March 23, 2016
Translated literally, it means "pure life" but in Costa Rica it seems closer to "don't worry, be happy". At least, that was my impression after two weeks kayaking and exploring the country. It's one of the most popular tourist destinations in Central America, and many of you have either been or are planning to go. If so, I highly recommend it. From the lush rain forests of the Caribbean side to the beaches on the Pacific side and the mountains in-between, it offers something for everyone.
This image of a Rufous Motmot (yes, I had to look it up) was taken near the Arenal Volcano in the central part of the country. With almost 900 species of birds, the challenge was not whether one would see them but how to get a good image. Surprisingly, I did not get images of toucans or macaws, two of the most colorful species in the country. I was also not able to get images of the colorful poison-dart frogs indigenous to the area. Reasons to return! But I did get some images of the famous 3-toed sloth and the monkeys, the other "must see" animals in Costa Rica.
Getting to Tortuguero National Park, where we did most of our kayaking, takes some effort. There are no roads, so one takes a 1 1/2 hour boat ride down the Rio Tortuguero to lodges nestled on the edges of the many canals. Everything - people, food, building supplies, fuel - moves by boat.
While in Tortuguero, one of our tour members organized a soccer match with the local kids that I had the opportunity to photograph. Notice the looks of joy on the kids' faces. I was a magical moment that doesn't often happen when playing tourist in a foreign country.