The Views On and Off The Coast
If you think about Costa Rica a bit too quickly the first thing that might come to mind are the coastal views. They are aplenty. But there’s a bit more to cover. For this edition of Perspectives, we asked Costa Rican local photographers and travel photographers to point their lens at not just the coast but the cities, jungles and general diversity that exists within the Costa Rican environment—and to explain how it might define their thoughts on the country.
Costa Rica is this incredibly diverse, bountiful and electric place just gushing with nature, water, birds, animals and life. There really is no place quite like it anywhere on Earth. But I am equally humbled by the Ticos who are the stewards of this land and an integral part of this ecosystem, especially the campesinos who work the land and know it intimately. They understand the subtle call of toucans at the end of rainy season, the coo of tree frogs in summer, and the epic tropical storms that flood the valleys. And they live alongside it all with grace and reverence.
Why Costa Rica? I get asked that question a lot. What kind of magic keeps your restless soul there? Why do you appear so humbled all of a sudden? Is it the waves? No, honestly, there are better ones. Is it the ecosystem? And yes, Costa Rica’s nature blows my mind every day. This tiny country covering roughly 0.03% of the planet’s surface is home to over 3% of all the world’s species. And even though I’ve been here for the last 15 years, I keep seeing bugs, fishes, birds and all kinds of living creatures that I’ve never seen before; it’s a nonstop wonder. So what is it then? For me, it’s the people. The Ticos and their unique philosophy is commonly known as “pura vida.” The first people in this world to get rid of their army by popular vote. People that produce 96% of their energy by renewables, and who decided every beach and every river will remain public and accessible for everyone. The wonderful, tolerant, loving, welcoming inhabitants of this great country. This for me is entirely unique on this conflict-ridden Earth. And I guess that’s above all what makes me feel at home here.
While in Costa Rica, I woke and rose with the sun. I trotted along the tranquil paths, spooking the Halloween crabs, being and feeling close to the ground. The Latin root of humble is humus, meaning “ground,” and I think that is what washed over me—a feeling of humility. Waves of mindfulness ebbed and flowed like the tides. There was less urgency and my phone felt like an intruder. I watched a sea turtle, missing a limb, steadily burrow into the volcanic beach and give birth to dozens of eggs. A reminder that we come from the Earth and will someday return to it.
We’ve all heard about Costa Rica, and maybe we just picture jungles and beaches, but there is so much more to it! It’s a strong ecosystem of thousands of species of fauna and flora that preserves 5% of the world’s biodiversity.
It’s the land of no army, where resources are reinvested in education. Where we vibe in different frequencies through science, words, music and art. Our richness is beyond our nature! The phrase “pura vida” is more than just a saying, it embodies the magic of Costa Rica.
I am lucky that most of my days begin with a swim in the ocean with my camera. One of the fascinating aspects of shooting here in Costa Rica is you never know what kind of nature will pass your way next. Whether it’s pelicans gliding barely inches over the waves as if they are surfing them, humpback whales breaching out the back, or a fever of rays passing under you. The ocean and the waves have a way of making you feel incredibly small. In those moments I find a great sense of calmness.