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Rikki's Tales from Behind the Lens. Costa Rica, Manuel Antonio Beach and my close encounter with a crocodile.

Updated: Mar 21

Hi friends

Welcome to my first blog post under the heading "Rikki's Tales from Behind the Lens."

I thought it would be fun to start a blog post again and feature some pictures that do not present well on Instagram and Facebook. Sometimes, I find that I am not able to show my whole entire picture on Social Media. Or, when I get into my "creativity mindset", you might not be able to see the small subject in the vast environmental picture I want to include as well.

There will always be a story attached and I will try and offer some tidbits of information as well. I might share some information about the place the pictures I am showcasing, or maybe I will add in a little camera tech talk. Who knows, I will just go with the flow. If you are open, I look forward to you accompanying me in this journey.

I will just write as if we are having a conversation, so I apologize in advance if my grammar isn't perfect.

So, let's start off.

Tamron 20mm-40mm lens
Beautiful Palm Tree with a Capuchin Monkey sitting on a branch

This picture was taken near sunset at the southern end of Manuel Antonio Beach, Costa Rica. I had left Thomas (my husband) for a moment before the sun had decided to set as I had seen a group of palm trees in the distance by a little cove area I thought would make a nice picture. So, I headed in that direction to get a closer look.

As I tried to line up the palm trees in my lens, I wasn't inspired with what I saw and decided to look around. I looked to my left and I saw this bent over palm tree with another tree stretched across the bottom. To me, it looked like the letter A. As I walked towards the tree I noticed that there were Capuchin Monkeys climbing down the palm tree and then climbing across the tree that was stretched below, heading into the mangroves. I was so fascinated watching these monkeys one by one walking across. In this picture there is one sitting on the branch, if you can see him.

I loved how the light of the setting sun highlighted parts of the palm tree and the branches from the other one. I was mesmerized by the beauty of these trees and the fact that the capuchin monkeys were crawling across, maybe ready to call it a night.

I was using my Tamron lens 20mm-40mm. I was able to get closer to the tree and have it in full view thanks to my wide angled lens. I couldn’t wait to see how this picture turned out, even though I knew the monkey probably looked like a blip in the whole frame.

I decided to try and get closer, to see if I could capture the monkey better in this tree. As I moved closer, I also got closer to the river and was just about to put my foot in the water when I heard someone yelling “excuse me miss, excuse me miss”. I turned around to see a local man waving his hands at me, trying to get my attention. “Miss, there’s a crocodile in the river, you need to get away!!!”

“Holy crap”, I thought. I looked to the water and saw two eyes not too far away from me looking in my direction. I was in shock as I had no clue there were coocodiles around. I had thought that crocodiles were just by Crocodile River we had visited a couple of days before.  I quickly took a picture as proof there was a crocodile and then I quickly went on my way.

crocodile in the river
The crocodile my Costa Rican Angel saved me from.

As I walked towards Thomas I was smiling and shaking my head. “Turista loca” I thought to myself. I realized I was like one of those people in Banff National Park who would get out of the car to get a selfie with a Grizzly Bear!

I told Thomas my story and he said to me “didn’t you see the signs?” Nope, I was too consumed by the picture I wanted to take I didn’t see the painted surf board signs that said pretty much “beware tourist, crocodiles live in this river”. Apparently, if you see a river running into the ocean in Costa Rica, there’s a very good chance that a crocodile might reside there. So, be cautious if you go by one.

Manuel Antonio Beach is a beautiful white beach with some good waves to learn how to surf. I tried to body surf and was successful the first time around, but man I sure got scissored the second time and that was it for me. I am not a huge fan of waves. I know, I am no fun. You have to be careful because there is a bit of a riptide so don’t go too far out, or you may get carried away. There are lifeguards on the beach.

beach chair and umbrella on Manuel Antonio Beach, Costa Rica
You can rent two chairs, a table and umbrella on the beach.

We spent one day on the beach. I think we chose the hottest day as on our way back to the hotel the bus displayed a temperature of 39 degrees Celsius. It was still dry season, being the end of February, but it was still more humid than an Alberta summer.

We rented two chairs, a table and umbrella on the beach for $7000 Colón which was about $18.00 Canadian. They would even get you drinks and snacks if you wanted, and you had use of a bathroom. Well worth the fee as there’s no real protection on the beach. There are many different "businesses" renting out the umbrellas. Make sure you talk to the people on the beach because usually the first people who try and get your business are the ones on the road and they will charge you more.

Vendors on Manuel Antonio Beach
Beach vendors taking a break and watching the sunset.

Watching the sunset at night is a beautiful site on this beach. It is a popular place for people to go to say goodbye to the day. The sunset was around 6pm for us, but the beautiful deep pink colours would appear in that half n hour after. We would walk down to the beach from our hotel and take the bus back up. I think they had extra buses on at sunset. They usually ran every 20 minutes. It cost about $3.00 for the ride and was well worth it as the walk up the hill was tough, and sometimes a bit sketchy as there weren’t official sidewalks. I think the bus actually takes you all the way to Quepos, so a very good deal. If you are not sure where your stop is, just tell the bus driver and he will help you get to where you want to go (most times).

Sunset at Manuel Antonio Beach with a sail boat
Beautiful Sunset at Manuel Antonio Beach. This picture is available as a Greeting Card.

Restaurants we tried.

We never had a bad meal in Manuel Antonio. Quite a few restaurants are owned by the same company like the El Wagon and El Avion. The El Wagon is a great pizza place and has a cozy feel to it with all of the wood features. We went there for supper but apparently it’s a great place to go in the middle of the afternoon because it is in the trees and it is very shady.

El Avion has a variety of different foods, something for everyone from burgers to seafood curry. It’s a great place to go at sunset as you have beautiful views from the “window” tables. I quotation marked “windows” because a lot of the restaurants are open air. Another bonus at El Avion is the chance to see the resident sloth. The night we were there she and her baby were hanging pretty low. It was a real treat for the people who were there.

We also went to Emilios Cafe which is a place everyone seemed to recommend. It’s a little bit more upscale but really worth a nice dinner out. We shared the Caribbean Ceviche which was raw fish in a coconut mild sauce with thyme, tomatoes and chili. It was delicious. I then had the Yellowfin Tuna in a Soy and Honey Sauce which was so delicious. It was the biggest piece of tuna I have ever had in a restaurant and I ate every bite. We found the portions in Costa Rica quite big. Thomas had the Fish Curry and enjoyed it. Unfortunately, I did not have room for dessert and they have a huge selection. One table of 14 came in and just had drinks and dessert.

Attached to Emilios Cafe is a Pizzeria that we went the next night because I really wanted to have dessert. Hahah…fat chance. We each ordered a pizza and brought some home, once again we had no room for dessert. Now I have to go back to Manuel Antonio so I can have dessert at Emilios.

I will share about the birdlife/wildlife I saw in Manuel Antonio in the next blog post (or one in the future). I was in wildlife/nature photographer heaven. It was like Disneyland for me. But, I will share more next time.

Capuchin Monkeys at Manuel Antonio Beach resting on a branch
Capuchin Monkeys resting in the middle of the hot afternoon.

Have a beautiful day and thanks for taking the time out of your day to spend a few minutes with me.



I have just updated my Greeting Card Collection and the cards are now available. They are $5.00 each (cheaper than Hallmark) and it is a great way to support a local artist.

This is a limited time offer. As of April 5th, the price of cards will be $6.00 Each.

Please click the following link to view my familiar and new collection:

You can find me on Instagram as Rikki_Neukom_Photography

On Facebook as RikkiN

And on my website at

1 Comment

Great read on my lunch hour :) and gorgeous photos 🤩

Can’t believe you almost got eaten by a crocodile 🐊🫢

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