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Wildlife in Osa Peninsula

One of the main reasons why I wanted to stay for longer at Blue Osa is the rainforest in Osa Peninsula, one of the most untouched ones in Costa Rica. You literally live surrounded with the wildlife, howler monkeys wake you up for sunrise, then great kiskadee sings you it’s around 7 am, at lunch time everyone disappears and before sunset all the flowers smell the most …


Wildlife in Osa Peninsula was what captured me the most since the very first moment at Blue Osa and it kept sweeping me out of my feet for the entire 6 weeks I spent there. Every single day I learned a new thing (I even learned 150 things at Blue Osa), I watched how the nature changes within a few days and I even memorized the habits and ”time schedule” of the animals living around us.


There’s a bunch of different animals you can see directly at Blue Osa property, such as lizards, green iguanas, frogs, toads, beetles, wasps, bees, butterflies (swallow tails, morphos, owl butterflies – moths).

Walking through the garden I also spotted howler, capuchin and yellow titi monkeys and toucans. Happy times!


wildlife Osa Peninsula (39)


Steve and Pete Blue Osa dogs

Steve and Pete – Blue Osa dogs

dog Rama Blue Osa

dog Rama

hummingbird wildlife Osa Peninsula (44)

having breakfast with a hummingbird

hummingbird wildlife Osa Peninsula (43)

hummingbird at Blue Osa

frog wildlife Osa Peninsula (61)

a toad

Great Kiskadee wildlife Osa Peninsula (45)

Great Kiskadee nesting at Blue Osa

Great Kiskadee feeding a baby

Great Kiskadee feeding a baby

a snake wildlife Osa Peninsula (41)

a snake at my work place

a grasshopper Blue Osa garden

a huge grasshopper in the garden

iguana at Blue Osa wildlife Osa Peninsula

a green iguana

a squirrel wildlife Osa Peninsula

a squirrel

a butterfly wildlife Osa Peninsula

a butterfly

a butterfly in the Blue Osa garden

one of many butterflies

a grasshopper in the Blue Osa garden

a grasshopper in the beautiful garden

a bird on a bouganvillea plant wildlife Osa Peninsula

a bird on a bouganvillea plant

a Tanager eating wildlife Osa Peninsula

a black-cheeked ant-tanager eating

birds on the beach wildlife Osa Peninsula (2)

birds on the beach

birds on the Tamales beach wildlife Osa Peninsula (1)

birds on the Tamales beach every morning

black vultures wildlife Osa Peninsula (2)

black vultures

black vultures wildlife Osa Peninsula (1)

a black vulture looking for food

another black vulture on the beach

another black vulture on the beach

a black vulture close-up

a black vulture close-up

a baby bird fell off nest at Blue Osa

a baby bird fell off nest at Blue Osa

an iguana at Blue Osa

an iguana

another iguana Osa Peninsula

another iguana

a huge beetle at Blue Osa

a huge beetle at Blue Osa

baby crabs on Tamales beach Osa Peninsula

baby crabs on Tamales beach

my favorite Tanager bird Osa Peninsula

my favorite Tanager bird

toucans Osa Peninsula (1)

a small toucan next to Blue Osa garden

toucans Osa Peninsula (2)

the same toucan that made my day

toucans Osa Peninsula (3)

the other toucan of the couple

iguana kiss (1)

an iguana kiss

I kissed an iguana and I liked it

I kissed an iguana and I liked it




 Jungle hike

You can see a lot of wildlife right outside of your room or next to the open kitchen, but the best is to take a jungle hike with Rufillo at 6 am in the morning, the most active time of the day.

And obviously, that’s what I did …

Filio, how we all call him, is a very knowledgeable man and getting all the information about animals from him was such an easy thing to do and it saved me hours of research. He took me together with the yoga retreat groups to the jungle twice.


The first thing we noticed on many trees around were all the termite nests.


”As the vultures eat dead animals and thus help the natural cycle, the termites recycle the wood. Sometimes you can see holes in the termite nests as some birds, e.g. parrots nest there. The Blue Osa old building was made of thick wood first and then they rebuilt it also because of the termites.”


termite nest Osa Peninsula wildlife Osa Peninsula (1)


Teak trees along the main road just outside of the Blue Osa are expensive wood and their leaves were used for painting as they leave red colour if you smash them but now it is illegal to do so.” Filio shows us red colour on his fingers.


”Right now we are in the dry seasons so you can see less green scenery.” And I can only confirm that as within just 2 weeks of difference we had to walk on a lot of dry leaves that were almost non-existent before.


One of my definitely favorite wildlife members in the area are the scarlet macaws that never cease to inspire me. Just walking out of Blue Osa we saw a couple of them munching on a Balsa tree. Surprisingly, the biggest predators of the macaws are the beautiful toucans as they eat their eggs. Otherwise, these intelligent creatures can live up to 70 years. Both macaws and toucans stay together for life. How romantic!


scarlet macaws (1) scarlet macaws (2) scarlet macaws (3) scarlet macaws (4)

scarlet macaw couple

a sweet scarlet macaw couple



When watching a macaw eating, a caracara flew above our heads and sat on a tree together with the black vultures as they often hang out on the same tree. Also a couple of red-lored parrots flew around (those are difficult to photoshoot as they merge completely with the surrounding.)


red-lored parrots wildlife Osa Peninsula

red-lored parrots


On the ground just under the balsa tree Filio showed us dormilona mimosa plant that is so sensitive that if you touch it, it closes its leaves, hence the sleeping plant name. I was very familiar with the plant but it was pretty awesome to watch the happy laugh of surprise from those who saw it for the first time. We learned that mimosa leaf tea is good for insomnia and root extract for teeth, gums and cavities (but do not drink the root tea, just spill it out after.)


dormilona mimosa sleeping plant


We saw a sort of soft fibre from balsa tree that hummingbirds use for their nests and in the past women used it for pillow filling.


fiber from balsa tree

fiber from balsa tree


On an upper tree branch far away there was a road-side hawk, called gavilan in Spanish.

Then, we walked towards the beach and from there entered a jungle trail with hundreds of holes in the ground.

”It’s from the big halloween crabs nesting here. Crabs leave their shells and get bigger shells which serve as protection. There’s also many hermit crabs along the beach. The crabs eat almost everything, including other crabs, so it’s just logical you see all the crabs getting back inside the shell if they see any movement whatsoever.”


crab holes Osa Peninsula

crab holes


On fallen trees on the beach on the right side from the Blue Osa we spotted a common black hawk that nests close by and chooses this tree to sit on all the time.


common black hawk Osa Peninsula

common black hawk


Walking along the beach we were leaving our footprints among the fresh pizote racoon tracks, and then we entered the jungle again. Sour cane plants, a type of ginger, good for kidneys greeted us. Then, we saw the so called pepper candle leaves used for example for twisted ankle and a large amount of them have anesthesia effect.


pizote racoon tracks wildlife Osa Peninsula (8)

pizote racoon tracks


Then I remembered hiking Cahuita National Park on the Caribbean side back 2 years ago as some golden spiders (golden silk orb-weaver) were in our way when hiking. The best thing about these huge spiders is that they do not bite and actually do not bother me at all. I learned another thing today – use a banana leaf or any other big leaf to put behind the spider and its web for a nicer photo.


golden spider golden silk orb-weaver wildlife Osa Peninsula (20)

golden silk orb-weaver

golden spider golden silk orb-weaver wildlife Osa Peninsula (21)

another golden spider



What we were hiking through is a secondary forest, not the primary one (which means there was some kind of disruption for certain period of time, in here it was agriculture land), so some 70 years ago the area was covered with cows and horses and now you can still see banana leaves in here since the previous period.

We saw a cute tent bat under a banana leaf (just one of around 100 kinds of bats there are in Costa Rica.) Some heliconia – paradise flowers relative of bananas, but with no fruits, were all around.


tent bats Osa Peninsula

a tent bat under a banana leaf


”I believe we have 7 types of strangle trees in Costa Rica. Matapalo tree is the famous ”kill tree” (mata means killing and palo in Costa Rica is tree.)” Filio is explaining to us.


The strangle tree we saw is around 150 years old and started around an old palm tree and then grew around it getting higher to get more light and thus killing the palm tree inside. It is very good for shade but not for wood. This strangle tree starts like a parasite somewhere up and then put its roots down but in reality it serves as a support, so it’s not a real parasite.


strangle tree Osa Peninsula

Filio walking around a strangle tree

a strangle tree Osa Peninsula

a strangle tree Osa Peninsula

strangle tree Osa Peninsula

Filio showing us how to climb the strangle tree

matapalo climbing

matapalo climbing

matapalo climbing (1)

climbing matapalo strangle tree

inside the strangle tree wildlife Osa Peninsula

inside the strangle tree

tent bats Osa Peninsula (2)

tent bats inside a tree

tent bats Osa Peninsula (3)

tent bat close-up

tent bats Osa Peninsula

another cute tent bat



A beautiful blue morpho butterfly flew around us as they tend to stay close to magnificent matapalo trees.

At times it was a bit challenging to hike watching out for many spiny palms around and not to touch them at all.


spiny palms Osa Peninsula

spiny palms

spiny palm wildlife Osa Peninsula

spiny palm full of spikes

observing wildlife in Osa Peninsula

observing wildlife



Belly ceiba tree (called barrigon in Spanish) in a shape of a big belly is one of the tallest trees in the area. On the ground there were a lot of interesting white flowers falling off from the ceiba tree. Shame they have no smell. The ceiba fruit on the other hand is soft inside and full of seeds.


belly ceiba barrigon Osa Peninsula

belly ceiba barrigon

ceiba tree flower wildlife Osa Peninsula

ceiba tree flower


Filio showed us orchids that did not make it – the orchids are the real parasites but it’s too dry for them in this part of the year to get enough nutrients from trees so they die drying up.

A white-nosed coati ran along the branches above us. At first we thought it was a monkey and unfortunately it was just against the sun so I didn’t manage to take a photo of it before it was gone. The coatis are trying to get crabs digging into the crab holes in the ground. On my second jungle hike we also found a coati skull.

”This coati was a pizote solo, as we say here. Usually coatis live in families and have only one boss so sometimes if there is more than 1 male coati in the group, he is thrown out and has to spend the rest of his life without his family. How tough!”


a coati skull Osa Peninsula

a coati skull


Yay, we looked up and saw black-mandibled toucans (at least I think it was not the chestnut-mandibled toucans as they have a little reddish on their belly too and these ones did not), one on each tree as they travel in couples. We spent some time down the trees taking photos and videos of them as it doesn’t happen so often that they stay so quiet for such a long time.


black-mandibled toucans Osa Peninsula

black-mandibled toucans wildlife Osa Peninsula

a black-mandibled toucan



Then it was monkey time. Howler and capuchin monkeys were suddenly surrounding us, howling, playing, munching and making faces into the cameras.


a capuchin monkey outside of the Blue Osa garden

a capuchin monkey

a capuchin monkey hanging out on a tree

a capuchin monkey hanging out on a tree

a capuchin monkey looking for food

a capuchin monkey looking for food

howler monkey Osa Peninsula

a howler monkey

a male howler monkey Osa Peninsula

a male howler monkey – I mean how do I know? :)

a capuchin monkey sticking its tongue at me (1)

sticking out its tongue at me



The beach calabazas - jicaro de playa - where all hanging out from the tall trees along the beach.


jicaro de playa Osa Peninsula

jicaro de playa


A baby and an adult blue heron on the beach said goodbye to us when we headed off back to Blue Osa.


a blue heron on Tamales beach

a blue heron on the Tamales beach


Many thanks to Blue Osa for giving me a chance to spot the best wildlife in Osa Peninsula as part of my Adventure and Spa project.


*** It took me more than 10 hours to write this post (I had to go through some 7,000 photos I took at Blue Osa to choose.)


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  26. I agree, Cris, nature is awesome and would take it for granted, unfortunately.

  27. Nice post, Ale! We should respect nature more:-).

    Greetings from Italy,


  28. Sweet of you and I could not agree more :)

  29. Excellent shots of the wildlife of the peninsula. Cool shots of the monkeys. Looks like a place one must visit for sure.

  30. Aw, sweet! I haven’t even got to Corcovado in 6 weeks spent there, would you believe it? I mean, I had a lot of wildlife just right there, but still :D

  31. Thanks, Nadia, that small toucan was probably my favorite one too together with the scarlet macaws and great kiskadee bird :)

  32. That is an amazing post! My fav bird is a small toucan <3

  33. Great pictures of the wonderful wildlife found on the Osa Peninsula. I spent a couple of days hiking Corcovado National Park and found Osa to be amazing. I hope to get back soon.


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