August 15, 2020  (Web Review)

Discoveries Costa Rica: Caribbean Coast

Bennet-Watt, 53 min., not rated, DVD: $24.95.

Reviewer rating: 2.0/4

This combination documentary and travelogue takes audiences to the natural wonders of the lush Eastern Coast of Costa Rica. A mere 78 miles long, the coastal land of the small Central American country is home to two national parks and a wildlife refuge, as well as beautiful beaches and clear Caribbean waters. The program focuses on the natural attractions of the region. Tortuguero National Park is accessible only by boat or small plane and visitors can tour the waterways through the jungle on small passenger boats or by canoe and kayak. The bulk of Cahuita National Park, home to a large reef teeming with marine life, is underwater but the jungle section is also home to a colony of howler monkeys. The Gandoca Manzanillo Wildlife Refuge offers more protection for the wild species of the Caribbean coast and the nearby ARA Manzanillo, which was originally created as a private zoo by a retired American expatriate couple, is devoted to reintroducing the great green macaw and the scarlet macaw, both once on the verge of extinction, back into the wild. In addition to the natural wildlife, the production takes a detour to explore the town of Tortuguero’s innovative homegrown recycling program created to help protect the region from waste. It’s an impressive project that deserves more attention in a different context. The production is colorful and beautifully photographed in HD video, with adequate if unmemorable narration and additional interviews with local experts. But it lacks the focus or perspective of a fully realized documentary and never takes the time to place the region in the context of the rest of the country of Costa Rica. As such, it plays more like an informative travelogue than a compelling documentary and may have limited appeal to patrons. It is, however, appropriate for young kids and fine for family viewing. Optional. Aud: I, J, H, P. (S. Axmaker)