Costa Rica: 38 Photos That Will Inspire You To Visit The Rainforest

Three-toed Sloth plays peekaboo in Costa Rica

The thrill for me when I photograph nature and wildlife is that I always feel as if I am on a treasure hunt—I never know what might be around the next corner and I am rarely ever disappointed.

Peek-a-boo! I see you Ms. three-toed sloth. This typically difficult animal to spot was sitting in this tree for two days a 100 feet from my bungalow[/caption]

The rainforest in Costa Rica is one of my favorite destinations (I’ve gone twice in the last five years) because its thousands of species of plant life, monkeys and other mammals; spectacular birds and brightly colored frogs; not to mention a boatload of fascinating (yes, a little creepy too sometimes) insects and reptiles, make every day a new adventure. And more times than not it begins only steps from your bungalow.

Sunrise in Costa Rica from my Bungalow
Morning is my favorite time in Costa Rica. This shot was taken from my private balcony

Morning Glory

My favorite time is in the morning when everything is waking up. I’m not typically a morning person but when I know there are animals about I leap out of bed bright-eyed and bushy-tailed before it’s light. It’s a wonderful time: the howler monkeys bellow, the sun begins to rise, and the forest comes alive with bird calls and beautiful shafts of light that filter down through the trees.

View from the rainforest in Costa Rica
On a blazing hot day, the rainforest in the morning is relatively cool. This view was from the many trails around my bungalow

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Talented Climbers

Did you know that iguanas are excellent climbers? Somewhere in the back of my mind I vaguely knew but it wasn’t until Costa Rica that I saw just how adept they really are.

  • Iguana high up in the trees in Costa Rica
  • Iguana climbs along a branch of a tree in Costa Rica

Monkeys, Monkeys and More Monkeys!

Monkeys are everywhere in Costa Rica and fascinating to watch. On any given day I saw numerous spider, Capuchin (or white-faced), and howler monkeys, sometimes all at once! (Be careful though.. while incredibly cute, monkeys can be aggressive. Be sure to watch from a safe distance and they’ll leave you alone.)

2 White-faced monkeys in Costa Rica
Howler monkey eats a leaf in Costa Rica
Casually sitting eating a leaf, this howler monkey looked to me as if it was knitting. I loved the way it hung on the to branch with its tail to steady itself

Birds of Many Feathers

I was never particularly a “birder” until I went to Costa Rica. As plentiful as pigeons in New York City, the rainforest is home to some of the most beautiful birds I’ve ever seen.

  • Roadside hawk in Costa Rica
  • Toucan in Costa Rica
  • black throated Trogan
  • Parrot in Costa Rica
  • A fiery-billed aracari in Costa Rica
  • Tropical kingbird in Costa Rica

Oh the Bouquets You Could Make!

I didn’t take as many photos of all the beautiful flowers and foliage as I should have, but here are just a few of the treats I found while hiking.

  • Red Hibiscus in Costa Rica
  • Bird of paradise in Costa Rica
  • Martini glass mushroom in Costa Rica
  • Sunlight falls on a fern in Costa Rica
  • Yellow allamanda in Costa Rica
  • Funghi in Costa Rica
  • A tiny forest of bamboo in Costa Rica

Don’t forget to look down

  • Striped poison dart frog in Costa Rica
  • Owl butterfly in Costa Rica
  • An amorous anoli in Costa Rica
  • Anoli in Costa Rica
  • A common agouti in Costa Rica

Go on a Night Hike

Not for the faint of heart but incredibly cool, and a tad hair-raising if I am being honest, be sure to take a night hike through the rainforest if your hotel offers it. Yes, you may see lots of spiders and snakes, but don’t worry, they don’t want you and they won’t follow you home. It’s perfectly safe and an amazing experience. There are so many interesting nocturnal sights worth seeing.

  • Wolf spider eats insect in Costa Rica
  • wolf spider in Costa Rica
  • Trantula in Costa Rica
  • red-eyed tree frog
  • Blunt-headed tree snake

Savor Special Moments

Sometimes the stars align and you get to see something really special… On my last trip, I was lucky enough to see two things!

Momma three-toes sloth in Costa Rica
Three-toed sloth from above leaned back at one point from her perch on the tree to reveal a tiny little baby. It’s not the best photo, but if you look close you can see its little head and arm
Rainbow in Costa Rica
A lovely rainbow peeks out from under storm clouds after a rain.

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5 thoughts on “Costa Rica: 38 Photos That Will Inspire You To Visit The Rainforest

  1. whychoosecostarica says:

    I am happy to have chosen at runtime Costa Rica as one of its destinations. Costa Rica has a lot to offer its visitors, so I invite all those who want to live a beautiful natural adventure to come to Costa Rica, here we are waiting with open arms!!! 🙂

  2. art Loev says:

    no wonder we liked Costa Rica so much.. another thing- nno army– they put the money that would be used to support an army into education!!

  3. Jean says:

    The pictures are breathtaking! They are professional quality. I’m not just saying that either. You really need to do this for a living.

    • Susan Portnoy says:

      Jean – You are so kind and so wonderfully supportive of my work. I am so grateful and appreciative of all the time and attention you give me photos. Thank you!

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