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New Photos: Costa Rica & Belize 2023

Yes, that subject line is correct. I recently completed back-to-back trips to Costa Rica and Belize. The first trip was centered around my latest Costa Rica photo tour. Then I came home for two days, did laundry, packed, and hauled the family to Belize for a little location scouting and vacation. I didn’t take nearly as many photos during the second trip, but we did see some cool stuff. And besides, the awesome Costa Rica tour was filled with photo opportunities.

This year’s experience presented the usual array of amazing mammals (including the rare silky anteater, which I wrote about here) and birds, but it was also my best-ever macro tour by far. We enjoyed a number of great frog and bug sightings, and all of the clients were really into our nightly macro shoots.

I’ve combined photos from the two trips into one collection, but they are split up by subject in two different galleries: Wildlife & Scenery and Birds. As always, you can jump straight to the archive to view the full galleries (I highly recommend the Slideshow function), or first check out the preview below…

Mottled Owl

Believe it or not, the first species I photographed on this trip was a new owl! There was a pair of Mottled Owls at our hotel in San Jose, and I was fortunate to see them the first morning.


Our first stop was the highland cloud forest, which turned out to be an excellent place for night walks. We found this millipede crawling around during a rain storm.

Ringed Snail-eater

Our first snake sighting of the trip featured this small snail-eater.

Three-wattled Bellbird

It was a big surprise to take an unplanned detour and get my first ever views of the Three-wattled Bellbird. What a character (with a great call)!


The macro opportunities continued at night on the Caribbean slope. Here, small ants explore a heliconia flower.

Red-eyed Tree Frogs

We had a couple of amorous frog couples. Note the massive size difference between male and female red-eyed tree frogs here. It’s also important to note that all of our macro shots featured wild animals, and were taken “in situ,” with no manipulation of our subjects.

Green Honeycreeper

Slowly, our focus shifted more to birds and mammals. The beautiful male Green Honeycreeper is actually a lot less green than the female (she’s also in the archive, photographed during a past trip).

Crested Owls

One of my favorite owl species is the Crested Owl, and we got to see five of them during this trip!

Brown-throated Three-toed Sloth

This was a huge surprise. This orphaned sloth was released onto a private property and still liked to hang out nearby at times.

White-faced Monkey Eating Mouse

A troop of white-faced monkeys came close in Carara National Park. This is the only of Costa Rica’s four monkey species that is carnivorous… this one found a small rodent and went to town!

Roseate Spoonbill

I probably had my best spoonbill photo ops to date during our cruise on the Rio Tarcoles.

Great Egrets and Roseate Spoonbills

Great Egrets were joined by a pair of spoonbills at last light.

Central American Squirrel Monkey

As usual, Corcovado National Park provided a dramatic and wildlife-rich finish to the tour, including some excellent squirrel monkey encounters.

Pale-billed Woodpecker

We usually see this large, handsome woodpecker—the Pale-billed—in Corcovado, but this was probably the best shoot I’ve had with them.

Brown Basilisk

The basilisk is nicknamed the “Jesus Christ Lizard,” for its ability to walk (more accurately, run) across water. We were fortunate to see some baby basilisks showing off this skill.

Baby Baird’s Tapir

One of the youngest tapirs I’ve seen. This one still sported faint “watermelon” markings.

And then onward to Belize… as I said, there weren’t as many photo ops during this trip, but there was one major star: the Ocellated Turkey!

Ocellated Turkey

Ocellated Turkey

Ocellated Turkey


View the full Costa Rica & Belize 2023 Wildlife & Scenery gallery. (108 images)

View the full Costa Rica & Belize 2023 Birds gallery. (94 images)

Want to join me on a future rainforest adventure? I have tours lined up for Brazil (2024) and Costa Rica (2025 or 2026), and may be adding Borneo (2024) and Guyana (2025) soon!


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