Week 1: Traveling in Costa Rica

I'm currently typing this blog on a patio overlooking Manuel Antonio, quite possibly the most beautiful destination in Costa Rica. I'll be shooting tours across this country for the next two months! The best part of all, the entire trip is all expenses paid! So, how did I make this amazing opportunity happen?

I made the spontaneous decision to explore this beautiful country last year and filmed iconic locations along the way. Afterward, I proactively reached out via email to various tourism websites offering my professional services in exchange for travel expenses. Lo and behold, I received an attractive offer from...

"CostaRica.com is the leading travel, relocation, real estate and weather source of information about Costa Rica.  We take you through the journey from preparing for your trip, finding out what you want to see and do in Costa Rica to booking your vacation with reliable operators."

After the retreat in Guatemala, I took a boat and then shuttle to the airport and boarded a flight to my next destination. I've currently been here for two weeks and have already experienced so much natural beauty. My business partner picked me up from the airport and we stayed at his house in San Jose for a few days. The first tour was a two hour drive from the city at La Paz Waterfall Gardens.

"Five waterfalls, cloud forest and rain forest, safe hiking trails, aviary with numerous species of birds, toucan feeding, insect exhibit, butterfly observatory, capuchin (white-faced) monkeys, black-handed spider monkeys, hummingbird garden with 26 documented species, hummingbird hand feeding in the mornings and afternoons, serpentarium (snake exhibit), jaguars, pumas, ocelots, margays, tica house with petting zoo and ox cart, ranarium (frog exhibit), orchid exhibit, heliconia exhibit.  All of these offered at one place, makes us the best eco park in Costa Rica." -- http://www.waterfallgardens.com

The next day, we walked to a nearby hotel and a double-decker VIP bus picked us up for a proper tour of San Jose. We stopped at popular attractions such as National Stadium, Museum of Art, Metropolitan Cathedral, Central Market, etc. The tour guide provided information along the way while a guy played traditional live music to help us forget about all the traffic. For example, Costa Rica doesn't have any military force and choose to invest their funds into education and healthcare versus senseless wars around the world. It's also the safest country in Central America! Besides, why attack a country that is peaceful and not a threat to anyone? Here's the tour video I filmed and edited for VIP City Bus.

"Vip City Bus has the best city tour in Costa Rica at your disposal. Our unique sightseeing double decker bus will take you to downtown San Jose from your hotel to witness the city’s main historical landmarks for an immersive and panoramic cultural experience and a better understanding of Costa Rica’s evolution." -- http://vipcitybus.com

After a few days of preparation, we packed the belongings into a Toyota SUV and hit the road for Sierpe on the Osa Peninsula with a few stops along the way. Our next tour was at Chiclets Zipline just outside Jaco in Playa Hermosa, a hot destination for experienced surfers. Before the tour commenced, I flew the drone along the beach to capture a surfers riding waves and doing tricks. A truck carried us upward to the dense rainforest canopy, we hiked to the first platform, harnessed a set of carabiners to the zipline, and flew through the trees like a modern-day Tarzan for over an hour! This was my first ziplining experience and it was a total blast! You can hear me excitedly screaming in the tour video below...

Afterward, we continued onward to our destination and arrived at our hotel before sunset. Deja vu, I'd definitely been here before. This was the same place where I caught a boat to Corcovado National Park over a year ago! We checked into the hotel and immediately began a night hike through the rainforest with the mission to spot rare frogs. Aside from the ravenous mosquitoes, this proved to be a truly unique experience. My Sony A6000 had trouble focusing in the low light conditions, so I shot video with my trusty iPhone 7 instead. The incredible closeup frog footage in the following tour video was graciously donated by the very talented tour guide Raby Nunez. Check out his website at Sierpe Frogs. This guy seriously deserves to be featured in National Geographic! Check out the tour video...

We woke up early the next morning and hopped on a boat to Cano Island for a snorkeling tour. After speeding down Sierpe River for awhile, we hit the Pacific Ocean and navigated the incoming waves until it was relatively smooth sailing ahead. I flew the drone from the roof of a moving boat to capture video of dolphins jumping in the water and caught it safely. My nickname hence became "Drone Master". Upon reaching the island, all the passengers unloaded onto the beach. Afterward, we went snorkeling near the beach. Water kept getting into my mask and I was glad to get back on the boat. We ate lunch at picnic tables on another island closer and then headed back to Sierpe. At this point, I was editing videos on a daily basis to stay up-to-date. Here's the Cano Island Tour...

Day #3 in Sierpe: Corcovado National Park! I toured this wild jungleland the year prior and it was an eye-opening experience. This would prove to be no different. Corcovado contributes a large portion of what makes Costa Rica one the most bio-diverse countries on the planet! There's no shortage of exotic plants and wildlife. The boat dropped us off at San Pedrillo ranger station and began hiking into the rainforest, lead by the local native Raby Nunez once more. I would stop occasionally to fly Lucy along the beach while the tide was rising fast. My drone is not insured so it's very important that I take every measure possible not to crash it into the water. The finished tour video is by far my favorite of the Costa Rica trip so far...

The next day we went horseback riding to a majestic waterfall! This location was far off the beaten path, or in this case, river. Luckily, our driver was a professional and navigated the waters with astonishing ease. We were greeted by the friendly owner of a ranch. He got the horses ready and we were on our way! I captured video with a GoPro along the way until we reached the waterfall. I immediately jumped into the refreshing water and sat under the rushing torrent! Pura Vida!

Our fifth and final full-day was a Mangrove Tour. Before long it started pouring down rain. Not at all uncommon in Costa Rica, although our luck with the weather had been amazing up to this point. We continued the tour once the rain subsided, and explored the dense mangrove forest, which is a main attraction of these parts. I captured some incredible footage of the boat navigating the Sierpe River from above. Check it out!

**Don't hesitate to contact me if you need a professional photographer. I specialize in aerial photography, event photography, concert photography, real estate photography, and wedding photography. Currently accepting new clients in Austin, Dallas, Houston, San Antonio, and surrounding areas!

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