Costa Rica's Wonderful Wildlife

by Scott Setterberg August 29, 2019

Costa Rica's Wonderful Wildlife

Always searching for new ways to provide great content, I realized that I haven't yet created a blog post specifically discussing the exotic wildlife that we photograph on our all-inclusive Costa Rica photo tours. 

Costa Rica is an incredibly diverse country with hundreds of species of wildlife and no photography tour would be complete without opportunities to photograph some of the gorgeous creatures that thrive throughout the tropical paradise. 

Chestnut-Mandibled Toucan, Costa Rica
The Colors of Costa Rica photo tour begins at La Paz Waterfall Gardens and I've written extensively about that location and the incredible animal sanctuary on its grounds.  Some of the amazing creatures you'll photograph at La Paz include gorgeous blue morpho butterflies, chestnut-mandibled toucans (pictured above), scarlet macaws, and red-eyed tree frogs (pictured below).

Red-Eyed Tree Frog in Costa Rica
There are also enclosures with white-faced monkeys, spider monkeys, jaguars, pumas (pictured below), ocelots, and a variety of snakes.

Pumas in Costa RicaDeep in Costa Rica's expansive Central Valley, another location where we've photographed wildlife is Bajos del Toro.  On one photo tour, several howler monkeys entertained us with acrobatics, swinging between vines and trees on the trail to the bottom of the towering 300' tall waterfall.

Howler Monkey in Bajos del Toro, Costa Rica
At the main entrance of Bajos del Toro, and throughout the gardens filled with beautiful tropical flowers, hummingbirds zoom around without fear of people.  We explore Bajos del Toro on the Costa Rica Landscapes and Colors of Costa Rica photo tours.

Hummingbird in Costa Rica
La Fortuna is featured on the Colors of Costa Rica and Pura Vida Costa Rica photo tours, and although it is primarily known for stunning views of the iconic cone-shaped Arenal Volcano and jaw-dropping waterfall, La Fortuna also hosts a wide variety of incredible wildlife.  On several photo tours we've encountered packs of ring-tailed coatis (pictured below), and these friendly creatures combine the face of a racoon, snout of an anteater, and long tail of a monkey. 

Rind-Tailed Coatis
On both the Pura Vida Costa Rica and Colors of Costa Rica photo tours, we visit a private farm in La Fortuna with strawberry poison dart frogs (pictured below). These vivid frogs are also known as blue jean ranas (Spanish for frogs) due to their reddish orange torsos and dark blue back legs that resemble blue jeans to those with creative imaginations.  These little guys are only 3/4" long, secrete venom through their skin, and their bright colors warn predators to stay away. 

Poison Dart Frog in Costa Rica
Tenorio Volcano National Park is home to the fantastic Rio Celeste, and while it's mostly known for the magnificent turquoise water and stunning waterfall, we've also photographed three-toe sloths there, clinging to their tree top perches high above the water.  

Sloth in Costa Rica
Along with sloths, we've also had opportunities to photograph snakes at Rio Celeste, and the venomous baby eyelash viper shown below was found sleeping on a leaf by my Costa Rican nature guide.  We explore Rio Celeste on the Pura Vida Costa Rica and Colors of Costa Rica photo tours.

Eyelash Viper
Although wildlife is a bit more scarce in the dry northwest region of Guanacaste, blue morpho butterflies are still plentiful, and this beauty pictured below was photographed in Rincón de la Vieja Volcano National Park.

Blue Morpho Butterfly in Costa Rica
Iguanas also thrive in Guanacaste's hot climate and I photographed this one at Hacienda Guachipelin.  We explore Guanacaste on the Pura Vida Costa Rica photo tour.

So now you have a taste of some of the wildlife you can expect to see and photograph on our Costa Rica Photo Tours.  Of course, each tour is different and we never know what animal surprises we might encounter, but this is a good mix of certainties and a few possibilities. 

For a complete listing of all photo tours with dates, itineraries, and more photos, click the link above, choose which tour works best for you, and book your spot today!


Scott Setterberg
Scott Setterberg