Many people who come to Tamarindo believe it will be as filled with wildlife as the rest of Costa Rica. They are expecting to eat breakfast with sloths and drink a mojito with toucans. The truth is Tamarindo does not necessarily go down in the books for its wildlife. It is more known for its sandy beach and endless surfing. That does not mean that there is not interesting animal life to observe on any given day. If you are looking for a more complete glimpse at wildlife, try taking a boat tour of the estuary.
In the mean time, here is a quick rundown of what you can expect to see the area:
1. Howler Monkeys
Quite arguably, the coolest aspect of animal life in Tamarindo is the abundance of howler monkeys. It is not unusual to wake up to the distinctive call of this monkey on most mornings depending on your location in Tamarindo. Surprisingly, the cute, tiny monkey does not seem to visually match its deep and guttural call that can actually be a bit unnerving the first time you hear it.
Howlers can be seen around town by the beach restaurants or in any tree around the hotels and homes in the area, hanging by their tails or eating fruit in the branches. Often, they travel in groups, so you should be able to see multiples at one time.
This video will give you a quick listen to the Howler Monkey’s sound.
While spotting a crocodile is not a daily event, it is possible to see an American crocodile sunbathing at the edge of the estuary from time to time. They tend to mind their own business and allow the residents and locals to look from a distance.
These American crocodiles prefer fresh water, or water that is less salty, so you will rarely find them outside of Tamarindo’s estuary. Still, they are a sight to behold!
3. Brown Pelicans
There are few things as gorgeous as watching pelicans expertly dive into the ocean to catch their meal with the sun setting in the background. The dive is so quick and intentional that it seems impossible. So they have air sacs in their chests to help with the impact.
You can see the pelicans on the Tamarindo coast at almost all times of the day, with their dark feathers on the bottom and silvery feathers on top.
You won’t have to walk around the streets of Tamarindo for long before an iguana or ctenosuras goes ahead and passes you by. You may also see them sunbathing on roofs or walls. They may look like mini dinosaurs, but they like to leave tourists and residents alone and enjoy their own Pura Vida.