Costa Rica is teeming with exotic wildlife with lush rainforests populated with everything from exuberant monkeys to menacing crocodiles; sloths slinking in the shadows and jungle pathways misted with brightly patterned butterflies. Make sure you cast your gaze up to the treetops, though, because the country is also home to an incredible kaleidoscope of birdlife.
Bird watching in Costa Rica is a hugely popular activity and with over 850 species of birds crammed into such a small geographical area, it’s easy to see why. The diversity of birds is thanks to the varied habitats spanning the small country – the cloudforests of Monteverde; the verdant lowlands of the Osa Peninsula and the Talamanca Mountains, Central America’s tallest range, offer up everything from the elegant Jacamar to the striking yellow–chested Keel-billed Toucan.
The country’s most famous birds include the colorful Scarlet Macaw, a severely endangered species that are still rampant in the Carara National Park (an easy day trip from San Jose) and the equally rare Resplendent Quetzal, with its shimmering gold and jade plumage, are still abundant in Cerro de la Muerte or Monteverde.
Even if you don’t know your sparrows from your seagulls, you can’t fail to be mesmerized by some of the wild and wacky birds found lurking in the rainforests and swooping the coastline. How about the Umbrella Bird, whose jet black plumes sit atop his head like an umbrella; the ‘Snakebird’ whose long lithe neck dips into the waters in search of fish or the Laughing Falcon whose odd cry makes it sound like it’s chuckling away in the treetops?