Ridley turtles during an arribada at Playa Camaronal. Photo © Christopher P. Baker.

Sea Turtle Nesting Sites in Costa Rica

Five of the world’s seven species of marine turtles nest on Costa Rica’s beaches, and you can see turtles laying eggs somewhere in Costa Rica virtually any time of year. Most of the important nesting sites in Costa Rica are now protected, and access to some is restricted; there are many more dangers to sea turtle populations than humans. Learn about the sites and the cycle of sea turtle reproduction from nesting to hatching.

Visitors gaze at a tumbling waterfall from an observation platform.

La Paz Waterfall Gardens, Costa Rica

Costa Rica’s splendid nature and wildlife park La Paz Waterfall Gardens at Montaña Azul features trails through a soaring hangar-size aviary with a separate climate-controlled butterfly cage. There’s also a hummingbird garden, a serpentarium (snakes), a walk-through ranarium (frogs), a monkey exhibit, plus a trout lake and orchid houses.

Arenal Volcano. Photo © Christopher P. Baker.

Planning Your Time in Costa Rica’s Northern Lowlands

Travelers flock to Costa Rica’s northern lowlands thanks to the singular popularity of Volcán Arenal and the fistful of adventures based around nearby La Fortuna. Use this area overview to learn about the region and what more it offers, along with a bit of history and tips on planning your time.

The Anegada rock iguana is making a comeback, thanks to the iguana head-start program. Photo © Susanna Henighan Potter.

Anegada’s Iguana Head-Start Facility

Thanks to BVI government efforts, the critically endangered Anegada rock iguana–once outnumbering people on the island–is making a strong comeback. Learn about the iguana head-start facility and its efforts to save the species. Since iguanas in the wild are incredibly shy, this facility is also your best chance to see one, and it’s well worth it to visit.

Jaguar lounging in Belize. Photo © Lebawit Lily Girma.

Hiking Cockscomb Basin in Belize

The main draw of the Cockscomb Basin is the Cockscomb Basin Wildlife Sanctuary, commonly called the “Jaguar Preserve.” The area is alive with wildlife and hiking opportunities, from an easy hour-long stroll along the river to a four-day Victoria Peak expedition. Here’s how to get to the preserve, the best hiking trails, and necessary preparations for staying overnight.

A bananaquit poses on a branch on St. John, U.S. Virgin Islands.

Birds of the Virgin Islands

Birds are some of the most delightful animals of the Virgin Islands, and birders will be rewarded by the colors, acrobatics, and songs of the island residents. Near the sea, there is usually no better show than the one put on by pelicans, which glide (look: no wing flapping) far above the ocean surface only […]

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.