Costa Rica features such a diverse ecosystem, the decision on where to stay really comes down to personal preference.  For that very reason, I decided on three different areas for my last visit to seek out where to match our valued clients.

As I arrived into San Jose and picked up my rental car, it was on to the first stop of the journey. The ever-popular Arenal Volcano area.

An Ecotourist's Dream. Costa Rica. From Arenal To The Pacific.

This area became famous for the regular fireworks show that occurred from the Arenal Volcano.  It’s a bit calmer now from what the locals tell me, but there is still the occasional puff of smoke from the crater.   You’ll find a number of top flight resorts that encircle the center of attraction. Hiking and hot springs are a draw for this region. And there is plenty of wildlife to see. After a short stay at the beautiful Nayara Spa & Gardens resort, I was off to the Guanacaste Region.

At the luxury Andaz Papagayo Resort, I found a troop of howler monkeys and staked out what would be their sunrise location. And then the magic happened…

An Ecotourist's Dream. Costa Rica. From Arenal To The Pacific.

The coolest howler monkey photo I’ll ever take! This is why travelers rave about the diverse wildlife viewing options that you’ll find in Costa Rica. There were several others in this troop and all within the expansive landscape at the Andaz.

For photographing these wonders of nature, you will definitely need a telephoto lens. A tripod is recommended. I found that shooting through the trees meant a lot of noise from the surrounding leaves.

An Ecotourist's Dream. Costa Rica. From Arenal To The Pacific.

And now for the signature look of the “call of the howler”….

An Ecotourist's Dream. Costa Rica. From Arenal To The Pacific.

It is said that the calls of a troop can carry up to 3 miles!

After a nice breakfast at the Andaz, I was off to the Quepos area and a stay near the Manuel Antonio National Park. My eco-resort was the über cool Si Como No.  Its position overlooks the Pacific and is nestled perfectly into the jungle with access to the local nightlife . Upon arrival, I witnessed a number of spider monkeys playing right on hotel grounds. They are fast so I missed the photo op while checking in…

I woke up very early to get down to the Manuel Antonio National Park. The park opens at 7am and it’s best to arrive early to avoid the crowds of nature lovers 🙂   I opted for a private guide and it was well worth it!

As I parked, I noticed this majestic hawk standing guard over the grounds near the entrance.

An Ecotourist's Dream. Costa Rica. From Arenal To The Pacific.

And once inside, I found gems like this…

An Ecotourist's Dream. Costa Rica. From Arenal To The Pacific.

As we moved through the park, I kept wondering if we would ever see the elusive sloth that is so popular with visitors to Costa Rica…and then my guide found this beauty!

An Ecotourist's Dream. Costa Rica. From Arenal To The Pacific.

As you can see, sloths are well-hidden and it takes the trained eye to find one, so I was happy to have found Miguel.

As we journeyed down to the beach area, we found packs of tourists feeding spider monkeys. Park rules prohibit guests from feeding the monkeys and there are rangers that make every attempt to enforce this policy.

I slipped away from the crowd and was able to get a nice pic of this little guy!

An Ecotourist's Dream. Costa Rica. From Arenal To The Pacific.

Costa Rica. Wow! I wish my stay had lasted longer.  All I have to say is that it’s an experience. And a destination that you should too 🙂