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Best Costa Rica Rainforests for Tropical Vacation Tours

If you love the rainforest and dream of exploring and adventuring through the lush greenery and seeing all of the unique animals, Costa Rica is the best place to visit.

Over 25% of the rainforests are protected either as national parks or preserves. Costa Rica takes conservation very seriously, so you can enjoy all the beauty it has to offer. If you are a nature lover, you will love Costa Rica.

It might be a small country, but it is actually home to 5% of all the species on Earth. You will see an abundance of wildlife in Costa Rica including monkeys, sloths, and more, especially in the rainforest.

Costa Rica’s rainforests are one of the top reasons that people choose to visit this wonderful little country. Besides the beautiful beaches and surf, it has to offer.

Tropical Rainforest in Costa Rica

Types of Rainforests in Costa Rica

The rainforests of Costa Rica have roughly 100 species of trees as well as 7% of the world’s flora and fauna.

Within this lush vegetation and greenery lies many different species of animal life. There are at least 13 different types of rainforests in the world, and Costa Rica is home to three types of rainforests including tropical rainforests, tropical dry forests, and cloud forests.

Tropical Rainforests

This is the most common type of rainforest in Cosa Rica and can be found in the southwest part of the country and on the Atlantic lowlands.

Rainforests are vital to life on Earth because they diminish the greenhouse effect, contain edible crops, produce oxygen, and are shelters for thousands of animals.

Manuel Antonio national park is a great example of a tropical rainforest.

Tropical Dry Forests

Located on the North Pacific coast of Costa Rica, the tropical dry forests receive much less rain which ultimately makes them less diverse than the rainforests.

Yet, it still has a unique ecosystem of its own and many plants and animals that call it home.

Cloud Forests

Cloud forests are arguably the most interesting and unique rainforests in Costa Rica. Cloud forests are forests at such a high altitude that it’s covered by clouds.

This type of tropical forest is cooler and home to very different animals and plants than a lowland tropical rainforest.

There is definitely overlap between the animals you can find in the cloud forest vs the lowland forest, but at the same time, they’re very different, so it’s great to check out all types of rainforests of Costa Rica if you have the chance.

It’s captivating to see the mysterious fog cover the tops of trees and all the exotic-looking vegetation.

Toucan Sitting on a Tree

What Animals Live In The Costa Rican Rainforest?

There are so many species of animals in the Costa Rica rainforest. You can spot many different types of tropical birds, iguanas, monkeys, wild cats, sloths, insects, and so much more, including some endangered species.

If you’re hoping to see a certain type of animal, you can hire a professional guide to help you spot it and educate you about the animal.

There are four types of monkey species that live in Costa Rica, and they include the mantled howler monkeys, the white face monkeys, the Central American Squirrel monkeys, and Geoffrey’s spider monkeys.

Costa Rica is full of great places to see monkeys.

The reason all of these unique animals live in tropical forests is because of all the dense vegetation and shelter provided to them. Wildlife enthusiasts will love trying to find all four types of monkeys.

Why Go on a Rainforest Tour and What to Expect?

When you go on an actual tour, you can count on seeing many more animal species. This is because the tour guides do this for a living and can look in the right places for animals.

They will also be able to educate you so you know the name of the species you’re looking at and potentially some interesting facts about it.

Skilled guides will point out bird species, monkey species, and even different kinds of trees.

If you love wildlife exploration, then a guided tour in one of the protected Costa Rica rainforests will be one of the most memorable parts of your vacation.

How to Plan a Costa Rica Rainforest Adventure

When heading to the rainforest, the best way to safely explore is to visit a national park or other protected reserves and areas.

These places have very limited human development, which allows you to truly experience the rainforest in all its glory.

his allows you to stay on paths so you don’t get lost, especially when there are so many animals roaming the rainforest.

A great option is also to hire a professional guide who can show you around the park, spot animals, and educate you on the rainforest and the animals in it.

Women with yellow backpack looking at Mnt. Batur, Bali

What to Bring When Visiting Costa Rica’s Rainforests

The most important items to bring when visiting the tropical rainforest are protective items like sunblock, mosquito repellent, sunglasses, and a hat.

Where there is rainforest there are mosquitoes, so be sure to protect yourself.

The next most important thing to have is comfortable clothing and sturdy shoes. If possible, you should wear long pants and a long-sleeved shirt to protect yourself.

National Parks and Reserves with Rainforests in Costa Rica

There are national parks, preserves, and reserves conveniently located all over Costa Rica. From parks near the capital city of San Jose to the central Pacific coast, to the southern Caribbean coast, to the Osa peninsula.

No matter where you stay in the country, you’ll find a park near you to visit.

Corcovado National Park

Corcovado National Park is the largest park in the country and is the crown jewel of rainforests in Costa Rica.

You’re certain to spot some really unique species in the wildlife-rich tropical forest. Over 400 bird species call this park home, as well as monkeys, sloths, and other iconic animals.

This park has also been called the most biologically intense place on Earth because of the sheer amount of animals and plants living here.

This lowland rainforest is located on the Osa Peninsula and was one of the first protected jungles in Costa Rica. Corcovado National Park is one of the last remaining lowland rainforests in the world, and to visit the park, you must be accompanied by a professional guide.

Tortuguero National Park

Tortuguero National Park is a very remote park because it can only be reached by boat or plane. This makes visiting this park an experience in itself.

Because it’s on the coast and in Costa Rica’s wetlands, it has many different ecosystems, including mangrove forests, rainforests, and beaches. It really is the whole package and has a lot to offer.

This is also a popular nesting area among sea turtles, including leatherbacks, loggerheads, and hawksbills.

The leatherback turtle is the largest turtle on Earth, and it’s endangered, so it’s really cool to see these eggs hatch in person if you get lucky enough to watch this occur. It’s also a great place to see manatees, crocodiles, sloths, jaguars, monkeys, and birds.

Cahuita, Costa Rica Beach Town

Cahuita National Park

Right near Tortuguero National Park is Cahuita National Park. It has often been called the most beautiful rainforest in the country.

It’s right on the coast, and there are coral reefs right offshore, so the park extends a distance into the ocean.

The park has almost 3,000 acres of land and 55,000 acres of ocean to explore. If you’re looking for secluded, untouched, and unspoiled beaches, this is the ultimate park to visit.

This national park is most famous for its untamed beaches. The beach alongside Cahuita National Park is a great place to relax once you’ve done a ton of exploring through the dense rainforests.

It is also one of the best spots to snorkel in Costa Rica

Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve

Named after the town of Monteverde nearby, this reserve protects 25,000 acres of cloud forests. Here you’ll find 500 different orchids and many hummingbirds and amphibians especially.

This cloud forest is a famous rainforest, and you can walk along hanging bridges and enjoy the phenomenon that is a cloud forest. When you’re standing at a high point in the park, you truly feel like you’re touching the sky.

Manuel Antonio National Park

Located on the Pacific coast, Manuel Antonio National Park is known for having some of the best beaches in the country, along with its lush and dense rainforest.

This is one of the smallest national parks in Costa Rica, but it’s still full of an abundance of plants and animals.

Manuel Antonio is one of the most visited national parks in Costa Rica and in Central America if that tells you anything about how awesome it is!

You should definitely put Manuel Antonio at the top of your list. Check out these fun things to do in Manuel Antonio.

Two girls standing in front of Arenal Volcano in Costa Rica

Arenal Volcano National Park

This national park is named after Arenal Volcano, which is located within the park, but there are actually two volcanoes in Arenal Volcano National Park.

The second volcano is Chato Volcano which has been inactive for thousands of years. From 1968 to 2010, the Arenal volcano was active, and you could see lava flowing from it, but the volcano is now dormant.

This park is located near the cloud forests, so you can enjoy the best of both worlds on this trip. This park is also great for ecotourism. Here, you’ll find hiking trails, ATV riding, horseback riding, canopy zip lines, as well as more things to do.

Piedras Blancas National Park

Piedras Blancas National Park was originally part of Corcovado National Park until it was separated in 1999. It’s one of the most remote rainforests, and it has some of the rarest tropical trees in the world.

One interesting thing about this park is part of it is still privately owned, but a charity organization called Rainforest of Austrians has purchased part of the property to transform it into public ownership.

Carara National Park

Carara National Park is located on the Pacific coast.

One of the most popular attractions is Crocodile Bridge, where you can observe a ton of wild crocodiles in their natural habitat. This park is known for having great trails that make it easy to explore the rainforests of Costa Rica.


The rainforests of Costa Rica are a sight to see. You will see some of the most unique and interesting animal species, extremely tall trees, and intriguing flora and fauna.

Rainforests are a wonderful environment that creates and harbors so much life. Adventuring through the rainforest is a reminder of its need to be protected and savored.

You can’t go to Costa Rica without exploring a rainforest. With so many national parks and preserves throughout the country, there is bound to be one near where you’re staying, and you should take the time to visit it. You won’t be disappointed.

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