Guide to Costa Rica: Biodiversity |

Guide to Costa Rica: Biodiversity

Costa Rica is a tiny country covering only 19,560 square miles which is around 0.03% of the Earth´s surface.

However, it is home to an astonishing range of plants and animal life equivalent to approximately 6% of the world’s biodiversity.

This means that it punches roughly 200 times its weight in the biodiversity stakes.

Costa Rica features greater biodiversity than Europe or North America.

This abundance of wildlife is partly due the country’s geographical position on a land bridge between North America and South America and its environmental protection policies.

Costa Rica’s enormous diversity attracts hundreds of scientists from all over the world.


The country’s rainforests are complex biological communities were a usual hectare might house nearly 100 species of trees.

They are habitat for more than 9,000 recorded species of plants including 1,500 species of orchids.


Over 850 species of birds fly over Costa Rica’s rainforests, far more than have been seen in North America, Europe or Australia: 50 species of hummingbirds, 15 parrots (including the exotic scarlet macaw), six toucan species, 45 tanagers, 29 antbirds and resplendent quetzals, with its shimmering green plumage, among others.


More than 200 mammal species have been recorded in Costa Rica: monkeys like howler, spider, white-faced capuchin and squirrel monkey, sloths, anteaters, armadillos, agoutis, coatis, peccaries (wild pigs), kinkajous, raccoons, squirrels and bats as well as endangered species like jaguars and tapirs.


Flitting around Costa Rica are more than 2,000 species of butterflies (10% of the world’s butterfly species). One of the most breathtaking is the huge morpho, an electric blue butterfly that you will occasionally watch during sunny days floating over the rivers.


Costa Rica is habitat to approximately 150 species of amphibians, some of which are extremely colorful and exotic like red eye leaf frog, the spotted-thighed poison frog and the strawberry poison-arrow frogs.


Over 200 species of reptiles live in Costa Rica, snakes, lizards, crocodiles and 14 turtle species including the Huge Leatherbacks, Olive Ridleys, Loggerhead and the Hawksbill.

Ready to explore for yourself?

Discover Costa Rica on a Pura Aventura trip! A cloudforest one minute, the tropics the next – Costa Rica has ecological diversity unlike any other. It has head turning wildlife literally everywhere, from humming birds over breakfast to sea turtles at night. But we also love Costa Rica for being just such fantastic fun…

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