A Travellerspoint blog

Entries about rainforest

Low-key marvels

What the camera did not capture

sunny 21 °C
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I started this memo on my first night in Costa Rica when the soft darkness of rainforest and its heavy, humid air gently enclosed me. It was one of those passing moments that just cry out for an impressionist painter or a poet. There were many such moments, low-key marvels, I call them. My non-native English won't do them justice, of course, but I'm feeling brave, so here goes!

When dusk settles on the forest pathway, hundreds of tinker bell lights flicker on and off. You can almost hear the fairies giggling.

A coconut rolls in the surf on a secluded beach, lulling you to sleep, until the tide rises to tickle your feet.

Geckoes of all sizes vanish with a flick of the bathroom light.

You feel the tinies breeze on your left shoulder. Hummingbird, he says smiling from the other side of the table. You stare at him, then over your shoulder, incredulously. I'm blessed, you think to yourself.

A whole fried red snapper seasoned in Caribbean style, served with calypso sauce and fried yuca (cassava). A glass of dark, smoky Malbec.

Hammock on every Caribbean porch. Rocking chairs up in the mountains.

There's a trail of ants carrying leaf cuttings on the pathway. It's feeding time in their fungal garden.

A very practical bit of rainforest wisdom: "hear the wind, open the umbrella".

A big, stunningly beautiful butterfly with iridescent blue wings. It's the elusive Blue Morpho. It'll fly past you, kind of dipsy-doodling, and flashing those brilliant wings. It won't stop to pose and it won't come back.

The moment you learn that the cold water pool next to the hot springs is +27 °C. Hilarious.

Out for dinner in the dark with rain pouring down, you suddenly have your flipflops sucked off your feet and end up anckle-high in the mud. And you find it amusing!

Posted by sussesimis 07:03 Archived in Costa Rica Tagged beaches animals birds food rainforest drink weather Comments (0)

A secret worth sharing

The lodge earning its "eco" argument

semi-overcast 29 °C
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Ecolodge San Luis - gotta love it!

A fair warning: if you crave for Caribbean rythms, disco lights and rum, Ecolodge San Luis is not for you. You'll find other places in Costa Rica that will offer just that: one good place to look for a chill-out beach party with reggae, ganja and guaro flowing freely is Puerto Viejo de Limon. Or that's what I've been told - I only had a lunch there. Also, if you expect valet parking, a la carte restaurants, and chocolate on your pillow, you'll be better off elsewhere.

If you instead appreciate a unique nature experience in nice, rustic housing perfect for their settings, and being amongst some warm, friendly, and knowledgeable people - you just gotta love UGA Ecolodge San Luis. UGA stands for University of Georgia. The ecolodge is administered by UGA and located within the campus. To me, it was a perfect combination of science, education, and ecotourism. You find lots of accommodation in Costa Rica calling themselves "ecolodges". Mostly, I think, it only means that the place is cut into the forest, rustic, small or just greenwashed. This one, though, is the real thing. An eco-gem.

Keel-billed toucan

Keel-billed toucan

You are free to explore the entire 70 hectares area with many trails, gardens and an operating farm on the campus grounds. You also get to enjoy typical Costa Rican meals - it's full board - with the campus staff, resident naturalists, and other visitors in the campus cafeteria. The list of on-campus activities is astounding, and they are all included with your stay. You get to do as much hiking and birding - at least 230 different species recorded on campus grounds, as you wish, or just enjoy the view while snoozing in one of the rocking chairs on the porch. But you can also arrange to visit local farmers and homes with a translator provided by UGA, or one the reserves, such as the neighbouring Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve.

This blog article goes against my original idea of just writing about my own experiences and not offering travel advice or reviews. This one just had to written. If you are looking for Costa Rica travel advice, there are other, more substancial blogs I found very helpful when planning for my trip, such as

* Costa Rica Guide by Ray and Suzanne Krueger Koplin
* Two weeks in Costa Rica by Jennifer Turnbull-Houde and Matthew Houde

There's more good info on the web, so keep googling. And of course, there are several Costa Rica guidebooks published. Mine is the ebook by Lonely Planet.

Posted by sussesimis 11:10 Archived in Costa Rica Tagged birds rainforest travel_plans Comments (0)

Rainforest 24/7

This forest does not whisper

all seasons in one day 27 °C
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I'm on the Caribbean coast now, in the southwesternmost corner of Costa Rica, just a few kilometers from the Panama border. I'm staying in a small village called Punta Uva. Punta Uva means "Grape Point" and gets the name from the sea grapes (Coccoloba uvifera) growing on the rocky point sticking to the sea in front of the village. The village is made up of a few dirt roads, a pulperia (a small grocery store), a handful of local residents, a couple of restaurants, and a few small lodges.

The beaches are spectacular. You may want to check out the gallery for some photos I just uploaded.

On arrival I was blown away by the sounds of the rainforest. You hear a squeak here, a squawk there, whistles and howls, screeching, chatter, croaks and grunts, shrieks, chant, buzz, and shrils. And then some. The forest snaps, taps, clicks, and rumbles. It certainly does not whisper.

Howler monkey

Howler monkey

The forest sounds are just so intense that they overload your senses. It actually took a couple of days to really notice the beautiful butterflies and colorful birds, monkeys up in the trees, or even the tropical plants and flowers just there along the pathway.

Last night there where howler monkeys (Alouetta palliata ) just above my cabin making ungodly howling noises at 2:30 am. Maybe it was the supermoon affecting them, but they usually move around at dawn, that's just after 5 am.

We are so close to the equator here that day and night are almost as long, so it gets dark at around 5 pm. I'm usually up with the monkeys, then ready for bed by 9 pm, unless there was time in the afternoon for a little nap in the cosy hammock on the porch...

The weather here is constantly changing. On my arrival day it was raining all the way from the San Jose intl airport to Punta Uva, a journey that took over six hours due to the weather and crazy traffic. Since then we've had daily tropical showers of rain, but mostly it's been a mix of clouds and sunshine. The temperature easily reaches 30 °C but never drops below 20 °C, and due to the high humidity, the temperature feels higher too.

You'd think that being surrounded with this tropical wonderland, there'd be not much writing done. But there's a screened window with a jungle view above my desk. I'm inspired. Up to 10 pages.

Posted by sussesimis 14:34 Archived in Costa Rica Tagged beaches rainforest weather Comments (0)

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