Costa Rica Political System, Famous People, Animals and Plants

By | January 15, 2023

Costa Rica: Political System

According to DISEASESLEARNING.COM, Costa Rica is a presidential government. At the head of the state is a president who is elected directly by the people every 4 years. Re-election is excluded, but discussions are currently underway about a constitutional amendment that would allow for a one-time re-election. The government consists of the President, 2 Vice-Presidents and the 17-member government council. The Asamblea Legislativa (Parliament) and the National Congress are made up of 57 members who are also directly elected every four years according to the cantonal administrations. Congress can revoke government decisions by a two-thirds majority, supplement the state budget, and appoint the judges of the Supreme Court. See AbbreviationFinder for more information about Costa Rica politics, and acronyms as well.

The official name of the country is:

República de Costa Rica

National anthem

The national anthem of a country is usually a piece of music underlaid with a text, which is intended to express the state, lifestyle or national feeling of a country. It is mostly played on particularly festive occasions, such as state visits, special holidays or to honor politicians, business leaders, etc. National anthem of the respective winning country for performance.

The introduction of the national anthems in most European countries goes back to the late 18th and early 19th centuries. The numerous former colonies that had become independent generally introduced their national anthems and also their national flags after independence, i.e. in the second half of the 20th century.

Based on flag descriptions by, the melody by Manuel María Gutiérrez became the country’s national anthem in 1853, the text was added in 1900 by José María Zeledón Brenes.

  • Check top-mba-universities for public holidays, sports events, UNESCO world heritage sites and major places to visit in Costa Rica.

In spanish language

Noble patria tu hermosa banderaExpresión de tu vida nos da:

Bajo el límpido azul de tu cielo

Blanca y pura descansa la paz.

En la lucha tenaz de fecunda labor

Que enrojece del hombre la faz,

Conquistaron tus hijos, labriegos sencillos,

Eterno prestigio, estima y honor,

eterno prestigio, estima y honor.

¡Salve oh tierra gentil!

¡Salve oh madre de amor!

Cuando alguno pretenda tu gloria manchar,

Verás a tu pueblo, valiente y viril

La tosca herramienta en arma trocar.

¡Salve patria! tu pródigo suelo

Dulce abrigo y sustento nos da;

Bajo el límpido azul de tu cielo

¡Vivan siempre el trabajo y la paz!

And in the English translation:

Noble fatherland, your glorious flagis a sign of your vitality:

under the radiant blue of your sky,

white and pure peace rests.

In the tough struggle of hard work,

which turns the male face red

, your sons, simple peasants, achieved

eternal fame, esteem and honor,

eternal fame, esteem and honor.

Hail, kind country!

Hail, mother of love!

If someone tries to tarnish your fame,

you will see your people, brave and manly,

exchange raw tools for weapons.

Hail, fatherland! Your fertile soil

offers us sweet protection and sustenanceMay work and peace always live under the radiant blue of your sky !

Costa Rica: People we know

Visual artist

  • Francisco Zuñigo (1912-1998)In 1936 the sculptor created what is probably Costa Rica’s most famous stone sculpture, “Motherhood”, in which a mother gives her child the breast, which is now in front of the Maternidad Caritas maternity hospital in San José. The local artists laughed at the sculpture, which “looks more like a cow than a mother,” and the artist left the country angrily. His sculpture “Evelia con Batan” adorns the entrance of the Centro Nacional de Artes y Cultura in San José.
  • Enrique Enchandi, Esquiel Jiménez and Teodorico QuirósIn the late 1920s, painters began to depict stylized landscapes depicting scenes from the life of the campensinos (shepherds). The painters took up the style of the French Impressionists and founded a tradition that many artists in the country still feel connected to today.


  • TobagobandThe band, which has existed for 35 years, is famous throughout the country for their salsa and merengue music and has toured the USA, Mexico, Spain, Ecuador and Chile, among others.
  • Trio EditusEditus is a trio, instrumental ensemble (guitar, violin, percussion), whose musicians have enjoyed a classical music education and are now composing new themes, combining different musical styles.With a record in the summer of 1999 with the well-known salsa artist Rubén Blades from Panamá, the band became known across national borders in the international music world. In February 2000 they and Blades received the Grammy for the best Latin-Pop record.

Politicians and rulers

  • José María Ferrer (1908-1990)After planning a coup in 1942, he was sent into exile in Mexico. Two years later he was allowed to return and immediately began preparations for a new coup. He founded the National Liberation Army, the Cartago and Puerto Limón. When Figueres stood in front of San José, the government capitulated. Figueres founded the founding junta of the “Second Republic”, dissolved the army and established the neutrality of Costa Rica. He also drew up a new constitution and launched a variety of social reforms, including giving blacks and women the right to vote. As leader of the PLN, which he himself founded, he held the post of President twice (1953-57 and 1970-74).
  • Oscar Rafael Arias Sánchez (born 1940)The lawyer was President and Prime Minister of Costa Rica from 1986 to 1990. He drove out the FDN, “Contras” (the Somoza supporters who fled Nicaragua) and worked tirelessly for peace for all of Central America. In February 1987 he presented a corresponding plan, the Reagan administration rejected it, but the five Central American states signed the document. Sánchez received the Nobel Peace Prize for 1987. In 2006, he became the country’s head of state and government

Writer and poet

  • Carlos Gagini (1865-1925)The writer initiated the Latin American style of Costumbrismo. This style combines a kind of portrayal of customs with an emphasis on the local color of rural society. Corresponding works are his novellas Chamarasca “(1898) and” Cuentos grisos “(1918) as well as the works” El árbol enfermo “(1918) and” La caída del aguila “(1920) directed against American imperialism.
  • Manuel González Zeledón (1846-1936)González wrote under the pseudonym Magón. His novella “La Propia” (1910) is exemplary of the Costa Rican costumbrismo.
  • María Isabel Carvajal (1888-1949)The author, who wrote under the pseudonym Carmen Lyra, was an important woman in the literary and social sphere of the country. Her works focus primarily on the individual attitude towards life and the misery of the rural population. She introduced children’s literature to Costa Rica and the national youth literature award is named after her.

Costa Rica: animals


Around 25% of the area of Costa Rica are nature reserves – including 28 national parks. The relatively small country is home to around 5% of the world’s fauna and flora.


The following four species of monkeys are native to Costa Rica:

– Howler monkeys

The howler monkeys (Alouatta) are a genus from the family of spider-tailed monkeys (Atelidae) found in Central and South America. There are a total of twelve different species of the genus Alouatta.

They got their name because of their loud screaming, which they utter mostly early in the morning.

Howler monkeys, with a head-trunk length of 60 to 90 cm, are among the largest monkeys on the American continent after the spider monkeys. Their tail is roughly the same length as their body.

Their weight is between 4 and 10 kg, with the males being noticeably larger and heavier than the females. Their coat color ranges from yellow-brown to red to black,

The animals are pure herbivores that feed mainly on leaves and less often on fruits and flowers.

The animals can be found from southern Mexico across the Amazon basin to northern Argentina.

Geoffroy spider monkey

The Geoffroy spider monkey (Ateles geoffroyi) is a species of monkey from the family of spider monkeys (Atelidae). It was named in honor of the French zoologist Étienne Geoffroy Saint-Hilaire (1772-1844).

Like all spider monkeys, the animals have long and thin arms and legs and a long tail.

The males have a head-trunk length between 40 to 65 cm and the females between 30 to 45 cm. The tail measures 70 to 85 cm long in the males and 65 to 75 cm long in the females and acts as a prehensile tail.

The males are slightly heavier than the 6 to 8 kg females with a weight of 7.5 to 9 kg. The color ranges from reddish brown to dark brown to blackish, with the belly and the inside of the limbs being rather light. Characteristic of the animals are their dark hands and feet.

Geoffroy’s spider monkeys can be found from eastern Mexico to southern Central America to Panama.

The Geoffroy spider monkeys live mainly in lowland rainforests, but also in deciduous forests, as well as in cloud forests and mangroves.

As herbivores, they particularly feed on fruits, but also on leaves and other parts of plants.

This monkey species has seven subspecies

capuchin monkeys

The capuchin monkeys (Cebinae) belong to the subfamily of the capuchin monkeys (Cebinae) and the family of the capuchin monkeys (Cebidae). The subfamily is divided into two genera:

Gehaubte capuchin monkeys (Sapajus) having a with hair and comprise 8 modes, none of which in Costa Rica occurs

Ungehaubte (Cebus), which include 14 species, of which only the following manner in Costa Rica occurs

– – Panama capuchin monkey (Cebus imitator), occurs in the west of Panama, in Costa Rica as well as in the east of Nicaragua and Honduras

Capuchin monkeys reach a head-trunk length of about 30 to 55 centimeters, the tail becomes 30 to 55 cm long. The females are about 2 to 3 kg lighter than the males, who bring it to 3 to 4 kg. The trunk is slim, the front and rear limbs are approximately the same length. The fur usually brown or black. The arms, legs and tail are often darker, and sometimes the color of the shoulder area or chest contrasts with the rest of the body. In the hooded species, the hair forms on the top.

The diet of the capuchin monkey consists of fruits or seeds and other parts of plants. In addition, insects, spiders and other small animals as well as bird eggs and small vertebrates are on their menu.

It is interesting that the animals use stones to dig up roots or crack nuts, among other things.

The various species of capuchin monkeys can be found from Honduras to the Amazon basin to southeastern Brazil and northern Argentina. Their habitat are forests, whereby they can be found in rainforests as well as in dry deciduous forests, in mangrove and mountain forests. The animals live together in groups.

– squirrel monkeys

from the genus of squirrel monkeys live in Costa Rica, only the “Central American squirrel monkey”

The “Central American squirrel monkey”, also known as Red-backed squirrel monkey (Saimiri oerstedii), is a species of ape in the genus Samiri and from the family of capuchin-like (Cebidae).

The animals reach a head-trunk length between 28 to 35 cm, with a tail about 35 to 45 cm long. Their weight varies between around 600 and 900 g. the males being slightly heavier than the females.

Your back and limbs are colored orange-red, while the ventral side is yellowish-white. The face, throat, and tufts of ears are white, and the area around the mouth is dark.

The diurnal animals live in large groups of up to 60 animals and spend most of their time in the lower parts of the trees. They mark their territory with their urine and excrement and rub themselves in with their urine for recognition in the group.

Their food consists mainly of insects and fruits.

From the species of the Central American squirrel monkey there are the two subspecies Saimiri oerstedii oerstedii and Saimiri oerstedii citrinellus.

The animals are found on the Pacific coast of Costa Rica and in the west of Panama.


The agoutis (Dasyprocta) are a genus of rodents from the family of the agoutis and acouchis (Dasyproctidae). They have slender bodies and a thick and coarse coat that is usually dark orange or brownish in color.

They live in forests, dense bushland and savannahs, but also in fields and plantations. They are usually diurnal.

Their underside is white or yellowish. The animals reach a head-trunk length of 40 to 65 cm – with a weight between 1.5 to 4 kg.

As pure herbivores, agoutis feed on fruits, nuts and leaves. Stems or roots. In the Amazon region, they are almost the only animals that can open hard Brazil nuts with their teeth.

A distinction is made between the following eleven types of agoutis, of which only the following species occurs here

– Central American agouti (Dasyprocta punctata), which occurs from southern Mexico to Argentina

American otters

American otters (Lontra) are a genus of predators from the subfamily of the otter (Lutrinae) and of the family of the marten (Mustelidae). The animals are very similar to the Eurasian otter and also have their size.

Their fur is very dense and water-repellent. It is colored brown on the top while the underside is light brown or grayish in color. The snout and throat are whitish or light gray in color.

American otters have a head-body length of 45 to 85 cm – with a tail length of 30 to 55 cm. Their weight varies between 5 and 15 kg, with the males becoming significantly heavier than the females.

The otters are predominantly crepuscular or nocturnal, while during the day they stay in structures that they have dug themselves or that they have taken over from other animals. They are excellent swimmers and can stay underwater for up to around 8 minutes.

The animals are solitary animals, the only prolonged relationship being that of the females with their young. Their territories cover a length of up to 60 km along a body of water. They mark the boundaries of their territory with urine, feces or with the help of their anal glands.

Their diet consists mainly of fish, amphibians, turtles and other reptiles and crustaceans. Sometimes they also eat birds and their eggs, as well as small mammals or insects.

The animals can be found almost all over the American continent – from Alaska to Tierra del Fuego (Chile and Argentina), although over time it has been wholly or largely exterminated in a number of regions.

These otters can always be found in the vicinity of water and live along rivers and lakes, in swamp areas, at river mouths, but also on the coasts of the sea.

There are four species of the American otter, of which only the following occurs in Costa Rica:

– South American otter (Lontra longicaudis). The animal is found in large parts of tropical South and Central America – from Mexico to Uruguay and the central part of Argentina. The animal is also native to Panama.


Some species of bats are found in Belize. A number of diseases can be transmitted through a bite, including the deadly rabies.

As an example, the Gelbohrer bat should be shown in more detail:

– Gelbohrer bat

The Gelbohrer bat (Uroderma bilobatum) is a species of bat from the family of leaf noses (Phyllostomidae).

This bat reaches a head-trunk length of 55 to 75 mm – with a weight of 15 to about 20 g. It is gray-brown in color, while the face is streaked with four white stripes.

There is a light central stripe on the back and the ears have yellow borders.

The Gelbohrer bat lives in lowland rainforests, but is occasionally found in gardens.

Their diet consists of fruits and nectar as well as insects.

Their resting places consist of tent-like hiding places that they build from palm or banana leaves

This bat species is found in Belize, Bolivia, Brazil, Costa Rica, Ecuador, El Salvador, French Guiana, Guatemala, Guyana, Honduras, Colombia, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Peru, Suriname, Trinidad and Tobago and Venezuela.


Armadillos (Dasypoda) live exclusively on the American continent, with the exception of two species only in South America.

In Costa Rica and Panama, for example, the nine-banded armadillo (Dasypus novemcinctus), which inhabits large parts of South and Central America up to and including the southeastern United States, and the Central American bare-tailed armadillo (Cabassous centralis) can be found.

All other species can be found in southern Brazil, in Bolivia and Paraguay as far as Argentina. In Paraguay, for example, 12 of today’s 21 species are found.

Most armadillo species prefer semi-deserts, savannas and steppes with thorny bushes or dry forests. A loose subsoil is required to lay out your buildings.

The animals are extremely different in size depending on the species. Their head-torso length varies

between 12 and 100 cm – with a weight of a few 100 g up to 45 kg.

Characteristic of the animals is the strong and arched back armor, which covers almost their entire body surface.

Their diet is usually insects, but some species also feed on plants or smaller vertebrates.

Today there are 21 different species of the animal.


Jaguars (Panthera onca) are the largest big cats on the American continent.

But since they are still hunted for their beautiful fur and their habitat is getting smaller and smaller, their population is endangered. Jaguars can only be found in the Corcovado National Park.

You can find a detailed, illustrated description of the animal at Goruma here >>>

Long-tailed weasel

The long-tailed weasel (Mustela frenata) belongs to the subfamily Mustelinae and the marten family (Mustelidae).

The animals have a head-trunk length between 20 to 30 cm, with a tail length between 10 and 20 cm. Their weight varies from 90 to about 350.

Their fur is brown on the back and yellowish-white on the abdomen, while the tip of the tail is black. It is interesting that their winter fur is white except for the tip of the tail

. They are mainly fed by small mammals, especially mice and other rodents. But cottontail rabbits, birds and reptiles are also on their menu.

The long-tailed weasels are mainly nocturnal and spend their rest time during the day in hollow tree trunks, crevices in the rock, but also in the abandoned burrows of other animals.

The animals can be found from southern Canada through parts of the USA, Mexico and the rest of Central America – including Costa Rica – to Guyana and Bolivia.


The Makibears (Bassaricyon) are a genus from the family of small bears (Procyonidae). The genus of Makibears comprises six species, of which only the following two occur in Costa Rica:

– Bassaricyon gabbii, slender bear (Bassaricyon gabbii), also known as Olingo. You can find this bear species in Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Panama, Colombia and Ecuador

– Bassaricyon lasius, you can only find this bear species in the south of Costa Rica

The animals populate tropical rainforests up to an altitude of 2,000 and cloud forests, where you can even find them a height of up to 2,700 m is

bassaricyon are short-legged animals with a long tail.

Their head-trunk length is between 35 to 45 cm, with a length of the bushy and slightly curled tail of 40 to 50 cm. Their weight varies between about 1 to 2 kg.

Their fur is short and soft and is grayish or brown in color on the back, while the belly side is light yellow or whitish in color.

Her face is noticeable through the pointed snout, the small round ears and the relatively large eyes.

The Makibears are nocturnal tree dwellers and only occasionally come to the ground. They spend the day in a leafy nest in a tree hollow.

Their food consists mainly of fruits, but also of insects and smaller vertebrates


coati (Nasua), also referred to as trunk bears, a genus of the family of the small bear (Procyonidae).

They got their name because of their trunk-like, elongated snout with the movable nose.

Their head-torso lengths range from 45 to 70 cm, while their yellow and brown banded tail are between 40 and 70 cm long. Your shoulder height is about 30 cm. Their weight is between 3.5 to 6 kg.

While their front legs are rather short, the hind legs are rather long. Usually the males are larger than the females.

The coat of the Nelson coati is short and silky. The hair of the other two types is longer and rather coarse.

The color of the back ranges from a light brown to reddish and even black. On the abdomen, their coloration ranges from yellowish to dark brown, with the muzzle, chin and throat usually being whitish, while the feet are black.

With their snouts, they search the ground, crevices and cavities for food, which consists mainly of fruit. But neither do they disdain invertebrates and even larger rodents.

There are three species of

coati, of which the following two species can be found in Costa Rica: – South American coati (Nasua nasua) – from Colombia to northern Argentina and Uruguay.

– White-nosed coati (Nasua narica) – from Arizona to the Gulf of Urabá in northwestern Colombia.


Ocelots (Leopardus pardalis) are predators from the family of cats (Felidae) that occur in Central and South America. The basic color of their fur varies on the upper side from grayish to yellowish-brown to orange, whereby the residents of rainforests are more orange or ocher, while the animals of the dry regions are mostly gray. The ventral side is usually whitish. The fur is covered with black, ring-like to rosette-like spots, which are arranged in strips, the interior of the spots being slightly darker than the basic color of the fur. A detailed description can be found here >>>


The Puma (Puma concolor) has a narrow body up to 130 cm long, a shoulder height of 65 cm and a strong, around 70 cm long tail with a black tip. It reaches a weight of 50 to 60 kg, whereby the females are about a third lighter. The animals living in the regions of the equator tend to be smaller than those in the far north or south.

Its dense and short fur varies in basic color according to the area of distribution and ranges from yellow-brown, reddish-brown to silver-gray. The chin and chest as well as the entire abdomen are always whitish, while the tip of the tail is dark in color. The animal is also known as the silver lion or mountain lion

It occurs in almost all of South and Central America, as well as in some US states. The animal is a pure carnivore and two-thirds of its prey include deer as well as elk, deer and reindeer, but also rats, ground squirrels, skunks, raccoons, beavers and possums as well as sheep, goats and cattle. The puma lives exclusively in the Corcovado National Park.

Skunks, Skunks

The skunk from the family Mephitidae is divided into the following four genera, which in turn are divided into 12 species

• Fleckenskunks (Spilogale), the genus consists of four species that occur in North and Central America.

• Stink badgers (Mydaus), the genus is made up of two species found on the Southeast Asian islands.

• Striped skunks (Mephitis), the genus consists of two species that occur in North and Central America.

• The Weißrüsselskunks (Conepatus), the genus is made up of four species that are found all over the American continent.

With a head-trunk length of about 12 to about 50 cm, a tail length of 7 to 40 cm and a weight of 200 g to 4.5 kg. Are they comparable to the size of a house cat? The basic color of the animals is black or dark brown, while the face, trunk and tail are provided with white stripes or spots.

The animals are usually crepuscular or nocturnal and during the day they retreat into buildings they have dug themselves or into burrows taken over by other animals, such as marmots, badgers or ground squirrels.

But they also spend the day in crevices or hollow tree trunks. In the evening or at night they go in search of food. They usually stay on the ground, only the Spotted Skunks also climb trees.

The strip skunks hibernate for a few weeks during the cold season.

The animals eat small mammals such as rodents and rabbits, birds, lizards, snakes and amphibians as well as insects and other invertebrates, but also fruits, nuts and tubers are on their menu.

A closer “acquaintance” with the animal can quickly become unpleasant if it thinks it has to defend itself.

The only thing that helps against the stinking secretion from his anal glands is a bath in tomato juice, if at all.

If the secretion comes into contact with the mucous membranes, vomiting and headaches are possible consequences.

Contact with the eyes can even cause temporary blindness.


The genus of Tapir (Tapirus) have – according to the type – a head-body length of 100 to 250 cm, a body height of 75 to 120 cm and a weight of 110 to 320 kg

The different types of animals live in both the Flat land as well as at heights up to about 3,600 m. They are loners and feed mainly on leaves, fruits, twigs and other parts of plants.

Their existence is considered threatened, which is particularly due to the destruction of their habitats.

There are five species of the genus Tapir (Tapirus), with the lowland, mountain and Kabomani tapir occurring in South America.

The Central American tapir can be found in Costa Rica, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua and Panama.

The saddleback tapir, on the other hand, is only found in Southeast Asia:


The Tayra (Eira barbara) is a species of predator from the marten family (Mustelidae).

Their torso is elongated and slender, with relatively short limbs.

The short and rather dense fur is dark brown in color, while the head is a little lighter. A yellowish or whitish spot on the throat is noticeable. The tail is long and bushy.

These animals have a head-trunk length of 55 to 70 cm – with a tail up to 48 cm long. Their weight is between 4 and 5 kg.

The animal can walk well, climb but also swim very well.

Their diet consists mainly of tree squirrels, rodents such as sting rats, rabbits and small pintail deer. Birds, invertebrates and fruits are also on their menu.

The tayras are found in Central and South America, from southern Mexico to Paraguay and northern Argentina – including Brazil.

They mainly inhabit tropical rainforests.

Wrapped Bear

The Wrapped Bear (Potos flavus), also known as honey bear, belongs to the genus Potos and to the family of small bears (Procyonidae).

The animal has a head-trunk length of 40 to 60 cm, with a 40 to 55 cm long tail. Their weight varies between around 1.5 to 4.5 kg. Their brown back fur is woolly and short, with a mostly yellowish to light brown hairline. The ventral side is yellowish in color. Nineteenth of their diet consists of fruits, while the rest are leaves and nectar.

It is worth mentioning that the animals have a long, handy tail, which is very helpful when climbing. The tail gave it its name because it “wraps” around the branches when climbing.

The wrapped bears can be found in the tropical rainforests between southern Mexico and the north and center of Brazil

Two- and three-toed sloths

The animals reach a head-trunk length of 55 to 70 cm. They live solitary in the treetops of tropical rainforests and partly deciduous forests in the lowlands and at higher altitudes and feed mainly on leaves and young twigs. The animal are the national animal of Costa Rica.

A detailed description of the animals:

– two

– toed sloth – three-toed sloth

Reptiles without poisonous snakes


On Tortuguero Beach on the Caribbean side of Costa Rica you can watch a special spectacle. Between February and July, the beach develops into the nursery of various species of turtles. Bastard turtles, hawksbill turtles, green sea turtles (green turtles) and the world’s largest living turtle, the leatherback turtle, come to the beach to lay their eggs and then disappear back into the sea.

Unlike other turtles, the leatherback turtle’s shell is covered with a rubber-like skin. The sea turtle always lays its eggs on sandy shores.

There are also nests like this on the Atlanticcoast in North America, in other coasts of the Caribbean and Central America as well as in South America, Africa and the coasts of the Indian Ocean s. However, the stock is endangered by fishing as the animals get caught in the nets. The eggs are coveted as a delicacy and are often taken directly from the nests on the beach, putting the populations at risk.

Pointed crocodiles, crocodiles

The crocodiles (Crocodylia) are an order that is divided into three families:

These three families are in turn divided into 9 genera with a total of 25 species.

The American crocodile (Crocodylus acutus) belongs to the family of real crocodiles (Crocodylidae) and occurs only on the American continent.

In rare cases they can reach a length of up to 7 m, with the males being significantly larger than the females. Their coloring is mostly olive to gray-brown. It is noticeable that her eyes are clearly raised, as is the armor made of asymmetrical panels.

The animals lay eggs, which they deposit in sandy banks or sandbanks.

Their diet is very diverse and includes amphibians, fish, crustaceans, snakes, turtles, birds and larger mammals.

The range of this crocodile species extends over a large part of Central America – including western Mexico and Costa Rica – as well as Ecuador, Colombia, northern Peru and Venezuela.

But the animals are also native to the islands in the Caribbean, such as Cuba, Jamaica, the Cayman Islands, Hispaniola, Martinique, Trinidad and Isla Margarita.

The animals are found in mangrove swamps, they are particularly numerous on the Tárcoles River.

In Florida, the animals are found in the southern Everglades and on the Florida Keys.

Green iguana

The green iguana (Iguana iguana) belongs to the family of the iguanas (Iguanidae) and to the genus Iguana. The animals reach a head-trunk length up to about 50 cm, together with the tail it becomes about 2 m long.

Despite its name, the animal is not completely green, but rather greyish-green or has a strong brown influence.

The diurnal animal lives mainly in trees, but is also a good swimmer. Its diet is purely vegetarian and consists mainly of leaves.

Its meat The meat is offered as “green chicken” because it is reminiscent of chicken. A well-known dish is sopa de garrobo.

The animal is found in Central America and in the north of South America. Individual occurrences even in the US state of Florida and on the Lesser Antilles

Geckos and lizards

The numerous geckos and lizards are not only completely harmless for humans but also very useful because they devour numerous immortals. You see them quite often in Costa Rica.


The Helmbasilisk (Basiliscus basiliscus) is a lizard from the family of the iguanas (Corytophanidae).

The helmet basilisk reaches a length between 30 to 40 cm with a 50 cm long tail. Their weight varies between 200 to 500 grams.

The back side is olive green to brown and patterned with dark horizontal stripes, the belly side is yellowish in color.

The animals got their name. The name is derived from a cartilaginous comb on the back of the head of the male. The lizard can walk short distances over the water due to the scales on the toe edges with their air pockets.

They live on trees by lakes, rivers and streams, where they feed on insects, snails, smaller lizards, frogs and small fish, but also on flowers and fruits.

The animals are found in Costa Rica, Panama and the north-west of Colombia.

Even if one believes that a snake is non-poisonous, as a layperson one should not classify it as harmless – one could be wrong!

Idol snake

The idol snake (Boa constrictor) reaches sizes between 3 and 4 m and feeds on smaller and larger mammals as well as on birds and reptiles.

The prey is embraced and strangled by contracting the muscles.

There are six subspecies of the snake.

A detailed description of the snake can be found at Goruma here >>>

Brown rainbow boa

The brown rainbow boa (Epicrates maurus) is one of a total of five species of the genus of the rainbow boa (Epicrates).

The snake is found in Costa Rica, French Guyana, Guyana, Colombia, and Venezuela. Also on Trinidad, Tobago and the island of Isla Margarita.

The snake reaches a length of approx. 140 cm

. There are no subspecies of the snake.

Green rat snake

The green rat snake (Senticolis triaspis) can be found in Belize, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, in the southeast of Mexico (Eastern Sonora, Nuevo León, Western Chihuahua, Sinaloa, Morelos, Oaxaca, Aguascalientes, Tamaulipas, Quéretaro, Guanajuato), in Nicaragua and in the USA (southern Arizona and southwest New Mexico). The snake has the following three subspecies:

– Senticolis triaspis intermedia

– Senticolis triaspis mutabilis

– Senticolis triaspis triaspis

Venomous snakes coral snakes

Venomous snakes in Costa Rica

There are around 140 different species of snakes in Costa Rica.

The following briefly describes a number of important or interesting venomous snakes that are found in Costa Rica. We start with the coral snakes.

General information on coral snakes

This mostly very pretty snake of the genus Micrurus (coral snake, coral otter) with its black and white or yellow and red rings occurs in 79 species with various subspecies.

They can be found in the southern states of the USA via Mexico, Central America and almost all of South America – with the exception of Chile. Often, however, not nationwide but only in parts of the country or even in smaller regions.

They live mainly in moist, warm habitats and are between 60 to 150 cm long. Their head is barely wider than the trunk and their tail is short. You own

The nocturnal snakes live mostly hidden in holes in the ground, between dense vegetation or under stones and feed on small reptiles – more rarely on small mammals, amphibians, and young birds.

Bites are extremely rare in humans. They have a very effective neurotoxin, which interrupts the connection between nerves and between nerves and muscles (synapses).

In addition, numerous species of snake have poisonous parts that destroy muscle tissue (myotoxins).

Without an antiserum, paralysis up to fatal respiratory arrest, which would occur after approx. 24 hours, is to be expected.

In order to inject its poison, the coral otter not only has to bite but chew the poison into the prey, so to speak.

If the animal can be thrown away very quickly after a bite, it is to be expected that it has not yet completely injected its poison, therefore – despite its very strong poison – there are seldom deaths after bites by coral otters. Bites of this snake are hardly known in Costa Rica. Allen’s coral otter The red Allen’s coral otter (Micrurus alleni) with yellow and black rings is found in eastern Nicaragua as well as in Costa Rica, Panama and Honduras

Clarks Coral

Snake The Clarks Coral Snake (Micrurus clarki) is ringed red-black with narrow white rings.

The snake can be found in the southeast of Costa Rica, in the west of Colombia (Valle del Cauca) and in Panama

Limon coral snake

The Limon coral snake (Micrurus mosquitensis) occurs on the Atlantic coast of Nicaragua.

They can also be found in Costa Rica and Panama

Red-tailed coral snake

The red-tailed coral snake (Micrurus mipartitus) is one of the few coral snakes with green rings.

You can find them in Costa Rica, in Ecuador, in the east of Panama, on the Pacific coast of Colombia (Valle del Cauca), in Brazil in the state of Rondônia and in the west of Venezuela (Zulia).

The snake has the following five subspecies:

– Micrurus mipartitus mipartitus

– Micrurus mipartitus anomalus

– Micrurus mipartitus decussatus

– Micrurus mipartitus popayanensis

– Micrurus mipartitus rozei

Black-banded coral snake

The black-banded coral snake (Micrurus nigrocinctus) – also known as the Central American coral snake – lives in Mexico in the states of Oaxaca, Chiapas and Yucatan).

They can also be found in Belize, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua and Panama.

By the serpent, there are the following seven subspecies:

– Micrurus nigrocinctus babaspul

– Micrurus nigrocinctus coibensis

– Micrurus nigrocinctus divaricatus

– Micrurus nigrocinctus nigrocinctus

– Micrurus nigrocinctus ovandoensis

– Micrurus nigrocinctus wagneri

– Micrurus nigrocinctus zunilensis

Multi-banded coral snake

The multi-banded coral snake (Micrurus multifasciatus) can be found in the north and east of Costa Rica, in the north of Panama and in central Panama and in the Valle del Cauca in Colombia.

Also in Nicaragua.

There are two subspecies of the snake:

Micrurus multifasciatus multifasciatus

Micrurus multifasciatus hertwig

Venomous snakes – lance vipers


information about lance vipers The genus of the lance vipers (Bothrops) belongs to the subfamily of pit vipers (Ctotalinae) and to the family of vipers (Viperidae).

The genus of the lance viper comprises 45 species of snakes, some of which in turn have subspecies. The smallest species or subspecies reach a length between 50 to 70 cm and the largest can be over 2 m long.

Their poison has tissue-destroying parts (proteases), blood-damaging and kidney-damaging parts.

It is worth mentioning that the enzyme reptilase in the venom of Bothrops atrox and Bothrops jararaca is used in diagnostics to determine coagulation disorders and as a therapeutic agent for anticoagulation.

The animals are viviparous. They get their name from their triangular head shape, which is reminiscent of a lance tip. Costa Rica Mountain Lance Viper The Costa Rica Mountain Lance Viper (Cerrophidion sasai) can be found in the west of Panama and in Costa Rica

Rough-scaled lance viper

The rough-scaled lance viper (Bothrops asper) is found in southern Mexico and in Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Panama, Belize, Colombia (Valle del Cauca), in western Ecuador and Venezuela

T erciopelo lance viper

The Terciopelo lance viper (Bothrops asper) is also known as the rough-scaly lance viper.

They can be found in Belize, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Guatemala, Honduras, Colombia, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama and Venezuela. There are no subspecies of the snake

Venomous snakes – palm lance snakes

General information about palm

lance vipers The palm lance vipers belong to the genus Bothriechis, to the subfamily of pit vipers (Crotalinae) and to the family of vipers (Viperidae).

The species of this snake genus have a length of about 60 to 80 cm – very rarely they reach a length of 1 m.

The palm lance vipers live exclusively in the trees of the tropical rainforest and are well adapted to the way of life in trees thanks to their long tail, which is optimized for grasping. Like all pit otters, they have pit organs on the sides of their heads between the nostrils and eyes, with which they can perceive thermal radiation (infrared radiation), which makes them good night hunters.

Their basic color is usually green to greenish-yellow with light and dark speckles, whereby the very color-variable prehensile-tailed lance-viper is an exception.

Dark green palm lance viper

The dark green palm lance viper (Bothriechis lateralis) occurs in Costa Rica, Nicaragua and Panama.

There are no subspecies of the snake

Spotted palm lance viper

The spotted palm lance viper (Bothriechis supraciliaris) occurs in Costa Rica and Panama.

There are no subspecies of the snake, the

raspy-tailed palm-lance viper

The raspy-tailed palm-lance viper (Bothriechis schlegelii) belongs to the genus of the palm-lance viper (Bothriechis). The snake is found in Costa Rica, Ecuador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico,

Nicaragua, Peru, and Venezuela. There are no subspecies of the snake

Palm lance viper

The palm lance viper (Bothriechis lateralis) is found in Costa Rica, Nicaragua and Panama.

It lives mainly in forest areas. There are no subspecies of the snake

Black and yellow palm lance viper (Bothriechis nigroviridis)

Black and yellow palm lance viper is found in Costa Rica and Panama.

There are no subspecies of the snake

Talamancan palm lance viper (Bothriechis nubestris)

The snake is only found in San José in Costa Rica.

There are no subspecies of the snake

Venomous snakes – inverted snakes

Inverted-nosed vipers (Porthidium) – also known as hooked-nosed vipers – are a genus of snakes from the subfamily of pit vipers. Their poison is considered less dangerous.

Costa Rica inverted nosed viper

The Costa Rica inverted nosed viper (Porthidium volcanicum) occurs in Costa Rica and Panama.

Rainforest inverted-nosed viper

The rainforest inverted-nosed viper (Porthidium nasutum) is found in Mexico in the states of Chiapas, Vera Cruz and Yucatan,

as well as in Belize, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Panama, in Colombia in the Valle del Cauca and in Ecuador


tailed inverted nosed viper The approximately 50 cm long white-tailed inverted nosed viper (Porthidium porrasi) can be found in the southwest of Costa Rica

Western inverted-

nosed viper The western inverted-nosed viper (Porthidium ophryomegas) reaches a length of up to about 75 cm.

They can be found in the west of Guatemala, in Honduras, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Guatemala and in Mexico in the state of Chiapas

More venomous snakes


Vine Snake The Cope’s Vine Snake (Oxybelis brevirostris) is – like all snakes from the genus Oxybelis – not too poisonous.

The snake can be found in Costa Rica, Honduras, Nicaragua and Panama.

Ore Spitznatter

The Ore Spitznatter (Oxybelis aeneus) has a large distribution area:

Belize, Bolivia, Brazil (Amazon, Federal District, Minas Gerais, Rondonia, Roraima, Pará, Bahia, Espírito Santo, Mato Grosso, Ceará, Piauí, Rio de Janeiro, Rio Grande do Norte, Pernambuco).

Also in Costa Rica, Ecuador, El Salvador, French Guyana, Guatemala, Guyana, Honduras, Isla Margarita, Colombia in the Valle del Cauca, Mexico (Chiapas, Morelos, Oaxaca, Yucatan, Aguascalientes, Tamaulipas, Campeche, Quéretaro, Jalisco, Sonora, Hidalgo, Guanajuato, Nuevo León, Chihuahua), Nicaragua with Corn Island, Panama, Peru (Ancash), Suriname, Trinidad and Tobago.

It is also found in the US state of Arizona and Venezuela (Mérida, Esqueda, La Marca).

Glossy Vine Snake

The gloss Vine Snake (Oxybelis fulgidus) reaches a size over 1.80 m. You can find them in Belize, Bolivia, Brazil (Mato Grosso, Pará), Costa Rica, Ecuador, El Salvador, French Guyana, Guatemala, Guyana, Honduras, Colombia, Mexico (Chiapas, Oaxaca, Campeche), Nicaragua, Panama, Peru, Surinam as well as Venezuela and Tobago. Their poison is less strong and causes unpleasant local symptoms such as swelling, edema and pain as well as lymphangitis and lymph node swelling, but should be taken seriously. There are no subspecies of the snake

Gloyd’s Moccasin Snake

The Gloyd’s Moccasin Snake (Agkistrodon howardgloydi) is found in Central America – and there in the northwest of Costa Rica, in the west of Nicaragua and in the south of Honduras.

Picados Spring Lance Viper Picados Spring Lance

Viper (Atropoides picadoi) is found in Costa Rica and Panama.

Schwarzkopf Bushmaster

Schwarzkopf Bushmaster (Lachesis melanocephala) occurs in southeastern Costa Rica and Panama.

Central American Bushmaster

The Central American Bushmaster (Lachesis stenophrys) occurs in Costa Rica, Nicaragua and Panama.

The snake can grow up to 3 m long, making it the longest venomous snake on the American continent. Its fangs are extremely long with a length of 3.5 cm.

Central American rattlesnake

Central American rattlesnake (Crotalus simus) is found in El Salvador, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Honduras, in southern Mexico (Chiapas, Oaxaca, Veracruz, Tabasco and Campeche) and in Nicaragua.

There are no subspecies of the snake.

Central American jumping

pit viper The Central American jumping pit viper (Atropoides mexicanus) is found in Belize, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, in the south of Mexico (Chiapas, Querétaro) as well as in Nicaragua and Panama

There are no subspecies of the snake.

More poisonous animals


Scorpions and one of the most famous spiders, the tarantula, live hidden behind stones, old trees or small caves. It is important to know that tarantulas are poisonous in themselves, but the poison does not pose a threat to an adult and healthy person.

However, the bite could be quite painful.

Poisonous tree frogs, poison dart frogs In

contrast, poisonous tree frogs and poison dart frogs are very poisonous. The poisonous tree frogs are characterized by their thick and warty skin, which is more reminiscent of that of toads. This is covered with poison glands and therefore advises against touching it.

Poison dart frogs are easy to recognize by their bright and usually very beautiful color, which they use to warn of their toxicity. This warning should also be taken seriously, as the toxins secreted through the skin can lead to muscle paralysis as well as the respiratory muscles and in worst cases even death.


The most common bird species are without a doubt the toucans with the large and colorful beak, which are particularly widespread in the Carara nature reserve. The colorful collared arassaris with their huge beaks are wonderful to look at.

The colorful parrots and the songbirds, as well as the hummingbirds, are also a feast for the eyes.

The latter are among the smallest warm-blooded animals and not only can they stand in mid-air, but they are the only birds that can fly backwards. Their low weight and the very fast flapping of the wings (approx. 80 beats/sec.) Contribute to these flying skills. Hummingbirds mainly feed on nectar to provide the energy they need for strenuous flying. What is striking is their very long beak, which is a perfect adaptation to their diet, as the nectar required is usually deep in the calyx of the flower.

The natural distribution of the harpy eagle is South and Central America. With a wingspan of 190 – 240 cm and a body length of 80 – 100 cm, the bird is considered the most powerful bird of prey in the world and is now threatened with extinction. Its distinguishing feature is a broad head of feathers on the back of the head, which lies smoothly in normal condition, but struggles when excited. He hunts along the woods and along river banks. Its diet consists of large vertebrates such as monkeys, sloths, possums, coatis, snakes, and iguanas. The bird of prey takes its name from a mythical creature in Greek mythology. First storm demons and later ugly giant birds with female heads were called harpies.

Other birds of prey that live here are buzzards, vultures, eagles and peregrine falcons.

In the rainforests on Cerro you can find the beautiful quetzal (Pharomachrus mocinno), a green, red and white colored bird up to 40 cm in size.


In the low-lying areas, mosquitoes and biting flies are an uncomfortable burden. Tree termites and leaf-cutting ants are some of the most common insects in the rainforests. Cicadas, flies, bees and wasps also live here.

Numerous species of butterflies enrich the microcosm of Costa Rica. One of them is the monarch butterfly, which is actually native to Canada, but migrates to the south to winter. The butterfly catches the eye with its bright black, white and yellow markings, signaling that it is inedible. This is not a delusion, since it mainly feeds on the poisonous swallow root plant and accumulates the toxins. So birds would do better to leave him alone.

Another species of butterfly also deserves mention. The morpho butterfly from the butterfly family is one of the largest butterflies in the world with a wingspan of 8 – 20 cm. Its bright blue and metallic glittering wings are striking. It usually stays at the height of the treetops on rivers, but also in mountains. They feed by sucking the juice of rotting fruit.

A specialty is the Hercules beetle from the scarab beetle family, which is not only the largest beetle, but also one of the largest insects in the world. The male has two large, pincer-like horns at the front end of the body, with which he reaches a total size of 17.5 cm. Thus, it is slightly larger than the female that lacks such horns. The shorter horn is a head extension, while the longer one is an extension of the pronotum.

In this way, the two horns form a functional pair of pliers. Another ability of the males is the color change of their wing covers from an olive green to a black color, which takes place before rival fights. Hercules beetles are nocturnal and hide during the day in dark hiding places such as between roots or in tree hollows. Their lifespan is 2 years, of which they spend 15 months as a larva. They are residents of humid, tropical rainforests and are distributed, except in Costa Rica, from southern Mexico to Venezuela, via Colombia to Peru and northern Brazil.

You can also find bees and wasps here.

sea animals

Especially on the Pacific side, the biodiversity is almost inexhaustible and invites you to go diving or snorkeling. Doctor and angel fish, rays, snapper, tuna, parrot fish, barracudas and a number of shark species are represented here. Sea turtles lay their eggs here on some of the beaches.

The local whales and dolphins are increasingly inviting tourists to take guided tours on the water to observe the animals. Particularly worth seeing are the buck whales that mate off the coast.

Costa Rica: plants

General information

Costa Rica’s biodiversity is one of its greatest treasures. One of the reasons for this are the different vegetation zones.

The lowlands on the Pacific and Caribbean coast are partly covered with rainforest, while the east coast consists mainly of mangrove swamps, which is why the zone up to 800 m altitude is also known as the evergreen lowland rainforest. The evergreen mountain rainforest grows between 800 and 1500 m, and finally comes the subalpine zone with the tree line at 3,000 m. The central highlands, the so-called Meseta Central, are located between the two mountain ranges.

Cocos Island, which belongs to Costa Rica, can be described as unique. It is considered the only island with a tropical rainforest in the Pacific Ocean and is one of theUNESCO World Heritage. Cocos Island was the inspiration for the idea of the dinosaur island for the Hollywood production “Jurassic Park”.


The Cabo Blanco Conservation Area in the north of the country is one of the largest in all of Costa Rica. Ceiba and pochote trees grow here. In the tropical dry forest in the north-west of Costa Rica, trees with melodious names such as the laburnum tree or the gold tree grow as well as the cashew tree, the calabash tree and the national tree of Costa Rica, the guanacaste tree. This large, umbrella-shaped tree also gave its name to the province of Guanacaste, as it is particularly common here and stands out due to its size.

In contrast, the vegetation on the coast is completely different. Coconut palms, Indian almond trees, the highly poisonous manzanillo trees and the evergreen sea grapes predominate here.

Popular ornamental plants are the coral trees, which are often planted as borders or as shade providers, as well as rubber trees. What is striking about the coral trees are their orange-colored flowers, which sprout between January and mid-March, are consumed as vegetables when young and have a bean-like taste.


The rubber tree, of which there are around 1,000 species, belongs to the mulberry family. Its homeland is originally Asia, but today it is widespread everywhere and is often used as a houseplant in Central Europe. The tree has large, dark green, thick leaves and can grow up to 30 m tall in nature. It has a dense, spreading crown and strong roots that run on the surface of the earth, as well as numerous aerial roots. Ficus rubber is obtained from the white milky sap of its trunk.

Costa Rica is best known for its banana plantations and the coffee that is grown in central Costa Rica. Other equally important crops are sugar cane, rice and manioc, which are also known under the names cassava or bread roots. The plant belongs to the milkweed family, grows up to 3 m high, has a bushy habit and greenish-yellow flowers. The starchy, up to 8 cm thick and up to 90 cm long tubers are used. All parts of the plant contain a toxin that is destroyed by washing out and exposure to heat. This makes the cassava palatable.

Tropical fruits such as the mango, pineapple, papaya or star fruit are part of Costa Rica’s wealth as well as the prickly pennies, tree tomatoes and tamarind.

The dye obtained from the seeds of the red, prickly and heart-shaped seed pods of the Orleans tree is used for cosmetics and is also an important export item.

Medicinal plants

In the past, the dried leaves of the poisonous thorn apple were smoked to help with asthma. The plant was also considered an aphrodisiac for a long time. Today, however, these properties have faded into the background, which is mainly due to the toxicity of the thorn apple.

Poisonous plants

The manzanillo tree, which belongs to the milkweed family and often grows on coasts, is highly toxic and triggers a strong contact reaction when it is touched. There is intense burning, inflammation and severe blistering. A drop of tree sap caught in the eye can lead to blindness. In general, as with most milkweed plants, all parts of the plant are poisonous and you should not touch the tree. It can be recognized by the smooth, gray bark, the numerous, protruding branches and a small, green fruit that is reminiscent of an apple. The Costa Rica nightshade is also poisonous. It is characterized by its 6 cm large, purple flowers in clusters.

The ever-popular cashew nuts are the fruits of the cashew tree, which can reach a size of up to 12 m. It is also known under the name cashew tree or with the spelling “cashew tree”. However, the nutshell is poisonous due to the skin-irritating vapors it emits and therefore the nuts can only be eaten when they have been peeled or roasted.

The black-brown marbled seeds of the miracle tree, better known as castor, are used to make castor oil. In contrast to the seeds, this is completely harmless. The seed coats, however, contain a highly toxic protein, which can be fatal even in low doses. You can recognize poisoning by a burning sensation in the mouth and throat, vomiting and nausea.

The poinsettia, which is well known in this country and is very popular especially in winter, originally comes from Mexico, but is also widespread in Costa Rica. Since the plant belongs to the milkweed family, all parts of the plant are poisonous, especially the milky sap. However, considerable differences in the level of toxicity were found between the various species. In general, one can say that wild species are considerably more poisonous than their offspring that have been bred

The thorn apple belongs to the nightshade family and, like the poinsettia, is poisonous in all parts of the plant. The active ingredients lead to mild to severe poisoning, depending on the dose ingested, although deaths have already been described. Symptoms of poisoning include hallucinations, dehydration of the mouth, dilation of the pupils, and increased heart rate. Ultimately, death can result from respiratory paralysis.

More plants

In the rainforests, biodiversity is not limited to trees. Many different, colorful orchid species stand out, but also mosses, ferns and bromeliads enrich the flora. Water hyacinths have settled in areas of water.

Common ornamental plants are bougainvillea, the poinsettia, which is also well known in Germany, the highly poisonous thorn apple and the rose hibiscus, which belongs to the mallow family.

Some species of the coral tree were originally introduced from South America to provide shade for coffee in Costa Rica. Nonetheless, six species of coral tree are found in Costa Rica as part of natural vegetation. You can distinguish the species by the color of their flowers.

The rose hibiscus, also known as China rose, comes from southern China. Today it is widespread in most tropical areas.

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