Costa Rica is truly a photographer’s dream come true – whether it’s the beaches, volcanoes, rivers, jungles or the exotic flora & fauna – Costa Rica has it all with some of the friendliest people I’ve ever met. There are only a handful of destinations around the world where the prospect of animal interaction is central to the visit, and Costa Rica is certainly one of them. We photographed 2-toed sloths, frogs, alligators, birds, jaguars and chased down and came eye-to-eye with a family of howler monkeys eating breakfast under the rainforest canopy. It was fabulous and we will certainly go back to capture more of Costa Rica’s beautiful landscape and the creatures that inhabit it.
So, in this Costa Rica photo adventure travel guide, I hope to point out some very special places to visit, tips on how to photograph these sites and best ways to get there. All photos were taken with my Canon EOS 6D camera using my 4-favourite lens – EF100mm f/2.8l macro is USM / EF-16-35mm F/4L IS USM / EF-24- 105mm f/4L IS USM / EF-70-200mm f/2.8L IS USM.
Hope you enjoy the photos!
Costa Rican Beaches … Unforgettable!
Set in beautiful, sheltered coves, all the way down the coastline, the beaches of Costa Rica present awesome scenery complemented by its coastal greenery. A photographer’s paradise awaits. This photo was taken on the beach of the Hotel Riu Palace where we stayed. This photo was taken with my Canon EF-24-105mm lens; in manual; 10 sec. exposure mode; at f/16 with an ISO setting of 100 using a Hoya 10 stop ND filter on tripod.
Surfs Up …
Costa Rica is known for its miles of white sandy beaches, monkeys swinging in the trees that line the sand and endless waves that begged to be ridden. With the name Costa Rica meaning the “rich coast”, it certainly lives up to its name by having some of the best surfing destinations in the world. This photo was taken on the beach of the Hotel Riu Palace where we stayed. This photo was taken with my Canon EF-24-105mm lens; in AV mode; at f/11 with an ISO setting of 100.
These loveable creatures have become the signature critter for Costa Rica with their adorable appearance, and it’s easy to see how they have become so popular. These slow-moving residents of the Costa Rican rain forest are a necessary part of this biological intense environment. This photo was taken with my Canon EF-70- 200mm lens; in AV mode; 1/160 sec. exposure; at f/8 with an ISO setting of 6400.
Costa Rica is world renowned for its abundance of wildlife, none more colorful and dazzling than its diverse population of frog species. The frogs are perhaps the country’s most iconic and famous residents, embodying the beauty and wonder of the rainforest. For the frog shots, we visited Arenal Natura Ecological Park and hired a private guide to hunt down the frogs so I could photograph them – otherwise it would be very difficult to find and photograph them. I would highly recommend a visit there. This photo was taken with my Canon EF100mm f/2.8l macro lens; in AV mode; 1/30 sec.; at f/7.1 with an ISO setting of 12,800.
See-through Glass Frog
The glass frog is one of those bizarre and fascinating creatures in this world. Glass frog or “see-through frog” is a unique type of frog that is named that way because of its translucent skin. Close examination of this unique creature reveals a fully visible system of organs, including the heart, liver, and full intestinal tract. Cool little creature. This photo was taken with my Canon EF100mm f/2.8l macro lens; in AV mode; 1/20 sec.; at f/6.3 with an ISO setting of 12,800.
The Famous Red-eyed Tree Frog
One of Costa Rica’s most iconic amphibians is the red-eyed tree frog, a unique species famous for its bright colors and charismatic appearance. If the frog senses an imminent threat, it opens its eyes wide and displays its toes. This sudden splash of color often shocks larger creatures away. This photo was taken with my Canon EF100mm f/2.8l lens; in AV mode; 1/100 sec.; at f/5 with an ISO setting of 12,800.
Flying Leaf Frog
Also known as parachute frogs, these flying frogs inhabit the dense tropical jungles in Costa Rica. When threatened or in search of prey, they will leap from a branch and splay their four webbed feet. This photo was taken with my Canon EF100mm f/2.8l macro lens; in AV mode; 1/100 sec.; at f/4 with an ISO setting of 5000.
While visiting the Arenal Natura Ecological Park, we stayed overnight at the Volcano Hotel & Hot Springs – fabulous place where you can soak in the natural hot springs right at the base of the volcano. This Palm tree was photographed against a gorgeous sunset sky in Costa Rica with the supermoon on the rise behind the tree. The hotel has all kinds of beautiful gardens to explore. This photo was taken with my Canon EF-24- 105mm lens; in manual mode on tripod; 20 sec.; at f/4 with an ISO setting of 400.
A Vision of Serenity
The romantic scenery beckons visitors to stroll along its pristine shoreline, enjoy the serenity of the sapphire waters, or behold a brilliant sunset draping the evening with a silvery moonlight that dances atop tranquil waters. This photo was taken on the beach of the Hotel Riu Palace where we stayed. This photo was taken with my Canon EF-16-35mm lens; in manual; 10 sec. exposure; mode; at f/16 with an ISO setting of 100 using a Hoya 10 stop ND filter on tripod.
The monkeys in Costa Rica freely roam around all the time, but for 3 days I couldn’t find them. Finally, one evening a heard the family of Howler Monkeys in the trees, yet far away and too late in the night to photograph them. The Howler Monkeys make the strangest howling noise I’ve ever heard. Sounds a bit like a loud whooping bark or roar. Anyways, I tracked down these monkeys close to the resort the next morning at 6am, while they were munching on leaves in a tree. Spectacular to watch & hear. This photo was taken with my Canon EF-70-200mm lens; in AV mode; 1/200 sec. exposure; at f/11 with an ISO setting of 3200.
While visiting the Arenal Natura Ecological Park, we visited the butterfly gardens. The butterfly house captured my heart with its huge variety of butterflies that landed all over me. There are 20 different species of Owl Butterfly found in the rainforests of Costa Rica. This photo was taken with my Canon EF-70-200mm lens; in AV mode; 1/160 sec. exposure; at f/6.3 with an ISO setting of 4000.
While visiting the Arenal Natura Ecological Park we found this strange and shy little creature. He is a very hard specimen to find living on the forest floor of the rain forests of Costa Rica. Most brightly coloured galliwasps are robust-bodied lizards with a striking appearance that is sometimes wrongly regarded as venomous. and had some role in certain voodoo traditions. This photo was taken with my Canon EF100mm f/2.8l macro lens; in AV mode; 1/20 sec.; at f/7.1 with an ISO setting of 12800.
Flamingo Beach Sunset
Costa Rica has some of the most amazing sunsets in the world and Flamingo Beach is the place to be when the sun goes down. We hired a private ATV guide to take us up through the dry forests of Guanacaste region, stopping by the remote beaches along the way to take a dip as we searched for the perfect location for the sunset over the water photo. Flamingo beach didn’t disappoint as we sat at local favorite Coco Loco bar and restaurant. And as the music played, we enjoyed and captured some beautiful sunset photos. This photo was taken with my Canon EF-16-35mm lens; in AV mode; 1/30 sec. exposure; at f/11 with an ISO setting of 100 using a Hoya polarizing filter.
Peter Dulis is an award-winning photographer & large format printing executive having worked with Canon Canada for the last 14 years. “I’ve had the chance to meet & work with some incredible people in the industry. Photography isn’t just about making photographs; it’s about choosing a life of curiosity, exploration, and wonder, immersing yourself in the world around you. I hope you can follow us on our adventures – www.photographyadventures.ca and get your free e-book there – “ Truly Amazing places to visit before it’s too late”