The Fascinating Costa Rica Rainforest: 12 Mind-Blowing Facts

8 mins read



Abounded with lush vegetation, exotic wildlife, and breathtaking views, rainforests are a key component of Costa Rica’s charm. For explorers, discovering Costa Rica is like discovering a magnificent lost treasure due to its rich forest reserves and other diverse geographical features.

There are so many fascinating things about the Costa Rica rainforest that will make you want to fly there tomorrow and embark upon a thrilling journey in its jungles!

So, check out these 12 facts about the Costa Rica rainforest that will blow your mind.

12 Mind-Blowing Facts About the Costa Rica Rainforest

1. Costa Rica Is the First Tropical Country to Have Beaten Deforestation

From 1973 to 2012, Costa Rica has been through quite a journey. In the 1970s and 1980s, the Costa Rica rainforest had the worst deforestation rates. Ruthless loggers massacred the trees to get timber and paper and to fulfill other needs for their gain. In the aftermath, Costa Rica lost almost half of its precious jungles, once abundant with resources.

However, in the years that followed, its rainforests made an unprecedented comeback. This was all possible due to the government policies that were introduced and the efforts of the people to raise awareness.

The government banned cutting down trees without its approval in 1996. Another introduced policy was PES, or payments of environmental services, where anyone who wanted to use a natural resource had to pay a fee.

Costa Rica recovered around 60% of its lush rainforests with all these progressive practices. It overcame deforestation, becoming the first tropical country to do so.

2. An Enchanting Tropical Feature, Namely Cloud Forests, Are Common in the Costa Rica Rainforest

Cloud forests in costa rica
By: travelmag.com on Flickr Copyright 2022

The allure of cloud forests has brought thousands of tourists to Costa Rica. They’re a type of tropical forest that is located at higher elevations. Soaring high at around 2000 meters, these forests are attacked by mist. This is the very reason that they are called cloud forests.

Cloud forests are found in the Monteverde cloud forest reserve, among many others. Experience art, animals, and adventure all in one as you hike across the rugged terrain of Monteverde.

There’s an option to zipline and view the magnificent culmination of mountains, volcanos, and beaches as you’re zapped from one end to the other. You can take a bird-watching tour or go to the butterfly museum if you’re an enthusiast.

If you feel like hiking, there’s a lot of diverse scenery you can enjoy. Observe more than 500,000 species of colorful exotic animals, from poison dart frogs to energetic capuchin monkeys.

Explore gushing rivers and erupting volcanos as you dart through the forest. Trek to the tallest peak and feel like a god as you visit the Monteverde cloud forest.

The scenic beauty of rainforests covered in the charismatic white mist attracts visitors. One visit to the cloud forests will make you feel like you’re on cloud nine. You can also click pictures of the mist-covered mountain peaks in the distance.

3. Stand Between Two Continents at the Costa Rica Rainforest

The great divide or continental divide in the Costa Rica rainforest is a passageway from Canada to Argentina through Central America.

It’s called the continental divide as it separates the Pacific side of the continent from the Caribbean side. It has a point called La Ventana (also known as the window) where visitors can see the Pacific Ocean on one side and the Caribbean Sea on the other.

Check out this amazing phenomenon when you go to the Monteverde cloud forest reserve!

4. The Costa Rica Rainforest Is Home to Lizards That Can Walk on Water

The harry potter legend is true! Basilisks are real, and they’re just not giant serpents who can kill someone in the blink of an eye. But the real basilisks are just as fascinating.

They are lizards that can walk on water. At least viewers perceive it like that because of the basilisk’s ability to smash their feet on the water.

This creates an air cavity between the water and their feet, thus preventing them from sinking. They can do this due to their long, splayed feet.

Costa Rica has an abundance of this exciting creature. There are three types of basilisk lizards in the Costa Rica rainforest: common basilisks, brown basilisks, and emerald basilisks. They can be found in the tropical rainforest and the tropical dry forest.

The common basilisk lizard is the most prevalent in Costa Rica. Male lizards have a single crest on their heads. These are bronze-hued with cream-colored bands and stripes.

The emerald basilisk looks like a precious painting with its vivid green color, light red eyes, and aqua blue spots on its chin. Some also have spots in other vibrant, solid colors like orange, red and yellow. They also have flaps on their anterior and posterior.

Say hi to the brown basilisks: They’re pretty basic except for the red and yellow stripes all along their body. They are brown except for a few colors in the olive palette, like their name. Brown basilisks are medium-sized but beware of their gigantic tails, which are almost two feet long.

These fascinating creatures attract explorers of all ages with their charming allure. Don’t miss out on the fun at the Costa Rica rainforest, where you can click pictures of this beautiful basilisk.

5. Nearly Six Percent of the World’s Biodiversity

Costa Rica- the nature wonderland- is home to five percent of the world’s biodiversity. With approximately 35,000 insect species, 160 amphibian species, 220 reptile species, 850 bird species, and 205 mammal species, this beautiful land encompasses diverse biological ecosystems.

There is a lot to explore in these ecosystems, ranging from dangerous wild crocodiles to colorful scarlet macaws.

This includes endangered species such as hawksbill turtles, squirrel monkeys, howler monkeys, white-faced capuchin monkeys, jaguars, American crocodiles, great green macaws, etc.

Costa Rica also has over 9000 species of flowering plants. These gorgeous plant species have vividly colored flowers mixed with lush green vegetation that would look amazing in a picture. With vibrant yellow, orange, and red shades, the heliconia flowers represent a typical tropical sunset in Costa Rica.

Other breath-taking flowering plants here include the national flower of Costa Rica, a beautiful orchid called the purple country girl. This flower is colored in a gorgeous lavender tone that is now used to light up homes and gardens.

6. Located amid the La Fortuna Rainforest Is an Actual Active Volcano- the Arenal Volcano

The gigantic arenal volcano in almost perfect conical shape- Costa rica rainforest attractions
By: Justin Jensen on Flickr Copyright 2022

Standing tall at 1,657 feet, the Arenal Volcano is in a perfect conical shape. It was also Costa Rica’s most active volcano.

Spewing hot ash and red lava everywhere till it was extinguished, the Arenal volcano lost its fire in 2010. However, it is still one of the most attractive geographical features in Costa Rica.

Explore the unpredictability of nature as you hike onto the La Fortuna rainforest and view the breathtaking Arenal Volcano.

7. The Costa Rica Rainforest Covers up to 51% of Its Land

Costa rica rainforest regeneration
By: Bernal Saborio on Flickr Copyright 2022

Lush green forests thrive on Costa Rica’s land. The land itself covers only 0.03% of the earth’s surface, so costa Rica is practically a dot on the map. In such a small country, rainforests are what fuel Costa Rica or at least 51% of it.

8. Manuel Antonio National Park

Do you ever feel like there isn’t enough time in the world for you to experience everything? Manuel Antonio National Park has you covered with its rich rainforests, pristine white-sand beaches, vibrant coral reefs, and low-lying mountains.

It’s famous for its diverse tropical vegetation and animals, including ant-eaters, coatis, and many endangered species. If you like to explore, hike through the shore right up into the highlands to cover the 680 hectares of the park.

9. 6 Different Kinds of Forests Here, Including the Tropical Costa Rica Rainforest

Ziplining in the costa rica rainforest
By: Wilma Compton on Flickr Copyright 2022

The main characteristic of Costa Rica’s rainforest is its diversity, including biodiversity and the 6 different types of rainforests. These rainforests will offer you an action-packed day where you either zipline or hike through them.

So, the six diverse kinds of rainforests in Costa Rica are Tropical forests, Cloud Forests, Tropical Dry Forests, Mangroves, Lowland Rainforests, and Riparian Forests.

The well-known, popular tropical rainforest sections of Costa Rica may be found in the southwest region and the lowland Atlantic regions. Costa Rica’s tropical rainforests get more than 200 inches of rain every year, which helps to support the country’s climate and biodiversity.

Bathe in the sun and enjoy a fun hike through the tropical rainforests. The climate in these rainforests is mostly over 35 degrees during the day. Due to the hot and humid climate, you’ll need to bring water to stay hydrated. However, there are many exotic species to view and take pictures of.

Cloud forests are a form of tropical forest found at higher elevations. These woodlands, which reach roughly 2000 meters, are besieged by mist. This is why they are referred to as cloud forests.

As the name indicates, Costa Rica’s tropical dry forests get far less precipitation than the rainforests and cloud forests. The tropical dry forests are found at lower elevations on Costa Rica’s north Pacific coast, in Guanacaste. Like other types of forests, dry forests are protected by national parks in the United States.

Located near the Pacific coast in Costa Rica, the Mangroves are the angelic intersection of salt and freshwater. Birds and marine life love this place. However, it is hostile to other forms of biodiversity.

These rainforests are characterized by low rainfall and a dry environment and only support Mangrove trees. Although they don’t have a party-like environment, you can always take a kayak or a boat to explore these mangroves and learn about nature. Make a picnic of it.

Reaching the tallest heights out of all costa Rica’s rainforests, the lowland rainforests are a unique geological feature. They are abundant in places with an elevation of up to 1,000 meters.

Due to the high rainfall and abundant sunlight, they receive support from wildlife species such as bats, pumas, birds, and tree frogs.

The forest beside Rio Chirripó is an example of a riparian forest in Costa Rica. Raft through the gushing rivers and discover the calming waterfalls in the riparian forests. Technically located near bodies of flowing water, these forests are prone to effusion.

This makes them perfect for supporting various species, especially birds. If you’re into bird watching, this is the best forest.

10. 900+ Bird Species

Toucans in the costa rica rainforest
By: Travelbusy.com on Flickr Copyright 2022

Passionate bird watchers are fascinated by the abundance of birds in the Costa Rica rainforest.

903 magnificent bird species spanning a vast rainforest is one of Costa Rica’s major attractions. Out of these, toucans, hummingbirds, and parrots appeal to birds.

11. River Rafting Surrounded by the Lowland Tropical Costa Rica Rainforest

Whitewater rafting is a must add to your to-do list while in Costa Rica, exploring the vast rainforest.

The Reventazón river by the lowland rainforests offers the most adventurous whitewater rafting in Costa Rica if you’re up for some thrills.

12. National Parks and Forest Reserves Span More than 25% of the Costa Rica Rainforest

Approximately 28 percent of the Costa Rica rainforest is national parks and forest reserves. These include Manuel Antonio national park, Arenal National Park, Corcovado national park, and many more!

Manuel Antonio Park is famous for the continental divide where you can stand between two continents and feel like a God! Whereas Arenal National Park is known for its spectacular Arenal volcano.

Corcovado national park is great for sightseeing due to the vast amount of wildlife. Pumas, monkeys, eagles, and ant-eaters are just a few of the exciting animals here.

Additionally, you can also do many fun activities at these parks like ziplining, bird-watching, and even kayaking. Experience a multitude of adventures as you hike through these parks.

Rainforests are the gem of Costa Rica. They offer a chance to view exotic wildlife, relaxing waterfalls, fiery volcanos, and pristine beaches all in one trip. So, what are you waiting for? Book your tickets now!

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2 Comments

  1. Wonderfully crafted and drafted writeup about Rainforests of Coasta Rica with picture inviting temptation for visiting the Rainforests

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