Tapantí National Park

The original plan of staying in Orosí was to be positioned between two national parks— Tapantí and Quetzales—the latter of which is one of Costa Rica's newer parks. I unfortunately didn't have enough time to make my way to Quetzales, which would have been a much further drive from my starting point, but Tapantí surely satisfied my itch to see some gorgeous plants and insects in the wild.

I believe it was a Tuesday morning when I arrived to Tapantí and had casually asked the ranger how many people were already in the park, as I hadn't seen another car in sight. "Otros cuatro personas," he replied. Wow. Four people. This was such a change up from National Parks like Manuel Antonio, which are always clambering with tourists. Stoked, I rubbed on some sunscreen, stopped to use the loo, and away I went into the forest.

Tapanti National Park Trail, Costa Rica. 

Tapanti National Park Trail, Costa Rica. 

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I find so much beauty in insect-chewed leaves. Tapanti National Park, Costa Rica. 

I find so much beauty in insect-chewed leaves. Tapanti National Park, Costa Rica. 

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Quick shot taken on 1 of 3 trails. I ended up walking 2 of the 3 trails in Tapanti. 

Quick shot taken on 1 of 3 trails. I ended up walking 2 of the 3 trails in Tapanti. 

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Some Philodendrons still wet from the early morning dampness. Tapanti National Park, Costa Rica. 

Some Philodendrons still wet from the early morning dampness. Tapanti National Park, Costa Rica. 

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Bromeliad on a fallen branch. Tapanti National Park, Costa Rica. 

Bromeliad on a fallen branch. Tapanti National Park, Costa Rica. 

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I believe this is an Episcia on the forest floor, a popular terrarium plant variety and I can see why. It's often partnered with moss and moist environments.

I believe this is an Episcia on the forest floor, a popular terrarium plant variety and I can see why. It's often partnered with moss and moist environments.

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Happened upon this striking sky-blue aquamarine fungus among some moss in Costa Rica. Anyone have a clue what it is? 

Happened upon this striking sky-blue aquamarine fungus among some moss in Costa Rica. Anyone have a clue what it is? 

Monstera sp. inflorescence in the forest. 

Monstera sp. inflorescence in the forest. 

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What excitement to see one of your houseplant species growing in the wild! It's such an experience! This was one of the first shots I took of an Ecuadorian philodendron (Philodendron verrucosum) in Tapanti. There were so many clambering along the ground with its excessively fuzzy stems. 

What excitement to see one of your houseplant species growing in the wild! It's such an experience! This was one of the first shots I took of an Ecuadorian philodendron (Philodendron verrucosum) in Tapanti. There were so many clambering along the ground with its excessively fuzzy stems. 

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Gunnera insignis leaves, also known as Poor Man's Umbrella. 

Gunnera insignis leaves, also known as Poor Man's Umbrella. 

My parents grew rhubarb in our backyard, and as a kid, I'd love pulling up the bitter stalks, noshing on them raw, and hiding myself under the large leaves, which is why it was so cool to see rhubarb's relative, Gunnera insignis, or the aptly named Poor Man's Umbrella in Costa Rica, which is an impressively large broad-leaved plant often found at the edges of rainforests. Though it was the dry season here in Tapantí, the leaves would have served as a perfect natural umbrella from rain or sun!

My parents grew rhubarb in our backyard, and as a kid, I'd love pulling up the bitter stalks, noshing on them raw, and hiding myself under the large leaves, which is why it was so cool to see rhubarb's relative, Gunnera insignis, or the aptly named Poor Man's Umbrella in Costa Rica, which is an impressively large broad-leaved plant often found at the edges of rainforests. Though it was the dry season here in Tapantí, the leaves would have served as a perfect natural umbrella from rain or sun!

Tortoise Beetle (Stolas cuculata) looks very much like a soldier's helmet. Tapanti National Park, Costa Rica. 

Tortoise Beetle (Stolas cuculata) looks very much like a soldier's helmet. Tapanti National Park, Costa Rica. 

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As a defense, the weevil will curl up and drop to the ground, so in photographing this one, I put my hand under it to catch it and photograph it. 

As a defense, the weevil will curl up and drop to the ground, so in photographing this one, I put my hand under it to catch it and photograph it. 

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It was illegal to swim in the rivers, due to the current, but I still found the time to take a dip in the cold water. 

It was illegal to swim in the rivers, due to the current, but I still found the time to take a dip in the cold water. 

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Mugging it with a selfie before I hopped into the cold, clear river in Tapanti National Park. 

Mugging it with a selfie before I hopped into the cold, clear river in Tapanti National Park.