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Take Your Seat, Costa Rica

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“¡Pura vida!” began our Costa Rican journey as a friendly greeting. 

Eight days later, after exploring 2,600 km of winding roads with the pura vida around every corner, we now embrace what “the pure life” truly means. A simple greeting has become a part of our chair’s story.

With a warmth equal to its people and its sun, we now welcome you to Take Your Seat, Costa Rica!

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Osa Peninsula

"Emerald green waters caress volcanic sand.

Jungle palms sway to the rhythm of a coastal breeze.
The setting sun pauses on the horizon to catch a lasting glimpse of nature’s union of rainforest and ocean.

Both fragile and inspiring, Costa Rica’s Osa Peninsula calls to our camera and our mutual connection with nature."

Behind-the-Scenes in The Osa Peninsula

Behind the scenes in The Osa Peninsula

TYS Costa Rica

Behind-the-Scenes in The Osa Peninsula

At 10 a.m., we push off. The adventure begins right away.

We are w
elcomed into the Golfo Dulce by a pod of playful dolphins. In the distance, we see the flash of a whale's tail; the humpbacks are here, raising their young. Scarlet macaws and frigate birds fly overhead.

In the Osa Peninsula, nature reigns.

The goal of the day is deceivingly simple: Find the perfect beach. In a country as beautiful as Costa Rica, how hard can that be?

Fernando, Spencer, and our boat captain compare maps and reference images as we cross the gulf. We spend hours moving slowly along the coast, scanning each stand of palms, each shoreline, waiting for the right spot.

Every beach is as beautiful as it is remote. We try a couple spots, happy but not fully satisfied that we've represented the beauty surrounding us. We push for perfection.

On our third try, we've found it. A stand of palm trees sits between the jungle and softly lapping waves, inviting our chair to join the scene. It's exactly as we envisioned it.

We beach the boat and walk along the shore, waves erasing our path. We take the long way around to place the chair from behind, and retrace our steps. We don't dare risk footprints on a beach this pristine.

Chair in position, we climb back onto the boat. 
We ready our cameras as our captain expertly positions us about 30 metres from the shore, in line with the chair. Show time.

The waves push us too far to camera left. Our captain starts up the engine to counteract the moving water. The waves push us again, teasingly. Our captain does his best to get the boat where we want it, to no avail. After repeating this act a few times, we give in. We circle back and start again; this time, we go with the flow.

Like magic, the waves take us exactly where we want to be. 
Connected with nature, we take the shot.

Mission accomplished!


Cerro Pinocho, Monteverde

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"Swerving, tires spinning, we make it to the top of Cerro Pinocho. As a cloud of dust settles, our eyes are opened to a majestic view that even ‘breathtaking’ fails to aptly describe.

Don Gerardo greets us with a firm handshake and a gentle smile. He offers his home and his horse to us. We end the evening with lemonade made fresh from his own lemons and sugarcane.

We can only hope that the photograph lives up to the way we feel."

Behind-the-Scenes in The Osa Peninsula

Behind the scenes in Monteverde

TYS Costa Rica

Behind-the-Scenes in The Osa Peninsula

It's 2:15 in the afternoon. We start driving with the purpose of scouting out our sunset location. 

We navigate roads that barely fit the definition. We stall on loose rock and washed away gravel midway up an imposing hill. Fernando backs up the truck and hits the gas.

This time, we summit.

We scour the hillsides for just over two hours prepared to keep looking until we find a spot that does justice to Monteverde's idyllic slopes and valleys.

The view from Cerro Pinocho rewards us with a location that clearly says our search has ended. Our drive finishes just as our memorable encounter with Don Gerardo begins. 

He greets us with a handshake much firmer than the road.

We work with him to find the perfect set up for sunset. His land and his calm suggestions do not disappoint. His horse wanders into the frame. It adds to the serenity Pinocchio Hill is known for. We shoot until 6:30.

As the setting sun sends its final embers into the sky, we toast our host, his horse, and our good fortune. 


The Tree of Peace

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"A gentle rain falls as we drive to Arbol de la Paz. There is no traffic. The air is still. Nature sets the mood for our encounter with Costa Rica’s Tree of Peace.

An elderly lady guards the entrance to the trail. Thinking there is a fee, we reach for our wallets. Instead, she welcomes us with a grin and reaches out her hand to greet us. ‘No one should have to pay to see such a tree. She is for everyone.’

The rain stops along with our preconceptions.
We learn another lesson in humanity."

Behind the scenes at The Tree of Peace

TYS Costa Rica

It is the day before our plan to photograph the Tree of Peace. We drive past the jungle entrance on our way to Rio Celeste knowing our tree, after six hundred years, will be there waiting for us the next afternoon. The river, with its translucent blue water, is our scouting objective for the moment.


Not nearly as romantic in English, Costa Rica's 'light blue river' winds its way from the mountains cascading over massive boulders and bends to create eddies with gentle currents and rapids of turquoise and azure. The romance is restored when we are told that local legend says the water gets its colour from God washing his brush in the river after painting the sky. 

As the sun begins her descent, we hike back to our truck knowing our scouting expedition will bear fruit. We are confident with our plan for the morning: Rio Celeste after breakfast, and Arbol de la Paz before lunch. 


The next morning, nature has other plans. The sky is grey and swollen. The rain begins to fall as the sun, unseen, begins to rise.

The reflective blue of Rio Celeste depends on the light. No sun means no colour.  We shift gears and turn toward the Tree of Peace. What does not work for the river is perfect for a rainforest.


The wind is a whisper, the rain a caress as we reach our destination. We unload our chair, cameras, tripod, and umbrella. 

The rain abates while leaving a glistening reminder of its presence on the jungle's foliage.

Arbol de la Paz stands tall and monumental with its staggering height and girth. We put our hands on her bark and feel her energy pass through our bodies.

We capture a moment 600 years in the making. 


A very special thank you to the people of Costa Rica for their collaboration in the creation of this project. ¡Pura vida!


In particular, we'd like to recognize Fernando Sánchez,

one of the best guides we have ever had the privilege of working with.


If you are planning your own Costa Rican adventure, please contact us so we can share his contact details with you.

More behind-the-scenes

We post all our favourite behind-the-scenes moments to our Instagram. Follow us here.
Check our Stories Highlights for more video clips of our Costa Rica expedition!

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Take Your Seat, Costa Rica was created in partnership with Visit Costa Rica


Take Your Seat is led by Randy and Spencer VanDerStarren.


Together, this father-and-son team has given a chair a voice; one that speaks a universal language of unity, responsibility, and individual power that is being shared with audiences around the world.

Take Your Seat and their director's chair have had the privilege of being hosted in 32 countries and counting. We extend a heartfelt thank you for being part of our chair's ongoing journey! Contact us here.

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