While only covering 0.03% of the earth’s surface, Costa Rica is home to almost 5% of the world’s biodiversity. Here, Imagine guest and aspiring pro photographer Sam Kite tells us about his trip to Costa Rica and how the country really does live up to its name, which translates as ‘rich coast’.
As cliché as it is, for as long as I can remember, I really have been obsessed with the natural world and the incredible animals that roam this planet. I have been very fortunate to travel to some wonderful places and see some amazing wildlife spectacles, from the wildebeest migration in Tanzania (also with Imagine Travel) to tigers in India, but when Costa Rica was suggested, I couldn’t say yes quickly enough. I couldn’t wait to see what wild encounters I would witness there.
We travelled all round Costa Rica, taking in San Jose, Tortuguero, Arenal, Monteverde and Manuel Antonio. The wildlife we saw was incredible, from turtles laying eggs on the beaches of Tortuguero to sloths grazing in the treetops in Manuel Antonio. Around every corner there was a new species, be it the flash of a hummingbird feeding on the most beautiful flowers, or a mini beast in the hotel gardens, there truly was some amazing wildlife to see.
While all of Costa Rica was inspiring, one place that was beyond my wildest imagination was the Osa Peninsula – one of the country’s most remote areas, it’s a real adventurer’s paradise. We were lucky enough to stay at El Remanso Lodge, created in 1999 with ecological and sustainable practices at its core.
It was one of the most spectacular places I have ever stayed, from the cheeky squirrel monkeys leaping through trees in the grounds to the breaching humpback whales we saw from the balcony, it was magical! With the lodge being in the middle of pristine rainforest, we didn’t have to venture far to see spectacular wildlife, so we decided not to make the journey to Corcovado National Park as we didn’t have masses of time. Instead, we took part in the tours and walks offered by El Remanso.
We chose to go on the long walk through the grounds with Marlon, who really knew the area like the back of his hand. He showed us a huge range of wildlife – boa constrictors, tarantulas, peccaries and agoutis, to name just a few. We also decided to go on the early morning bird watching tour with Rinaldo. He too knew this area remarkably well and we were very fortunate on this tour as well; we saw countless new species including king vultures, spectacled owls, dozens of scarlet macaws and swallow-tailed kites. We even saw some new mammal species, such as a tamandua, which is a South American anteater.
I think it is clear to see that I was blown away by the wildlife of the Osa Peninsula and Costa Rica as a whole, but there was one other thing that I was very impressed with, which was the passion and love that everyone had for the natural world that they live and work in. With everything that is happening in today’s world and the climate emergency we are facing, we really could learn a lot from places like Costa Rica in how to coexist with the natural world, without destroying it for our benefit.
See more of Sam’s incredible photos at