National Geographic Expeditions offer adventure travel with our range of small group and private tours, small ship expedition cruises, river and private jet adventures. During flight, the blue morphos switch from blue to brownish hues to confuse predators. There are the nimble spider monkeys (of the Ateles genus), who effortlessly swing their way around with their lanky limbs and extraordinarily long tails. You’ll also find pumas (Puma concolor) in Corcovado National Park and Santa Rosa National Park. From August to October, you’ll also find humpbacks breeding and birthing in the balmy waters close to the shore. Zebra tarantulas (Aphonopelma seemanni) live in large clusters, scurrying around scrublands in the Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve, Guanacaste National Park and Corcovado National Park. Partnering with Osa Conservation and the University of Costa Rica, the Pristine Seas team conducted a scientific expedition to explore and document the unique and diverse marine ecosystems around the Osa Peninsula.. With the In-depth Cultural tour Explore Costa Rica National Geographic Journeys, you have a 14 days tour package taking you through San Jose, Costa Rica and 7 other destinations in Costa Rica. A warm and interesting documentary about Costa Rica, and how it is one of the only countries in the world to be reversing the effects of climate change and deforestation. National Geographic’s latest travel stories about Costa Rica Find out how rescuers managed to reunite a lost baby three-toed sloth found crying on a Costa Rica beach with its mother. There are thought to be around 1,300 species of orchid shooting up around Costa Rica’s rainforests, some with heady scents, others with enormous petals. Today the quetzal population is threatened, so sadly they’re difficult to spot. Santiago Fernández Benedetto’s recipe puts a fine-dining twist on a dish that started out as ceviche spooned into bags of tortilla chips. Find them suspended in caves in Corcovado National Park, Puerto Viejo de Sarapiqui, Monteverde, San José and along the Cerro de la Muerte. At the time, the … It’s on these beaches you can head out on after-dusk tours to witness hatching turtles making a break for it across the sands, from the protected beaches of Las Baulas Marine Park and Playa Caletas in the Ostional National Wildlife Refuge, to the Gandoca-Manzanillo Wildlife Refuge on the Caribbean coast. Watch your step. Thought to be highly intelligent, these remarkable animals ‘see’ with sonar and can decipher metal, plastic or wood from up to 30 metres away. The sprawling stretch of land in northern Guanacaste is where you’ll find some of the country’s purest pleasures: rolling white-sand beaches and tropical dry forests. They may look pretty — with their colourful plumage and bold, blue tail that swings from side to side — but blue-crowned motmots are fierce, too, and can ingest poison dart frogs without so much as a hiccup. Growing up to 2.2 metres in length and tipping the scales at 1,200lb, these creatures can live for up to 80 years, migrating across the seas, and returning to Costa Rica’s shorelines without fail between October to March to lay their eggs. Floating in Costa Rica’s clear waters or reefs should be on your must-do list, with kaleidoscopic marine life to spot at every turn. These nocturnal hunters drink the blood of sleeping cattle and horses, and although they don’t kill their prey, they do leave nasty bites. From the smallest invertebrates to the leviathans of the ocean, this A-Z highlights just some of the species that call Costa Rica home. Look to Tortuguero National Park from July to October, when green turtles (Chelonia mydas) arrive en masse (around 22,500 females every season) to lay their eggs. You’ll also find several species of howler monkey (Alouatta palliata), whose yelps and grunts can be heard from three miles away. You can catch sight of some of Costa Rica’s 50-or-so hummingbird species in the Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve, fluttering between orchids and ferns towards the cool, mist-swirled canopy. The tree-dwelling lesser anteater (Tamandua tetradactyla), on the other hand, is the most common, which uses its keen sense of smell to devour up to 10,000 ants in a single day using its long, sticky tongue that grows up to 40cm. It’s along the Caribbean side you’ll find frolicking bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus), a highly intelligent and inquisitive species. In September 2009, Pristine Seas founder Enric Sala and National Geographic Explorer-in-Residence Sylvia Earle led a team to Cocos to study its pristine ecosystems, including the unexplored Las Gemelas (“twin sisters”) seamounts. Explore the canals of Tortuguero, hike the Santa Elena Cloud Reserve, and take a guided wildlife walk on a 14-day Costa Rica tour. You’ll also find the delicate white-petalled Brassavola nodosa, or ‘lady of the night’ — whose citrus-like scent wafts around beaches as dusk approaches. If you were to cross a horse, an elephant and a rhino, the peculiar-looking offspring might resemble a tapir, one of the largest land mammals in Central America, with a trunk-like nose, long lashes and leathery skin. This thriving wildlife paradise incorporates a range of habitats, including cloud forests, mangroves, coastlines and coral reefs. But it isn’t just any shoreline they’ll use; turtles return to their birth beach using the Earth’s magnetic field to guide them home. National Geographic Traveller (UK) has teamed up with TUI Tours to offer a trip of a lifetime to Costa Rica, Aching muscles, fatigue and mosquito bites are a price worth paying on a cycle tour of Costa Rica’s Pacific coast. And the thing about sloths is they’re not in a hurry: spot one of these treetop-living creatures and you can stare at it for some time — these sluggish beasts sleep for up to 20 hours a day. It’s possible you’ll catch them performing comedic battles by hurling foliage at one another, and playfully duelling with their beaks. Add a visit to the Quetzal National Park, a legendary refuge for the birds, sitting along the high-altitude Talamanca mountain range. Search for these solitary creatures close to water or nearby trees in Barra Honda National Park, Santa Rosa National Park From here catch a boat trip for your chance to see these mammals as it’s illegal to swim with wild dolphins in Costa Rica. Sitting motionless for much of the day with eyes shut, the frogs flash their eyes and feet when they sense a predator is close, startling the hunter and giving themselves time to make a quick getaway. It is bordered by Nicaragua to the north and Panama to the south. With vultures circling overhead and rapids determined to get you in the water, tackling the Sarapiqui River on a raft is a veritable adventure. Their venom is highly toxic — so much so that ancient indigenous hunters smeared their arrows with the frogs’ toxins to kill prey. Find them in the treetops in Santa Rosa National Park, Corcovado National Park, Tortuguero National Park and the Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve. Spot them in the lowland rainforests of Tortuguero National Park and in the cooler regions of the Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve. One of the country's leading chefs explains how he makes it his mission to source local. My family and I — ten of us ranging in age from 10 to 78 years old — just returned from a week long Panama Canal and Costa Rica cruise with National Geographic/Linblad Expeditions on board the NatGeo Quest. There’s Xylobium elongatum, a rainforest-dwelling plant with spiked petals that bloom mostly November to December. This thriving wildlife paradise incorporates a range of habitats, including cloud forests, mangroves, coastlines and coral reefs. In the forests that surround Puerto Viejo, strawberry poison dart frogs (Oophaga pumilio) hop about in the undergrowth and hunt for ants and mites. Explore Costa Rica’s national parks and reserves on a journey from mist-shrouded cloud forests to volcanic landscapes and coastal jungles. Celedonia Tellez doesn’t recall the year she moved to the Osa Peninsula, or exactly how old she was, but she remembers well why she came: free land. They offer more inclusions compared to other G Adventures Travel Styles, greater hands-on exploration, interactions with local experts, and the freedom to roam, all within the structure and security of travelling in a small group. They may not look tenacious, but these tough little beasts can lug leaves up to 20 times their body weight, ferrying them back to their nest where they decay to a fungus that the ants feed on in their underground chambers. The green-crowned brilliant (Heliodoxa jacula) grows to around 13cm in length and can be found fluttering around the Caribbean slopes at altitudes of 3,000 to 6,500ft. With the guidance of dynamic trip leaders and top National Geographic experts, students explore their interests, build new skills, and experience new landscapes and cultures firsthand. Spot the eyelash viper and make a sharp getaway. National Geographic Traveller (UK) © Partner content for the Costa Rica Tourism Board, SubscribePrivacy Policy(UPDATED)Terms of ServiceCookie PolicyPolicies & ProceduresContact InformationWhere to WatchConsent ManagementCookie Settings. CLOSED: Win an incredible 14-night adventure to Costa Rica, Forging new culinary traditions in San José, Costa Rica, How to make it: Santiago Fernández Benedetto's fish caldosa recipe, How farm-to-fork is a way of life in Costa Rica, Why Costa Rica is one of the true coffee capitals of the world, Rescuers Reunite Baby Sloth and Mom Using Audio Recordings, Sloth attempts the slowest cafe heist going in search of a midnight snack. Costa Rica is a land of serene and untouched jungles, thriving with wildlife and an abundance of rare and spectacular flora and fauna.Discover the remarkable biodiversity that thrives here during excursions into the heard of the jungle. Costa Rica: A Little Piece of Paradise | National Geographic Spot one of these largely nocturnal creatures in the wild and you’d be incredibly lucky. Catching sight of these stripy creatures in their homeland is a thrilling experience. Costa Rica’s shores are renowned hatching grounds for four different species, including leatherbacks (Dermochelys coriacea), the giants of the turtle world. Biologists believe that white-faced capuchins (Cebus imitator) are the most intelligent of the New World monkeys. These vibrant birds are a monogamous bunch, pairing with lifelong partners with whom they share food and preen plumage, often passing away within months of each other. On the other end of the scale are the almost transparent glasswing butterflies (Greta oto). Found only in Costa Rica and Panama, the tiny scintillant hummingbird (Selasphorus scintilla, one of the world’s smallest birds measuring around 6.5cm in length) is a solitary bird that drinks nectar and reaches speeds of 34mph. Credit: Lankester Botanical Garden, University of Costa Rica. Playa Pavones and the Castle of Costa Rica hotel restaurant, also known as Castillo De Pavones, is one of the most unique hotels to … Their sleepy nature has evolved to help conserve energy; with incredibly slow digestive systems, sloths take up to two weeks to fully digest a meal. The vipers favour waterside living and have been spotted in Tortuguero National Park, the southern Caribbean, Arenal and La Fortuna. For some of the world’s best whale-watching, head to the Pacific Coast, or more specifically to the Osa Peninsula (for the longest humpback whale-watching season in the world at Drake Bay), or the protected waters of Marino Ballena National Park. Hiding out in Corcovado National Park, Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve and Santa Rosa National Park is the small margay (Leopardus wiedii). Inquisitive creatures, they have sharp claws for digging and clambering up trees, and long, flexible snouts for sniffing out small rodents, lizards and fruit from deep within crevices. If you're looking for the elusive quetzal deep in Costa Rica's Monteverde Cloud Forest, you'll need luck on your side. Incredibly elusive, the ocelot (Leopardus pardalis) is distinguished by its unique coat pattern and large feet. With its bright yellow breast and blue upper plumage, the dinky yellow-crowned euphonia (Euphonia luteicapilla, measuring 8-9cm in length) is a Central American finch that flits around shrubby regions and savannahs, where it nibbles on mistletoe berries. The female will occasionally eat its mate after reaping the sperm from his pincers. Why the large feet? Costa Rica is home to over 100 bat species, including all three species of vampire bat. Then there’s La Guaria Morada (Guarianthe skinneri) — the country’s national flower — found along the Pacific Coast, it blooms from January to April. National Geographic Traveler Costa Rica 5th Edition $16.29 In Stock. It translates as purple country girl. A warm and interesting documentary about Costa Rica, and how it is one of the only countries in the world to be reversing the effects of climate change and deforestation. If you're looking for an off-the-beaten-path getaway in Costa Rica and a bucket list transit of the Panama Canal, we compare Windstar vs. Lindblad Expeditions-National Geographic's cruises. This 9-day private expedition with National Geographic will showcase the very best of untouched Costa Rica. They were the ancient inspiration for the Aztec and Maya snake god, Quetzalcoatl, whose feathers were thought to represent the green growth of spring. Reflecting on a trip to Central America, the TV presenter wonders what the UK would look like if it invested in the natural world as much as Costa Rica does. The chance of spotting the giant anteater (Myrmecophaga tridactyla) may be rare but sightings have been reported in the biodiverse Corcovado National Park on the Osa Peninsula; humans are the greatest threat — deforestation is wiping out their habitat. Did you know: hummingbirds are the only birds that can fly backwards? The national flower of Costa Rica is the guaria morada. Then there’s the boa constrictor — in Carara, Tortuguero and Guanacaste National Park — which notoriously strangles and devours its prey whole. Don’t get too close — you may be on the receiving end of their vicious bites and lashing tails. Monkeys poke each other’s noses, pull hair in odd rituals, Kate Bradbury on why Costa Rica should be a blueprint for conservation, A town in Costa Rica faces an eco-tourism crisis, Meet the environmentalist: Jack Ewing on eco-tourism and saving the rainforests, This could be the biggest sea turtle swarm that's ever been filmed, Catalonia to Chattanooga: Here are five adrenaline-pumping wheelchair-friendly adventures. Immerse yourself in the natural wonders along the Pacific coast of Costa Rica and Panama on a voyage aboard the National Geographic Sea Lion. Look to Cahuita National Park — an enchanting sprawl of reef and rainforest on Costa Rica’s Caribbean side, which has a reputation for otherworldly snorkelling and diving trips. Follow wildlife filmmaker Filipe DeAndrade as he travels Costa Rica in search of the most diverse, iconic and unexpected animals the country has to offer. Toucans love an audience. Set your sights on Costa Rica. Spotting one is rare, but if you’re optimistic, there are regions you can prowl: in the forests, swamps and savanna of Peñas Blancas National Park, Santa Rosa National Park and Arenal Volcano National Park. Discover Costa Rica's extraordinary wildlife NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC Macaws squawk and monkeys chatter on a hike through the Osa Peninsula — a wild corner of the country where a longstanding tradition of gold panning still shimmers in the rich and verdant landscape. With beautiful beaches, rainforests, and volcanoes, this tourist-friendly country has become a favorite stop for eco-trekkers and the surf set alike. Costa Rica is also home to one of the world’s most dangerous spiders: the Brazilian wandering spider (Phoneutria), which prowls the forest floor after nightfall and unleashes a toxic venom when it bites its prey. 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