As many of you who follow our Facebook page may know, since moving to Costa Rica we have become increasingly obsessed with the many beautiful birds the country has to offer. With around 880 species identified here, it’s hard not to start noticing birds all around you.

Like many people who travel to Costa Rica, we decided to invest in a fairly nice digital SLR camera and zoom lens in order to capture the beautiful scenery, wildlife, and especially the birds. It is not quite professional grade but still complicated enough to confuse or intimidate its user (i.e., us). Although we have learned a lot about our camera and its different settings over time, we have to admit that sometimes we just give up and click the auto button. Inspired to get even better shots, and make the best of our technology, we decided to ask a pro for a bit of advice. 


 
 
A couple of months ago, Matt got a call from one of our friends in Costa Rica. Not just any friend, but the one who probably played the biggest role in our decision to move here. The call was from Roy, the person who introduced us to Costa Rica almost ten years ago. If you’ve read our book, you’ll remember him well. He worked with Matt in the States and convinced us to visit his beautiful country. We fell in love with the amazing wildlife, postcard-worthy beaches, and perfect climate, and traveled to Costa Rica almost every year after that, making sure to see Roy each time. We loved catching up with our Costa Rican friend and hearing how life was treating him.

The news Roy shared on this recent call was his engagement! He had been dating a lovely Costa Rican woman whom we had gotten to know while we were in Manuel Antonio during our first month living in Costa Rica. After we left Manuel Antonio and started traveling around the country, seeing Roy and his fiance became a little more difficult, but we knew we had to make it to their wedding—we had to—even if it meant driving all the way from the other side of Costa Rica (which we did and don’t regret for a minute).



 
 
Costa Rica has plenty of stunning waterfalls but probably the most spectacular, in our eyes, are the Nauyaca located in the mountains of the southern zone. With two sets of falls measuring a combined 61 meters (200 feet) tall and a large natural pool for swimming, the Nauyaca waterfalls are indeed a sight to see. 

Although the Nauyaca waterfalls are a popular destination in Costa Rica, we were surprised to discover when planning our visit that there isn’t much information about how to access them on foot. This post will provide everything you need to plan your visit.



 
 
Set in the mountains in rural northwestern Costa Rica, the Rio Celeste (Blue River) and waterfall is a breathtaking natural wonder that one has to see to believe. The brilliant blue water, which seems altered at first blush, gets its show-stopping azul hue from a chemical reaction between volcanic minerals. A walk through Tenorio Volcano National Park will take you along the river bed, where you will see (and smell) the Rio Celeste turn from clear to vivid turquoise. 

The Rio Celeste is a wonderful addition to your itinerary if you’re visiting the Arenal Volcano area or any of the beach towns in northern Guanacaste. Below we share the essentials for planning your visit.



 
 
Through our website and book, we have connected with lots of different people, from tour operators, authors, and bloggers, to people visiting Costa Rica or thinking of making the move. But even we were surprised when we found out that one of Jenn’s college classmates had also written a book with Costa Rica in the title. What are the chances?


 
 
Pick up an old guidebook on Costa Rica, even from just a few years back, and you’ll read that the area known as the Costa Ballena is difficult to access and offers little to travelers. Fast forward a few years and you’ll discover that this is no longer the case. Located just an hour south of the popular beach town of Manuel Antonio, the Costa Ballena, or Whale Coast, is slowly becoming famous for its pristine beaches and rolling green mountains that teem with wildlife.

Below is our guide for one of the most up-and-coming destinations in Costa Rica, the Costa Ballena.

 
 
Today marks our six-month anniversary of living in Costa Rica. There is a lot we could say about our time here so far but we’re going to lighten things up a bit and focus in this blog on the fun or interesting things we’ve learned.   

We started researching our big move to Costa Rica a couple of years in advance. We read all of the books, guidebooks, moving books, retirement books, basically anything we could get our hands on about Costa Rica. We joined some online expat forums like ARCR and Expat Exchange and started following expat blogs to get a feel for what was in store. After all of this research, we had a very good idea of what to expect in terms of culture, climate, environment, cost of living, infrastructure, etc. But, of course, we’ve had many surprises along the way.



 
 
Set along the turquoise Caribbean Sea in southeast Costa Rica, Puerto Viejo de Talamanca is a laid back beach town with a distinctly Caribbean feel. With residents of both Afro-Caribbean descent and indigenous descent, Puerto Viejo offers a unique culture that can be found only in this part of Costa Rica. Here, coconut rice, Reggaeton beats, colorful homes, and a laid back attitude dominate. And with beautiful beaches, lush jungle, great surf, and an array of restaurants and nightlife, it is no surprise that Puerto Viejo is becoming a popular tourist destination.

Below are the essentials for planning your visit to Puerto Viejo.



 
 
We’ve been in Costa Rica for five months now, through some big holidays, first Thanksgiving, and now, Christmas. Christmas is an important holiday for both of our families back home in the United States, filled with traditions going back for generations. We weren’t sure how Christmas would be for us here in Costa Rica since we would be on our own, away from our families and all of the familiar traditions. Christmas ended up being a little different, of course, but special in its own way.


 
 
If you’re visiting one of Costa Rica’s many beach towns on the Central Pacific Coast, like Manuel Antonio, Uvita, or Dominical, check out Los Quetzales National Park for a chance to see the cloud forest. Even though it’s only a short distance from the Central Pacific, Los Quetzales offers travelers a whole different kind of experience. The climate is cool and fresh, and due to its location high atop the Talamanca mountains, the park is typically entrenched in a haze of thick clouds. Moss-covered hardwoods, alpine plants, highland birds, and other flora and fauna that live only at such extreme elevations frequent the park; though the main draw is the chance to spot the park’s namesake Resplendent Quetzal, an exotic crimson and iridescent green bird with flowing tail feathers.

Los Quetzales National Park isn’t well covered in the guidebooks so we wanted to share our experiences to help you plan your visit.