Costa Rica is a small country of Central America possessing exceptional flora and fauna : 6% of worldwide biodiversity are to be found on 0,03% of emerged surface. This diversity is due to this country’s geographical site between North and South America, favorable to animal movements as well as to its three very distinct climate areas : Caribbean Coast, humid and semi-swampy, Pacific Coast, drier, and central zone, with high relief and dry vegetation.
Costa Rica is to be classified among the 14 nations which placed more than 23% of their territory under protection (25,6% of National Parks or ecological reserves).
Moreover, this country, which banked everything on eco-tourism, decided to prohibit sporting hunting as well as zoos. For the first time, in a country, Man looses a little bit of his rights on life and death (and liberty) on wild animals.
For naturalists who like to walk and observe alone, the easy accessibility to forests is a major advantage. Indeed and contrary to many other tropical countries, to be accompanied by a guide is not mandatory and tracks are generally well maintained. Many forests, often still hudge and ancient, are private properties or belong to local peasant communities who count on tourism to preserve them.
Security, drinkable water, well maintained roads make the trip easy and pleasant in Costa Rica.
The other side of the coin of this little country’s success is mass tourism in certain places, particularly on the coasts.
Some National Parks tracks became real tourists motorways, which doesn’t prevent to observe fauna but charm mis broken…
Among the 900 bird species observable in the country, we saw around hald of them. We could have done much better in two months, but bectrotters are general naturalists and not monomaniac ornithologists.
We spent many nights looking for reptiles, batrachians and other nocturnal creatures which only go out at night in the tropics due to diurnal heat and better hunting conditions.
We were able to observe about twenty Ophidien species and a big amount of Anoures Batrachians, difficult to determine. Every forest has its specialities and it’s rare to return empty-handed from a nocturnal walk in Costa Rica.
One of our great joys was the observation of Dendrobates, a colored dream !
Special mention for the Fer-de-lance, the most common snake and one of the most impressive !
We observed many mammals of which the very seldom Tapir of Baird and the Tamandua of Mexico quite difficult to see. The felines, faithful to themselves, didn’t condescend to appear…
Visited regions :
-Arenal Volcano and Heliconias Rainforest Lodge (Red-eyed treefrog and other tropical beauties)
- Palo Verde National Park and Rancho Humo (Pacific coast dry forests and swamp)
- Tarcoles river and Carara National Park (American crocodile)
- Osa peninsula, Punta Marenco (dream beaches)
- Osa peninsula, La Tarde (our favorite place! Sloth and snakes)
- San Gerardo de Dota (Quetzal and magic mountain forests)
- El Copal biological reserve (Lots of Tangaras and very big Terciopelo)
- Cahuita National Park (tropical beaches, racoons and poison frogs)
- Selva Bananito (snakes portraits and few nice birds)
- Tortuguero National Park (little Amazonia)
- La Selva (biological station with an intense natural wealth)