Costa Rica

The images which accompany this post represent my short but wonderful time in Costa-Rica. All observations noted here are that alone, informed by the geography and population of the area. 

Easter 2018. We (my family and I) arrive in San José during Easter celebrations. Whilst many businesses and city attractions were closed, a walk around a park close to our hotel treated knotted legs from the long haul flight. Over the coming two weeks, we would journey across to the east coast on the Caribbean Sea, where we would be staying in Tortuguero National Park. After a few days, our tour would venture inland to the volcanic mountain chain surrounding Arenal. Climbing higher above sea level, Monte Verde National Park was a substantially cooler stop, before descending down to the west coast for our final stop on the Pacific coast. Manuel Antonio National Park. 

Each region had its own distinct micro-climate and dominant species of the tropical ecosystem. The low-lying coastal areas were more humid and thus had a greater population of monkeys; the howler, spider and illusive squirrel monkeys were three species I was lucky enough to see. By contrast, the cloud forest of Monte Verde had substantially more species of bird. Under the trained eye of a park keeper, the quetzal (a tropical bird of paradise) remains the most beautifully plumaged bird I've ever set eyes on. The more fertile soils of the volcanic region by Arenal were luscious but seemed to be cultivated by the result. This is the place to see coffee and cocoa plantations, rather than intact primary rainforest. However, the grounds of the many precariously located hotels (on the flanks of the active Arenal Volcano) have rich biodiversity and might make some question whether they had booked a long-enough stay in this region of the country. 

Whilst the long flight to Costa Rica and the constant journeying within the country was waring, I am doubtless that the variation in experiences warrants exploration. If you want a beach holiday and friendly cultural scene, you can find that here (The Pacific Coast offered plenty of golden sand). If you want to experience eco-tourism, adventure, wildlife and conservation, this is definitely one for your bucket-list.

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