Recently I traveled to beautiful Costa Rica- meaning “rich coast” in Spanish. A country in Central America, bordered by Nicaragua to the north, Panama to the southeast, the Pacific Ocean to the west, and the Caribbean Sea to the east. I’ve had this destination on my bucket list for photography and was so excited to get the opportunity to go.
We flew into Liberia and stayed at the Westin Golf Resort & spa, Playa Conchal. What an incredibly beautiful country.
Craig and I were joined by my sister Jo and her husband Jim. Here we helped them celebrate their 30th wedding anniversary and also Jim’s 60th birthday! I was with them the night they met and was also their Maid of honor<3 Pictured left to right- Teri, Jim, Jo & Craig
The Westin is such a beautiful resort! Here are a few pictures of the grounds-
And then there is the Coati…
This long nose brother of the raccoon is also known as the “Snookum Bear”. With Coatis everywhere it makes for great conversation! Late afternoon poolside seemed to be when they came out looking for leftover pizza.
Another surprise for me were the iguana’s. Usually they are a staple of most places we visit- cute, small and too fast to catch. Here, they are HUGE with personalities all there own. The smallest one was a foot long and the coolest & longest one was well over 5 feet!
Then there is the King….
This is why I did NOT sleep poolside!
And the best picture of all taken by my sister Jo-
Your not suppose to feed them and if you do its off of a stick. Jo & I noticed that every time a tray full of tropical drinks went by this big guy got all excited, Jo figured it was the fruit garnish. Yep, so he popped up on the chair and she fed him an orange slice- by hand- I think they were best friends after that!
The first thing I always do after we arrive at our destination is run out to the ocean- I think it’s where I belong : ) It’s also the last place you’ll find me before leaving… Just cannot get enough of the beauty.
And the best thing? Watching the sunset with my Hun ❤
So that is where we spent the week. The average temperature was 92 degrees – a little warmer than the -30 we were having in Minnesota…
Now I am by no means a professional photographer – I truly can’t help but try to capture the raw beauty of what I see and share it via my camera. Spending a mere 6 days at a resort is not a great situation to try to really experience the true Costa Rica- I would have to rely on two ATV excursions to get what I needed. A lot of the other excursions would take 1-4 hours each way and Craig was just not having it. Thats O.K., I have no problem finding beauty in everything I see.
ATV #1 – (left side off the beach with Orlando)
Beach, properties & MONKEYS!!!!
When we arrived at the furthest point I asked Orlando -What about the monkeys?!!!! His face lit up and he revved up his ATV- my gosh it was unbelievable what became of that! Off in the distance were a tree full of Howler monkeys! He took us through the broken down fence and barbed wire of an abandoned property -we made off across a field towards a huge beautiful tree- wow!!! Now this was what I was waiting for!!!!
That was an experience of a lifetime-
Here are some cool facts- Howler monkeys-named for their throaty howls that can be heard for up to three miles, howler monkeys are the loudest of all New World monkeys. There are nine species of howler monkey, and Costa Rica is home to the common mantled howler, which inhabit parts of southern Mexico, Central and South America. Howler monkeys usually vocalize at dawn and dusk by passing air through a specially-adapted hyoid bone in their large throats. The result is a deep, grunt-like call that resonates for miles. These vocalizations are used to mark territory and communicate with others within the troop.Mantled howlers, called mono congo in Costa Rica, can weigh up to 20 pounds and typically have black fur. They are also noted for a brown or golden-colored mantle that is formed by long hairs along their flanks and back. Their long, prehensile tails act as an extra arm, gripping branches while they move about the rainforest canopy in search of food.
Howlers are considered folivores (an animal that eats primarily leaves) and also feed on flowers and fruit. They are arboreal creatures, spending most of their time in the treetops foraging for food, and rarely descend to the forest floor. Howler monkeys are the largest of all New World monkeys and have a lifespan of seven to fifteen years.
The only other wildlife I saw on this ride was a gorgeous parrot that flew next to me- I’m lucky to have gotten the pictures I did- trying to shift and shoot pics on the fly is an art lol. You’ll have to trust me the parrot was totally cool ❤
ATV#2 (right side off the beach with Jeff)
Beach, bigger properties, vultures & vegetation.
Jeff showed us a few things that really made us appreciate what we took for granted- Cashews were first…
The cashew tree produces up to 40 cashews only- interesting to see that they grow upside down- and you wonder why they are so expensive?
Then the almonds were next,
This was a long process- 15 minutes ! I tried the raw nut, not a lot of taste until it hit the back of the tastebuds- it would need to be boiled and roasted- makes you think about all the times you tossed back a handful! Jeff mentioned that the almond tree was also a great place to park their vehicles under during a storm.
Bananas & Coconuts(and some pretty flowers)
These pics were from someones front yard- how awesome to pick these while out getting the mail!
Here is another beach on a break we took-
This was Jeff’s home town- it was beautiful! His Church & school and the town field where we parked is where they gathered for the bull fights – he said that was a huge part of their culture and the bulls travel from town to town until July for all to see. The next weekend it was 45 minutes away and he couldn’t wait to go! Costa Rica has 6 months of rainy season & 6 months of no rain!
We headed back, this would be my last chance to see the real Costa Rica-
Back at the resort I attended a farewell dinner for business and had a wonderful time meeting some really sweet new friends!
Craig & I had a wonderful time in Costa Rica – we cherished our time here and hopefully captured some of it for you to see ❤
Thank you to Luisa, Rocio & Patrick of Photo Ventura- I had so much fun talking to you!
From Costa Rica with love, Craig & Teri – 2014