The Creatures of Costa Rica ~ Travel Photography ~

If you’re a fan of watching wildlife play around in their natural glory, you will fall in love with Costa Rica. After my visit, I’m convinced the country contains at least one of every bird and lizard on the planet. Had I known I would see so many creatures I would have invested in a better camera. I’m still bugged I missed getting a shot of the red poisonous tree frog who tagged along with us on our zip lining tour. Or a decent image of the colorful crane that I found wandering around my hotel room. Ah well – it’s just another good excuse to go back again. In the meantime, here are a few shots of some of the wildlife I encountered on my trip. Pura Vida!

According to the local tico who pointed it out to us, spotting a wild Scarlet Macaw is a rare event, in part because we were nowhere near where they normally hang out and also as they’re an endangered species. I’ll tell you this much: seeing one of these beauties in flight is a spectacular, rainbow-colored event that I will be forever grateful I was lucky enough to witness.

Turns out a resting crocodile looks fake—still as a garden statue made of rock placed between the flowering petunias and rose bushes. Until your boat driver decides to make the prehistoric beast move by ramming the riverboat into shore a few times. Then you change your observation real quick because nothing looks more alive than a ticked off croc diving into the water and chasing down your boat.

The iguanas seemed to be constantly asking the question, “Where’s Waldo?” And the answer was “everywhere.” Seriously, there were hiding all over: in the middle of the road, hanging from tree limbs, napping along the coastline, creeping around your hotel room, chilling on the sidewalk, everywhere. Some of them were almost larger than me. It’s a good thing I really like lizards.

Ever heard two hogs mating? Me neither, but if you crossed that imagined creepy noise with whatever sound the monster who lives under your bed makes right before he eats your face, you would come close to the terrifying, echoing commotion of howler monkeys.

Related to the raccoon, coatis are friendly, curious, and look like if you spoke their language they would have something intelligent to tell you. Or maybe they would just say, “give me your mango, macha.” Either way, they definitely travel in packs and cause traffic jams. Ah, to live in a place where the morning commute is stalled not by other drivers, but wild animals posing for pictures.

It turns out sleeping long-nosed bats will let you climb right up on them and snap a bunch of pictures. Probably because they’re vampires and if they left the shade of the tree the sunlight would kill them. In any case, unlike crocodiles, these furry little guys don’t wake up regardless of how much noise you make, which is a good thing considering there were a few dozen of them per tree. I love bats, I just don’t want them in my hair.

If you’re with a tour company owner who tells you he’s going to sneak bananas onto your boat and bribe the driver to let you try and feed wild monkeys with them, just go with it. Believe me on this one: there is almost nothing more amazing than having a wild animal trust you enough to climb in your lap and eat out of your palm. Don’t blame me if you end up with fleas though.

Sharing secrets with my buddy