I have been fortunate enough to travel to some of the world’s most amazing wild places – the jungles of Borneo, the plains of Tanzania and to the see Northern Lights of Iceland. But my most recent trip to Costa Rica blew every expectation I had of the country out of the water. Costa Rica, known as the rich coast is widely known as one of the most beautiful, exciting and awe-inspiring wildernesses left on Planet Earth.

I was lucky enough to travel around the country with my family, from San José to Arenal, Monteverde, Manuel Antonio and ending our trip of a lifetime in The Osa Peninsula. Travel is amazing, it gives you a sense of freedom that you struggle to get from anything else, but one thing that makes travelling even better is doing it with some of the best company there is – your family, especially seeing as this was our last family holiday before I spread my wings and fly the nest to pursue my dream career.

Back to Costa Rica – from day one it was clear that this is one of the most amazing countries to visit if, like me, you can’t get enough of nature.  One of the beauties of travelling is that a day spent travelling from one place to another is far from a day wasted. Keep your eyes peeled and your ears open and you’re bound to witness some amazing wildlife. On our first day we travelled from the capital to Tortuguero, hours of coaches and boats led to us seeing our first hummingbird, frog, iguana and more – the excitement inside of me grew and grew for what was to come in the next couple of weeks.

We settled in our first hotel, and whilst avoiding what I can only describe as the heaviest rain I’ve ever witnessed we spent every portion of the day exploring the grounds and trying to build up our species tick list, including one of the most amazing mini beasts I have seen – The Giant Red winged Grasshopper. I suppose I can’t be too surprised as it is called the rainforest, but I can’t even emphasise how much rain fell in the couple of days we were there. When the rain eventually held off we managed to get on a couple of boat trips and see our first two monkey species, the howler and the spider monkey.

A literal translation of Tortuguero is the land of turtles, and we were extremely lucky to be able to make a trip down to the beach in the evening and witness a female green sea turtle lay her clutch of eggs. One of, if not the greatest wildlife spectacles I have witnessed. Knowing the journey that the mother turtle makes, the energy she expends to return to this beach to lay her eggs makes it even more breathtaking.

Before we knew it, our time in Tortuguero had come to an end and our adventure continued. From the foothills of a volcano in Arenal we made the journey to Monteverde and Manuel Antonio where we had some of our favourite sightings. From the feeding hummingbirds and the howler monkey family in Monteverde to the cheeky capuchins and sloths grazing the tree tops in Manuel Antonio.

We truly thought we had hit the jackpot, we had seen almost everything we realistically thought we could have seen (I say realistically, as I would have loved to have seen a Jaguar, but the realist in me told me that was unlikely (but the supreme optimist still had his fingers crossed)).

Sadly our trip was coming to an end, which meant it was time for our final destination, one of the last remaining true wildernesses in Costa Rica – The Osa Peninsula. I can’t even describe my love of this place -this area of pristine rainforest is home to an abundance of Costa Rica’s most spectacular wildlife and we almost witnessed it all – toucans, peccaries, scarlet macaws, owls, a tamandua and even a humpback whale from our balcony to name a few! This is when we truly knew we had been unbelievably lucky, the jaguar didn’t even matter now!

Travel is a beautiful thing, a way to escape everyday life, a way to experience new cultures, meet new people, create memories that will last a lifetime. What I think is the most beautiful thing about travel is that you can tailor it to any interests you have, be it history, art, photography or nature – get out and see the world.

  • Sam Kite
  • : I am a 23 year old photographer, filmmaker and blogger and I studied zoology at The University of Sheffield. Since graduating I have pursued my passion of photography and filmmaking in the hope of making it into a career
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  • : I cover all aspects of photography, from macro to wildlife to landscapes and almost everything in between. I love to blog about photography and make it accessible to everyone, from the experienced DSLR owner to the iphone user.
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  • : This is the first time this story has been published.