Costa Rica supports an enormous variety of wildlife, due in large part to its geographic position between the North and South American continents, its neotropical climate, and its wide variety of habitats. Costa Rica is home to more than 500,000 species, which represents nearly 4% of the total species estimated worldwide, making Costa Rica one of the 20 countries with the highest biodiversity in the world. Of these 500,000 species, a little more than 300,000 are insects.
The country is also home to 209 species of mammals, 383 types of reptiles and amphibians, about 2,000 species of butterflies and at least 4,500 different types of moths.
Mammals include four species of monkeys such as the frantic White-headed Capuchin and noisy Mantled Howlers; two species of sloths; the opportunistic White-nosed Coati; and the fierce predator, the Tayra.
Large lizards such as the striped basilisk, black iguana and green iguana are probably the country’s most regularly encountered reptiles; there are about 120 species of snakes of which about 20 are venomous snakes. The venomous snakes of Costa Rica are often observed without issue if given a respectful distance. Among turtles, 5 of the world’s 7 species of sea turtles nest on the nation’s beaches. Two crocodilians, the widespread Spectacled Caiman and the large, sometimes dangerous American Crocodile are found in Costa Rica .
There are more species of birds in Costa Rica than in Canada and the United States combined. Up to 2012 a total of 897 species were recorded in Costa Rica. More than 600 of the Costa Rican species are permanent residents, and upwards of 200 are migrants. Common species to Costa Rica are: Scarlet Macaws, Hummingbird, Yigüirros (Turdus grayi), this last one actually was declared national bird from the January 3, 1977, as a tribute to his powerful and melodious singing accompanying the entry of the rainy season.
Wildlife viewing is at the heart of ecotourism in Costa Rica!
Costa Rica is a really “think green” country, actually ranked one of the top five countries in the 2012 Environmental Performance Index (EPI ranking), a method of quantifying and numerically benchmarking the environmental performance of a country’s policies (developed by Yale University (Yale Center for Environmental Law and Policy) and Columbia University (Center for International Earth Science Information Network) in collaboration with the World Economic Forum and the Joint Research Centre of the European Commission) . The country is run by hydroelectric power in 80 percent of the country. Also, five percent of the world’s biodiversity is contained in this one country and a quarter of the nation is devoted to park preservation.
The people of Costa Rica are aware of the natural beauty of their country and of course they try to take care of their resources, Costa Rica has environmental several protection offices as The National System of Conservation Areas (SINAC), this entity integrally manages the conservation and sustainable management of wildlife, forestry, wildlife protected areas, watersheds and water systems, together with society actors, for welfare of current and future generations. SINAC has Protected Areas according to their geographic location, therefore we can find the country divided in 11 areas containing more that 60 institutions such as national parks, biological and forest reserves.
In the northwestern part of the country, in the Tempisque Conservation Area; which includes the Nicoya Pensinsula area you can find the Cabo Blanco Absolute Natural Reserve. With an area of 1270 hectares in the terrestrial and 1800 hectares in the sea, one kilometer from the coast towards the sea throughout the reserve, including the Cabo Blanco Island, was established on October 21, 1963 as the first protected wilderness in Costa Rica.