Costa Rica Wildlife – 4 Types of Monkeys Living in Costa Rica

Did you know that there are over 200 mammal species living in Costa Rica?

And did you know that out of the 200 species, 100 of them are bats and only four are monkeys!

Yet, the chances of seeing a monkey while visiting Costa Rica are extremely high. Maybe they’re not as common as squirrels in NY or black bears in Alaska, but they do like to show their cute little faces about. The best places to look at them are the Manuel Antonio National Park and the Corcovado National Park.

My advice, when you are staying in a super cool rainforest retreat/hotel wake up early and step outside. You’ll hear howlers in the distance or right in front of you.

You’ll see spider monkeys hanging from branches with their supersonic tails and you’ll see Capuchins looking earnestly for food. Plus, when you go to the National Park, go a bit early and hire a guide, they will almost always spot the monkeys!

Here’s a list of the cute and silly creatures. This way when you do come face to face with a monkey, you’ll know exactly what you’re talking about!

4 Types of Monkeys Living in Costa Rica

1. Capuchins

Types of Monkeys - costa rica wildlife

I bet you know exactly who these guys are! They’re the ones that dance around on leashes at different street fairs. These guys seem friendly, however, they are quite aggressive and extremely opportunistic.

They will grab any opportunity to steal your food. They are omnivores and like to feast on leaves, insects, small lizards. They’re even known to steal birds eggs and nestlings.

The best places to find them is inside Manuel Antonio National Park and Santa Rosa National Park.

2. Squirrel Monkeys

This is the smallest of all the Costa Rican Monkeys, also known as the Titi monkey. They are very social and it’s not uncommon to find them in bunches of 30 or more. They too are omnivores, eating fruit, leaves, insects and lizards.

The best places to find them are in Manuel Antonio National Park and Corcovado National Park.

3. Spider Monkeys

The supreme acrobat! You can see this monkey swinging from branch to branch, usually in groups. Their famous prehensile tails, which is the size of their whole bodies, allows them to reach the hard to get fruits and branches.

At one point they were the most populated of all monkey species. Unfortunately, they are also the most sensitive to human intrusion and their numbers have declined drastically putting them on the endangered list. And even worse, they are known to be tasty and are hunted for their meat! With as many obstacles as they face, they are still in some abundance in Costa Rica due to the safety of national parks.

4. Howler Monkeys

Costa Rica Wildlife - 13 Facts About Howler Monkeys

Gratefully, this monkey is the least effected by human intervention and can survive in many different types of eco-systems. You can hear these amazing creatures howl early in the morning hours or around the time the sun is about to set. They are 100% herbivores, eating mainly fruits and leaves. They are loud to the ears, but extremely sedentary. I have had the luck of seeing them often because they live practically everywhere there are forests.

Keep your eyes open and I know you’ll have a close-encouter too!

Please tell me all about it, I love monkey stories 🙂

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Costa Rica Wildlife - 4 Types of Monkeys Living in Costa Rica

About Marina Villatoro

Marina Kuperman Villatoro CEO of, a travel resource site to inspire families to travel with kids of all ages. Marina has been an expat 20+ years in Central America raising 2 boys in a multicultural, trilingual household. She travels all over the world with her family to give first hand experiences of where to eat, stay and play with kids. Needless to say, it’s never boring! Join Marina on Facebook and Twitter for more unique and boutique family travel!

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