costa rica wild life Archives - HRG Costa Rica Vacations


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Spot This! Costa Rica Woodpecker

Hoffmann's Woodpecker

Birdwatching can be a fascinating pastime in Costa Rica and the Costa Rica Woodpecker is no exception

While most people think of Costa Rica’s wildlife as exotic, there are some familiar faces that are just as beautiful and charming as some of the country’s more showy inhabitants. One such creature is the lineated woodpecker.

Locally known as the “carpintero,” which literally translates to carpenter, this woodpecker easy to spot and easy to love. With its shock of bright red head plumage, black and white body, and signature white lines, the bird will be instantly recognizable to anyone who has seen its close relative, the pileated woodpecker, pecking away at trees in the United States.

As far as woodpeckers go, the carpintero is one of the largest, measuring 12 to 14 inches in length and weighing between 6 and 8 ounces. Its habitat ranges from southern Mexico to northern Argentina, and, while it prefers open areas like pastures and forest edges, it also lives in dry, humid and coastal forests. This makes it easy to find in many different places across Costa Rica.

The carpintero mainly eats insects, including ants, termites, spiders, grubs and beetle larvae. However, it also indulges in nuts, seeds, fruits and berries. The carpintero does its characteristic to get to the tastiest treats. But it also performs its drum song to attract the best mates, and to burrow a home or a nest for itself.

Carpinteros are a model of marital cooperation: they mate in breeding pairs, and stay together throughout the breeding season. They often use specific pecking sounds to communicate. Both males and females help to make the nests, which are built in cavities of dead trees. Breeding takes place during spring months, and both parents help care for the chicks. During the day, females feed and care for the young, while males guard the nest. At night, Dad takes his turn caring for the chicks.

Carpinteros are well-known and well-loved for several reasons, the most obvious being their bright red, “punk-rock” hairdos and their attractive black markings. But avid birdwatchers also delight in their vocalizations, which sound like crazy laughter, and their habit of not spreading their wings to fly until they have very nearly hit the ground.

Lineated woodpeckers often travel in groups, and are abundant in Costa Rica. While they are more abundant in lowlands, carpinteros are plentiful and can be seen in nearly every Costa Rican national park and nature reserve.



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Turtle Nesting Costa Rica

Costa Rica is the Perfect Place to See the Turtles Nesting

Costa Rica baby sea turtles

Turtle nesting season is one of the greatest times to visit Costa Rica. People come to Costa Rica for all kinds of reasons, including the sun-drenched beaches, the warm and friendly people, the great weather, the beautiful tropical setting and the exciting outdoor activities. One of the most fascinating reasons to come to Costa Rica, however, is to experience its amazing wildlife.

Due to its unique location, Costa Rica boasts the world’s largest and most diverse collection of wildlife. Thousands of birds, reptiles, mammals and fish call this country’s beaches, rivers, oceans and tropical rain forest home, and many new species are being discovered all the time.

One of Costa Rica’s most captivating animals is the sea turtle. Four sea turtle species are native to the country, and – most incredibly of all – they use its beaches to build their nests and lay their eggs each year.

Leatherback turtles can be found nesting on Costa Rica’s Caribbean shores from March to July, and on its Pacific shores from September to March. Green turtles nest along the northern Caribbean shore from June to October. Tortuguero is a particularly popular place to catch sight of them.

Olive Ridleys nest along the Pacific year round, although they do so more often between July and November. And Hawksbills nest in Cahuita throughout September and October, but it is particularly hard to catch a glimpse of these shy turtles.

The Los Sueños Resort is just minutes from one of Costa Rica’s prime spots for turtle watching. At the Hermosa Beach Wildlife Refuge, you’ll be treated to salt air and delightful black sand beaches, as well as the sight of amazing Olive Ridley Turtles nesting on the shores.

The Wildlife Refuge is dedicated to the conservation and protection of Olive Ridley turtles, and you can be a part of it. On the Refuge’s Turtle Rescue Tour, you’ll see the turtles building their nest and laying their eggs. As if that weren’t enough, you’ll have a chance to help collect the eggs nursery, watch turtles hatch in the nursery, and even release baby turtles into the ocean.

The Turtle Rescue Tour is affordable, and for a few dollars extra the Refuge will provide you with transportation. Be advised that you should wear dark clothing and bring abundant mosquito repellent.

If you are interested in other Costa Rica wildlife, there are plenty of places to experience it in the Los Sueños area. Take a boat to an offshore island and go crocodile watching, or zipline through the rainforest canopy and catch a glimpse of a scarlet macaw or a white-faced monkey high up in the trees. Or, go at your own pace and see how many exotic animals you can spot at Manuel Antonio National Park.