One of the biggest perks for nature lovers living in Costa Rica is sharing your back yards with wildlife you’ve seen in National Geographic. And since the climate around Lake Arenal is agreeable year round, residents prefer to have their morning cup of coffee on a patio or perched up next to the window in hopes of getting a glimpse of monkeys or toucans in the trees.

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Though the lake and landscape maintains the same day-to-day appearances, the visitors you’ll spot in your yard change daily. Whether they’ve been here three days or 30 years, expats in Costa Rica never tire of seeing the local flora and fauna. Here are just a few animals you’re sure to see from your window around Arenal.

Howler Monkeys

Costa Rica is home to four distinct species of monkeys. Howlers are easy to distinguish from the others: these primates are dark all over, typically black, though some have various shades of brown on their haunches and down their backs.

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Howlers are found throughout the country, including around Lake Arenal. These monkeys are some one of the loudest animals in the world; maxing out at 20 pounds, these guys belt out 90 decibel guttural howls that can be heard from over three miles away.

Troops of howler monkeys rove the area in search of fresh, tender leaves and fruit. Plant fruit trees nearby to give the monkeys a reason to visit your yard.

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Toucan sightings near Lake Arenal are common since their natural habitat is dense forestry, which the area has no shortage of here. Of the six types of toucans native to Costa Rica, the keel-billed toucan is what most people envision when they think “toucan.”

The keel-billed toucan is recognized by its sleek black feathers, bright yellow chest, blue feet, and multicolored bill. Once you can identify their call, you’ll be even more aware of their presence in your area.


Two varieties of sloths can be found in Costa Rice: the three-toed and two-toed sloths. Though the former is more common in the Lake Arenal and Monteverde regions, you could encounter either while sitting and enjoying your morning cup of joe.

Because sloths go about their days at incredibly slow speeds and being covered in mossy-looking fur, they are masters of camouflage and often hard to see. Sloths spend a majority of their lives high up in the canopy, so use a keen eye or some binoculars to scan the treetops to spot one.


Often mistaken for a raccoon or sometimes even a cat, the Coatimundi is another mammal you’ll undoubtedly see living in Costa Rica– whether you’re in the cloud forests or at the beach.

This furry animal, which is commonly referred to as a coati or a pezote, can be identified by its dark fur, white muzzle, and rings around the tail. They have large claws for rooting around in the dirt for insects. Don’t be surprised if you get an up close and personal encounter with one; they’re appear tame–for a wild animal–and show little fear of people.

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Every sunrise over Lake Arenal brings a new day and new visitors to your home. Locals relish the opportunity to spot hummingbirds, butterflies, monkeys and more on a daily basis.

One of your first purchases as a new resident will be a guidebook; and like many of us, you’ll always have it within arms reach to identify the animals that frequent your home.

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Enjoy Lake Arenal’s Exciting Wildlife Over Your Morning Cup of Coffee.

Article/Property ID Number 5073

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