Wall painting of a blue hummingbird
Costa Rica,  Photographing Public Art,  Street art,  Travel galleries

Gallery: spotting street art in Sant Elena

I didn’t go to Costa Rica to see street art; like most visitors, my main interests were in its landscapes and its wildlife. The country is famous for being one of the most biodiverse in the world. So maybe it’s not so surprising after all to see that biodiversity celebrated on the streets of Sant Elena, the main tourist hub in the Monteverde region.

So here for this week’s Photographing Public Art challenge is a selection of my favourites, to show a different side of this lovely country.


Pizza restaurant covered in wall paintings

This pizza restaurant is completely covered in murals celebrating the country’s wildlife, especially the Resplendent Quetzels

Wall painting in shades of green with a bird

This is part of the restaurant’s front wall, with a Quetzel flying over the Costa Rican landscape

Wall painting of a blue bird with a red head

And on the side of the restaurant another Quetzel, this one perched on a branch

Side of a shop painted with blue mural and sign

A different shop, this one selling clothes, with a more abstract design and a positive message

Wall painting of a toucan

This shop has a colourful Yellow-throated Toucan eating berries

Wall painting of a colourful bird

In the small modern shopping centre I found this bird, which I think is a Grey-necked Wood Rail, as well as the pretty hummingbird in my featured photo

Pavement painted in shades of yellow

In several places in the town the pavements have been painted – I especially liked this example

Telegraph pole painted in bright red and blue
Telegraph pole painted with a butterfly

And some of the telegraph poles are brightly painted too; from a sign near the shopping centre I gathered this was an initiative by the local college

Wall painting of a blue butterfly

Here’s a small butterfly on a wall (a Blue Morph perhaps?)

House painted with blue mural

This eye-catching building on the outskirts of town has a two storey mural half-hidden in the surrounding greenery

Large metal model of a face with a headdress

As a change from the murals, one of the restaurants has this huge sculpture in the grounds

Model of a lorry displayed outside a house

And finally I spotted this unusual decoration hanging outside a house on the edge of town, near our hotel

I visited Costa Rica in February 2022


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