Behold nature's emeralds when you explore Costa Rica rainforests. Tropical rainforests in Costa Rica are often referred to as “the jewels of the Earth,” and it is easy to see why. Arenal volcano looms over the luscious foliage of La Fortuna's neighbouring forests. Tortuguero is a nesting sanctuary for the delicate eggs of turtles. Adventurous travellers can peer through the verdant trees and bushes lining the banks of the Caño Negro wetlands during a floating safari.
Whether your Costa Rica rainforest tour has you zip lining through a canopy, getting a bird's-eye view from a suspension bridge, or carefully navigating on the ground there will be plenty for you to see. Costa Rica's rainforest animals make up two-thirds of all living animal and plant species on the planet. If you go on a tour with a local naturalist guide, your Costa Rica rainforest excursions will be even more informative, as your guide will be able to teach you about the plants you’re seeing and help you find the hiding spots of the forest’s animals.
If you just can't get enough of nature, you can top off your experience by staying at one of Costa Rica's rainforest lodges, making your getaway a true ecotour. Discover all of the beauty and magic of nature when you book your one of a kind rainforest vacation with the help of this list.
#1: Rainforests, Sloths, Monkeys, Ocean Views, Beach...Yes Manuel Antonio is Stunning
Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica is famous for its beaches, but it's also the home of remarkably beautiful rainforests. You would be remiss if you didn't visit the Manuel Antonio National Park, at 1,700 acres of land (683 terrestrial hectares) and 136,000 acres of ocean (55,000 marine hectares), it beautifully preserves both Pacific coastline and forest
Making your way through Manuel Antonio's rainforests is a treat! You can see all four types of monkey (spider, howler, white-faced capuchin, and squirrel). You'll also have a chance to see sloths and anteaters (ant bears). If you're an avid birdwatcher, prepare to break out your binoculars — 184 species are known to roam the forests.
Spotting wildlife is great, but what if you want a more rugged adventure? Well, you'll have a great time going on hikes; if you go with a naturalist guide, you'll be able to learn about all of the flora and fauna you may be passing along the way. For a wet and wild adventure, kayak through dense mangroves, or rappel down waterfalls there are dozens of exciting tours in Manuel Antonio. When it's time to retire after a day of adventure, you can fall asleep to the sounds of the rainforest when you stay in a resort or eco lodge situated in the heart of the jungle.
#2: Pristine Rainforest & Beaches of Drake Bay and the Osa Peninsula
Visiting Drake Bay, Costa Rica and skipping the rainforest is an outright travesty. The region is the home of Corcovado National ParkAt 103,290 acres (41,800 ha), this park is arguably the country's most impressive protected environment. Who needs to go to the zoo when you can go on a tour led by a friendly naturalist guide?
In Drake Bay, howler monkeys and tropical birds help you welcome the morning when you step out onto the balcony of your ecolodge. Anteaters (also known as ant bears) feed in their natural habitat, and sloths are literally hanging out. Rainforest treks are a rugged adventure, but they're well worth it when you spot enough birds and butterflies to make even the most experienced birdwatcher or entomologist envious. This is a great opportunity to do some wildlife photography or sketching!
The best part about exploring Drake Bay is that you can immerse yourself in luscious rainforests, and still enjoy a beach getaway. Located on Costa Rica's exquisite Osa Peninsula, Drake Bay is the perfect combination of emerald forests and sapphire seas.
#3: In Tortuguero, Your Neighbors Are The Animals of The Rainforest
There are so many rainforests to choose from in Costa Rica, so what makes Tortuguero extra special? Though the region takes its name from being an important nesting ground for turtles ('Tortuguero' translates as 'region of turtles'), these aren't the only animals to call this vibrant area home. The rainforests are absolutely teeming with a variety of flora and fauna, and if you go on tour with a naturalist guide, you'll discover just how amazing everything you're seeing is.
Listen to the mantled howler monkey screech from behind the leaves of emerald trees. Watch for the emerald and turquoise plumage of the great green macaw flying overhead. If you venture to the parts of the forest that merge with marshy swamps, you might be able to spot green herons and spectacled caimans. Tread lightly, peek carefully, and you may be able to find a blue-jeans frog (also known as the strawberry poison-dart frog) — these little creatures prefer undisturbed areas.
The sounds of the rainforest can help you greet each day and lull you to sleep in the evening when you stay in one of the region's popular and rustic lodges. For an extra special treat, choose accommodations situated near Tortuguero National Park — 46,815 acres (18,946 ha) of natural beauty, which includes rainforests, swamps, and coastline.
The overwhelming beauty of the rainforest of waiting for you when you book your Costa Rica rainforest vacation in the verdant region of Tortuguero.
#4: Off The Beaten Path Rivers & Rainforests of Sarapiqui
Sarapiquí offers a slice of small-town life in the middle of a landscape that offers some of Costa Rica's most intense rainforest adventures. It's right between Braulio Carrillo National Park and La Selva Verde Biological Station, both stunning sections of rainforest with well-maintained trails. A variety of activities are easily accessible and nearby for those visitors that make Sarapiqui their base for a few days.
Both parks offer the opportunity to see over 400 species of bird, half of the mammal species in Costa Rica, and the iridescent butterflies. La Selva Verde is the smaller of the two, with 31 miles (50 km) of trail through undisturbed nature. Braulio Carrillo makes an indelible impression with its volcanic peaks and the enormous San Fernando Waterfall. As you walk through these parks, there's a good chance a tapir, an armadillo, or a peccary will cross your path.
The area is rather spread out and offers a nice variety of eco lodge style accommodation where the surrounding plant and animal life takes center stage. Experience this environment at a rapid pace on a rafting excursion down the Sarapiqui River. One of Costa Rica's premier rivers with sections of water that are calm and others that are class IV & V and only for experts.