Visit a colorful butterfly farm

Outside the La Paz Butterfly Garden
Outside the La Paz Butterfly Garden

Visitors who want to experience the rich biodiversity of Costa Rica may be interested visiting a butterfly farm for a day trip.

Butterflies Galore

Costa Rica is home to a wide variety of insects, including approximately 1,250 species of butterflies and 8,000 species of moths. Common species include the thoas swallowtail, banded peacock, zebra longwing, morpho butterfly and the glasswing, which is famous for its unique translucent wings. You get to see a large number of butterfly species in the various butterfly farms in Costa Rica.

In addition to the large number of species, Costa Rica's butterflies intrigue visitors with their amazing evolutionary adaptations. For example, some swallowtail caterpillars avoid being eaten by imitating bird droppings, while others scare predators away with bright colors. Similarly, many moths mimic toxic butterflies, wasps and even leaves in an attempt to stay alive.

Butterflies and moths play a critical - albeit indirect - role in Costa Rica's growing ecotourism industry. Just as they bring color to the rainforest with their vibrant wings, they are important pollinators that are crucial to the spread of beautiful flowers, trees and other plants around the country.

Butterfly Farms all around Costa Rica

Travelers in Costa Rica can find many butterfly farms throughout the Costa Rica, including the first facility of its kind in Central America. A few of the popular butterfly gardens are centered around Poas Volcano as well as Monteverde. Other butterfly famrs include the La Guacima Butterfly Farm in the San Jose Highlands of Alajuela and the Arenal Botanical Gardens & Butterfly Farm as well as the Hacienda Baru National Wildlife Refuge on the Southern Pacific Coast of the country. There is even a butterfly farm in the province of Heredia where hikes from the Barva Volcano will take you to the butterfly farm nearby.

These farms typically center around lush tropical gardens, which can be home to up to 1,000 butterflies at a time. Visitors to these centers can witness the stunningly beautiful insects go through their brief life cycle as they feed, mate and lay eggs.

Located in the tropical rainforest of Braulio Carrillo and featuring the largest butterfly in the world, the La Paz Waterfall Gardens contains five spectacular waterfalls and an amazing butterfly garden. This splendid butterfly garden is a hanger-size cage where thousands of these winged beauties soar freely. The park also offers spectacular views from its various observation decks.

Another Butterfly Garden lies near Santa Elena in Monteverde and displays hundred of butterflies fluttering freely in the greenhouse. Also on the Central Pacific coast of Costa Rica is the Butterfly Botanical Garden at Fincas Naturales Wildlife Refuge in Manuel Antonio. A living laboratory of nature conservancy, it contains butterfly exhibits and reproduces the local butterfly species.

Guided butterfly tours allow you to learn about the evolution of these fascinating creatures and let you enter a whole new world. Different butterfly farms around Costa Rica also feature educational programs. Some of these programs emphasize learning about butterfly biology, including their myriad of defense mechanisms and the different kinds of plants on which they live. Others focus on conservation education, using the butterflies as a way to teach guests about the sustainable development of Costa Rica's natural resources.

People who visit a butterfly farm should make sure that they bring binoculars so they can get a better view of the butterflies and a camera so they can memorialize their visit.