Guatemala Wildlife

Guatemala is a Central American country with many beautiful destinations which are also filled with an amazing amount of exotic species of animals. You can see most of them as you travel along on the northern area of the country.

Get more information about the fauna of Guatemala.

Here is a list of some of the most commonly seen:

1. Quetzal: Quetzals are beautiful exotic birds and Guatemala’s National Bird, but because of all the illegal hunting and the destruction of their habitat they are in the list of the to be extinct animals unless things change. In Guatemala it can be found in El Biotopo del Quetzal, Baja Verapaz.

2. Spider Monkey: In Guatemala they are commonly seen in the northern region of Peten and in Alta Verapaz. Spider Monkeys are curious animals that live mainly in the tropical forests. But again the destruction of their habitat is reducing its population rapidly and in some places they are almost extinct.

3. Toucan: The Toucans are these colorful and abundant tropical birds that can be found in tropical forests of Central America. In Guatemala it is commonly seen in the areas of Petn and Alta Verapaz.

4. Montezuma Oropendola: This is a common bird in Central America. In Guatemala it can only be seen in the northern region of Peten. If you are coming to Central America this magnificent bird called Montezuma Oropendola is something you can’t miss.


5. Olive Ridley Sea Turtle: They love open ocean inhabitant so you will never see them near reefs. We have all heard that Sea turtles are on their way to be extinct. Even the Olive Ridley Sea Turtles known for having the largest population around the globe. In Guatemala you can see them nesting in Monterrico.

6. Armadillo: Armadillo’s habitat is moist soil near the creeks and streams near which it generally lives and feeds. These armored little guys can be found from northern Argentina to the southern United States. In Guatemala the most common place to find them is in La Sierra de las Minas, that is in the department of El Progreso.

7. Vampire Bats: When we think of bats the first thing that comes to our mind is an image from Hollywood’s monsters. But the real vampires are a lot different and have nothing to do with Dracula. Vampire Bats live in a range that covers Mexico, Central America and part of South America. In Guatemala it’s preferred habitat is the tropics.

8. Ocelot: In Guatemala these guys can be found in the Tikal National Park. Many people confuses these cute felines with domestic cats because of their tiny bodies. In fact they are taken as pets by some locals.

9. Rat: They are the second most successful mammal in the world. Brown rats are one of the best known and most common animals in the world. In Guatemala just as the rest of Countries of the world they are mostly found in populated areas.

10. Capuchin Monkey: They can be found in forest and mangrove habitats up to 2,100m elevation. They are always around jumping from tree to tree. These small and inquisitive monkeys are the easiest to observe in the wild. These monkeys can be found in the northern region of Guatemala.

11. White Lipped Peccary: It is widely considered the most dangerous peccary. They are also the big and aggressive brothers of the collared peccary. They have even killed jaguars when trying to defend themselves. It is commonly found in Sierra de las Minas, El Progreso in Guatemala.

12. Brown Basilisk: They are native to Panama, Belize, northwestern Colombia and Costa Rica. In Guatemala, this species is widespread, found practically anywhere where there is a water source. This species can be found in tropical and subtropical wet, moist, and dry forest habitats. Brown Basilisk have the nickname “Jesus Lizard” because when fleeing from a predator, they are very fast and can even run on top of the water.

13. Spectacled Caimans: Al though they are one of the smallest crocodilian species these guys are fierce predators. It can be found in much of Central and South America. It lives in a range of lowland wetland and riverside habitat and can tolerate salt water as well as fresh. In Guatemala you can find them in Monterrico, Santa Rosa Department.

14. Black Hawk: Generally these birds are found lowland habitats, with a source of water nearby. These are successful predatory birds with a mysterious touch. They inhabit from the Southwestern United States through Central America to Venezuela, Peru. In Guatemala it can be found around the Caribbean coasts.

15. Black Necked Stilt: The Black-necked Stilt is an abundant shorebird of American wetlands and coastlines. It is found in estuaries, salt ponds and emergent wetland habitats. It is found through Central America and the Caribbean. In Guatemala they are commonly seen in the southern coasts.

Encuentra mas información acerca de la fauna de Guatemala.

These are just a few of the many animal species you might find when traveling in Guatemala. So keep your eyes open you might be able to see even more.

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About Marina Kuperman 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 10+ 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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