Costa Rica Must-See Mammals Wildlife Photography

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We just returned from the most incredible 10-day family trip to Costa Rica as part of a partnership with Visit Costa Rica. And let me just say that if you’re thinking about taking a family trip to this beautiful little country in Central America – DO IT! We loved everything we did there, but many of the most memorable things for our family were all of our different wildlife encounters. There are some AMAZING animals in Costa Rica! Costa Rica Must See Animals Wildlife PhotographyAren’t they all so awesome?! I could write pages and pages about each animal we saw (thanks to the former high school biology teacher in me). But I’ll try to spare you all that and instead let the pictures speak the thousand words to give you an idea of the beautiful creatures you’ll want to add to your must-see list for a trip there. I had SO much fun playing wildlife photographer!! And to spare you one post that goes on forever with 200 photos and over a thousand words, I’ve decided to break down our wildlife photography into a few different posts. So today, we’ll kick things off with our favorite mammal sightings…

Mammals in Costa Rica

Sloths – These were high on our “must-see wish list” & we were very lucky to see 8 on the trip! For those that don’t know, there are 2 different kinds of sloths – two-toed and three-toed. The three-toed sloths are extra adorable because they always look like they’re smiling! Sloths in Costa RicaIsn’t he SO cute?! This was the only three-toed face we saw and it’s such an adorable face. The rest of the sloths that that we saw were two-toed variety and they are adorable in their own right! With a couple of them, we got VERY lucky because they were SO close! Plus, we got to see a BABY SLOTH on a mama!!! Incredible and so SO cute! Note: We saw the three pictured here at Ecocentro Danaus (an ecological reserve in the La Fortuna/Arenal area). Highly recommend a visit here for wildlife spotting!Baby Sloth Costa RicaMonkeys – There are actually 4 different types of monkey species in Costa Rica and we were lucky enough to see all 4 (though the spider monkey was too fast for me to get a shot of).

  • Howler Monkeys – We heard more of these than we saw (they are SO loud). But we were lucky enough to see them in a few places (including the trees right outside our hotel room on our first morning there). Howler Monkeys Costa Rica
  • White-Faced Capuchin Monkeys – We saw SO many of these (particularly in the Manuel Antonio area). They got SO close to people, actually coming up and stealing bags, going through food, etc. We could have touched them MANY times (but did not) – we were THAT close! Capuchin Monkeys Costa Rica
  • Squirrel Monkeys – this little adorable monkeys took over the resort pool in the Manuel Antonio area one morning in a crazy display of “monkey business”, sure to be a scene we will NEVER forget!Squirrel Monkeys Costa Rica

Aren’t they all SO cute?! I still can’t get over it! It’s been a few weeks and the boys still talk about these crazy monkey encounters! Amazing!

Agouti – These little rainforest creatures were so interesting and could be VERY fast. One darted right by us out of some bushes (and scared me half to death) on one of our walks. Costa Rica AgoutiRaccoons – Yes! There are raccoons in Costa Rica. I don’t know why this surprised me, but it did.  They look a little different than their North American cousins (a little longer & leaner), but they are just as cute & mischievous! Two scampered by me in an open-air lobby one night and we watched them raid people’s bags on the beaches of Manuel Antonio right alongside those cheeky capuchins! Costa Rica RaccoonsVariegated squirrel – even the squirrels look cooler in Costa Rica! Look at the different colors and that variegated tail! We saw quite a few of these pretty little guys on our trip! Rainforest SquirrelAMAZING, right?!?!?! And this isn’t even everything we saw! These were just all of our favorite mammals and all of the things were were able to get good photos of. So wish I could have snagged a shot of of the kinkajou we saw on our rainforest night hike, but it was too quick for a good shot in the dark! And, there are WAY more mammals you have a chance to see than what’s listed above. Depending on where you are, there’s the possibility of seeing some of the Costa Rican cat species (hello ocelots and jaguars), coatimundi, tapirs, anteaters, armadillos, bats – amazing!

And then of course there are all the other non-Mammalian creatures we saw that I’ll share in upcoming posts (so stay tuned)! Suffice it to say that if you’re into animals, amazing wildlife, and/or want to experience the beauty & biodiversity of the rainforest, Costa Rica is THE place to go! For families with young kids who are learning about animals and ecosystems in school, a trip to Costa Rica like this is not only an incredibly fun & memorable experience, but a VERY educational one too!

Which one of these animals is YOUR favorite? We’d love to hear in the comments below!   

If you’re planning a trip and are into wildlife like we are, I highly recommend buying this Costa Rica Wildlife Guide from Amazon (affiliate) before you go! It comes laminated, so it really holds up nicely. And, it was AWESOME for having with the kids! They LOVED looking at this (and have even referred to it since we’ve been home)!

For even more of our fun trip photos, you can check out the hashtag #CRFamilyFun on Instagram. And, if you’re interested in planning your own trip to Costa Rica, be sure to check out the Visit Costa Rica site for all kinds of info. You can also check out our Costa Rica related posts below:

Costa Rica Travel Related Posts:

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I’m Sara, a mom to three adorable boys living in the Arizona desert. As a former teacher, I love sharing my passions with others. So, have a look around for creative inspiration about cooking, creating, celebrating, traveling with kids, and more everyday mom endeavors!


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