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Costa Rica: A Photography Guide To A Sustainable Paradise

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If you’re a photographer looking to go on vacation, you might type a number of things into Google:

What's the sunniest vacation destination in the world?

What’s the most beautiful vacation destination?

What’s the best vacation destination for activities?

We’ve found, however, that you can narrow all of those considerations down to one question. Everyone goes on vacation for the same reason, right? No, not to take a load of pictures and make an amazing photo book in 2 clicks – although that is a big part of it! People go because they want to be happy. 

We’re not saying people aren’t happy with their normal life, but there’s something so blissful about getting away, going somewhere sunny, relaxing, and fun, while not having to worry about any of the pressures of your life back home. So what should you type into Google? 

What’s The Happiest Country In The World?

There we are. It’s as simple as that. And the most popular answer doesn’t disappoint, either. According to the Happy Planet Index, Costa Rica has been voted the happiest country in the world for four years in a row – 2018 to 2022 – and this is in no small part down to the sustainable and ecological emphasis that breeds a positive mindset. 

As vacation destinations go, this is pretty hard to beat, especially for the photographers amongst you. Throughout the country, there is so much to do and even more to snap, so to give you an idea, we’ve compiled a list of our favorite places and what you can get up to there. 

Snapping San Jose

When you fly to Costa Rica, you’re likely to land in Juan Santamaria Airport, which is a 15-minute bus ride away from the capital city, San Jose. Because it’s so convenient, we would recommend taking that bus ride and exploring the city for the first couple of days. 

It might sound weird – Costa Rica is beloved for its natural landscape and sustainability – but the culture on show here is unmissable, and the city will provide some lovely contrasts when you eventually upload your pictures to our photo book maker.

Taking A First Breath In Tamarindo

You’ve probably taken a few wildlife pictures in your life, and we’re sorry, but a good number of those wildlife pictures are boring. Don’t worry, we wrote a blog a while ago to help you fix it, but in the meantime, there’s a photo opportunity in Tamarindo that couldn’t be more exciting. If you travel to Costa Rica between October and April, you’ll be there during peak turtle nesting season. 

During this season, baby turtles hatch from their eggs on the beach of Playa Grande, and take their very first breaths in the world. You can then watch them make their first journey across the beach and into the ocean. It’s a truly magical experience that’ll put all of your other wildlife photos to shame, except perhaps the pictures of your dog, which will never be beaten.

Observing The World From A Volcano

Have you ever gone on a hike and thought: this is great, but I wish I was in imminent, fiery danger to make things more exciting? If this sounds like you, then that’s another reason to visit Costa Rica. In this country, there are 67 volcanoes, six of which are active, and you have the opportunity to climb a fair few of them. 

One of the best climbs has to be Volcano Irazu, which you can ascend all the way to the crater -- even though it is still technically active! At 3,423 meters, it’s one of only a small number of places where you can see the Atlantic and Pacific oceans at the same time, and you'll have a fantastic view of the Costa Rican rainforests too. A good photo opportunity? We think so!

Walking Through The Sky In Monteverde

As we mentioned before, Costa Rica is one of the most sustainable countries in the world. As of 2023, it is 98% free of deforestation, 93% of its electricity comes from renewable resources, and 30% of its land is protected. You’ll see this for yourself when you get there, because 51% of the country is covered in rainforests! 

The best way to explore these rainforests, in our opinion, is up in the air. In Monteverde, several hanging bridges take you up to 70 meters from the ground, and these are great spots to take some gorgeous wildlife photos and get up close and personal with nature. Just without the immediate danger of prowling jaguars!

Being Happy In Playa Conchal

Lastly, one of the happiest and most relaxing places to spend your time is a beach called Playa Conchal, in Guanacaste. Here, you can try out several activities, including surfing, snorkeling, scuba diving, or our personal favorite activity: reclining on the beach with a cocktail. 

In terms of photographs, the sun is nearly always shining here, and that will give you some beautifully lit pictures to show off both the ocean and the rainforests that line the sand. There are a lot of other things you can do here that we haven’t mentioned, but the important thing is to have fun, take some photos and, most importantly, be happy. That's what Costa Rica is all about!


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