Wildlife and Nature in the Santa Teresa Area
Latitude 10 peacefully exists alongside nature. The open-air structures make it impossible not to admire the scenery and spot wildlife.
CABO BLANCO NATURE RESERVE
Cabo Blanco Nature Reserve is very close to Santa Teresa, on the southern tip of the Nicoya Peninsula. Cabo Blanco is an important refuge for the protection of seabirds. It is also one of the most beautiful and scenic sites on the Pacific Coast featuring a diverse variety of wildlife. In the park you may see white face capuchin monkeys, howler monkeys, armadillos, white-tailed deer, coatis, green and black iguanas, tayras, bats, porcupines, pacas, and northern tamanduas, as well as many birds like woodpeckers, white-threaded magpie-jais, bare-throated tiger herons, and long tailed manakins!
The whole area is covered by a rich tropical forest and the park also features deserted beach, deep-blue sea, unusual geological formations, and countless tidal pools where a myriad of sea creatures live.
An introduction to some of the animals you might meet around Latitude 10:
- Coatis (pizote; Nasua narica): This is the long-nose relative of the raccoon, its long tail often held straight up. Lone males or groups of females with young are active during the day, on the ground, or in trees. Omnivorous coatis feed on fruit, invertebrates, and small vertebrates.
- Howler Monkeys (mono congo; Alouatta palliata): These dark, chunky-bodied monkeys (to 22 inches long with a 24-inch tail) with black faces travel in troops of up to 20. Lethargic mammals, they eat leaves, fruits, and flowers. The males’ deep, resounding howls sound like lions roaring, but actually serve as communication among and between troops.
- Hummingbirds (colibri, Trochilidae): Weighing just a fraction on an ounce, hummingbirds are nonetheless some of the most notable residents of tropical forests. At least 50 varieties can be found in Costa Rica, visiting typically red, tubular flowers in their seemingly endless search for energy-rich nectar. Because of their assortment of iridescent colors and bizarre bills and tail shapes, watching them can be a spectator sport.
- Jesus Christ Lizards (gallego): Flaps of skin on long toes enable this spectacular lizard to run across water. Costa Rica has three species of this lizard, which is more properly called the basilisk: lineated (Basiliscus basiliscus) on the Pacific side is brown with pale lateral stripes; in the Caribbean, emerald (Basiliscus plumifrons) is marked with turquoise and black on a green body; and striped (Basiliscus vittatus), also on the Caribbean side, resembling the lineated basilisk. Adult makes grow 3 feet (mostly tail), with crests on the head, back, and base of the tail.
- Leaf-Cutter Ants (zompopas): Found in all lowland habitats, these are the most commonly noticed neotropical ants, and one of the country’s most fascinating animal phenomena. Columns of ants carrying bits of leaves twice their size sometimes extend for several hundred yards from an underground nest to plants being harvested. The ants don’t eat the leaves; their food is a fungus they cultivate on the leaves.
- Pelican (pelicano): Large size, a big bill, and a throat pouch make the brown pelican unmistakable in coastal areas (it’s far more abundant on the Pacific side). Pelicans often fly in V formations and dive for fish.
- White-Throated Magpie-jay (urraca; Calocitta formosa): This southern relative of the blue jay, with a long tail and distinctive topknot (crest of forward-curved feathers) is found in the dry northwest. Bold and inquisitive, with amazingly varied vocalizations, these birds travel in noisy groups of four or more.