife – for many simply sitting on a hotel balcony will offer this luxury, but here are the three best places to plan a visit to:

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Foundation Jaguar Rescue Centre

If you want to see beautiful big cats up close, then this is a must visit destination. Located in Puerto Viejo de Talamanca, the animals residing in the centre are in transition or there for rehabilitation purposes. As well as jaguars, the centre is home to sloths, tiny frogs, wild birds, deers and small monkeys so there’s a real variety to enjoy during your visit.

Your entry fee goes straight to the foundation, to ensure they can continue their work caring for and nursing these animals back to full health and those working there are volunteers, giving up their time for the cause.

Tortuguero Wildlife Tour

If you fancy travelling to see animals up close and personal in their natural environment, then this tour might just be for you. Taking place on the Caribbean coast you could get a glimpse of a leatherback turtle, water birds, monkeys, iguanas and sloths as you travel on the coastline and along the canal nearby. It is a private tour service with knowledgeable guides, perfect for those who don’t fancy climbing on a crowded tour boat or coach.

Gandoca Manzanillo Wildlife Refuge

Located close to the town of Manzanillo, this tour allows you to hike through the refuge and experience the wildlife up close but it is recommended you hire a guide to take you and point out the animals along the way. There is also a beach within the refuge, where you can stop to snorkel and swim in the sea to experience the fascinating marine life living along the shoreline.

Some tips before you go exploring:

  • Remember, some animals in Costa Rica are very dangerous. These mainly consist of snakes and crocodiles but there are also some big cats in the country to be aware of.
  • Book a guide, not only will you not get lost if you are navigating a large area by yourself but they’re also much better at spotting animals in trees and in the distance and can also teach you some fun facts along the way.
  • Shake out your shoes to avoid a bite from the Brazilian wandering spider, who enjoys spending time in warm, dark spaces.
  • Avoid tourist buses to reach your destinations. While the local buses are slower they are much more reasonably priced – plus, you get to enjoy an authentic local experience!

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