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Is There Monkeys in Costa Rica ?

Monkeys in Costa Rica can be seen all throughout the country. There are four main species of monkey found in the rainforests.

All of them have unique characteristics that make them fascinating to watch. They are agile climbers and often swing from branches and vines, making them incredibly fun to watch.

"Monkeys are among the animals to see in Costa Rica."

Where to see monkeys in costa rica ?

Monkeys in Costa Rica can be found all over the country. However, the most concentrated populations are found in the rainforests of the Central Valley, Corcovado National Park, Osa Peninsula, Monteverde Cloud Forest Biological Reserve and Cahuita National Park. These areas provide an ideal habitat for these primates with plenty of food.


Best places to see them ?

The Osa Peninsula is the best place to see monkeys in Costa Rica and Corcovado National Park is the only park in Costa Rica where you can see all 4 monkeys !


Are the monkeys in costa rica friendly ?

Monkeys are a big part of Costa Rica's landscape and culture. There are several species of monkey that inhabit the country, including spider monkeys, squirrel monkeys, and howler monkeys. The best way to get an up-close look at these amazing creatures is to go on a guided tour with an experienced guide who can help you find them

Monkeys are among the best things to do in Costa Rica.


What kind of monkeys are in Costa Rica ?


  • Spider Monkey,
  • Howler Monkey,
  • Squirrel Monkey
  • Capuchin Monkey.




Howler Monkey in Costa Rica

Picture of Howler monkeys Costa Rica

A howler monkey


No need to wake up in the morning; the cries of these monkeys will wake you up at dawn.  

Named for their howls that can be heard up to 5 km away, they are certainly the loudest monkeys. It is the males that have an enlarged hyoid bone that allows them to amplify their cries for miles. They howl to communicate within the troop. 

Although there are nine species of howler monkeys, it is the mantled howler that inhabits Costa Rica. Howler monkeys are easy to find in many parts of Costa Rica, especially in Guanacaste, they are the largest monkeys in Costa Rica, with males averaging 1 meter long with a tail that long and weighing up to 10 kg.

Because they have a folivorous diet, which means they eat mostly leaves, they don't move around as much as other monkeys. They sleep a lot to digest the leaves so they can survive in the heat.


Spider monkeys

Picture of Spider monkeys Costa Rica

A spider monkey


These acrobats can weigh more than 2 kg and are generally about 1m50 tall.

Unfortunately, due to poaching as well as loss of habitat and food resources due to human activity, these magnificent animals have been pushed into deeper areas of the forest.

Spider monkeys are the most intelligent monkey species in Costa Rica. Their muscular, prehensile tails can support the entire weight of the animal, and with their long, slender arms, they move gracefully through the canopy in search of fruit, seeds and leaves.


Squirrel or Tití monkeys

Picture of Squirrel or Tití monkeys Costa Rica

A squirrel monkey


The fourth and smallest species of monkey in Costa Rica is also called the titi monkey. It inhabits the tropical forests of the central and southern Pacific coastal areas, from Manuel Antonio to the Osa Peninsula. The small size of this monkey, its expressive face and playful behavior make it a pleasure to observe. They move through the canopy in groups, feeding on fruits, flowers, leaves, insects, lizards and frogs.

There are two subspecies:

  • The black-crowned squirrel monkey, which inhabits the forests of southern Costa Rica, as far west as Panama.
  • The grey-crowned squirrel monkey, which is endemic to the area between Quepos and the Rio Terraba.

Both subspecies are considered endangered and are increasingly difficult to see.


White faced monkeys or Capuchin

Picture of White faced monkeys Costa RIca

A white faced monkey


White-faced capuchin monkeys are easily observed in Costa Rica. They live in groups of 5 to 24 animals. These monkeys are extremely curious, agile and aggressive. They defend their territory by threatening with their sharp teeth and by flapping on trees.

They feed mainly on fruit. Capuchin monkeys are particularly fond of bananas. If you dare to refuse them, they can get very nasty.

Despite their cute appearance, these little rascals are actually very efficient predators. Their main diet is fruits and leaves, but they also eat insects and lizards, birds and their eggs, and even baby coati. These intelligent animals work in tandem to hunt squirrels and squirrel monkeys, and have been known to use tools to open oyster shells or kill poisonous snakes.

So be careful with your stuff; they can steal it in a heartbeat!


How to deal with monkeys

Picture of how to deal with monkeys Costa Rica


Do not disturb or touch them

Aside from the fact that they remain wild animals, monkeys can actually die from bacteria transmitted by your hand.

Because monkeys live in a very different environment than we do, they are exposed to different types of bacteria. If they are exposed to a foreign bacteria, such as the one that could come from your hands, they may not have the proper defense system to fight it and are more likely to get sick and die.

Therefore, if you have the opportunity to be around monkeys: look, but do not touch.


Do not feed them

If a monkey receives food from a human, it assumes that the next time it sees a person with food, it will get some. If it doesn't get what it wants, it will automatically become aggressive.

So keep your food to yourself and don't induce aggressive behaviour in our monkey friends.


How to avoid aggression

The first piece of advice we give you is to keep your distance.
Monkeys are everywhere in Costa Rica, including national parks and local trees. They look cute and cuddly and may even approach you. Take a picture and admire them but don't try to pet or feed them. They may feel threatened and react aggressively. Also, human food can cause them health problems. 

Also, keep an eye on your belongings as they may try to steal them.


Conclusion : 

Overall, it is evident that there are many different types of monkeys in Costa Rica. Each type of monkey has its own unique set of behaviors and characteristics. Although they can be found all throughout the country, they tend to congregate near areas with lots of trees and plants. This provides them with a variety of food options as well as places to hide from time you visit Costa Rica, keep your eyes peeled for these incredible creatures!