Butterfly Farm, Costa Rica   Leave a comment

Felipe del Bosque Blog Oct 20 2010

As much as I enjoy living on the Osa Peninsula, during the wet season and after five months of  almost constant dampness, the conditions can become a little oppressive.  This year, I think I had been living in my Wellington’s from May onwards.  So, after what seemed like an endless period of monsoonal rainfall, I finally decided to take a break and managed to make my way from the southwest of Costa Rica.

It is not uncommon for me to leave for six to eight weeks at this time of year.  Generally I go to visit my family in Nicaragua, which is what I planned to do now, but before leaving the country I thought I might stay in San Jose for a few days and re-visit some parts of Costa Rica I have not seen for many years.

My first port of call would be the Butterfly Farm at La Guacima in Alejuela, not too far from San Jose.  Photographing butterflies in the wild poses a set of patience trying challenges but here, there are a great many captive bred individuals of a wide variety of species contained within a spacious flight area.  Having been continually bred over a large number of years in captivity, the butterflies appear to have lost their wild born relatives’ inherent shyness.  More often than not the butterflies will alight upon your person.  This apparent lack of fear makes it a lot easier to compose a shot and photograph the chosen subjects.

It may seem like cheating, but having spent the previous 364 days of the year attempting, sometimes successfully, sometimes not, to get the images one needs to catalogue different species this was a one day easy option.  The only problem with generations of captive bred specimens is that they may not exhibit the occasional subtle regional differences that one sees in the wild.  I could actually see this for myself in some of the specimens that I was looking at here, individuals of some of the species in front of me had slightly different coloration and markings to those I see every day in the forests at Bosque del Cabo, but without a reference as to their origins the photograph is little more than an aesthetic record.

Nonetheless, I enjoyed my day.  It is always nice to be surrounded by those ephemeral creatures of beauty that have been my lifelong passion and never fail to raise my spirits.  The staff was friendly and I spent some time talking to a few of them.  They do guided tours several times a day but I was just here for the photos.

It is easy to get to the Butterfly Farm from San Jose.  You can arrange to be collected by their transfer service, take a taxi or do as I did and take a bus from the centre of town to La Guacima.  I have put the link below for anyone who may be interested in paying a visit.


Philip is a biologist, writer and photographer as well as the onsite naturalist guide at Bosque del Cabo Rainforest lodge on the Osa Peninsula, Costa Rica.


Photo Feature

Watch out for the forthcoming book:

The Natural History of Bosque del Cabo by Philip Davison

Posted November 10, 2010 by felipedelbosque in Travel

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