Costa Rica is home to more than 500,000 animal species, representing nearly 4% of the total species estimated worldwide. While the biodiversity runs deep in this wildlife hotspot, there is only one King of the Jungle here. That’s why we’re kicking off our Walk on the Wild Side series with none other than… the Jaguar.
THE POWER OF THE PROWL
The jaguar is the largest feline in the Americas and the third largest in the world, making it an incredibly exhilarating site to see — if you’re lucky to catch the glimpse of one! They can grow to over two meters in length and weigh up to 250 pounds! Now that’s a big cat. In Costa Rica, the jaguars most commonly prey on green iguanas, sloths, peccaries, sea turtles, tapirs, agoutis, deer, boa constrictors, and monkeys.
As one of the top predators in their environment, they play a key role in regulating the ecosystem by controlling the population of other species. This helps keep a balance in the food chain, and a healthy environment in the Costa Rican jungle.
But it’s a two way street! Even the smallest of species can have a big effect on the lifestyle of a jaguar. Take it from National Geographic’s new series on the wildlife in Costa Rica — Untamed: Costa Rica with Filipe DeAndrade. In a recent episode, they discussed how nesting Olive Ridley sea turtles directly influence the jaguar behavior. It’s quite a fascinating dynamic!
You can watch the episode here:
THE LAND OF THE JUNGLE KING
Located in southwestern Costa Rica, in the Puntarenas Province, with the Pacific Ocean to the west and the Golfo Dulce to the east is the untouched and beautiful, Osa Peninsula. The Osa was declared one of ninety “Jaguar Conservation Sites” of the entire world, and one of the most important places for conservation of this critically endangered species.
While it may not be easy to spot these pouncing prowlers in the wild, our friends at Lapa Rios, a luxury ecolodge located in the heart of Osa Peninsula, may have just the ticket. Named Costa Rica’s most immersive wildlife experience, Lapa Rios is perched on an ocean-facing ridge in the midst of a 1,000-acre private rainforest reserve, teeming with creatures big and small, many iconic and others yet to be discovered.
As with many jungle dwellers, the jaguar is considered nocturnal, or more specifically crepuscular (peak activity around dawn and dusk). While the idea of venturing through the jungle at night may seem a bit alarming, Lapa Rios has a solution — night vision cameras! Perched on trees surrounding their property to be sure nothing slips by, they catch all the exciting movement and share it with their guests. Here’s an example of a jaguar sighting they caught!
If you’re looking for an epic adventure to the pristine rainforests and rugged natural beauty of the Osa Peninsula, we have the perfect trip for you. Our truly unique, bespoke travel experiences are anything but ordinary — you may even spot the King of the Jungle himself!