- .03% of the world’s surface with 5% of the world’s biodiversity.
- 130 species of freshwater fish
- 160 species of amphibians
- 208 species of mammals
- 220 species of reptiles
- 850 species of birds, including 52 species of hummingbirds alone
- 1,000 species of butterflies
- 1,200 varieties of orchids
- 9,000 species of plants
- 34,000 species of insects
- twelve climatic zones
- 5 types of forest: mangrove, rain forest, cloud forest, lowland tropical dry forest, deciduous forest
- Landmass of 19,730 square miles – approximately the size of West Virginia
But statistics only tell a rather 2 dimensional story. Costa Rica’s success as an ecotourism destination is more than the sum of its parts, for the most part due to interpretive guiding. It has been said that visiting the rainforest without a guide is like visiting a library without knowing how to read. Both can be appreciated on a certain level, but only superficially at best.
The stories that make the rainforest come alive: the details of glow worms and fireflies, tarantulas and tarantula hawks, and the 1,000s of species that live their entire lives in the forest canopy, never once touching ground are only brought to life by a good guide.
It only takes one good book and the right teacher to turn a child into a lifelong reader. A good nature guide can help even the most jaded of travelers see both the forest AND the trees.