Our favourite jungle hike was the Osa trail, with tons of wildlife and 3 different types of monkeys. Our first encounter was a small family of Spider Monkeys who swung above us (60m up) and seem very interested in our movement. The guide explained that of all the monkeys, the Spider Monkey is the most aggressive. The male spent many moments shaking the trees to signal that he didn’t want us around. The previous day another family told us all about their encounter with the Spider Monkeys who warned them off by throwing feces (LOL). We were lucky.

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The elevation changes on the trail were significant, you would often be looking down 60 meters or more as the jungle sloped down. This made for a few great encounters. We came across this Squirrel Monkey as he made his way through the jungle canopy. He was at eye level to us, but about 20 meters up a tree. Fun to watch him meander on his way.

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Further along the trail we came across a White Capuchin Monkey, which the guide explained is one of the most famous monkeys – often seen in movies. Also very smart.

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He was all by himself. The guide suggested that his ‘tribe’ was around so I climbed off the trail, up a little hill and sure enough, there they were. About 30 of them, hanging around and playing in a huge tree, relaxing during the hottest part of the day.

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Amazing to watch.


We were walking back to our lodge from lunch. My camera was in my backpack (a big no-no), but I wasn’t really thinking that I would see anything that I had not already shot on the walk back. Ayden stopped and pointed up, there was a beautiful Macaw in full view. He wanted me to take a shot.

I pulled out my camera (with 70-200mm attached) and all of a sudden not 2 feet up from my head was a rustling. We stepped apart (Ayden down the path – me up the path) and barrelling down the tree came this Howler Monkey not inches from us.

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He stopped at the railing. I was stepping back (a bit surprised). He paused. He looked at me. He looked at Ayden. Then barrelled across the path and I just held down the shoot (without aiming). Why are they blurry? Because the lens won’t focus that close – below 1.4m – as it is a telephoto. He was almost on top of us.

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He whipped up another tree and stopped for a look back.

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What would a trip to the jungle be without a post on the monkeys? Lapa Rios has 4 type of monkeys and they are a highlight.  With a jungle canopy of 80 to 100 meters, as I mentioned in a previous post, they are difficult to photograph as you are shooting up into the sun. But with patience, you will see the right shot. On our second day (and first big hike), this was my best shot, a Spider Monkey. Pretty bad. But it is all about patience.

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I found myself just watching them, until the guide called us away or it was time to head down the path. They are truly amazing creatures, swinging from tree to tree in huge groups, making what looked like 10 meter jumps from tree to tree. While walking down to the beach, we witnessed our first big jump. A group of Spider Monkeys were working their way through the canopy above us (60-80 meters) and I got these shots.

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No fear.

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The coolest thing was that the mother jumped with a baby on her back.

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We also got out first glimpse of a Howler Monkey, hanging out. We would hear lots of Howler Monkeys over the coming 10 days. Like nothing I have ever heard.

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