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Pizotes in Costa Rica / Photo credit to Jona Sibija

An Article About Coatis (Pizotes): Our Favorite Central American Animal

We’ve said it before, but white-nosed coatis (pizotes) are our favorite animals in Central America. Here are some of our favorite Instagram images.

I tell you one thing, I need a break from coronavirus. We all do, right?

My life right now consists of coronavirus. I’m thinking about coronavirus. I’m reading about coronavirus, writing about coronavirus, posting about coronavirus, and talking about coronavirus. And then when I’m not thinking, reading, writing, posting, and talking about coronavirus, I’m doing the same things with the economic effects of coronavirus. Which, in this part of the world, is even more depressing.

So I’m taking a little break here, just for a few minutes. I know this entire crisis is the biggest thing in all our lives. But I want a time-out for a little bit at least. I want to change the subject to some fluff.

So here’s a shout out to white-nosed coatis, or pizotes as they’re called in Costa Rica. Because, well, because pizotes are my favorite animals in Central America. They make me happier than coronavirus. I hope they make you happy, too.

I first fell in love with coatis in 2000 or 2001 when I was in Montezuma, Costa Rica for the first time.

Anyone who knows Montezuma knows the waterfalls there. Back in the day, I liked to jump off the top waterfall in Montezuma, and one morning I got up early and took a solo hike up there. It was a magical time, dawn, and no-one around. I reached the bottom of the first fall – the one you don’t jump off – and took a swim to cool off before climbing to the jumpable fall.

As I swam in that natural jungle pool, alone with nothing but the sound of a crashing 30m waterfall behind me, a group of the cutest animals appeared. They squeaked and snuffled around my bag, left on the rocks, checking it out. Treading water in the pool, watching them, I was transfixed.

And so began my 20 year love affair with coatis, sealed when I learned the Tico name for them. Pizotes. I don’t know why, but I love the word “pizote”.

White-nosed coatis range from southern Arizona and New Mexico, through Mexico and Central America and into northern Colombia.                                                                                                                                                  

They’re related to raccoons and form large social groups, although adult males tend to roll solo.

Some people don’t get my fascination for pizotes. They’re not rare and exotic like jaguars or tapirs. There’s nothing unusual about them. You see them everywhere. Some people think they’re pests. They go through your trash like their raccoon cousins and hassle you for food. Occasionally they get into your home.

But I don’t care about any of that. I love pizotes. And to me, they’re the perfect tonic during this entire nightmare we’re living through right now. If the Tico Times can post a sloth article every week during this crisis, then we can do the same with pizotes, right?

So I’ve decided – because why the hell not? – to dig out the best Instagram images of pizotes I can find for my (I mean your) viewing pleasure.

And when this whole COVID-19 business gets us down, hell, we can check out some pizotes and remember the good things in the world too.                                                                                                                                

Lets look at a few more pizotes:


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Danse avec les #pizotes… #coatis #costarica #tacacoriecolodge #faunecostarica

A post shared by TacacoriEcoLodge (@tacacoriecolodge) on


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More pure pizote love from Guatemala. Video by @annamaka_ttw #centralamericaliving

A post shared by Central America Living (@centralamericaliving) on


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Everyone is welcome at the Rio Celeste Hideaway! Photo credit to @riocelestehideaway #crvrocks #supportcostarica

A post shared by Costa Rican Vacations (@costaricanvacations) on


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#trafficsign #trafficsigns #pizote #pizotesdecostarica #pizotes

A post shared by Michal Kopřiva (@mortigam) on

We hope these Pizotes pics and videos cheer you up as much as they do me.                                                    

It’s worth getting out of the lockdown weeds every now and then and taking a break.

We’d love to see your own pizote pics sometime. If by some inexplicable reason you don’t dig these adorable animals as much as I do, then some other Central American animal you love. Send’em in and stay safe out there.

James Dyde is the editor of He lives in Escazu, Costa Rica.

James Dyde

James Dyde

James Dyde is a British immigrant to Costa Rica and the editor of this website. He has lived in Central America since 2000 and retains a deep love for the region. He lives in Escazu, Costa Rica.