What made Costa Rica so extraordinary was the abundance of wild animals residing in nature. It is phenomenal that Costa Rica takes up only 0.05% of the land mass on earth and yet it contains 5% of all the biodiversity on the planet! I jokingly said to my husband that in some areas, there might be more monkeys than people!
On my “to-see” list was the sloth. That was the one creature that fascinates me for its always-happy-go-lucky look and for its notoriously slow movement! I made it known to our guides that was the one creature I wanted to see while I was in Costa Rica. To be fair, on all excursions, there would be another like-minded tourist. Can you blame us, especially, after seeing this?
We saw our first sloth HIGH up on the canopy at Tortuguero National Park, while on the boat in one of the canals. Sloths live on the tree (more correctly: hangs upside down) and spend 18-20 hours sleeping. The only time it comes down from the trees is when it needs to poop, which due to its slow metabolism, is every 10-14 days. It made sense to spot the three-toed sloth on the tree. BUT, it was not the best viewing experience!
Thankfully, at the later part of our trip, at Manual Antonio National Park, our guide had a super magnifying binocular. We were able to observe closely of both three-toed sloth and two-toed sloth. In Manual Antonio National Park, there were definitely more wild life than human. This was the best video:
Not on my list, but equally as fun to see was the red-eyed tree frog. We did not plan to visit Arenal Natura Ecological Park but fate brought us to see this wonderfully colorful little fella. We lucked out that day because of the rainy, humid condition that this little fella came out and we were able to see it in person and hold it. There weren’t too many tourists that day so the guide was able to spend more time and let us look at him closely. It was the most colorful animal I’ve seen!
You’d think with all the strong colors, it might be poisonous. It turned out that the colors were just faking it to scare its predators. The colors were used as a “woah” factor so that the predators would be stump for a moment or two to allow the frog to escape. It was the coolest combination of color and sensation to hold it. The gelatin-like legs were giving me all sorts of weird sensation when I held it!
The last two stars were very funny in their behavior. At Manual Antonio National Park, the beach was gorgeous and it was tended by two animals that marveled us: the white-faced monkeys and the raccoons. The jungle that borders next to the pristine beach is filled with the white-faced monkeys. They were not afraid of the tourists, instead they were waiting for the right moments to steal your bags away! They apparently liked the cookies very much. In fact, when our guides took out the pineapple (which did not interest the monkeys) and other food, we were quickly encircled by monkeys. It seemed like the monkeys were come in groups and few would distract the tourists to take photos and videos and all of a sudden, there would be another one that stealthily take the cookies!
The raccoons were just as funny. There was a family of three raccoons constantly “patrolling” the beaches. We kept seeing them going back and forth and preyed on unsuspecting tourists! It was the most hilarious thing we’ve seen, ON A BEACH!
All in all, there were many awesome animals that completed and utterly surprised us. It was definitely the highlight of Costa Rica – the natural wonder that it contains!