The latest smartphones have a wonderful ability to take all kinds of photos, including the popular panorama format.  So here is a test to see how many places in Costa Rica you can recognize from the spectacular panoramic scenes captured in these photos.

Give yourself one point if you know the place. And take an extra credit if you actually know where the photo was taken.  

If there are any places here that you are not familiar with, go visit them! Costa Rica is full of awe-striking beauty that no one should miss. 

Helpful Howler hint: Most of these places have been featured in past magazine issues, including articles and photos by yours truly. Search for more possible

clues and discoveries..



1. Let’s start with a gift. If you do not know this location, you have never been here. 

2. This one should be easy, but the panoramic perspective of its famous half moon-shaped beach may throw you off.

3. Getting harder. This scene is typically viewed (and photographed) from Monteverde, but our panoramic angle here is a bit lower and in a national park. 

4. Perhaps the hardest-to-visit park in Costa Rica. Home of legendary pirates and buried treasure … and sharks.

     5. Looking into coffee country. This photo was taken close to the highest spot in the country where you can drive on a numbered highway. 

 6.  A famous mirador for Tico tourists, but few international visitors. Home to colonial ruins and one of Costa Rica’s  larger hydroelectric dams. 


7.  If you know the flowering trees, you may know this place. Now a huge pineapple growing region, and another    famous  (for Ticos) place to visit “in the clouds.”

8.  Part of a famous private reserve created by children. It’s part research station, part beautiful lodge in the middle of   nowhere.

 9.  The waterfall name is El Poceron. Found in one of the most remote towns, but near its much more famous sister   town. Both are known for quetzals

10. Once a company town for United Fruit in the banana days. Its rice fields and wetlands stretch for miles. Traveling   through it can get you to a famous funky surf location. 


11. Extra credit for this one — taken from the highest point in the canton, looking north. There is a national park there   somewhere. On the right is the town that made chicharrones famous. In the far distance is Poás Volcano. 

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Hear it!


  1. Arenal Volcano and National Park, taken from the Arenal Observatory Lodge.
  2. The famous half-moon-shaped Manuel Antonio Beach in Manuel Antonio National Park.
  3. The gulf and Nicoya Peninsula, taken from the Las Pallas entrance to Rincón de la Vieja National Park.
  4. Isla de Coco, 400 miles off the coast, is hard to visit. This photo was taken from the Aggressor I liveaboard dive ship.
  5. Cerro de la Muerte. At an altitude of over 11,000 feet, this stretch of the Interamerica highway is the most elevated major road you can drive on in Costa Rica. This panorama looks down into Tarrazu coffee country from the tower at Paraiso Quetzales Lodge.
  6. The Mirador de Ujarras. This traditional picnic spot for locals overlooks the colonial ruins of the Ujarras, and the Talamanca mountains stretching across, with Orosi on one side, and the Cachi dam on the other.
  7. The malla trees fill the valley slopes, and pineapple lower down, where the town of Buenos Aires is located. This view was taken from the long and hard driveway to the top where the “Chapel in the Clouds” is located. Built by a Brit, it is one of the more obscure tourist attractions in the country.
  8. The lagoon at the Pocosol Research station, part of the largest private reserve in the nation, the Children’s Eternal Forest. The land was purchased by donations from school children all over the world.
  9. One of the many waterfalls that surround the magic village of Providencia de Dota. Far less famous than its sister town on a parallel road, it is known for extreme rock climbing, biking and hiking, and quetzals .
  10. Coto 47, known to the locals as Las Pangas. Flat and hot, but stunningly beautiful, the entire area was once the United Fruit banana plantation. The mountains of the San Vito area and Panama loom in the distance. If you continue to the ocean, you arrive at Playa Zancudo and Pavones.

11. Extra Credit. If you knew this one, you are really good! This view of the Canton of Puriscal, with La Cangreja National Park, was taken from La Potenciana, the highest peak. Few outside of Tico hiking groups know about this place. Santiago de Puriscal, home of the National Chicharron Festival is on the right. 


Correct answers What it means
3 or less Your exposure to Costa Rica and knowledge are limited to the big ticket places or travel websites. 
4 to 7 You do get around — congratulations! Hope you have discovered some more places to visit.
8 to 10 You KNOW Costa Rica. 
All 11  Wow! You must be a Tico … or you have been hiding in the back of my car.


Hope you discovered some new off-the-beaten-track places to visit in this wondrous country. Enjoy your trips! 

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