Our Excellent Costa Rican Adventure – Part 3

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Over Land and Water

After our four-night stay at the Lost Iguana Resort, it was time to pack up again as we would be picked up by our driver to be taken to our next destination. Our journey would take us a short drive to the edge of Lake Arenal, a boat ride across, then another drive to our destination of Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve. Supposedly, crossing the lake was a shorter way of getting to our destination but I’m skeptical as taking the lake route involved driving about 15 Km of the worst gravel-potholed road imaginable, averaging 15-20 km/hr. In fact, I’d go so far as claiming that Costa Rica has some of the worst roads anywhere in the world that we’ve been.

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The Wildlife

I’m not going to keep harping about the deplorable roads as I can forgive all of that as the real reason Barb and I have travelled to Costa Rica is for the wildlife. Looking back, I have to go back to our 2008 trip to Tanzania where the animals were such a major focus for going there. Yes, we saw tigers in India and elephants in Sri Lanka but on both of those trips, seeing the wildlife was just part of the reason for going there. Not so with Costa Rica.

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Virtually every single day since arriving, we were doing something to see the local wildlife, which Costa Rica has in abundance. While writing this section, we’ve been here about halfway in Costa Rica and so far we’ve checked off almost every box of the animals we were hoping to see and some unexpected ones like the tarantula we saw this morning. As you can see from my photos, it’s a testament to the number of birds we’re regularly seen as well as animals we just stumbled upon on the side of the road like the Ring-tailed Coatis. And for the birds that we see at home in Vancouver like Hummingbirds, the Hummingbirds here are almost always more colourful. The bus and red Bluejean Frog in the photo above is a good example of this.

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The Food

We can’t visit a new country and at some point not comment on the food. Being a Central American country, fresh fruit is in abundance and available all the time. One of the staples that we’ve had quite often is rice and beans with fried plantains. It appears that rice and beans might well be the national dish of Costa Rica, usually served with cilantro and many spices. Another regional food we’ve had a few times are empanadas, which are a calzone-type dish resembling a turnover, usually baked or fried and filled with chicken, beef or potatoes. Steaks appear to be on the menu of every restaurant we’ve been to for dinner. One of our favourites has been several variations of Tortilla Soup which we’ve easily had 3-4 times in the past week.

I’ve enjoyed all of the food we’ve had here so far. I’ve often put hot sauce on a lot of the dishes I’ve eaten and a variety of different hot sauces typically on every table as would salt and pepper.

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The Camera

I know not everyone is interested in the technical details of photography so feel free to skip ahead depending on your interest.

Everyone that knows me knows that photography has been a passion of mine for a long time and of course, it completely aligns with our love of travel. I’ve mentioned before that I was in the process of changing out my camera gear to move away from the heavy camera and lenses that I used to carry. My shoulders and back needed a different solution. For this trip to Costa Rica, I would normally be bringing the full camera setup with a long lens to be able to get the best shots of the wildlife which are often quite far away. For example, for the photo of the two Toucans above, they were easily 300-400 ft away and a long lens was needed to get that shot.

After shooting with Nikon equipment for almost 30 years, I took the opportunity, when all of my photo equipment got stolen last year, to replace it with a much lighter setup but what I still felt was able to bring home the shots I always wanted. I ended up getting a FujiFilm XT-4 and a 70-300 lens, both of which are about half the weight of my Nikon D750 and the 70-300 Nikon lens. Not only do my shoulders and back thank me for the much less weight I’m carrying around but I feel that the quality of the photos I’m able to get is just as good.

Moving On

Tomorrow we will be moving on from the Monteverde area we have currently been at for the past 3 days. Our next location will have us staying for a longer time.

As always, I have been uploading photos from Cost Rica to my photo website here.

I will be posting the final instalment of Our Excellent Costa Rican Adventure in the final days of our stay.




  • Percival Smith

    Thanks for the birdlife pictures. It is A pity that different species live in different countries, maybe because of the climate. Enjoy yourselves and keep safe. Love Dad