Despite its tiny size, Costa Rica has the distinction of having the most varied fauna of any country on the planet! In 1995 the World Resource Institute published a study showing that Costa Rica contained an amazing 615 species per every 10,000 sq km! Compare that to the U.S., which has only 104 species per every 10,000 sq km.


Costa Rica is literally crawling with critters! As of 2004, Costa Rica contains more than 68,000 different species of animals! There are some 850 species of birds in Costa Rica (more than in most continents), 260 mammal species, 180 species of amphibians, 235 reptile species, 835 species of fish, and 65,000 recorded insect species.


Costa Rica has classified over 10,000 species of vascular plants. The stars of this distinguished group are the orchids, of which there are some 1300 beautiful members. The national flower, Cattleya skinneri, is Costa Rica’s most famous orchid.

National Parks

Costa Rica has instituted one of the best national park systems in the world. The system was initiated in the 1960s and now includes 26 national parks covering 11 percent of the country. If you include the hundreds of wildlife refuges, nature reserves, monuments, Indian reservations and other protected areas, they cover an amazing 27 percent of country!