The steel eyes of a Jaguar in Costa Rica
The steel eyes of a Jaguar in Costa Rica

Have you ever heard of Africa's Big Five? While I must admit I don't do a lot of traveling outside of my home country, I do know that these five creatures are Africa's most sought after for wildlife lovers. If you haven't been to Costa Rica yet, you may not know that the diversity of flora and fauna here is some of the best in the entire world! Hey I might be biased, but why don't you come to Costa Rica and find out for yourself?. No matter where you go here, you'll find animals that are truly amazing, but there are some that are much more sought-after than others. This is what has been called Costa Rica's Little Five. Let me be your virtual tour guide and all show you the best spots near your all inclusive Costa Rica resorts to find these creatures.

Jaguar

The jaguar is Costa Rica's largest feline and only large cat species. Unfortunately, the population continues to dwindle and it can be very hard to see these stunning animals in the wild. They are usually only found in forests and other protected areas because of their endangered status. Check out Rio Macho Forest Preserve and lower Cordillera Talamanca, Tortuguero National Park or Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve.

Amazing Quetzal with its wonderful colors
Amazing Quetzal with its wonderful colors

Resplendent Quetzal

These birds are considered to be one of the world's most beautiful, and if you get the chance to see one, you'll quickly know why! I've seen these guys floating around the canopy and especially in damp mountain forests, usually in elevations from 1,300 to 3,000 meters. They have long tail feathers and bright green coloring, so they can be hard to spot in the lush green forest. However, you will have the best luck at spotting one of these guys at Monteverde Cloud Forest Preserve, Braulio Carrillo National Park, Chirripo National Park or Poas Volcano National Park.

Baird's Tapir

A Baird's tapir is one of those animals that you know exactly what it is when you see it! It's got an anteater-like snout with a piggish body, and they are related to the rhino. This endangered creature is the largest indigenous terrestrial mammal in Central America, and they are sometimes quite hard to spot. You'll have the best chance in Santa Rosa National Park, Corcovado National Park and Rincon de la Vieja National Park.

Marine Turtles

If you follow my stories, you know that I just love turtles! Costa Rica features some of the most important nesting sites, like Tortuguero National Park, for these amazing sea creatures. Although they used to be hunted, sea turtles are protected as much as possible by national parks and refugees that understand their fragile state. Tortuguero is the place to visit if you want to view green turtles and leatherbacks, or you can head to Santa Rosa National Park.

Toucans

Toucans are one of my favorite aviary species because of their bright colors! Known for its massive beak and vibrant patterns, toucans are a must-see for Costa Rica travelers. They tend to reside in the lowland and highland west forests where they feed on fruits and nuts. You are likely to find toucans in Corcovado National Park, Irazu Volcano National Park or La Selva Biological Station.

Do you think that another animal deserves a spot on the list of Costa Rica's Little Five? Let me know your opinion because if I had it my way, all of the animals that live in Costa Rica could be on the list of must-sees!

Adult Male Tapir in Corcovado National Park
Adult Male Tapir in Corcovado National Park

The endangered Jaguar in Costa Rica
The endangered Jaguar in Costa Rica

Sea Turtle going back to sea
Sea Turtle going back to sea