Wildlife and nature photography in Costa Rica

If you enjoy wildlife and nature photography then it’s likely you’ll love visiting Costa Rica. The central American country is one of the planet’s most bio-diverse habitats.

A green iguana (Iguana iguana) basking in a tree.

Having a relaxing time? A green iguana (Iguana iguana) basking in a tree.

Costa Rica stands on land bridge that connects North and South America. Several species of animals have settled in the lush jungle of Central America while migrating between the continental landmasses.

Puma sightings are rare.

Puma sightings are rare.

The Pacific Ocean laps against Costa Rica west coast. The Caribbean Sea washes the eastern coastline of this country, which is 119 kilometres across at its narrowest point and 280 kilometres broad at its widest. Sandy beaches and world class surfing attract many travellers but for me the opportunity to view and photograph wildlife in its natural environment that was the chief appeal of visiting.

Palm trees and golden sand attracts many travellers to Costa Rica, This is the Caribbean Sea at Manzanillo Beach.

Palm trees and golden sand attracts many travellers to Costa Rica, This is the Caribbean Sea at Manzanillo Beach.

Costa Rica’s rich biodiversity

Despite having just 51,060 square kilometres of land, more than 500,000 species of animals can be found in Costa Rica. Remarkably, that’s around four per cent of all the world’s species.

A Golden Orb Weaver spider weaves a web near Manzanillo Beach.

A Golden Orb Weaver spider weaves a web near Manzanillo Beach.

Of that half-million or so species, more than 300,000 are insects. Spend just a few moments standing still on a jungle track and you’re soon likely to see butterflies fluttering.

Blue Morpho Butterfly (Morpho paleides) at Poas Volcano National Park.

Blue Morpho Butterfly (Morpho paleides) at Poas Volcano National Park.

Where there are insects there tends to be an abundance of birdlife.

On the lookout for food near Selva Verde Lodge.

On the lookout for food near Selva Verde Lodge.

While at Selva Verde Lodge, near Sarapiqui, I spent several hours sitting quietly and observing birds from the wooden veranda outside of my guestroom.

A hammock and chairs outside of a room at Selva Verde Lodge. They provide views on the rainforest.

A hammock and chairs outside of a room at Selva Verde Lodge. They provide views on the rainforest.

Fruit is laid out on a bird table near to the Selva Verde’s dining area. The approach of a variegated squirrel scared away the birds for a short while.

A variegated squirrel (Sciurus variegatoides) in a tree. The creature lives in altitudes of up to 1,800 metres above sea level.

A variegated squirrel (Sciurus variegatoides) in a tree. The creature lives in altitudes of up to 1,800 metres above sea level.

Cheekily, the squirrel began munching on the fruit.

A variegated squirrel tucks into a banana.

A variegated squirrel tucks into a banana.

I also went whitewater rafting and ziplining while based at the lodge. I came within a couple of metres from a sloth while ziplining but, unfortunately, was unable to operate my camera while hanging from the wire. I made up for that later by photographing a green iguana in a tree close to the lodge.

A green iguana (Iguana iguana) basking in a tree.

A green iguana (Iguana iguana) with an impressive beard.

Beaches, birds and volcanoes

While walking on a jungle track near the Caribbean coast I spotted a beautiful yellow snake curled on a tree trunk just a couple of metres from the wooden boardwalk. It was a venomous eyelash viper.

An eyelash viper (Bothriechis schlegelii) by the Caribbean coast at Limon.

An eyelash viper (Bothriechis schlegelii) by the Caribbean coast at Limon.

Perhaps no bird typifies Central America more than a toucan? I spotted a keel-billed toucan while trekking in Poas Volcano National Park.

Keel-billed toucan (Ramphastos sulfuratus) at Poas Volcano National Park. Around 900 species of birds have been spotted in the national park.

Keel-billed toucan (Ramphastos sulfuratus) at Poas Volcano National Park. Around 900 species of birds have been spotted in the national park.

Poas Volcano stands in Cordillera Central Mountain Range and last erupted in 2011. Approaching the crater, from which gases were escaping, provided some memorable landscape photos.

The crater of Poas Volcano in Parque Nacional Volcan Poas. The 2,708-metre high volcano is in the Cordillera Central Mountain Range.

The crater of Poas Volcano in Parque Nacional Volcan Poas. The 2,708-metre high volcano is in the Cordillera Central Mountain Range.

My plans to post a selection of photos from my Costa Rica trip have been brought forward by the Trips 100 / Audley Travel blogger challenge, for which this post is my entry. You can find others by checking out the hashtag #AudleyBloggerChallenge on social media.

Win an African safari

Win an African safari with Audley Travel by sharing your best wildlife photograph or video on your social media channels. To enter write #AudleySafari and @AudleyTravel on your Instagram or Twitter post or share directly on the Audley Travel Facebook page here: www.facebook.com/audleytravel. To find out more or enter via the website, visit www.audleytravel.com/social. Entries must be posted between 20th August – 23rd September.

Further information

Find out more about Costa Rica on the Visit Centro America and Visit Costa Rica websites.

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