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On land, in the air, and under the sea: Costa Rica surrounds you with exotic wildlife

It’s no secret that Costa Rica is rich with natural spectacle. Quite honestly, it’s tough to turn around and not come face to face with the country’s remarkable and diverse flora and fauna.

Costa Rica is one of the most biodiverse spots on the planet, with nearly 25 percent of the country dedicated to protected parks and sanctuaries – ranking as the highest percentage of protected land on earth.

And it’s among these sacred and precious spaces that you can experience and interact with Costa Rica’s wildlife with our exclusive Volunteer Tour programs. So, no matter if you’re on the land, in the air, or under the sea, you’ll discover once in a lifetime encounters with some of nature’s most remarkable creations.

Just take a look…

On the land

Costa Rica is renowned for its dense rain forests, which alone are home to over 100 different species of trees. And that’s just the trees. There are countless exotic flowers and plants scattered across the country, including heliconia, orchids, and epiphytes, as well as edible favorites like pineapples and coconuts.

These plants serve as home – and diner – for a host of spectacular land animals. Costa Rica claims four different types of monkeys, two species of sloths, and exotic residents like the white-nosed coati, tapir, anteaters, and tayra. And let’s not forget about the big cats: jaguars, pumas, and ocelots.

Beyond the mammals, visitors to Costa Rica’s rain forest will come upon close to 200 different types of amphibians and roughly 225 species of reptiles. The bulk of those creatures are either frogs or lizards, including such notables as the red-eyed tree frog and black iguana. Snakes are also prevalent in these forests, with 120 different types – including 20 venomous versions like the beautiful but dangerous coral snakes.

In the air

Just step outside and close your eyes, and you’ll instantly hear the lush abundance of birds living in Costa Rica. Nearly 900 different species have been recorded in the country and about 67 percent of those birds are permanent to Costa Rica, meaning they don’t migrate outside of the country.

You’ll discover birds as small as the scintillant hummingbird – which measures just 2.4 inches in length – or as large as the jabiru stork, which stands 60 inches tall and weighs in around 14 pounds. And of course, we can’t talk Costa Rica birds without mentioning the scarlet macaws – one of the most iconic birds in the world, with its red tip and tail broken up by vibrant patches of blue and yellow.

Not all things in the Cost Rican air are birds, however. Bats make up almost half of the country’s mammal population, ranging from the tiny Honduran white bat to the larger spectral bat, and – most infamous – the vampire bat.

Under the sea

Costa Rica’s ocean inlets, bays and coast line are dominated by diverse group of creatures and plant life. The most famous and perhaps most fragile resident in those waters are the five species of sea turtles that call the county home, including the gentle giant leatherback turtle which is the largest living turtle species on earth.

Fellow reptile, crocodiles, also prowl the fresh water rivers and salt water sea coast, with two species – the spectacled caiman and American crocodile – found in Costa Rica. The waters are also loaded with tropical fish and larger sport fish as well, such as various types of marlin and tuna. There are 14 species of sharks found off the coast which also offer habitat to rays and dolphins.

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