Bears in Costa Rica - Edventure

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The wonderful life of bears in Costa Rica

What, bears in Costa Rica? Well, among the many fascinating creatures that inhabit this biodiverse paradise of Costa Rica are coatis, kinkajous, raccoons and slender bears. Although we may call them bears, it is still up for debate whether they are really related to bears. It is thought that they are actually more like mustelids. Anyway, they are very cute and all four inhabit Costa Rica.

In this blog article we dive into the world of these fluffy animals, not only discussing their characteristics and living habits, but also discovering some fun facts about them.



The Coati, known as Pizote in Spanish, is a common sight in the forests of Costa Rica. With their long, flexible noses and curled tails, they immediately stand out. Coatis are very agile climbers and spend a lot of time in the trees, where they forage for fruits, insects and small vertebrates. They are also known for their inquisitive nature and often come close to humans to forage for food.

Fun facts about the Coati:

  • Coatis have an excellent sense of smell and can find food by sticking their noses into the ground.
  • The coati lives on average between 7 and 14 years.



The kinkajou is a small and cute animal that is mainly nocturnal. They have large, round eyes that give them excellent night vision. The kinkajou, also known as Potos flavus, have a long, prehensile tail that they can use to hold on to branches while swinging and climbing. They have a real sweet tooth and they mainly feed on fruit, nectar, nuts and insects. They are often regular visitors to fruit trees in Costa Rican gardens.

Fun facts about the kinkajou:

  • They have a long tongue that allows them to extract nectar from flowers, similar to a hummingbird.
  • The kinkajou can live up to 23 years.



The olingo is also known as a slender bear. It looks a lot like the kinkajou, but is a bit more slender. They have fluffy fur, big eyes and a long tail. Olingos are primarily nocturnal and feed on fruits, nectar, insects and small mammals. These nimble animals are very agile climbers and they mainly live in trees. During the day they often sleep in a hollow tree and after sunset they climb and jump from one tree to another.

Fun facts about the olingo:

  • An olingo can eat one-third of its body weight in food in one night.
  • This animal can live up to 17 years.



Although the raccoon is not an endemic species in Costa Rica, it is very common today. Raccoons are known for their striking black and white faces, their mischievous characters and their agile paws that resemble human hands. They are omnivores and eat a wide variety of foods, such as fruits, nuts, insects and small vertebrates. But they also love to rummage through garbage or backpacks in search of a snack. They do not shy away from humans.

Fun facts about the Raccoon:

  • Raccoons are very intelligent and use objects, such as stones, as tools.
  • They are known for their habit of washing food before eating it, hence their name.

Spotten bears in Costa Rica

Costa Rica is home to a wealth of unique animals, including the coatis, kinkajou, raccoon and slender bear. These animals each have their own characteristics and fascinating facts. As you explore Costa Rica’s enchanting forests and beaches, definitely pay attention!

There is quite a good chance that you will spot the raccoon and coatis. You often don’t even have to do much effort, because they are very active and not shy of people. However, spotting kinkajous and slender bears is more challenging. However, during a night tour, accompanied by a good guide and a lot of luck, you certainly have a chance!