Costa Rica Sketches

Sketches, illustrations and Moleskine drawings from San Jose, Costa Rica and beyond.

Tamarindo Trucks

Helados Yogurt Truck in Tamarindo

Ice Cream and Yogurt Truck, Tamarindo, Costa Rica

Commercial and delivery trucks tell a lot about a place, and I am always drawn to them. I am sketching several trucks from the Guanacaste province of Costa Rica. This was one of my favorites.

Teatro Nacional de Costa Rica Sketch

Teatro Nacional de Costa Rica

The National Theatre of Costa Rica

The National Theatre of Costa Rica, built in 1897, is one of the most stunning buildings in downtown San Jose. Regular and affordable symphony orchestras are performed here, and the building houses some of Costa Rica's finest artwork.

Edificio de Correos y Telégrafos de Costa Rica

Edificio de Correos y Telégrafos de Costa Rica

Edificio de Correos y Telégrafos de Costa Rica

The Central Post Office, or Correos de Costa Rica is San Jose's most stunning building. It was constructed in 1917 and houses the national philatelic museum. I sketched the building with Copic markers and Micron liner pens.

Edificio de Correos y Telégrafos de Costa Rica

Catedral Metropolitana, San Jose, Costa Rica

The Catedral Metropolitana in San Jose, Costa Rica

The Catedral Metropolitana, or Metropolitan Cathedral of San Jose, built in 1871 as a replacement to a cathedral lost in an Earthquake, is located in downtown San Jose, adjacent to the Parque Central, and is one of the most stunning buildings in San Jose. It is also the largest church in San Jose. I sketched this building with Copic markers.

Plaza de la Cultura

Girl in the Plaza de la Cultura

Girl feeds pigeons the Plaza de la Cultura

Watercolor sketch of a girl feeding pigeons at the Plaza de la Cultura.

There are a lot of pigeons throughout San Jose, but they swarm at this center-of-the-city location, where Ticos feed them, or dodge them.

Small van in the Plaza de la Cultura

Casino minivan in the Plaza de la Cultura area.

Watercolor sketch of a minivan advertising a downtown casino at the Plaza de la Cultura.

Common Basilisk

Common Basilisk Sketch

Common Basilisk

Adult Common Basilisks have really rich textures. I sketched this basilisk from the Peje Perrito Lagoon, near Carate.

Green Heron

Common Basilisk Sketch

Green Heron

Green Herons are one of my favorite birds, although I never knew why they were called Green Herons, as they reddish, bluish and tannish, but never greenish.

In addition to being one of my most famous birds, these pint-sized herons have also helped me learn some of my most important lessons in travel. Green Herons migrate between almost all of the places I have been visiting as a traveler over the past sixteen years. As I see them in Oregon, California, Minnesota, Louisiana, Abaco, Honduras or Panama, I'm seeing a bird that is possibly there only seasonally. The lesson is about habitat. Regions and geography change, but there are equivalent habitats throughout the world. Wherever a Green Heron is, he's going to be in the equivalent habitat he was in the last place I saw him. To see a Green Heron in different parts of North America is to observe the role of habitat in our world.


Golfo Dulce Anole

Golfo Dulce Anole Sketch

Golfo Dulce Anole, sometimes called Many-scaled Anole. Sketched in the Osa Peninsula, Costa Rica.

Anoles are the most diverse genus of all four-limbed creatures in the world, and because they are also lizards of the Americas, they are dear to me as the magic little creatures out the door. I sketched this Golfo-dulce Anole at Luna Lodge in the Osa Peninsula using watercolor and ink pens. I also photographed an individual displaying its bright yellow-orange dewlap while attempting to lure a female.


Northern Jacana

Northern Jacana in watercolor.

Northern Jacana sketch in watercolor.
Peje Perrito Lagoon, near Carate, Osa Peninsula, Costa Rica.

Jacanas have these massive feet that allows them to walk effortlessly over lily pads and other dense marsh and wetland habitats. I've always been fascinated by jacanas as they are one of my childhood representations of the American tropics.

Northern Jacanas are polyandrous; - they practice the female equivalent of polygamy. Female Northern Jacanas will keep a clutch of several males, breeding throughout the year.

Costa Rica Moleskine Sketches

These are pages from my Costa Rica journal. This is the journal I use to write my itinerary notes, conversations, sketches and other things I pick up along the way. I write about my travel sketch toolkits in the Roam section of this site. You can also see my map of the Osa Peninsula, Costa Rica here.

Sketech of Costa Rica Butterfly

Sketch of Costa Rican Ancient Creature Sketch of Costa Rica Tree Sketch of Costa Rica Flora and Fauna Sketch of Costa Rican Tropical Wetland Costa Rica Sketches of Trees

Sketch of Costa Rican Beer Costa Rica Sketches of Dishes and Cuisine Costa Rica Sketches of Fruits Costa Rica Food Sketch Costa Rica Shield Bug Sketch Anole in Costa Rica Sketch Osa Peninsula Sketch

Explore more in the Neotropics

In Colombia's desert state of La Guajira, I learn about the Wayuu people's long history.

A defense of colorful language as we ascend the Santa Marta Mountains in Northern Colombia.

Into the mangroves, coastal scrub and pink lagoons of Mexico's Yucatan Coast.

The Osa Peninsula is a wild gem of protected lowland forest, teeming with life.

Notes on global biodiversity, from one of its prime hotspots in the Peruvian rainforest.

Notes on diversity and adaptation in the flooded blackwater lakes of the Amazon.

Notes on the joy of travel and the strange, modern cargo cults of the airways.

Thoughts on a life of sports and green energy in Costa Rica's Guanacaste province.

An exquisite adventure along the Guacamayos Ridge Trail in the Ecuadorian Andes.

What does it mean to travel as a citizen of a different country? I find out how the hard way.

Why are river islands unique, and important? Notes on the role of river islands in the Amazon.

Notes on the poison frogs of Isla Bastimentos in the Bocas del Toro archipelago of Panama.

A night-time ferry to a deserted island in the Bocas del Toro Archipelago.

Exploring isolated streams in the El Valle caldera, and notes on the amphibian epidemic.

Riding through Honduras' North Coast on an antique coconut train.

In the Panama jungle, I write letters to an American pastor who rails against evolution.

Travels in the San Blas Islands, home of the semi-autonomous Guna Indians.

Road trip stories from lazy, sun-drenched rivers in Southern Belize.

Notes on the ancient highways of the Mayan world, from a perch in Peten, Guatemala.

Notes on sustainable development from the dry forests of the Nicaraguan Pacific Coast.

Notes on travels in the colonial city of Granada, Nicaragua.

Sketches and notes from Lima, Peru in Copic markers, watercolor and sepia washes.

Sketches, Moleskine notes and illustrations from San Jose, Costa Rica.

Notes on the the diverse habits of the Andes, and the surreal denizens who inhabit them.

Exploring the Mombacho Volcano along Lake Nicaragua, including the rugged Puma Trail.