Skip to primary navigation Skip to content Skip to footer


Experience The Forest At Night

With a Guide and a Flashlight, exploring the forest at night can be an incredibly interesting experience. You will learn a lot about local flora and fauna and you will experience what it’s like to be in the dark within a forest/farm.

A Night Walk Tour is a light walk in primary and secondary forest with nothing but a flashlight and a Naturalist Guide leading the group… Usually consisting of 1.5 to 2 hours.

These walks take place in a forest or in local farms where the animals tend to be more active during the night time. In fact, 80% of the animals and insects of the cloud forest are active after the sunset.

Coatis and agoutis are commonly sighted, as are monkeys, porcupines, and other animals.

However, with nature, there is never a guarantee so no one knows what will show up (or not show up)… But the experience of getting so close to nature in such environment (all dark and filled with the sounds of crickets, and other insects surrounding you) is a great experience on its own…

There are three main Night Walk Tour Operators in the area, El Bosque, Santamaria and Kinkajou. On this page you will be able to easily secure your spot with either one of them.

What To Expect From a Night Walk Tour?

While Costa Rica is well known as a wildlife paradise, and night walks are especially popular for this reason (because most animals are active at night), the truth is that these walks are not just about animals (though that’s certainly the most exciting reason to take part in one).

All around the country (especially in touristic areas like Monteverde and Arenal), night walks with a local expert or nature tour guide will be among the top tourist attractions, but what are these walks all about?

Night Walks (a.k.a. Night Hikes or Night Tours) are held in farms, forests and protected areas where you will join a group led by a local naturalist tour guide to explore the area in search for animals, and while everyone hopes to see lots of those animals, the reality is that the forest (or farm) is not a zoo. It is true that most animals in the country are active during the night, but expecting to see a whole bunch of them could end up as a big disappointment for many.

The truth is that in most of these tours, you will probably see a combination of Mammals (like Armadillos, Raccoons, Agoutis, Monkeys…), Insects (like Walking Sticks and Tarantulas…), Sleeping Birds (like Motmots and Toucans), and depending on the region and the weather even some Frogs and Snakes.

Some nights you will see very few animals (remember is not a zoo, it’s nature) and other nights, you will see a lot of them. And while there is no way to guarantee what you will see, in most cases, you will probably spot 1-3 animals of each of those families.

Expecting to see more than this is the perfect recipe for disappointment.

A night walk is a great way to experience what it’s like to be out there in the wilderness at night, surrounded by nature. It’s the exploration feeling, it’s the thrill, it’s the suspense, the darkness and the encounter with nocturnal creatures in their habitat -which is something most people would not be able to do alone.

Therefore, my recommendation when signing up for a night walk, is to avoid expecting to see specific animals during the tour (I know, everyone wants to see the Sloth, the Tarantula, and the Viper Snake, but it’s nature, so we never know if they will indeed be present in there on a given night).

Instead of doing this, my recommendation is to just focus on the overall experience, be present in the moment, enjoy the hike, learn from your tour guide about the area you’re visiting and try to actually help him find wildlife (it’s more fun when you are actively participating, rather than simply waiting for him to spot it).

So in conclusion, instead of expecting to see a lot of animals, simply expect to experience the forest at night. Use the opportunity to connect with nature in a pretty unusual way. Something we all need a lot more of! And also use this opportunity to learn a lot from your Tour Guide. Ask him/her all the questions you have around the local flora and fauna (not just what you see during the night walk tour but any question that you have around this subject matter). Expect this to be a great learning experience (rather than a zoo-like experience) and you will most likely have a great time out there!