Luck was on my side in March when I was able to join an Insider Journey to Costa Rica! As many in the conservation space know, Costa Rica has long been hailed as a conservation success story, and my recent trip to this Central American paradise only served to underscore that fact. From its lush rainforests to its stunning beaches, Costa Rica is a nature lover’s dream come true.

2023 Insider Journey group photo in Costa Rica

© Rachel Foster / WWF

Upon my arrival in San Jose, I was immediately struck by the country’s natural beauty and the warmth of its people. Throughout our 10-day journey, we had the chance to explore some of Costa Rica’s most iconic landscapes, from the misty cloud forests of Monteverde to the canals of Tortuguero.

The first half of our trip was adventuring through the steamy and tropical canals of Tortuguero National Park followed by invigorating hikes in Corcovado National Park (which WWF helped to create in 1975!). We encountered an abundance of wildlife in both national parks, to the point that it would be simpler for me to mention what we didn’t see! Among all the incredible wildlife we spotted, my favorites were the howler monkeys, toucans, and wattled jacanas.

Monkey hiding in trees in Costa Rica

© Rachel Foster / WWF

We spent the second half of our trip in the mountainous region and cloud forests. With a considerably drier and cooler climate, we spent days immersing ourselves in knowledge about the local plants, wildlife, and the Arenal Volcano. Undoubtedly, the pinnacle of the trip for much of our group was the exhilarating moment when we spotted the rare and elusive quetzal – who remained perched for over 30 minutes, allowing us to witness its presence in awe.

Quetzal in Costa Rica

© Rachel Foster / WWF

Costa Rica’s commitment to renewable energy, reforestation, and sustainable tourism brought me a reinvigorated outlook of optimism and hope for our natural world. As I bid farewell to Costa Rica, I felt an immense sense of gratitude as well as a deep sense of responsibility to continue the work that I do at World Wildlife Fund and inspire those around me to engage in our natural world. I am confident that our experiences and adventures during this 10-day trek will serve as a catalyst for continued conservation efforts while inspiring others to join us in safeguarding the biodiversity that encapsulates our magnificent planet.

Rachel Foster, WWF staff member on boat in Costa Rica

© Rachel Foster / WWF

By Rachel Foster, Development Officer, Annual Giving at World Wildlife Fund