Visitots arriving at the Juan Santamaria International airport – San Jose (SJO) – can start of their adventure in paradise, meeting the most emblematic species of Costa Rican wildlife.
The San Jose airport invites visitors to take a selfie with the keel-billed toucan, the jaguar, capuchin monkey, red-eyed tree frog and leatherback turtle.
This exotic bird usually gathers in small flocks of up to six individuals. Despite its long beak, it can fly easily through foliage.
The keel-billed toucan is 48-50 cm in length and its beak measures between 13 to 15 cm and weights about 500 grams.
It nests in tree holes and usually lays two to four eggs. The diet of this species consists of fruits, plus small reptiles and insects.
It lives in Tortuguero National Park, Cahuita, in La Selva, and also in the Forest Reseva Monteverde.
The largest carnivore that inhabits Costa Rica. It is a feline with small round ears, robust body, short, muscular and armed with strong claws legs.
Adult males typically weigh 64 to 100 kilograms, the hair is short and yellowish on the back and white on the belly, with spots in the form of rosettes of black color. It is a cunning and distrustful feline with excellent sight and smell. In any season but especially during the breeding season, the male roars at night.
Jaguars hunt near rivers and are skilled swimmers. Although it prefers peccaries, jaguars also feed on agoutis, deer, monkeys, birds, fish, turtles and iguanas.
It can be found in the forests of Arenal-Monteverde, Tortuguero and Corcovado National Parks, Barra del Colorado and the Talamanca mountain range.
RED-EYED TREE FROG
With its prominent red eyes and vertical pupils, the red eyed tree frog is one of the most beautiful species of amphibians in Costa Rica.
Their body is green with yellow stripes on the side, with a length between 4 and 7 cm long. Females are larger than males. They can live up to 5 years. These small carnivores have the perfect camouflage, sleeping during the day under leaves.
They eat all kinds of insects, but their main diet consists of crickets, flies, grasshoppers and even smaller frogs.
This “tree frog” can be commonly found in rain forests, both in the Caribbean and the Pacific slopes, Tortuguero and Manuel Antonio National Parks and the Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve.
It is one of four species of monkeys found in Costa Rica. It is also called capuchin due to its pink face and black coat, making it look as if wearing the habit of a monk.
Their fur is yellowish around the face, neck, chest, shoulders and upper arms, while the rest of the body is black. At 45 centimeters long, adds its prehensile tail, which is longer than its body. Weighs between 1.4 and 4.3 kilograms.
Capuchin monkeys are very active during the day, traveling in noisy groups of more than 30 individuals, seeking their food at different levels of the forest.
Their diet consists of fruits and palm trees like guava, wild fig and jocotes. It also feeds on insects such as cicadas, grasshoppers, ants, larvae of butterflies and beetles. Lizards and small mammals are sometimes part of their diet.
Habitat: National parks such as Guanacaste, Santa Rosa, Palo Verde, Carara, Manuel Antonio, Braulio Carrillo, Tortuguero and Corcovado.
The leatherback is the largest species of turtle, and the only one that does not have hard shell. Instead it has a soft leather skin without scales. Its front flippers are very powerful and have no claws.
They can grow up to 2.5 meters long and weigh up to 700 kilograms. The skin colors are black and gray, with white spots.
The leatherback turtle is nomadic, spends its life in tropical waters and temperate areas, traveling distances of up to 7000 kilometers every three to four years. Only the females come ashore, when it’s time to spawn.
They are omnivorous, with a diet consisting of crustaceans, mollusks, fish and seaweed. Their favorite food are poisonous jellyfish.
These turtles visit both of Costa Rica’s coasts: Playa Grande and Playa Langosta, located in the northern Pacific and in the southern Caribbean, Gandoca-Manzanillo National Wildlife Refuge.
Some of the visitors and their selfies. From Facebook.
More photos on Instagram.