Branding a country is hard work, but Costa Rica has managed to own the “eco-friendly” badge among all the country-brands. When you think watches you think Switzerland, cars = Germany, Belgium = chocolate, soccer = Brazil (or maybe Spain?), entertainment = USA… you get the point. But when you think ecological haven, Costa Rica pops to mind immediately. And after spending just a couple of days down there, I say – Well deserved – .
I once wrote that Bosque del Apache was like Disneyland for wildlife photographers, it remains true, but if so, Costa RIca is the Michelin 5-star restaurant you can’t normally afford, only that you can. What they lack in infrastructure, and trust me they lack plenty (their highways are like hiking trails) the make up with lush, natural beauty.
After I landed in San José we drove for 4.5 hours just to go 150km north to the border with Nicaragua. The jungle is exactly like you would imagine it to be: tall and broad trees, macaws screaming and dawn, birds flying all over, the sound of geckos and frogs singing every night and fruit bats filling the night skies… this is jungle like the jungle is supposed to be.
I stayed at Laguna del Lagarto Lodge, a modest but charming lodge in Boca Tapada, where Adolfo runs a tight ship (even though you would never guessed) and where birds are the main attractions. I only had over 48 hours to shoot before returning home, but I was determined to make the most of it…
I got great images of all my target species: Keel-billed Toucan, Collared Aracari, Brown-hooded parrots and several colourful honey creepers. All but the King Vulture, which we saw perched in a far away tree but never came close enough for a good shot. I also had my brief encounter with the rare and elusive Green Macaw and other wonderful wildlife in the jungle such as caymans and bats. As most of my photography trips I vow to go back (at this point is pretty much impossible to go back to all the places I’ve said I will), since the Resplendent Quetzal is only found further south and I can’t afford no to see that bird eventually.