Costa Rica Wildlife with Ethan

Our visit to Costa Rica has inspired me to write this blog about the Costa Rican wildlife you can see and where to spot it.  I hope you enjoy it!


Puerto Viejo

To start off our Costa Rican journey we went to the chilled out town of Puerto Viejo.

On our first day at the public beach we were waiting for the bus to take us to Cahuita National Park.  We went to the shoreline (near the rocks) to look for wildlife. While we were looking Jasper shouted ‘Octopus’ so we all ran over and there in the shallows was a reef octopus! 

All of us were astounded by the fact that this octopus has decided to come this close in shallow water. The octopus decided to go one step further and say Hi to mum by climbing out of the water and trying to latch itself onto her leg!

Then, we had another visitor – a stingray.  It was only little and was very well camouflaged but we were still very surprised to find so much in these shallows of the Caribbean coastline.  Then mum and I made a mad dash to get the GoPro so we could have some footage.

By the time we got back the Octopus had gone, but we had yet another visitor.  It was a vivid green Moray eel!

We hadn’t even started our day and I was already loving Puerto Viejo.


Cahuita National Park

Cahuita was a lovely place nice long walks across the coastline seeing animals along the way such as Howler monkeys, Racoons, Hermit crabs, Basilisk lizards, Iguanas we even saw a sloth and it was only a meter above us!


( there were Crocodile signs but luckily we didn’t see one, few.)

Jaguar Sanctuary

One morning we decided to go to the Jaguar Rescue Sanctuary.  The tour started at 9.30am, so we turned up at 9am to get tickets – it was very busy.   

We were all shuffled into a room and then parted into groups. While we were waiting there were lots of display cases showing different species of snakes.  I spotted a few of my favourites while I was waiting, such as coral snake, rattle snake and eyelash pit viper!


The tour started and we were taken to the monkey nursery.  This is where there were baby spider and howler monkeys being looked after by staff – it was very cute.  Our tour guide was really nice and gave us lots of information about the animals that lived here. As we moved on, we saw a wild boar walking across the area – at first I was shocked, but our guide explained that some of the animals are friendly and long term stayers can free roam.  

My favourite part of the whole experience was meeting the baby sloths.  One of them decided it was toilet time. The way he did it was the funniest thing ever.  He started to do what the guide called, a toilet dance. The baby sloth held onto the branch and started to wriggle his bottom around after a few seconds he stopped, closed his eyes, smiled and did a poo!

Manuel Antonio

We picked up a hire car in San Jose and went straight to the wildlife haven that is Manuel Antonio.

Manuel Antonio isn’t the nicest of places in Costa Rica because it’s become a tourist hotspot but it makes up for its animals, there is so much life in Manual that you wouldn’t believe it! In fact, from our hostel we spotted 2 sloths and 2 toucans!  Amazing!

On our first night (which was Hop tu naa) we went on a Night Tour in a private reserve near Manuel Antonio National Park (I would highly recommend it – we went with Manuel Tours).  Our guide picked us up at the hotel and took us to the beach so we could watch the sunset. It was great. After the sunset he took us through a pathway through the trees to the hotel.  On the way we saw loads of bullfrogs and 3 or 4 red eyed tree frogs and even 1 sloth!

Once we had our wellies on and our torches out we headed into the rainforest.  Just before the path Manuel said ‘Stop!’ and told us there was a wandering spider on the tree next to us!  So we looked up and there it was in all its glory.

Once we started our walk almost immediately we could hear the sounds of all the animals – it was crazy.  We saw a few quite a few things such as: Fer De Lance Viper Snake, deer, Tarantulas, basilisk and a Kinkajou. We had a great time.

We spent a day at Esprilla beach with 2 fellow travellers, Nikki and Scott.  They were so lovely and Scott had a surfboard and gave me some surf lessons on a fiberglass board.

The next day we visited Manuel Antonio National Park in the daytime.  It was lovely, but very crowded! We saw lots of white faced monkeys, iguanas and there were sloths nearby.  But we enjoyed the beaches more!

Playa Tamarindo

After Manuel Antonio we went back to San Jose to change to a 4WD car as we were heading to the mountains.  However, we changed our plans and went to Playa Tamarindo instead (which turned out to be a really good choice!).  We stayed at Botella de Leche (the bottle of milk) which was a really nice hostel, everyone was friendly and it had a pool.

One night we went out to watch the most amazing golden sunset!  Some of the girls from the hostel were going out for dinner – so we decided to join them.

One day we drove out to Playa Conchal.  It was a lovely beach with crystal clear waters and a reef on the right hand side.  Even out of the water we saw more wildlife like blue jays and big bushy tailed squirrels.

We got the chance to have another beach day and decided to hang around Tamarindo beach and do some surfing!


After Tamarindo we went up to the mountainous region of Monteverde – home of the cloud forest!  It was very wet and windy during out stay.  

If your going to monteverde to look for wildlife there is one bird that seems to be on everyone’s list, the Quetzal a vibrantly colored bird that is currently endangered and only lives in the cloud forests.

We sadly didn’t see one because the best season is from February to July when the avocado trees our ripe, but we really enjoyed the mystical cloud forest.

One thing we did enjoy in Monteverde was climbing the Ficus Tree (a fig tree) – it’s basically a hollow tree with vines that act like a ladder – check out our photos!

Rio Celeste

On our way to La Fortuna (our last stop in Costa Rica), we made a diversion to the Tenorio Volcano National Park, otherwise known as Rio Celeste.  This national park is known for having volcanic waters ranging from steely blue down to milky green. It only took around 2 hours to walk all the trails, but we saw some beautiful blue waters and a stunning waterfall.

It’s a nice alternative to Monteverde area if you don’t have much time.

La Fortuna

Home to the volcano, Arenal, La Fortuna is a town that has based itself around the eruptions which last occurred in October 2010.  We could still see steam rising from the volcano, but it’s no longer active.

We had one day in Arenal Observatory Lodge which was amazing.  We saw a toucan and had a really great view from the lodge to the volcano and the lake.  We were very lucky. The short walks around the area had lovely gardens with hummingbirds and exotic plants.  Our favourite bit was the watch tower where we stood above the canopy (about 20 metres high!). I was so nervous (as was mum!)

We also visited Termalitas del Arenal, hot pools.  We had heard of a free hot spring, but we decided that we would like to spend longer in the water and the price was only 3,500 (Around GBP 5 each).  It was a really good choice. The pools ranged from 22 to 42 degrees, although we don’t think they were thermic.

It was only a small place, but it was quiet – had BBQ’s and even had a small slide into a cooler pool.  We had a great day out.

Thanks for reading my blog I hope it will help your Costa Rica adventure! 

By Ethan.

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1 Response

  1. Narelle says:

    So informative Ethan! I’d like to go back to Costa Rica, because I didn’t get to see a sloth. So excited Rhianon and I got to feature in your blog, maybe we are famous now?

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