Costa Rica is renowned as an excellent destination for wildlife lovers. With an abundance of colourful and unusual creatures on land and water, as well as some of the world’s most progressive conservation policies, the small Central American nation offers a chance to see many memorable species in their natural habitat. Here are a few of the animals which a visitor of a typical Costa Rica holiday is likely to encounter:

There are over 50 species of hummingbird found in Costa Rica. These energetic flyers can eat more than their body weight in nectar every day.

Hummingbird. There are over 50 species of hummingbird found in Costa Rica. These energetic flyers can eat more than their body weight in nectar every day.

coati costa rica

Coati. Their strong front claws allow them to burrow into stumps and logs on the hunt for some of their favourite snacks: lizards and tarantulas.

Also known as the common basilisk, this lizard has earned its unusual name thanks to its ability to run on water for as far as 20 metres when being chased by prey.

Jesus Christ Lizard. Also known as the common basilisk, this lizard has earned its unusual name thanks to its ability to run on water for as far as 20 metres when being chased by prey.

Costa Rica is one of the world's best places for observing turtles. They are found on both the Caribbean and Pacific coasts, and there are well-developed conservation projects across the country.

Turtles. Costa Rica is one of the world’s best places for observing turtles. They are found on both the Caribbean and Pacific coasts, and there are well-developed conservation projects across the country.

toucan costa rica

Toucans. These colourful birds have distinctive banana-shaped beaks, which are used in a visually striking courtship ritual, where males and females throw berries to each other and catch them in their bills.

The word caiman in Spanish means crocodile, and the ones in Costa Rica are a smaller version of their African and Australian cousins, measuring around 6 feet in length.  They are experts in hiding in vegetation floating in rivers and streams.

Caiman. The word caiman in Spanish means crocodile, and the ones in Costa Rica are a smaller version of their African and Australian cousins, measuring around 6 feet in length. They are experts in hiding in vegetation floating in rivers and streams.

Green Iguana. These are Central America's largest lizards, and can grow up to 6 foot in length.  They prefer to live and feed in the rainforest canopy, and it is said that they can survive a fall from a tree of around 50 feet without any drama.

Green Iguana. These are Central America’s largest lizards, and can grow up to 6 foot in length. They prefer to live and feed in the rainforest canopy, and it is said that they can survive a fall from a tree of as high as 50 feet without any injury.