Orange-billed nightingale-thrush in La Paz Waterfall Gardens. Photo © Christopher P. Baker.

Costa Rica’s Best Wildlife Watching Spots

National parks, wildlife refuges, and biological reserves are found throughout the country. They range from swampy wetlands to dry-forest environments and from lowland rainforests to high-mountain cloud forests. Sign up for guided natural-history excursions or hire a local naturalist guide. You’ll see many times more critters in the company of an eagle-eyed guide.

View from the lookout tower at the Reserva Natural Palmari. Photo © Andrew Dier.

Nature Reserves on the Río Yavarí

The Río Yavarí is in an unspoiled, isolated part of the Amazon basin and is home to two excellent private natural reserves where you will be immersed in the jungle through all manner of activities. Spend at least three days or up to a week at one of the Yavarí nature reserves (they are both excellent) to gain a real appreciation for jungle life.

Arenal Volcano stands tall in the Northern Zone of Costa Rica. Photo © Christopher P. Baker.

Where to Go in Costa Rica

To relax, unwind, and adventure, Costa Rica truly offers something for everyone. From the thriving nightlife of San José, to the crisp, cool cloud forests of Monteverde to the white-sand beaches of the Nicoya Peninsula, here’s where to go in Costa Rica.

A koala clings to a branch.

Zoos and Animal Sanctuaries in Kuranda, Australia

If you’re a fan of things that creep and crawl, fly and flutter, you’ll find your fill in Kuranda’s zoos. Children especially enjoy these attractions, though there’s certainly enough to keep adults entertained with the sheer variety of species and the chance to sight wildlife up-close and personal without a trip into the bush.

Msuhrooms growing on a tree in Finch Hatton Gorge, Eungella National Park.

Visit Eungella National Park in Australia

Australia’s largest national park is famous for its platypus, the unique egg-laying mammal with its distinctive duck’s bill, which is notoriously shy and rarely spotted in the wild. A visit here virtually guarantees that you see one any time of year.

Pacific Whale Foundation has the largest presence for whale-watching in Lahaina.

Whale Watching in West Maui

Whale watching in west Maui is easy: any single vessel that floats is going to be offering whale watching between December 15 and April 15. Since most prices are about the same, the choice ultimately comes down to what sort of vessel best suits your comfort level.

Waves roll in over a flat expanse of beach at dusk.

Seeing the Turtles at Parque Nacional Marino Las Baulas

Costa Rican beaches don’t come more beautiful than Playa Grande, a seemingly endless curve of sand, varying from coral-white to gray, immediately north of Tamarindo. Exploring Parque Nacional Marino Las Baulas is well worth it since leatherback turtles visit this beach all year round.