Nature in Balance: The Butterflies of Costa Rica


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Greeks believed butterflies represented the human soul, and for the Chinese and Japanese, butterflies represent the presence of loved ones. These mystical creatures with their delicate wings are insects and one of the many species that inhabitat Costa Rica. Hecale Longwing, Owl Butterfly, Florida White, Ruby-spotted Swallowtail and Blue Morpho are among the many varieties of butterflies found throughout the country’s many microclimates and habitats.

Costa Rica Butterfly

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From egg to caterpillar to chrysalis to adult the transformation butterflies undergo in one lifetime from an ugly caterpillar to a magnificent creature of nature is a complete. Butterflies signify the miracle of metamorphosis. They are highly sensitive so a strong population reflects a healthy and balanced environment. They remind us of the miracle of nature’s life cycle and the transformation possible in our own lives or world.  Butterfly watching ranks among one of people’s favorite past time activities.  There are butterfly gardens all over Costa Rica and the rainforest of Corcovado are a favorite spot for butterfly watching.

Flower and Butterfly

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Butterflies play an important ecological role as pollinators. Feeding on flower nectar, they cross-pollinate by delivering precious pollen to colorful blossoms. They contribute to ecosystem restoration because they supply pollination. They are also a food source for predators. Sensitive to climate change, pollution and habitat loss, an abundance of butterflies is an indicator of a healthy ecosystem. Their existence reflects well-being and balance.

Costa Rica butterflies make up 90% of al Central American butterflies, 66% of neo-tropical butterflies, and 18% of the world’s species. They are widespread in tropical rainforests, and there are over 200 varieties of butterflies in Corcovado Park. The diversity found in the Osa Peninsula is not surpassed by any region of similar size in the world.  Not only is there world-class fishing but just about an kind of outdoor adventure you can dream up is possible here.  Taking a tour of the butterflies here is also an adventure into some of the country’s most incredible awe-inspiring terrain.

Morpho Butterfly

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Spotted along the edges of forests, rivers and oceans are the Morpho butterflies. These magical creatures with their electric blue and black wings are stunning and the most recognizable Costa Rica’s entire butterfly population. Pilots flying above rainforest can see the bright blues of the Morpho butterfly. They are widespread in tropical forests so any trek through Corcovado will include many butterfly sightings. A tour with an experienced guide who can point out interesting facts and nuances along the way creating an enriching educational adventure is recommended. Crocodile Bay offers day long butterfly ecotours. Whether it be from the air or the ground, Corcovado is a great spot for Morpho sightings.  As long as there are butterflies, there is hope for the ecosystem.