Resources on Costa Rican Natural History

These resources are intended for use by students, travelers and scholars interested in the details of any aspect of the natural history of Costa Rica. Use your browser's "find" feature to locate topics of particular interest, as I've made no attempt to cross list topics.

Fortunate are those who have learned to see, in the wild things of nature, something to be loved, something to be wondered at, something to be reverenced, for they will have found the key to a never-failing source of recreation and refreshment.

H. B. Cott, Adaptive Coloration in Animals (1940).

Plants and Ethnobotany of Costa Rica

General Works

Amphibians & Reptiles



  • M. Fogden & P. Fogden. Hummingbirds of Costa Rica Firefly Books, 2006.
  • S. C. L. Fogden, M. Fogden & P. Fogden. Photographic Guide to the Birds of Costa Rica Ralph Curtis Publishers, 2005.
  • F. G. Stiles & A. F. Skutch. A Guide to the Birds of Costa Rica Cornell Univ. Press, 1990.
  • R. Garrigues & R. Dean The Birds of Costa Rica Zona Tropical, 2007.

Chemistry of Regionally Important Foods

  • G. Tannenbaum "Chocolate: A Marvelous Natural Product of Chemistry" Journal of Chemical Education vol. 81 no. 8 August 2004 pg 1131.
  • M. Petracco "Our Everyday Cup of Coffee: The Chemistry Behind Its Magic" Journal of Chemical Education vol. 82 no. 8 August 2005 pg 1161.

Specific Regions

  • Natural History of Monte Verde
  • La Selva: Ecology and Natural History of a Neotropical Rain Forest Univ. of Chicago Press, 1994.


  • Condit, Perez and Daguerre Trees of Panama and Costa Rica Princeton University Press (2011).

Banisteriopsis caapi, one component of the hallucinogenic mixture ayahuasca used by Amazonian shamans, photographed at the Wilson Botanical Garden in Costa Rica

Lepidoptera (Butterflies & Moths)



Indigenous Groups (including their ethnobotany)

Because cultural groups don't restrict themselves to modern political boundaries, I have included here articles on indigenous groups in the areas immediately beyond Costa Rica.

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