Check out the Capuchin Monkey of Costa Rica…
Costa Rica is home to some of the world’s most exotic and colorful wildlife. But there is perhaps nothing that captivates the hearts of visitors more than the cute and cuddly capuchin monkey. This adorable critter isn’t shy, and isn’t hard to spot in Costa Rica. It’s also quite mischievous, and its antics often delight passing spectators.
Capuchin monkeys can be found in Costa Rica’s Caribbean wetland forests, and in the deciduous dry forests of the Pacific. They live in altitudes of up to 4500 feet, and spend their days browsing the forest for delicacies. Capuchins are omnivorous – they prefer ripe, juicy fruits, which are abundant in Costa Rica, but they will also eat shoots, grubs, insects, and occasionally, eggs and small vertebrates like lizards, squirrels and small birds.
Capuchins are a relatively small-sized monkey, with black bodies, white faces and shoulders, and a distinctive black patch, or “cap” on their heads. Their faces are very expressive, and they are very playful, which makes them endlessly entertaining to watch.
Capuchins are diurnal, which means they are most active during the day. This makes them easy to spot as you hike Costa Rica’s forests. The monkeys travel in groups of up to 15, which are headed by a single male, and they can often be seen in trees, swinging from branch to branch using their hands, feet and prehensile tails. Females bear young every 1 to 2 years – one of the biggest treats for visitors to Costa Rica is to see a baby capuchin peeking out from its mama’s fur.
In the regions of Costa Rica where they are found, capuchin monkeys can be seen everywhere, often running together in large groups. One of the best places in the country to spot these cuties is Manuel Antonio National Park. The park is inhabited by large populations of capuchins, and is so highly frequented by humans that the capuchins have become quite used to interacting with (and being fed by) people. They are not shy, can easily be seen, and will even “pose” for pictures.
If you would like to see these monkeys in a more natural setting, head to the Junquillal Bay National Wildlife Refuge, or the Tamarindo Wildlife Refuge. The monkeys may be harder to spot and less friendly, but you’ll have a better glimpse into their natural habitat and their natural behavior.