Happy 2024!

2024 Calendars are still available at lotsasmilesphoto.etsy.com!

When you hear “Costa Rica,” perhaps the first thing that comes to mind is the verdant forests and thriving wildlife.  After all, it barely scrapes the 10th parallel, so this tropical paradise is teeming with life.

© LotsaSmiles Photography 2017

In visiting for ourselves, we weren’t disappointed, and I was ready with my trusty camera around every corner.

© LotsaSmiles Photography 2017

I had many opportunities to bask in the beauty – from just chilling at the resort, to the local park in Alajuela.  There was so much to take in no matter where I looked.

Old ruins were home to tropical birds and fascinating ants.

© LotsaSmiles Photography 2017

And, of course, the river was rife with life.

© LotsaSmiles Photography 2017

Birds, crocs, bugs, lizards, flowers, frogs – everything around us was living, breathing, thriving.  Even cats abounded along the beaches!

© LotsaSmiles Photography 2017
Yes, can I help you?

We couldn’t get enough from our day-to-day, so we additionally signed up for two jungle walks.

© LotsaSmiles Photography 2017

The first was with Rainmaker in Puntarenas.  We were there first thing in the morning, so we had the tour guide all to ourselves.  With him, we wandered the damp path, through clouds of mosquitos, over tree roots, and along a creek.  Around every corner, he pointed out a new life form, and I was amazed at his ability to discern the critters against the background of near-identical colors.  The frogs were beautiful, the flowers stunning, and the lizards entertaining.  Though I didn’t accept the invitation to swim mid-hike, we did grab a traditional Costa Rican lunch (rice and beans) afterwards, and I had more than enough to keep my attention with the local hummingbird.

Our visit to Arenal also brought another jungle hike, and this was surprisingly different.  While we likewise had the tour guide to ourselves, we didn’t see nearly as much life as with the first jaunt.  It also rained.  Quite a bit.

© LotsaSmiles Photography 2017

At home, rain starts slowly.  It’s a mist or a few sporadic drops, eventually coalescing into more substantial droplets.  Most ignore it and simply keep on walking, the moisture never enough to warrant a hood, much less an umbrella.

© LotsaSmiles Photography 2017

This approach doesn’t work as well in the rainforests of Costa Rica.  The first few drops are fine, but you quickly realize that this rain is bigger and wetter than anything at home.  Without shelter, you’re quickly drenched and even more miserable in the oppressive humidity.

© LotsaSmiles Photography 2017
This tiny snail was no bigger than my pinky fingernail!

Fortunately, I came prepared, but Aaron had forgotten his jacket in the car.  He was left shamefully sharing the umbrella with our guide until the water abated.

Interestingly, I found the rain was actually stronger under the canopy, pregnant drops plummeting from their cached heights among the boughs.  Out in the open, the rain was more evenly distributed, falling in a gentle haze.

© LotsaSmiles Photography 2017

The rain didn’t scare away the forest life, however.  I loved the little snake that curled itself on a leaf to disguise itself as a mere turd.  That’s certainly effective at keeping predators from wanting to eat it!

© LotsaSmiles Photography 2017
Is that a snake or a turd?

I couldn’t get enough of the vast palette of species surrounding us everywhere we went.  There was plenty to keep my trigger finger happy, and we didn’t even begin to see all the life that rich country has to offer.  Perhaps next time we’ll see sloths, monkeys, or pumas!

© LotsaSmiles Photography 2017

Want to get the inside scoop on how I create my images?

Sign up for my monthly newsletter!


Follow LotsaSmiles Photography

Recommended Articles


  1. I plan on going to Costa Rica to a retreat; where they practice plant medicine. It seems beautiful and the waters are better than any I have been in. The US uses only 1% of the plants for medical uses when there are 4000% for help people with diseases. Yes, it is amazing.

    1. I didn’t realize that! We were told about the citronella plant that helps ward off mosquitos, but not much more than that. I’m not surprised there are so many medicinal plants there. How fascinating!

  2. I think this work is fantastic. I had a Pantex when I was younger. A manual one, now I show my age, I still feel young at heart. You should submit some to a mag. I told a friend who is an essay writer; to submit one of them he was contemplating on; to submit to a local, a magazine. If you’re a writer or a photographer and have the balls to express yourself to the world, have them to submit to a magazine. What can they do, reject them….boo hoo. Keep on keepin’ on Sweetie. We have second skins. Peace, the Bitchen Phoenix.

Leave A Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Show Buttons
Hide Buttons
error: I\'m glad you like my content! Please don\'t steal it :)