Shot of the Week: Sunset Surfer (Playa Espadilla, Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica)

Shot of the Week: Sunset Surfer at Playa Espadilla in Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica

Last week we concluded our month-long adventure in Costa Rica and headed onward to Mexico City. But before we left Costa Rica, we paid a visit to Manuel Antonio National Park.

It was the first time we’d ever gone swimming in an ocean at a national park. The sun was shining, the water was warm, and there were tons of monkeys jumping from tree to tree along the shore. We spent three days in the Manuel Atonio/Quepos area (see the place we stayed on our list of preferred accommodations), and we spent time at a different beach each day: the first at a private beach, the second in the park, and the third at Playa Espadilla, just outside the park entrance.

This photo of a surfer heading out into the waves during the last light of the day was taken on that third beach day, at Playa Espadilla, with the Sony a7 II and 35mm f/2.8 lens. (Continue to view full photo).  Continue reading

Shot of the Week: The Sleeping Giant (Arenal Volcano, Costa Rica)

Shot of the Week: The Sleeping Giant -- Arenal Volcano, Costa Rica

March 2nd was a big day. We had two anniversaries to celebrate. First, it was Ian’s and my three-year anniversary (yay!), and second, it’d been one year since we launched our traveling life and set off for our first destination (Norway).

To celebrate, we took a 3-day trip to Volcán Arenal, a volcano that’s dormant now, after an active period that ended just 5 years ago. Aside from visiting the national park and taking in the marvelous views, we went ziplining for the first time (which was AWESOME). Ian took this photo on the last day of our trip, when we stumbled upon an entry point to Arenal Lake. We spent about 30 minutes along the shore, taking photos of the volcano and what I like to call the “swimming tree” (keep an eye on our Facebook page for a photo of that thing).

Still experimenting with infrared photography, this is an image captured using an infrared filter, and post-processed in black and white. This photo was taken with the Sony a7 II and 35mm f/2.8 lens. (Continue to view full photo).  Continue reading

[VIDEO & REVIEW] Sky Adventures Ziplining, Gondola & Hanging Bridges (Arenal Volcano, Costa Rica)

Sky Adventures review and video at Arenal Volcano, Costa Rica

Accustomed to urban life after two weeks in Costa Rica’s central valley, Ian and I were eager for a nature adventure.  We set off for Volcán Arenal, a volcano situated among a beautiful rainforest and mountain landscape, near the developing tourist town of La Fortuna.

Our hotel — booked, as usual, through Airbnb — had the best view I’ve ever seen from a hotel room. A list of nearby tourist activities included kayaking, a chocolate tour, rappeling down waterfalls… there was a full page of options. With one day allotted for adventure activities, we chose a ziplining tour. (Neither of us had ever been!) Watch the video here!  Continue reading

Toucan Rescue Ranch Review: Our First Encounter with a SLOTH… and other animals (San Isidro, Costa Rica)

Toucan Rescue Ranch review: our first encounter with a SLOTH... and other animals (San Isidro, Heredia, Costa Rica)

I have a new obsession. If you follow us on Facebook, you already know what it is. (Here’s a hint: They’re four-legged, furry, and have a reputation for moving rather slowly.)  Continue reading

Shot of the Week: Arte Verde/Green Art, Museos Del Banco Central (San José, Costa Rica)

art exhibit at Museos del Banco Central (San Jose, Costa Rica)

In downtown San José, underneath the central plaza (Plaza de la Cultura), lie the Central Bank Museums (Museos Del Banco Central) of Costa Rica. Four stories of underground art, money, and historic artifacts make up the collections in the Pre-Columbian Gold Museum, Numismatic Museum, and temporary exhibitions inside the Museos Del Banco Central building.

On our first visit to San José — Costa Rica’s capitol city — we stopped here for a couple afternoon hours and had a look at the art and Pre-Columbian history of Costa Rica (the Numismatic Museum was temporarily closed). This week’s photo is an image of me on the second basement level, having a look at one of many colorful art pieces on display. While I’m not particularly big on art museums, I did admire the detail and bright green hues in this particular series of paintings.

This photo was taken with the Sony a7 II and 35mm f/2.8 lens and edited with the “Charm” preset in our free set of Lightroom presets. (Continue to view full photo.)

Continue reading

Volcán Poás National Park: An Affordable Costa Rica Tourist Activity (Alajuela, Costa Rica)

Poas Volcano (Volcán Poás) National Park: an affordable Costa Rica tourist activity

*Photo: “Poas Volcano 2” by Sergio Quesada (license: CC BY-NC-SA 2.0. Photo has been cropped and text added.)

A visit to Poás Volcano can be a gamble due to potential view-obstructing fog, but it’s a cheap enough risk to take. Despite thick fog during our visit last week (thus the borrowing of another photographer’s image for this post), Ian and I still had an enjoyable time in Poás Volcano National Park.

Here we share an overview of our rainy visit to Poás, including instructions for how to get there affordably bus, a list of what to take with you, plus photos from our foggy trip!  Continue reading

Shot of the Week: La Fería Del Agricultor — The Farmers’ Market — (Heredia, Costa Rica)

La Feria Del Agricultor Heredia, farmers market in Heredia

We set our alarms to wake early for this Saturday morning activity. Ben and Josiah, our Airbnb host and his son, were taking us to “la fería,” a local farmers’ market about a 15-minute walk from the house. To ensure we’d get the best selection of produce, we woke just before 6am, threw on some light jackets, grabbed our cameras and our new ultralight backpack and set out for the market. (Our new Sea to Summit Ultra-Sil Daypack has really been coming in handy on this trip — keep an eye out for a review!)

Walking up and down the full length of the market took about an hour. We stayed busy keeping an eye out for new fruits and veggies to try and scouting for the best prices. When we were speculating whether or not to try a new-looking dark purple fruit, a friendly Costa Rican insisted we take one he had just bought to try (it was delicious, so we bought 4 more)!

New things we tried as a result of this trip:

  • pejibayes
  • cashew apples (blech!)
  • caimitos/star apples (actually first tried this in Vietnam, but it had been awhile)
  • juice in a bag (sugarcane chia juice)

The above photo was taken with my Sony RX-100 III — my new travel camera! — and edited in Lightroom with the “Photon” preset from our free preset pack on photoncollective.com.  Continue reading

Cafe Britt Coffee Tour Review: An Entertaining and Caffeinating Experience (Heredia, Costa Rica)

Cafe Britt Coffee Tour Review: an entertaining and caffeinating experience (Heredia, Costa Rica)

I still remember my first sip of coffee from my dad’s mug when I was a kid. I thought it was disgusting. It’s a bit like beer: you don’t really develop a taste for it until college. By now I must have brewed hundreds of batches and ordered hundreds of cups at local shops, but I didn’t know how coffee was made until we took a tour at Cafe Britt in Heredia, Costa Rica.

In this review of the Cafe Britt Classic Coffee Tour, you’ll find an overview of our tour experience and my thoughts on the tour. Is it worth seeing? Is it worth the price? I’ll answer these questions here. You may also see a photo of a cute fuzzy that made a brief appearance — giving our tour an extra splash of flavor. Continue reading

Pre-Trip Planning for Costa Rica [HELP US PLAN OUR TRIP!]

Costa Rica Pre-Trip Planning on North to South

*Photo: “Costa Rica… No artificial ingredients!” by Arturo Sotillo (license: CC BY-SA 2.0. Photo has been cropped and text added.)

Ian and I will depart for our next big travel destination, Costa Rica, on February 14th (romantic, I know). It’s my first time to Central America, and I’m SO excited to be heading somewhere warm this winter!

The only problem is that we still need to decide what to do while we’re there. I have to admit that when it comes to pre-trip itinerary planning, Ian and I have historically taken a lackadaisical approach. The last time we had a long-term overseas trip approaching, we planned nothing beyond just getting to the place we were staying. Granted, we were CRAZY busy prepping for our transition to travel life, so we kinda had an excuse.

But this time? I want to be more prepared! Read on to see what we’ve planned so far. If you have any suggestions for us, we’d love to hear them! Share them with us while we’re planning our trip these next few weeks.  Continue reading