Close up to Chestnut Toucan in Drake Bay
Close up to Chestnut Toucan in Drake Bay

No matter where you travel in Costa Rica, it seems as though you´ll always find toucans living high in the trees. Although that's a bit of an exaggeration, toucans can be found in many national parks throughout the country. There are six different species (Channel Bill Toucan, Red Bill Toucan, Chestnut-Mandible Toucan, Toco Toucan, Bright-billed Toucans) that I´ve seen soaring through the trees and playing games with one another - you can see them flinging berries to each other! From the Pacific Slope to the Caribbean lowlands, you can spot one of these colorful birds.

Toucans are the most famous birds in Costa Rica - next to the parrot, of course. And what's so wonderful about these birds is that it is very common to see one or a group of these birds in flight. Although they are fairly tiny birds (and they look even smaller when so high up in the canopy!), their colorful beaks help humans spot them in the trees. For the most part, toucans are frugivores, meaning they primarily eat fruit, and they serve as an important resource for the tropical forests. For instance, many of the seeds that toucans eat pass through their body intact, which makes them responsible for tree growth!

Chestnut Mandibled Toucan standing on a branch
Chestnut Mandibled Toucan standing on a branch

Tortuguero National Park

A lot of travelers visit Costa Rica because of the extensive flora and fauna, and Tortuguero National Park is often at the top of the list for wildlife fans! You can get here by boat from the town of Moin, which is near Limon, Costa Rica. Home to the nesting site of the green sea turtle, Tortuguero is a truly magical place - I also have a lot of family that lives here! Travelers looking for the brightly colored beaks of toucans can find two species here - the chestnut-mandibled toucan and keel-billed toucan.

Keel Billed Toucan preparing to fly on forest
Keel Billed Toucan preparing to fly on forest

Cahuita National Park

Cahuita is a fairly small park in comparison to others in Costa Rica, but it features just as much biodiversity, so you're getting a lot of bang for your buck so to speak! It's not hard to get here, because it is close to the village of Cahuita and Puerto Viejo and most of the roads are fully developed. Here, you'll find three species of toucans - the keel-billed is the mascot of this park! Swainson toucans and chestnut-mandibled toucans live here too. Visitors can talk a walk along the 4.4-mile trail that goes from Kelly Creek Ranger Station to Puerto Vargas.

Travelers can also find toucans in Hitoy-Cerere Biological Reserve, La Selva Biological Station, Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve, Sirena Biological Station, Tortuguero National Park and Turrialba Volcano National Park.

Collared Aracari in Drake Bay Costa Rica
Collared Aracari in Drake Bay Costa Rica