Peninsula de Nicoya Travel and Vacation Guide

Animals in Costa Rica, Nicoya Peninsula

Green Iguana

Green Iguana

Commonly seen on the Nicoya Peninsula is the impressive Green Iguana. Adults typically grow to 1.2 to 1.7 m long which makes it the largest of all iguana species.

Juvenile Iguana
A green iguana in his childhood

The diurnal animals reside high in the tree tops, if possible over or near water. To escape from predators they flee into the water as they are excellent swimmers and divers. The tree dwelling reptile is an agile climber and can fall from a height of 15m and land unhurt. The green iguana has an excellent eye sight and detects movements from very far distances.

In many parts of South and Central America the iguana has become an endangered species. It's often called Gallina de Palo, meaning "tree chicken" because people use to hunt and eat them.


Black Iguana
Black Iguana

Black Iguana (Garrobo)

The Black Iguana prefers a rocky environment where he can bask in the sun. He is also an excellent climber and has no problems going up the most spiny of tree trunks. It can grow up to 1.3 m in length and has a brownish-gray color with a crest of long spines on his back. During breeding season males develop an orange colored head and throat.

The black iguana is the fastest-running lizard species in the world which can reach a speed of 34 km/h. If cornered by a predator he will lash with his tail which he can ultimately drop. It will re-grow over the time.

Their diet consists mostly of leaves, flowers and fruit but an occasional lizard or small rodent won't be spurned. Black iguanas even feed on the fruit of the Manzanillo tree, Manchineel, a highly poisonous plant to most other animals.