There are places in which nature is truly at its best.
Places in which the green of the countryside doesn’t just act as a frame, but instead dominates the landscape.
I’m talking about Costa Rica, the preferred country of nature lovers and those who are passionate about nature photography.
Despite the fact that there is a highly developed tourist industry, most of the visitors come only from the United States and from Canada. Indeed, in Italy, you don’t hear much about it. Not much at all.
But all it takes is a glimpse of the country’s natural riches to feed anyone’s imagination and make him or her really want to travel there.
In fact, there are many Italians who have decided to settle definitively in the land of the Pura Vida, where you live for the little things in life and the days have a more genuine feel to them.
Majestic active volcanoes, amazing waterfalls, an incredible variety of reptiles and birds protected within numerous nature reserves. Yes, nature has been generous with this little piece of the earth located between Central and South America.
The best way to experience Costa Rica is to go by car or public transport. Most of the roads are unsurfaced and the landscape is arid, especially in mountainous areas. So don’t be surprised if the distances – even on the simplest routes – seem truly insurmountable.
It’s best to forget your watch and the passing of time, and instead just enjoy the view from the window. The ideal opportunity to take a few interesting photos of the landscape and of the local people.
For me, these are the best photos of the trip.
However, when the subject is in motion and your hands aren’t exactly steady due to the vehicle being in motion, there’s always the risk that the photo turns out blurred.
My advice is to use a compact camera equipped with image stabilising technology. If, like me, you use a digital reflex camera, you can use a lens that integrates image stabilisation, if it isn’t already available as part of your camera.
Stabilisation is sometimes essential to obtaining clear images on the move, but it’s not always enough. When space allows, and the subject isn’t in motion, the best method for creating non blurred images is, without a doubt, to use a tripod.
One of the things that amazed me the most in Costa Rica? The size of the trees and the immensity of the volcanoes.
The Poàs Volcano, with it enormous active crater (said to be the biggest in the world), is easily accessible. Just a short walk takes you to a ledge from which have a breathtaking view of the volcano from above. Thanks to both its incredible size and to the thick clouds of sulphurous vapour that envelop the surroundings, creating a bewitching and mysterious atmosphere that is like something out of a Tim Burton animation.
The landscape on the slopes of the Arenàl Volcano, one of the biggest tourist locations in the country, are completely different.
The great height of this volcano means that you cannot see it from above. You have to make do with the various observation points found in the Arenàl National Park and the surrounding town of La Fortuna.
But, as we all know, it’s not always easy to convey the size of a mountain or a building in a photograph. It’s not always easy to get your feelings across. In this case, in the National Park, I “used” another visitor (who seems tiny in the photo below) so that, in proportion with the human figure, the great height of the Arenàl would be evident.
Costa Rica is not just made up of volcanoes and nearly impassable roads.
As you get closer to the coast, the landscape flattens out, you can smell the hibiscus in the air, the palm trees dominate the scenery and it’s not uncommon to meet cars carrying surfboards.
After days spent among the volcanoes surrounded by rainforest, the sea almost seems to be a mirage. A waking dream.
My arrival in Manuel Antonio really was a dream.
I sat down on the sand at sundown whilst the surfers continued to ride the waves and a few small children played between the trees on the beach. I was overcome by the immensity of the ocean, by the infinite horizon, by an unforgettable sunset of streaks of pink and peach.
I believe that, that day, I truly lived; I grasped the true meaning of the Pura Vida, the famous term that makes the Costa Ricans some of the happiest people in the world.
Manuel Antonio is also a place that is full of special memories for me. You are able to observe hundreds of different animal species in the nature reserve, especially if you choose to make your visit in the company of a local guide.
My most heart-warming encounter was with two little monkeys that, having hesitated at length on a branch far up in a tree, decided to come closer and pose for me.
I have only told you about a small part of Costa Rica; a country that has so much to offer! You will be amazed.
My name is Manuela and I describe myself as inquisitive, enthusiastic and lively.
I’m not interested in perfection, but in happiness.
When I think about the fact that, outside of these four walls, there is a world to discover, I get so excited. Just the thought that the world is waiting for me sends me into raptures, joyful out of all proportion. And so, since I started travelling, I have never stopped, but I’m always happy to come back home to my homeland in Puglia.
My blog was born of an urgent desire to write, to give voice to the thoughts and emotions that accompany my experiences.
I love photography because it allows me to capture and keep forever moments and emotions.