The Bird Doctor

Canvasing Southern Costa Rica

Sean explores the custodianship humans have over nature by visiting a tree house community, releasing baby sea turtles, and discovering the origins behind the Boruca Mask. These along with a special experience involving two veterinarians and an injured bird come together to inspire Sean’s painting “The Bird Doctor.”

Click to buy prints of “The Bird Doctor.

Canvasing Southern Costa Rica

Costa Rica is ranked as one of the most visited international destinations. It is known for its biodiversity, beaches and volcanoes. Roughly a quarter of its area is made up of protected jungle, teeming with wildlife including spider monkeys, toucans and quetzal birds.
Visit Costa Rica

Visit Manuel Antonio National Park
The national park has well maintained hiking trails with the perfect combination of jungle and beach. Right now, they don’t sell park tickets online, only at the office.
The ticket office is very close to the entrance of the national park. Loo k for the “Coopealianza” office, that is where you’ll buy the tickets. Buy your ticket first, then get in line to go inside the park. You can also buy tickets one day in advance- which is something we recommend to maximize your time.

Hiring a guide vs a tour:
Hiring a naturalist guide is just a guided walk. You go to the park on your own by bus,walking or driving, hire a guide who will take you around the national park. They don’t provide anything else, just the guided walk. They are experts at spotting wildlife and some of the guides will have telescopes or binoculars for you to use. This is a good option if you like to be on your own time schedule. However, if you don’t want to worry about driving, parking or buying park tickets then book through a tour company.

Visit Corcovado National Park
Corcovado is a vast tropical rainforest that sits on the edge of pristine, virtually untouched, beaches. Within the park, you can find 2.5% of the entire planet’s biodiversity. Sustainable tourism in Corcovado is absolutely vital for the future of Corcovado, as it ensures that locals will continue to protect and conserve the park for the large amount of eco-tourism it receives, instead of exploiting it in ways that would erode away at the biodiversity it possesses. Corcovado can be rugged and confusing. A good guide keeps you safe and can point out fascinating plants and animals you’d otherwise miss.

Book a Sierpe River tour:
We recommend booking through your concierge service, and make sure you know whether you would like to focus more on animal and bird-watching or ecological mangrove tour. We toured with La Perla del Sur, Jorge Uribe Marin, or Don Jorge as he is known around town. Ask for a boat with a hard top canopy, not just a tarp, as it can vary between bright sun and rainforest downpours very quickly. Jorge also operates a restaurant right at the boat dock that specializes in Costa Rican cuisine.

Visit an Animal Sanctuary:
There are many people working to protect the biodiversity and ecological tourism in Costa Rica. We visited two animal sanctuaries while we were in Costa Rica Alturas- the location of the amazing Bird Doctor story!

Reserva Playa Tortuga:
Visit Reserva Playa Tortuga
This reserva focuses on protection of coastal marine resources and the development of responsible ecological tourism. They also have volunteer exchange with different university groups.

River Rafting:
Although we didn’t film river rafting, our crew loved the exhilaration of a tour with Autentico Adventures.

Cultural Tours:
The village of Boruca where we filmed the masks is not open to commercial tours. We recommend visiting Susie at Boruca Gallery Gift Shop located at Pacific Edge Cabins in Dominicalito if you would like to learn more. Her gift shop was certainly fair-trade as the proceeds get invested right back into the community. Gallery Hours are Monday thru Saturday 10am-4pm.
You can also email Susie

The unique community for Finca Bellavistsa encompasses 600 acres, including an entire peninsula of rainforest mountain, frontage on two whitewater rivers, big trees, organic gardens, and lots of Costa Rican wildlife. If you’re curious about a life in a treehouse, visit their real estate section: Finca Bellavista

Where to Stay:
Our Canvasing The World team stayed at a few different home rentals while we were filming Southern Costa Rica. We loved the town of Dominical and Uvita, as it had a great beach and beautiful mountain views. We also loved staying in the town Quepos near Manuel Antonio Park and specifically on Espadilla Beach.

Here are some villa references to get you started:

Finca BellaVista:
For Reservations Email Finca Bella Vista and visit their website for any special offers
Pacific Edge Jungle Cabinas
George and Susie are wonderful hosts and the view is absolutely stunning!
Casa Alta Vista
Suenos Pacificos
For groups of 10 or more luxury travel, visit:
Villa Punto De Vista