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Photography time out in Costa Rica, part 2

The five days we spent in the highlands of Costa Rica were filled with pretty chilly weather, wind and rain. Nevertheless, as mentioned in our previous blog post, it is one of a few great spots to check out the unique “resplendant quetzal.” This colorful bird is quite a site and tricky to find! Those same highlands happen to be one of Costa Rica’s best known coffee growing regions.

A green basilisk lizard appears while gliding through the calm water in a canoe.

It was time to move onwards again to a warmer climate. The northeast corner of the country (near the Nicaraguan) border seemed to fit the bill. Boco Tapada matched our travel taste perfectly and our accommodation was awesome! It was simply made for bird and other wildlife watchers. That was complimented by very friendly and helpful staff plus knowledgeable wildlife guides. Although it was remote (and not overrun by tourists) it was accessible enough to reach without much hassle. I fell in love with the place before we even checked in!

Once we dropped the bags in our room, we took advantage of the free canoe rentals and paddled quietly around in the dreamy lagoon before the sun set. The sounds of the jungle were unbelievable and just full of life! There was no better way to relax than listen to the sounds around you while gliding quietly through the calm water.

A green heron stalks his prey in a lagoon in Costa Rica.

Just outside the lodge reception there was a female three-toed sloth sleeping on a tree. At first I just saw a bundle of fur high in the tree, sitting curled as it slept on a branch, but I made it a personal goal to get a good shot of it and for the next four days I checked on the sloth repeatedly. Over several days though, the sloth hadn’t moved an inch. On day three the magic happened. We had just come back from a rafting tour and the sloth was moving! There was nobody around. It was the perfect opportunity for me to get my shot. After a while other photographers started showing up but the sloth had moved into dense brush and the angle was no longer any good. I returned to the lunch table and waited for the other photographers to move onwards.

It almost looks like this cute three-toed sloth is smiling at me!

I searched all over the tree for my furry friend but couldn’t find her. She must had moved on to a different tree (I thought) but then I suddenly saw her at eye level about a meter away from me! She had been so still that her camouflage had completely hidden her. She was climbing down the tree! I was so happy and couldn’t believe it! There was nobody around, but I wanted Matt to enjoy this opportunity too. Without drawing any attention to my find, I quickly sent him a text message: “get your ass out here and bring your camera!”

A two-toed sloth and her baby high above in the canopy.

On this leg of the trip we woke up every morning around 5:00 AM to the sounds of howler monkeys calling from the trees near our bungalow. What a noisy “jungle alarm clock” those monkeys are! Our days were filled with interesting activities and we enjoyed various tours in the area. Four days later, it was time to say goodbye to our hosts. We promised to return (we’re planning a Viewfinder Tour) and to stay in touch.

A green basilisk lizard looks skeptical as our raft passes by on the Tres Amigos River.

A curious green honeycreeper comes in for a closer look.

Our last few days in Costa Rica were spent around the Arenal and La Fortuna area. Having spent time in the remote Corcovado National Park, Poas Volcano region and the jungle of Boco Tapada, La Fortuna and Arenal was a very different scene! There were great coffee shops and lots of souvenirs, but it was rather touristy and crowded. Not exactly our scene. But we relaxed and started planning our 2019 tour.

A spider monkey and baby in the jungle near Corcovado National Park.

To summarize the trip, we experienced many different highlights and there was no shortage of wildlife photography opportunities! Between its stunning wildlife and friendly locals with their “Pura Vida” mantra – we really fell in love with Costa Rica! In addition to all the nice photos and memories we brought home with us, Matt and I added our two favourite phrases to our vernacular: “Pura vida” and “con mucho gusto!”