Literally meaning ‘rich coast’ in Spanish, Costa Rica has a wealth of natural diversity and wildlife, making it one of the most bio-diverse places on earth. Rainforests, mangrove swamps, cloud forests, beaches
, coral reefs and a plethora of plant and animal life make this tiny Latin American country the place to be, especially if you are an avid nature lover or naturalist.
Home to 5% of the World's Biodiversity
Abound with the most stunning array of wild, tropical and exotic flora & fauna, Costa Rica is home to around 5% of the world’s biodiversity. What this means is that the number of wildlife species per 10,000 sq km here is 615. This fact alone shows the spectacular natural splendor that Costa Rica has to offer. With a total of 1,077,308 hectares or 25% of the country being made protected areas, Costa Rica has 26 protected forests, 20 national parks, 9 forest reserves, 8 wildlife refuges, 7 wildlife sanctuaries
and 1 national archaeological monument.
Today it is estimated that there are over 10,000 plants and trees scattered all across the Costa Rican countryside including more than 1,200 species of orchids. And with over 35,000 species of insects, 160 species of amphibians, 220 species of reptiles, 850 species of birds and 205 species of mammals, this gorgeous country covers a range of ecological habitats. It is also because of this very rich diversity that Costa Rica was made the headquarters of the world ‘Earth Council’ in 1992.
Multitude of Ecosystems
At the moment there are 12 ecosystems in the country including, tropical wetlands, primary dry forests and tidal mangrove swamps. Costa Rica is also home to a number of rare and endangered plant and animal species as well. Leatherback, hawksbill, olive ridley and green sea turtles, resplendent quetzals, fer-de-lance vipers, scarlet macaws
and the West Indian manatee are just some of the many wildlife species here that are in danger of dying out.
The best way to take the in lush beauty of Costa Rica is to go on an eco-tourism vacation
. Hire a good local guide especially if you enjoy hiking or kayaking so that you do not get lost amid the dense vegetation. Local guides will not only help you to identify the indigenous flora & fauna around you, but they can protect you from the many dangers that lurk in the forests such as the colorful but very poisonous dart frog or the camouflaged bushmaster snake.