Wallpaper Images From Costa Rica

ĦQue linda es Costa Rica!

Photography by Scott Bidstrup. All images Copyright © 2003, by Scott Bidstrup

This page is dedicated to my dear friend Luis Diego Fernandez of Cartago, Costa Rica, whose architectural practice has given him a remarkable eye for composition, balance and latent beauty. Without his help and numerous suggestions, many of these images would not have been possible.




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The photos on these pages were taken with an Olympus C2500L camera in HQ mode, with no compression. They were color corrected and/or enhanced and compressed to JPEG using Adobe Photoshop 7. They are copyrighted, but are available for licensing; please contact me for details if you are interested.

Unfortunately, Netscape, especially early versions, does not do a good job of rendering the color in these images when converting them to bitmaps for wallpaper; I recommend the use of MS Internet Explorer or Opera to get the best color rendering with a minimum of macroblocking (square color patches in clear sky areas). If macroblocking still occurs, it may be necessary to set your desktop properties settings to 24 or 32 bit color. These files are saved as JPEG images to make your browser happy, but are only lightly compressed to preserve their quality - so be warned - the file sizes are huge. Some of the larger images exceed a megabyte in size. If you're on a dial-up connection, you may have to be quite patient for them to download fully. To save the image you would like as a desktop "wallpaper" image, follow these directions (Windows):

1. Determine the image size you need. Minimize your browser and then right-click on your desktop, and from the dialog box that pops up, click on the "settings" tab. The slide dial on the lower left will indicate a pixel size; 800x600, 1024x768, or 1280x1024. Make a note of the setting, then click "cancel." Then restore your browser.

2. Load the image you would like in the format size you need. Click on the appropriate link below the image you would like to set as your wallpaper image.

3. Once the image is fully loaded, set it as your wallpaper. Be sure to wait till your browser reports that the page is done, otherwise you'll be starting over. To set the image as wallpaper, right-click on the image you have just loaded. From the pop-up menu, select "Set as Wallpaper."



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The Basilica De Nuestra Senora de los Angeles, in the city of Cartago, is one of the few architectural gems of that city. Said to be the site of a miracle, it was built in honor of Costa Rica's patron saint, La Negrita. Pilgrims come from all over Latin America to be healed here. The sanctuary is filled with gifts from grateful pilgrims, all claiming to have been healed.


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As patches of morning fog move through the highlands, some of the most spectacular photographic opportunities can occur, and be gone in seconds. This one took a half hour of patient waiting. But as you can see, the results were worth the wait. The distant mountain is the summit slopes of the Irazu volcano. The picture was taken on the slopes of the Turrialba Volcano


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Fog moves in and among the steep, forested hillsides of Costa Rica, creating magical scenes that last but seconds. This image is from the foothills of the Los Santos Forest Reserve, one of the most beautiful (and for now, least visited) cloud forests in the country. Access is via a jeep trail that does not appear on most maps; ask locally in Copey.


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This is a view of the summit of the Irazu volcano as seen from the slopes of the Turrialba volcano a few miles to the east. Turrialba is far less visited than Irazu, mostly because the road is really a rather challenging jeep trail. But as you can see, the rewards are worth it!


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There is primary, undisturbed rainforest in many parts of the country. Many, even most farms of any size include at least a small patch of primary forest. This is such a patch on Diego's farm. While here, I saw two Blue Morpho butterflies - striking metallic-blue in color and four inches across. I'm told they're common here.


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The Lankester Botanical Gardens near Paraiso has more than 1200 varieties of orchids on display. A gift from English botanist Charles Lankester to the people of Costa Rica, the Jardin Lankester is now managed beautifully by the University of Costa Rica, and has become world famous for the collection of orchids and the botanical research done there.


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The beaches near Puerto Limon, on the Caribbean coast, are seldom busy, even on weekends, when the city folk are looking for a little fun at the beach. This picture was taken on a saturday! It's easy to find solitude on the miles and miles of Caribbean beaches - and the water is as inviting as it looks. It is about 80 degrees, and couldn't be more perfect for swimming!


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The altar in the Basilica De Los Angeles, Cartago.


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One of the mystical moments in the Los Santos cloud forest. The beauty is hard to beat, and there's not a tourist in sight! Most head for the better known forests of Monteverdi and Los Angeles, but Los Santos is equally beautiful and the flora and fauna equally diverse.


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This is my favorite image of the mystical, foggy forests of Los Santos. The trees are mostly roble oaks, some many hundreds of years old. The land, many thousands of hectares, was a gift to the Costa Rican people from one of its wealthiest citizens. Many of Costa Rica's reserves, forests and parks came to be preserved in this way. The Ticos, as Costa Ricans call themselves, really do love their country.


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I rank this one my second favorite of the Los Santos cloud forest, just after the image above. Beyond the trees, the Pacific Ocean is occasionally visible, but not often. This is the summit of the first range of mountains inland, and incoming winds from the Pacific mean it's almost always cloudy here.


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Costa Rica is a place of stunning beauty, where even a simple cow pasture can, in a brief moment, take on stunning beauty. Diego's farmhouse is barely visible in the trees just above and to the right of the herd; it was where I spent two of the most enjoyable weeks of my life.


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The afternoon view of the lower Orosi valley, as seen from the Sanchiri Lodge, whose open dining room opens out to this view. It's a very popular place - forget having a meal here on the weekends. But during the week, the view is worth the wait for a table.


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As the tradewinds come in off of the Caribbean, they are laden with moisture that causes the buildup of truly spectacular thunderstorms. This storm was over the Caribbean lowlands, 50 miles to the east. The view was from near Pacayas, Cartago Province.


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After the afternoon rains, the fog will often lift, leaving small patches over the hills. The result is a beautiful scene of low clouds and hills, with small patchwork farms in the valleys. It's hard to find scenery like this that is as accessible as this is.


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An excellent example of the Naive Baroque architecture of the few remaining colonial churches, the Church of Orosi was recently restored, inside and out, including the baroque paintings and sculpture inside. It is now one of the best examples of what little colonial architecture has survived Costa Rica's occasional destructive earthquakes. Well worth a visit to the delightful little town of Orosi.

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One of the delights of travel through the highland slopes of the volcanoes surrounding the Central Valley has to be the spectacular views around nearly every curve in the road. Here is a view of the city of Paraiso, as seen from the slopes of the Irazu volcano above it.


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Whle I was taking this picture, an old man came up to me and asked what I was doing. When I told him that I was taking pictures of the mountains of Costa Rica, he wanted to know if I was doing this all over the country. When I replied in the affirmative, he was astonished that I would choose his humble village as a place to stop and take pictures. I think you can see why I did.

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This is my favorite image of the highlands. It's easy to see why Costa Rica is called "the Switzerland of Central America." Costa Rica is also a major producer of dairy products, and the national dairy marketing cooperative produces the Dos Pinos brand of dairy products, which is a familiar sight in the stores throughout Central America. These cattle are Holsteins and Jerseys, both of which are produced in great numbers here, and are exported throughout the world.


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The highlands of Costa Rica is occupied by large numbers of small farms and pastures, many of which are interspersed with these spectacular old roble oaks, many of them older than the country. It makes for truly spectacular scenery anywhere one goes. This is the Turrialba volcano, with it's head in the morning fog.

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