After we left La Paz waterfall garden, we headed up to La Fortuna and Arenal volcano. We had reservations at Arenal Lodge for four nights. We were excited to unpack and set up camp for a few days. The hotel sits on 2,000 acres of lush rain forest and offers a butterfly garden, hiking trails and horse back riding. Right away we noticed the Howler monkeys hanging out in the trees by our room. They would let out these loud, long cries in the early morning which served as our wake up call each day. The hotel pool had a great view of the volcano and was the perfect spot to relax. Our favorite beverage were Imperial and Pilsen beer. We went for a walk and saw horses grazing in a beautiful pasture. There was a wedding alter near a cliff over looking the volcano so we used that locations for sunset photos.
Our first adventure was to visit Fortuna waterfall at the Catarata Ecological Reserve. There is a steep 10 minute hike down the the bottom where the waterfall feeds into the Tenorio River. Just as we were leaving it started to pour. Thankfully we had our waterproof camera bags and our rain coats. It made for a hot and humid hike back up to the car.
That same day, we went on a hanging bridge tour with Jacamar Tour company. It was cloudy after the morning rain so the vibrant green really popped against the sky. The tour takes place on a 600 acre reserve and has 9 fixed bridges and 6 suspension bridges. Our guide was very informative and very knowledgeable. The highlight was seeing a three-toed sloth climbing back to it's tree house. Sloths live in the trees and only climb down once a week to poop. Our guide said it would take about 45 minutes for the sloth to reach the top of the tree. It lost it's grip a few times and slid down the tree, so of course we had to youtube 'sloths falling out of trees' when we got back to the hotel. ;)
Packing and carrying photography gear on a trip is not an easy task. It is difficult deciding what to leave behind but the main objective is to take the least amount of gear and still be able to create the type of images you want. For this trip, I decided to take the following:
Gear List: Canon 6D camera body, Canon 24-70mm lens, Canon 100mm macro lens, Rokinon 14mm fisheye lens, Manfrotto travel bee tripod, Sigma EF 610 Super Flash, Lee Big Stopper Filter, Neewer Intervolometer.
The 24-70mm lens was on the camera the majority of the time. It is a great walk around lens that can be wide enough for landscape images and then zoomed in for portraits. The 100mm macro lens was used for detailed close-up photos of frogs, birds, crabs, insects, flowers, etc. If I was more into wildlife photography, I would have brought my 70-200mm lens or rented a longer zoom lens (100-400mm) but those are very heavy and clumsy to carry around all day. Overall, I was happy with my choice of equipment and used everything I brought :)