Animals of Costa Rica: Monkeys, Iguanas, Crocodiles Oh My!

Wild Green Parakeets - Caño Negro, Costa Rica

Aside from these adorable spider monkeys that I could have watched for hours, our trip to the Caño Negro Refuge did allow us to see many more animals that are indigenous to Costa Rica.  Cano Negro Refuge is best seen via a boat ride along the river – the Río Frío – and is about a 2 hour drive from Arenal or San José.  It is so close to the Nicaraguan border that it is advised that you carry your passport in case you are stopped by any authorities. The trip there alone is a fantastic way to get out of the city or out of the tourism of Arenal and really see rural Costa Rica.

As you glide along the Río Frío, your guides spot animals that seem invisible to the naked eye, and sometimes even calls to the animals to pique their interest.  The sloth seems to be the national symbol of Costa Rica, but unfortunately these animals prove difficult to see even for the nature guides.  In a way, this phenomenon was similar to our experience with the Tasmanian devil, which also eluded us 🙁  Oh well.

It turns out that crocodiles are everywhere in Costa Rica!  It seemed like every bank of the river was rife with crocodiles, just sunning themselves.

Crocodile - Caño Negro, Costa Rica

We also saw TONS of iguanas also sunning themselves, and also hidden on seemingly unstable tree branches.

Iguana in Tree - Caño Negro, Costa Rica

As we made our way down the river in a small boat manned for four guides, we were also able to spot both birds and bats that would have been completely invisible without the help of our guides.

Bats Camouflaged Against Tree - Caño Negro, Costa Rica

Snake Bird (Cormorant -- Anhinga) - Caño Negro, Costa Rica

And finally we were fortunate to see a family of howler monkeys.  Our guide told us that these are the laziest of all monkeys in Costa Rica, and this photo sure proves it!  Howler monkeys sound very similar to dogs and we were SO amused by our guides barking along with them.  All in all a fantastic experience in Costa Rica – thanks to our extremely knowledgable guides and the natural beauty of the country!

Howler Monkeys - Caño Negro, Costa Rica

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4 Responses to “Animals of Costa Rica: Monkeys, Iguanas, Crocodiles Oh My!”

  1. November 3, 2011 at 11:34 am #

    Beautiful photos. I especially loved those noisy monkeys just lounging around.

    • admin
      November 3, 2011 at 9:44 pm #

      Thanks, Joe! These monkeys were definitely easier to photograph than the very active spider monkeys.

  2. November 5, 2011 at 1:47 pm #

    Ahh I have a soft spot for Iguanas, I had one when I lived in Florida.

    • Chandra
      November 5, 2011 at 4:43 pm #

      I had no idea how big they can be either! Very surprising animals…