Colours of Costa Rica – Experience Highlights

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What immediately jumps to mind when you think of Costa Rica? For me – rain forest, beautiful birds and alot of adventure! I can wholeheartedly tell you that I was not too far off! Costa Rica is one gem of a country and a delight to visit! I recently returned from a tour where my guests and I visited 3 different regions within Costa Rica. We chose these 3 different regions based on the variety of species we could find and photograph in each, and their proximity to one another which made travel between them a little easier. Our first destination was in the Cloud Forest we stayed at Hotel Savegre Lodge. We then moved on to Hotel Salva Verde in the Sarapiqué region. Our final stop was at at Maquenque Lodge in Boca Tapada. The focus was on birds and reptiles and it certainly did not disappoint. We saw incredible birds of colour each day. From hummingbirds to Toucans, not a day went by when our cameras were not working overtime. That’s exactly what you want from an experience in Costa Rica. There’s simply so much to see and do, and there’s simply never a dull moment. Below I will share with you some pictures from each region, highlights for you to enjoy so that you can get a better understanding of the tour, the results and what’s involved in such an undertaking.  

The Cloud Forest - Savegre Lodge

Why is it called the Cloud Forest? Well, because of its high elevation, often covered by cloud. And also, wherever you look there’s beautiful evergreen forest to be found!

Although the lowland regions of Costa Rica were hot and humid, the cloud forest was rather cool. You had to prepare by bringing some warmer gear along. It rained daily which made it even cooler, but a forest would not be so green and lush without regular showers, no would it?

I also do enjoy cloudier conditions when it comes to bird photography. Although this often results in more grain due to lower light and higher ISO, it brings out  many of the lovely colours. There are many different post-processing applications today that will allow you to clean up your images very well, getting rid of the worse effects brought upon by excessive noise.

Below you can enjoy some images from Costa Rica’s Cloud Forest.

The Sarapiqué Region

Soon enough we had to leave our beautiful cool rainforest behind, in exchange for something a little warmer, with a “sprinkle” of humidity. By sprinkle, I do mean ALOT! But, it was well worth it!

Our local guide and expert, Andy, lines up some incredible destinations for us. He takes a great deal of time to discover many hidden gems off of the typical tourist routes, trying to find places for photographers that are undiscovered. In this region almost all of the places we visited belonged to local, either at their house, or similar. The setups for photography ranged from very basic, to well thought out. One thing that remained constant was incredible birdlife. It’s amazing how prolific the bird life is, regardless of where you find yourself. Even little restaurants along the way between destinations offered opportunities to see and photography birds. Truly remarkeable.

Below you’ll see some photo highlights from our time in the Sarapiqué region of Costa Rica.

Exploring Boca Tapada

The last destination on our tour of Costa Rica certainly did not let us down. Once again, the temperatures were hot and humid but then again, what else would you expert from life in a dense evergreen rainforest?

The beauty of the area certainly made up for this, and we enjoyed an incredible time here with a wide variety of animals to see and photograph. Although there are opportunities to do some touristy things, we stuck to our goal which was simple – see and photograph as many beautiful birds as possible! At the end of the day, that is the goal of the tour and boy, Boca Tapada does not let you down, that is for certain.

Below you’ll find a selection of images from our time spent here, at the tail-end of the trip. We’ve had the odd glimpse of Toucans up until now, so our focus did shift a little and we made an extra effort to catch up with 2 species in particular – the Keel-billed Toucan and the Yellow-throated Toucan. They were simply magnificent and well worth the wait.

Another beautiful bird we got to see up close, was the large and colourful King Vulture. We visited a special hide that these great birds loved to frequent. The hide allows you to get nice and close, and the resulting images were all very worth it!

Enjoy the selection below…

Behind the Scenes

No experience is complete without some great moments that happen away from all of the serious photography. Although the focus is to get the best shots possible, it’s very important to still enjoy your time on the road. It’s a special privilege to be able to travel to such wonderful destinations and it’s often the moments outside of the photography, that beckon for you to return.

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