Jannis Hagels

Landscape Artist and Outdoor Addict

Costa Rica – A Photographer’s Blog | Chapter 2

Chapter 2

Costa Rica – A Photographer’s Blog is a series of several chapters telling the stories about my trip to one of the most beautiful countries in the world.

If you have missed Chapter 1, please click here.

Swipe left and right on the pictures at the top to see them in full size!

The Pacific – WHere whales may fly

After the first 200 kilometers, which actually felt like 600, and the first night spent in an amazing hotel, we were ready to continue our journey to the Southern Pacific Coast – Peninsula de Osa. But wait! The tiny geckos trying to get into our room and squeaking all night still were a cute thing. But what is this inside our suitcases? Somehow a street of microscobic ants made it in there and got comfortable between our clothes. Yuck! So, before moving on, we had to shake out all our shirts, short, and underwear. We literally had to beat up our suitcases to get rid of the colony of mite-sized ants.

Time is not the seconds, minutes, hours, days and lives passing by.

Time is what you make of it.

After our successful extermination – hopefully none of the ants was harmed – we finally could continue our trip. But not before getting some extremely delicious breakfast while chatting with the café owner for another 45 minutes. Could be worse than having breakfast with a view across the jungle and the Pacific Ocean behind it. Meanwhile we were the only clients this café had that morning. Costa Rica just steals your time in such gentle way and gives it back to you by making your time valuable and unforgettable.


Driving through the clouds

Driving through the clouds

The journey is the destination

We didn’t have to drive for a long time to reach our next spontaneous destination. Playa Ballena was the place to be – Ballena is the Spanish word for whale. Since I never saw whales before, I was extremely excited to witness such a majestic creature in its natural surrounding. It took us quite a while to find the perfect tour guide for the whale watching ride. But waiting paid off and we got lucky with our team.


The Boat

The Boat


Together with a French couple we jumped into the boat and headed off the coast. “We are late today”, Raúl, the boatman, told us. This didn’t seem to be promising but my intuition told me that being late sometimes is worth even more. The good thing about not to be “on time” in nature, is that no one else will be there. All the other packed boats were already leaving the spotting place. This site was a masterpiece of nature. Located between the deep jungles reaching out to the coast and a rocky island where thousands of birds were breeding.


The Bird Island

The Bird Island


Sadly, Maren got seasick, as for we were sitting in a tiny boat which was swinging sideways with the waves. I was too excited to get sick and clinged to a cable that was tied to the roof while holding my camera ready to shoot. I still was hopeful and so was Raúl when we suddenly heard the powerful sound of water being blown out with huge pressure. Finally! A mother humpbackwhale and her calf were cutting the surface. They still were about 300 meters away from us but this was already the fulfillment of one of my dreams.


Whales and Jungle

Whales in the Jungle

The encounter

Far away, the whales took some turns, disappeared for a while and then came back to the surface. At one point, they disappeared for several minutes and none of us had any clue where they had gone. During our wait, a Giant Sea Turtle showed up next to our boat. I saw it within a blink of an eye but its reaction seeing us was hilarious. It stared at us just for a second and vanished as quick as it had come up. Out of the sudden, Raúl shouted “Ellos vienen!” – they are coming! Where!? We coulnd’t see them but obviously he could.

Worlds collide within an explosion of new impressions, unknown emotions,

inspiring encounters, and overpowering.

And then I knew what he was talking about. The water softly began to swirl as the mother and her calf rushed towards us, just centimeters beneath the surface. I could see the giant shadow underwater slightly glimmering in the sunlight coming closer and closer. My camera was ready, my phone was as well since they came way too close for my zoom lens. Then it was time for them to catch some air. Just about three meters in front of our boat, they showed up. A blasting sound – first, the mother, then the calf. I started recording a bit too late because I was totally overwhelmed. I could even feel the water they blew out on my face.



After pleasing us with such an amazing encounter, the whales took some more turns and swam back towards the coast. It seemed like they approached us on purpose just to have a calm encounter with patient humans. When I think about it, it’s such a blessing. Sometimes the coincidence of being too late leaves you ending up in absolute serenity and privacy with your personal encounter with the unknown.

To bring the boat tour to a proper ending, we ate water melons and pineapple right on board and jumped into the ocean afterwards. How would you feel swimming in the pacific ocean, just a kilometer away from an island totally left for the birds and with whales still in sight? Just no words.

Puerto Jimenez

Our actual destination was Puerto Jimenez on the wild Peninsula de Osa in the South of Costa Rica. I don’t want to start my next chapter by telling you that we are still on our way to our first planned stop. On our route we passed several extremely beautiful roads leading us directly through the rainforests. Every now and then we were covered in fog and clouds especially when we had a break at one of the typical Costa Rican Sodas. These are tiny restaurants or cafés located along the roads that are offering traditional, delicious, affordable food.


Hummingbird and Coffee

A welcome Guest during our Coffee Break


As we arrived at the little seaport Puerto Jimenez in complete darkness, we still had to figure out where to sleep. We chose an accomodation right at the waterfront called Cabinas Jimenez. Luckily we received a special offer since it was not the season for tourists. To the waterfront we just had to walk down ten meters from our terrace through some palm trees. A place so tranquilizing that we spontaneously booked it for the next three days.

The morning after couldn’t have been more welcoming. After grabbing some stuff to eat in town at 7AM, we had company while preparing scambled eggs on our terrace. A flock of macaws showed up in the trees right next to us and joined us for breakfast. We couldn’t jump into our adventure more satisfied.


Macaw joining for Breakfast

Macaws joining for Breakfast

Thank You so much for joining my stories of Costa Rica. I hope to keep You satisfied for reading my upcoming chapters. Shoot me any question or feedback at the bottom of this page or send me a private message on Instagram or Facebook where I also invite You to join my photography galleries.


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