SCENERY / LANDSCAPES / CULTURE :: Because of heavy rainfall and flooding in parts of Costa Rica during my stay, I focused on tropical landscapes and scenery in the Northern Zone and Central Valley. Scenic highlights include a rainbow over Monte Verde, views of Gulf of Nicoya, and trails lined with tree ferns and other lush, tropical vegetation in Monteverde National Park (Monteverde Reserva Biológico de Bosques Nubosos), Selvadura Park, and Rainmaker Nature Refuge. All three of these parks feature suspension bridges, also known as cable bridges or hanging bridges, used as canopy walkways for tourists to explore cloud forests from above. Stunning rivers and waterfalls are showcased in the La Paz Waterfall Gardens Nature Park and within the Rainmaker Conservation Project. In the rain, I photographed a pristine beach in Manuel Antonio National Park. On the cultural side, my natural history coverage is limited to rural scenes of Costa Rican countryside — fields, trees, and cattle in the Central Valley; Manuel Antonio street scenes; and a traditional, colorful ox cart with oxen.
FLORA: Among the highlights of Costa Rica’s tropical flora are rainforest and mountain cloud forest plants. Flowering orchids photographed include Masdevallia striatella, Lycaste macrophylla, Brachycladium, an Oncidium orchid, Oerstedella exasperata, Epidendrum exasperatum, a Maxillaria orchid, and two miniature orchids, Platystele stenostachya, babyboot orchids, and Lepanthes. Other plant species photographed include Selaginella, tree ferns, Guzman Conifer Bromeliad (candycorn bromeliad), Guzmania conifera, flowering machete tree, Erythrina lanceolata, coral tree, flame tree, coral bean tree, flowering Corteza Amarilla tree, Tabebuia ochracea neochrysantha, Guayacan tree, pink angel’s trumpet, Brugmansia, and mamón chino fruit, Nephelium lappaceum, known in Asia as rambutan.