Costa Rica - Day 1 // Poas Volcano // Barva Volcano

My two friends Kristin and Rick and getting married in Manuel Antonio in Central Pacific area of Costa Rica and I'm lucky enough to shoot it. In fact, I'm so lucky, they decided to have a 2nd shooter and I brought the one.. the only... Brian Mallik. Brian and I decided to have a two day adventure before meeting up with everyone back down in Manuel Antonio. We got a little hotel in Alajuela called La Rosa de America and it's rad. At breakfast I remembered how amazing and fresh the fruit is. It almost melts in your mouth and I can't wait for tomorrow morning! After a few cups of coffee we headed out to Poas Volcano.

The trek was about an hour north of our hotel and we made the climb to the base of the park. I was a little surprised at how many people there were and then it dawned on me that it was Sunday and other people had time off, not just us. The hike was easy but crowded and the destination was reached quickly. The view was stunning and made you feel small. The water in the base of the crater is strictly from rainfall and apparently changes color based off the "type of rain" according to a local. I believe him. I've seen other shots of the crater where it is blue or even orange. We headed back and the main attraction of the day was already over with and it wasn't even 11. So, Indiana Jones (see hat below) and I set out on our next adventure not quite sure on where that would be. Little did we know Poas wouldn't be our highlight.

We found another volcano just an hour and a half away and we headed out. This was a much more "off the beaten path" type of adventure. Just over halfway up the mountain, the road wasn't paved anymore and it got fairly tough on the way up. It was also a one lane road and Costa Ricans could care less about how you're used to driving. Buses whip around corners without hesitation and you better be paying attention... or else. We finally get to the top and it's incredible. A picnic spot for the locals but an adventure for people like Brian and I. We started the 4 mile hike up to the top of the crater and realized we were starting to get out of breath fairly early. At least I was. We later learned that the elevation was over 9,000 feet so I didn't feel that bad. That'd be like standing in Breckenridge and being able to get to the beach in less than 3 hours. Crazy.

Even though the crater wasn't as picturesque, it was still beautiful. The crater has filled with water and is now a pretty good sized lake. We came back down and saw some amazing light and shot some portraits. We got back and found this unbelievable place that we may or may not have snuck into. It looked like we might see a dinosaur walking around, it was that incredible. Honestly, the pictures don't do it justice... or maybe they do. All I know is I was blown away. After shooting the great valley (a "The Land Before Time" reference, you're welcome), we got back to our car. Two attendants were playing soccer and former Baylor University Soccer player, Brian Mallik decided to join them. I could see that playing the game he loves with the locals and Costa Rica simply made his day.

It was an amazing first full day in Costa Rica and we have 5 more. Some of these photos on here are Brian's... obviously I can't take pictures of myself.  Also he is a beast with the camera and he makes my blog look way better. Stay tuned to all of our adventures!