Costa Rica is one of the most biodiverse place on the planet. While encompassing just 1/3 of 1 percent of the planet’s landmass (approximately the size of West Virginia) Costa Rica contains 4% of all species estimated to exist on earth and hundreds of these species exist nowhere else on the planet. These endemic species include frogs, snakes, lizards, finches, hummingbirds, gophers, mice, cichlids, and gobies among many more. From colorful birds, to scary crocodiles, to majestic jaguars and leopards, to monkeys, turtles and of course Costa Rica’s mascot the sloth, in all, Costa Rica is home to over 500,000 species of plants, flowers and animals. A little more than 300,000 of these half million species are, believe it or not, insects, including scorpions, millipedes, bees, moths, butterflies, ants and many more. With its 51 wildlife refuges, 32 national parks, 13 forest reserves and 8 biological reserves, there is no doubt that Costa Rica is a destination of choice for nature lovers.
Wildlife is everywhere in Costa Rica, not just in protected areas, so keep your eyes wide open and enjoy the vast natural wonders of this magical place.
One of the main reason for Costa Rica’s great biodiversity is that, approximately three to five million years ago, the country, along with the land we now call Panama, formed a sort of bridge between the North and South American continents. This bridge allowed for the flora and fauna of the two continents to mix together, forming an amazingly rich and diverse environment.
Costa Rica’s amazing biodiversity can also be attributed to the great variety of ecosystems in the country. Within its 51,100 square KM of landmass, Costa Rica offers cloud, deciduous and mangrove forests as well as tropical rain forests, tropical dry forest and both an Atlantic and a Pacific coastline. The ecological regions cover twelve climatic zones, a variation which provides a great number of niches, filled by a wonderful diversity of species. Thanks to the population’s pride in their wonderful wildlife, the government puts a concerted effort in legislating in favor of initiatives that help Costa Rica’s fauna and flora flourish, also helping to maintain Costa Rica’s green image the world over.