Stuart Forster, a North East England professional photographer, discusses 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.
Wildlife and nature photography in Costa Rica
Costa Rica stands on a 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.
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 was the chief appeal of visiting.
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.
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.
Where there are insects there tends to be an abundance of birdlife.
While at Selva Verde Lodge, near Sarapiqui, I spent several hours sitting quietly and observing birds from the wooden veranda outside of my guestroom.
Fruit is laid out on a bird table near the Selva Verde’s dining area. The approach of a variegated squirrel scared away the birds for a short while.
Cheekily, the squirrel began munching on the fruit.
Also, I 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.
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.
Perhaps no bird typifies Central America more than a toucan? I spotted a keel-billed toucan while trekking in Poas Volcano 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.
Like what you see in this post about wildlife and nature photography in Costa Rica? See more of Stuart Forster’s work in this post about Durham Miners’ Gala photography