Leaving Paradise on Earth

Leaving Paradise on Earth

Homeward – leaving Paradise on Earth

FELICITY COWLEY

Flickcowley Photography

Continuing from her last post,

We made our last transfer by private taxi back down the windy paths but this time in daylight. It was sad to be going home after there has been so much to see. We decided that next visit would include the volcanoes and mountains. There is so much to explore despite the land mass being so small. Such a diverse green landscape just waiting to be explored. Once at the airport we collected a few memorabilia from the souvenir shop and made our way to the departure gate. Here we found the guests we’d been staying with at Playa Cativo so we caught up on our last day of adventure. They were snorkelling enthusiasts so although the high mountains weren’t their preference they enjoyed the scenery I could show them.

“We have had such a rich experience that we have been treated with Paradise – there really is nothing quite like it. ”

 

A tropical storm decided to hit San Jose just as we boarded the plane (basically telling us we should just stay!) which would have been fine if we weren’t delayed by the Cabin Crew stuck in traffic. As we were late for our take-off slot the Captain let us know that the airfield was in fact closed due to low level cloud – we needed a window of 800 foot to take off but only had approx 400 visible. Maybe we would have to stay?! I looked on hopeful but the clouds passed and night fell and our slot opened up. We left Costa Rica in mixed cloud and felt like we were leaving behind a dream. From start to finish it was just out of this world – somewhere you need to visit for yourself to truly appreciate the serenity and inquisitiveness of it all.

We landed in the UK in usual grey cloud and it was all go. We said our goodbyes to our new acquaintances along our travels and collected our bags. Car to train, train to train, train to car. All this time I had been explaining to the Ticos (Costa Ricans) about where I live in the UK – Devon – a bit like their country – its green and rains for a substantial part of the year but its just a lot colder. I looked out of the train window and thought, no its not like that at all. Its like whilst I had been away someone had turned down the saturation filter over the UK because nothing looked green any more. At that moment my Poppy messaged to say “I’m confused; the birds just look dull now.” We have had such a rich experience that we have been treated with Paradise – there really is nothing quite like it. Once I made it home I stopped before unloading everything to check my watch. It was 8:30pm UK time. It was still light. What a novelty! Our nine day adventure had some truly high moments, scary moments, fascinating moments and more importantly some seriously amazing ones. I will never forget my experience here and again I have some fantastic people to thank for the opportunity.

I am so thankful to both The Eden Project for the creation of the competition and Tribes Travel for creating an incredible, unforgettable, breathtaking, stress free experience which truly was out of this world. From start to finish we were looked after, collected, transferred, provided with tickets of  where to be and when. They thought about everything. We had seven glorious days and two days of travel. If you can stay longer it is definitely recommended. At first not being in control of your trip can be confusing but its safe to say that we were looked after at every stage – daily updates were given of important times and schedules so we could relax knowing somebody knew where we were supposed to be. Tribes Travel really excelled my expectations with a fun filled adventure – one in a million! And to The Eden Project – I can never thank you enough for choosing my photograph to win this amazing trip of a lifetime. I feel so honoured. And remember… people do win these things! What’s more; next time it could be you!

I have loved my time in Costa Rica, a true Paradise. A land so small yet so diverse. It is truly one of those places which captures you and draws on the heart strings. The people are kind and welcoming, they are friendly and forthcoming and the guides are so knowledgable because they want to bring the magic to you, to join in their passion for the World, the environment, for nature, and for the planet. It challenges you to remember to look at the World in a new perspective. To protect the land on which we live, so that it will be here for others to enjoy – in an attempt to protect the World they have opened up the door for it to flourish – to grow beside us in harmony. The land is captivating, the flora, the fauna, the richness, the colours and the fact that it is home to five percent of the worlds biodiversity in a space of 0.3 percent of the planets entire surface. It is incredible. So stunning to gaze upon and just so much to see. Take a step too quick and you have missed 10 different sets of eyes watching you pass by be of wildlife, insects, plants, trees. It is beautiful. A place which never sleeps.

I have learnt so much about the environment, the biodiversity, the wildlife, from the people who live and work in amongst the rainforests everyday. Their expertise for birdsong and plant life is so engaging, with complete passion, heart, enthusiasm, joy and delight. They are just as excited to see a Toucan as you are! And what’s more it’s genuine. It is real. These people care. And they want to share it with you so you have an incredible experience but at the same time protecting the environment being at one with nature, letting it co-exist with human interaction rather than encroach on their land and ways of life so that more can one day enjoy it too.

I never expected I would be one of those people who enter a competition to win a holiday and actually walk away with the top prize! Not only did this happen but through a Photography Competition – my favourite free-time passion. It sounds like a cliche to say ‘Does anybody actually win these prizes?’ and my response is now yes! Please enter! It could be you.

Paradise on Earth Days 6 – 8

Paradise on Earth Days 6 – 8

Paradise on Earth – Days 6-8

FELICITY COWLEY

Flickcowley Photography

Continuing from her last post, Felicity’s adventure continues …

After our goodbyes here we again hopped onto the boat to cross the water leaving our Jurassic Wonderland behind (thankfully without the dinosaurs!) The trip across the bay was stunning, the waters were smooth and reflective against the blue skies. On arrival at the airstrip at Puerto Jimenez we learnt that the plane coming to collect us managed to get a flat tyre meaning we had an hour delay. We took this opportunity to walk back to the coast and look across the gulf from the opposite side to where we stayed. It was such a clear day. We gathered some refreshments and chilled. However, once we turned to our left it suddenly looked gloomy towards the North and dark clouds looked like they were heading our way so I suggested we should make our way back. As we approached the airfield again (only slightly more commercial than Tortuguero) the rain came down monsoon style. It echoed through the tin roof. Again the staff here had many job roles under their title and the same guy who checked us in then became baggage control and hastily attempted to waterproof everything to transfer our bags safely to the plane.

Once our plane arrived and we boarded, our flight had a quick stop over in Goldifo (back across the bay) to collect more passengers on route to San Jose. Due to the fact we had an hours delay we weren’t sure what was going to happen to our transfer at the other end, but sure enough there was a private taxi with our name on it casually waiting to collect us. It took about an hour as we rose higher into the mountains and along windy roads whilst nightfall began. Men casually wondered the streets where traffic was queuing to sell sweet plantain crisps to the peckish drivers. Our driver bought a bag and shared them with us. On route, we noticed many trucks were using the Pan-American Highway being the main route through Costa Rica from North to South America. We arrived at Chayote Lodge for our last night and you could tell instantly the air was cooler. We arrived in darkness but we could see lights sparkling all around in the distance, but we did not know where we were. It was exciting to know we would wake up to a new view in the morning.

“ I lifted the blind to be greeted with a stunning sunrise…”

We enjoyed a pleasant meal in the restaurant and was joined by the owners dog aptly named ‘Chayote’. We were amongst a remarkable complex of lodges and main building surrounded by coffee plantations. They cleverly followed the theme of coffee throughout. The lodges even resembled coffee houses where they separate the beans once picked. The woodwork in the lodges even down to the toilet roll holder had been constructed using coffee plant wood. An extra service of coffee before breakfast brought to you in your own lodge topped everything. This is Coffee Lovers Paradise!

We met the owner after pudding and I scheduled a bird watching walk for the morning and then we retired to bed. We noticed above everything that here we had duvets. Not sheets. The air certainly was cooler therefore we must be high, especially as we knew coffee is supposed to be reared nearly 2000 feet above sea level.

Dawn broke and we were startled by falling avocados and a new bird which sounded a little like the seagull trying to sing in The Little Mermaid. I lifted the blind to be greeted with a stunning sunrise.. and we had a balcony. I grabbed my camera and out I went. You could see for miles. What a stunning location! We were up high on a mountain and had views across the mountainous central valley near San Jose where in the distance you could see views of Poas, Barva, and Irazu volcanoes! To our far left there was even one erupting! The light was perfect and the hues of blue were magnificent. You could see deep into the valley – where all the lights had been sparkling. The colours were just outstanding – blues and greens and just so much to distract you from everything. It was the perfect way to wake up and start the day. Feeling totally refreshed and enlightened. After sunrise I managed to tear myself away and off we went for breakfast. My guide had arrived early but was happy to wait for me but just then before my last mouthful he called out… TOUCAN! I was up. I had been anxious all week to see this particular toucan – the Keel Billed Toucan, and there it was. Bobbing in the trees above me. We had managed to find two other species of Toucan during the week, but this was my gem in the rock. I took a few snaps and then enjoyed watching its elegant dance. With a beak so big and awkward you would think they would be top heavy but he swung about high in the treetops like a gymnast. Poised, balanced, magical. Our tour had certainly begun!

“With a beak so big and awkward you would think they would be top heavy but he swung about high in the treetops like
a gymnast.”

We continued on our walk and discovered a few more birds: Steely vented Hummingbirds, Scintillant Hummingbirds, Cavinet’s Hummingbirds, Green Violet Eared Hummingbirds, Rofous Collared Sparrow, Tropical Kingbird, House Wren, Turkey Vultures, White Tipped Doves, Blue Crowned Motmot and last but not least; the national bird of Costa Rica – the Clay Coloured Thrush. Not as vibrant as its counterparts but equally as magnificent. Three hours passed and we wondered through forests and farmland and headed through the plantations back to Chayote. My guide was a plant and tree specialist and had a brilliant sense of humour (who even caught me out by whistling bird song pretending some rare exotic birds were on our fingertips!) – He was one of a kind! Before we arrived back he gathered leaves and fruit and we tasted/smelt them all. So many aromas. A small green fruit which looked like a tangerine once peeled was offered to me to try – I tried just one slice and what a rookie mistake I made! It was the sourest thing I have ever tasted. A cross between a lemon and lime and seriously powerful! When we arrived back I thanked him and told him to never stop laughing!

There was still so much on my mind, so much to take in, so many new amazing memories and stories to share. Costa Rica is incredible. They don’t use the the saying ‘Pura Vida’ for no reason – it really is Pure Life through and through. The people, the passion, the strive for a healthy environment, to live in harmony and co-exist with nature. To protect all who share the land space and complement each other with a happy medium. So much flourishes here and it makes perfect sense – everything is so well considered and all who inhabit here – people or animals – know it.

Read the next instalment of Felicity’s Costa Rica adventure shortly.

Paradise on Earth – Days 4 – 6

Paradise on Earth – Days 4 – 6

Paradise on Earth – Days 4 to 8 – The Osa Peninsula

FELICITY COWLEY

Flick Cowley Photography

Continuing from her last post, Felicity’s adventure continues …

The airfield at Tortuguero was small. In-fact, blink and you missed it. There were only two members of staff (other than the pilots standing with the plane) who wore the hats of 10. Passport, Check-In, Customs, Anything to Declare… two guys. Needless to say there was no Duty-Free. We were handed hand-written tickets and made our way across the 4 metres of forecourt. Once onboard the 16 seater we were quickly in the air, and the views were outstanding. You could see how lush the colours and density of the canopy were across the land and the river courses winding through the hills down to the sea. We headed to San Jose for a stop off and then joined another Nature Air queue for departure to Puerto Jimenez – and of course there were more staff here at Juan Santamaria and we had a much further walk to the plane!

Flying over the Golfo Dulce was stunning, the sea isn’t as deep here so it glistened a mesmerising blue colour against the green trees surrounding. Once we arrived in Puerto Jimenez (after hearing we had a trainee pilot who was on loudspeaker listening to how many feet above sea level we were)… 200, 100, 50, 20, 10, touchdown. We arrived on a small airstrip with not too much around. Immediately after stepping from the plane ‘Alan’ wearing a ‘Playa Cativo Lodge’ t-shirt greeted us and took our bags to a nearby jeep. Our adventures in the Pacific had begun.

“Hello Paradise! Hello Playa Cativo!”

FELICITY COWLEY

The jeep took us to the dock where we boarded a small speed boat and spent the next hour or so crossing the gulf. It was beautiful. Blue seas, blue skies, wind in the hair and along we bobbed. As we approached land once again it felt like we were arriving at Jurassic Park (just like in the film). We started to realise the rainforest here is also very dense and plentiful of colour.

Our lodge came into view and there stood a magnificent one piece, three story structure, rich in mahogany wood and no sign of neighbours for miles. It has its own bay and once we touched land we were greeted with fresh cool towels and a cocktail. Hello Paradise! Hello Playa Cativo! Alan took us into the open windowed structure along with our bags. He explained how things worked here.

The staff were here for us, whenever we needed them. No schedule, just when we wished to dine, they would be there to serve. The service was impeccable. They created a relaxed environment where it was encouraged to walk in bare foot so that you gave in to relax mode on holiday, which quite often people don’t. It was like having the comfort of being in your own home but with staff on hand at all times.

Our top floor suite (which we were upgraded to on arrival because it became available), was astonishing. Absolutely breathtaking. Like no where I’ve ever stayed. We had undisturbed panoramic views (no windows) around three sides of the Lodge – from the bay right around to the rainforest, with the sound of the sea and the birdsong surrounding you in this amazingly spacious room. A settee area to relax, desk area to catch up on the diary and table and chairs if you wanted chill out (and get your Domino skills up to scratch) and yet still ample room for the luxurious double bed. The bathroom too was magnificent – with double shower/wet room with a view right over the gulf looking out to the Osa Peninsula. Probably the best shower I’ve ever taken!

After exploring the lodge we had many options and the choice was ours; snorkelling, hiking, waterfall walking, bird watching, a trip to an animal sanctuary, trip to their working farm, relaxing by the pool, swimming in the sea, kayaking, paddle-boarding or just simply chilling with a book taking in the atmosphere with the warm glow of sunshine directly overhead and the odd Scarlet Macaw flying by. It was pure bliss, or ‘Pura Vida’ as they say.. Pure Life. Lizards scuttled by. Butterflies danced in the sun. Hummingbirds would share a moment and be gone the next. The sea waves gently broke the birdsong as a gentle reminder to go paddling every now and then. The water was warm and and palm trees stretched across the bay. Along the way was a picturesque pier which you could walk along to in the afternoons when the weather is a tad windier. If it gets too windy however it is not recommended to stay too long under the palms in case of falling coconuts!

“It was pure bliss, or ‘Pura Vida’ as they say.. Pure Life.”

“Costa Rica isn’t for the squeamish! ”

We decided to walk to the waterfall and went clambering over the terrain, up high and down low over the valley and found the waterfall in a picturesque setting with high foliage. A lovely place to pop along to for some peace. Along the route back we carefully stepped over tree routes and dodged ant hills when suddenly I had both feet on the ground and the ground rumbled beneath me. An aftershock of an Earthquake had reached us from Nicaragua and it was the most surreal thing to know how powerful and how far these tremors can fetch. Once we were back to the Lodge it was time to relax in the pool and put our feet up for five minutes.

One afternoon I chose to take the walk to the farm which was particularly engaging. My guide and staff at hand ‘Gustavo’ talked about the growth process of the rainforest explaining the formation of the Primary and Secondary and how the understory plays an essential role of the continuing of the bio-structure in a functional way for all to share. What fascinated me the most was the Leaf Cutter Ants and their trails made all over the understory, clearing obvious paths for them to bring forth leaf cuttings to take into the nest to stop moisture and help to develop their underground network of living space. Gustavo also explained the different ants and their job-roles. Those who clear paths, those who carry and those who fight off parasites from attacking the knees of the working ants. So much activity filled the forest, and all have their own part to play in the upkeep for  harmonic living.

I also learnt about plants growing half way up trees since there is so much water run off from the canopy, anything will grow pretty well up the tree. However, this can pose a big threat to the existing tree as the new tree or plant will send roots out and grow with gravity and once they find the forest floor can plant themselves and use the existing tree to grow around, resulting in the first tree starving of nutrients. Once we arrived at the farm I could see how economically and ozone-friendly they were. Functioning without import meant it was protecting the area, making it free from emissions and created sustainability for the guests and staff. We found tomatoes, peppers, potatoes, melons, pigs and chickens and more. Gustavo was a young guide but he already had the ongoing passion and knowledge ready to share with first come jungle goers. We found a variety of wildlife across our walk including White-Nosed Coati, Howler Monkeys, Peccary, Agouti, Great Curassow, Cherries Tanager, Bairds Trogon, Chestnut-Crested Toucan, Turkey Vultures, White-Headed Caracara, Ruddy Ground Doves, a mixture of Flycatchers, Honeycreeper and Bananaquits among others.

One evening at Playa Cativo we congregated with the other guests – two British Couples and a UK travel agent who had popped by for one night. Gustavo had planned us a night hike so we could finally find out which creatures were keeping us up at night! With wellingtons, cameras and torches at the ready we started off at 6pm – after total darkness settled in with no light to spoil our view. Noise instantly surrounded us. Frogs, crickets, birds and other insects I didn’t have a sound bank for. We spotted a green tree frog almost instantly followed by several toads – some of which we were instructed were poisonous. We continued around the parameter of the land and were told to keep our eyes out for snakes! Because we were missing our vision it almost heightened our senses into sound and smell. As we delved deeper we kept finding more and more… it truly is on your doorstep, nature just surrounds you here. We found crabs on leaves, spiders, grasshoppers the size of my hand.

 

The Leaf Cutters dare I say were tucked up safely in their underground shelter as their paths lay dormant in the night. We found frogs galore, the smallest ones in fact made the loudest noise which almost distracted us from the marvel which lay calmly in the bush behind us – none other than the Red Eyed Tree Frog. Yes! One happy photographer! We didn’t expect to find much more but at last minute out popped the giant Red Eyed Bullfrog like he wanted to steal the show. We were almost back to the lodge when suddenly we discovered a snake resting on the leaves beside us. The walk certainly wasn’t for the faint hearted! Then again, Costa Rica isn’t for the squeamish! Its an adventure for those seeking it, and what you put in you’ll get out. We headed back in to the comfort of the Lodge and sat down as one table for dinner so we could enjoy chatting about our new exciting experience.

Read the next instalment of Felicity’s Costa Rica adventure shortly.

We had an enchanting stay at Playa Cativo. The cuisine was impeccable and served when you were ready, not the other way round. It was rich in taste and was cooked with all the fresh produce from the farm. The buttery garlic chicken was to die for and the white chocolate cheesecake was pure bliss. I couldn’t give them enough credit for their culinary skills here.

Paradise on Earth – Days 1 to 3

Paradise on Earth – Days 1 to 3

Paradise on Earth – days 1 – 3

FELICITY COWLEY

Flick Cowley Photography

Continuing from her first post, Felicity’s adventure continues …

We boarded our direct British Airways flight from Gatwick very excitedly, with cameras, hats and sun-cream packed and at the ready. On board our flight we had the ironic and unexpected greeting of an old Uni housemate serving us as an air stewardess who consequently made the flight seem like it was much shorter than it was. After being upgraded and having the pleasure of meeting the captain (once we had landed) our adventure had truly begun in style!

We reached San Jose International Airport at 11:30pm English time which was only 5:30pm in Costa Rica and as a result still light outside. My body was telling me it was time to sleep but the adrenalin had kicked in and we stepped outside the aircraft into instant heat and at that moment it all became real.

We were in Central America and the prize existed. We passed through customs and midnight came and went (British time). Our first night was spent in San Jose where all we wanted to do was freshen up and sleep. The San Radisson was ideal for this. A nice clean contemporary hotel offering perfect sanctuary for the first night. I managed to keep awake until 10pm (Costa Rican time) to stop the jet-lag settling in, especially as we were scheduled to be up and out by 6:30 am.

“After being upgraded and having the pleasure of meeting the captain (once we had landed) our adventure had truly begun in style! ”

FELICITY COWLEY

After feeling refreshed from our stay in San Jose we were up and ready. Our home for the next two nights would be the Evergreen Lodge along the river in the Tortuguero National Park. We headed from San Jose via coach to the East side – the doorstep to the Caribbean. We crossed the winding land with other guests. Up high over mountains and down low past dry rivers and areas of pasture land. Along the route we stopped for breakfast – healthy selection of fruit, omelettes and rice, true Costa Rican style.

Here we spotted our first glimpse of nature at your fingertips. Pulling into the rest-stop we were held up by a Two-Toed Sloth who fell out of the tree in front of us. Needless to say, once we had our breakfast we all went to visit the playful sloth who had climbed back into the trees with its mother. We got back on track and passed by several farms and plantations rich with crops such as pineapples and bananas. We saw men working with pulleys to take the heavy loads of ripe bananas back to base.

Already we had glimpses of the Cloud Forest (albeit with no clouds – which is rare!) and views across the valleys to the volcanoes and rivers which were only just coming into fruition with the start of the rainy season (hence the dry rivers). We reached a small port at the end of a long dirt road. Butterflies danced at the sides of the road as we went. Evergreen Lodge was an enchanting array only accessible by boat so we exchanged four wheels for none.

We travelled up the river and finally arrived at a small dock owned by the Lodge. After a beautiful welcome drink we were instructed our room numbers. Here we owned a quaint hut right in amongst the jungle, with mosquito nets for walls. Nature; it surrounds you. Howler monkeys swung through the trees above you, whilst crabs wondered beneath your feet and the jungle would be full in between with birds and bats,  lizards and caiman’s. Surrounded by nature. It was wonderful. Such an incredible experience, unlike no other.

One you have to experience for yourself to truly value. If you are a light sleeper however you may struggle! I on the other hand immersed in the spine-tingling session and stayed up to listen to the vast array of new musical notes I’d never heard before. Not before long I was joined by a bat who hung out with me on the outside of the mossy net whilst I fell asleep. However, I discovered I was not quite the Dr. DoLittle that the other guides were.

Whilst at Evergreen our expert guide Noelle took care of us instructing us on our jam packed timetable. From swinging up high in the canopy on zip wires to boat rides, to visiting the local village to see the heart of the people who live here and infrastructure of the land, to visiting the canal full of wildlife – and witnessing impeccable eyesight from the guides who had become the real Dr. Dolittle – constructing a hundred different vocal calls to speak to the wildlife we were trying to spot.

Thankfully I had a 300mm lens on the end of my Nikon camera which acted as binoculars as some of the wildlife were impossible to spot without an untrained eye! Some of the other wildlife came much closer – from a Green Basilisk Lizard to a Caiman Crocodile. The caiman being particularly close with only a metre or so off the boat edge we took our photos and swiftly left a distance behind us! Noelle was one of a kind. He had so much knowledge to share with us about the wildlife and had an unbelievable ability to spot wildlife big and small. He mentioned that we may spot a Jaguar but as the last two times he saw one with guests was in 2007 and 2012 he didn’t promise us a show.

“The Caribbean beach of Tortuguero we found the sea to be delightfully warm compared to Devonshire waters – back at home! ”

Whilst visitng Tortuguero National Park we did see White Headed Capuchin, Howler Monkeys, Spider Monkeys, Three-Toed Sloths, Great Green Macaws, Bare-Throated Heron, Brown Pelicans, Little Blue Herons, the Blue Morpho Butterfly, Northern Jacana, miniature tarantulas, Black Vultures, Kingfishers, Long Nosed Bats, Spiders, Opossums, Porcupines and more. Noelle looked after us and answered any questions we had, escorted us, kept us informed and made the whole experience uplifting and inspiring.

During our time here we were able to visit the Caribbean beach of Tortuguero where we found the sea to be delightfully warm compared to Devonshire waters – back at home! Surplus to say we had a paddle! It is here we learnt about the Turtle laying season and over the next couple of months there were be a hype of activity between the sand in our toes, but for now it was clear and stunning. We had time to mill around with the locals taking in the atmosphere of ‘urban life’ in the rainforest. We had a great chance to witness some first hand local lifestyles where we understood the game we know as Dominoes was just as epic as any top end Poker match. We studied the small crowd and intently gazed upon this highly serious and competitive game. It was really special to see. With fresh coconuts on hand and with small souvenir purchases we headed back to the small dock to ride back across the river to Evergreen.

Back at Evergreen, the food was tasty and plentiful with something new each meal with choose your own omelettes in a buffet style. We were encouraged to share tables with the other guests and we found ourselves sharing our stories from the day. They also had a lovely pool here with bar to the side and it was nice to come out and chill after the sun had gone down. Poppy made the most of the pool whilst I got distracted by Green Basilisk Lizards chilling in the trees beside us and an occasional Spider Monkey would drop in to munch on the berries in the trees.

One Morning I decided to have a tree-top adventure much like the GoApe! we have in Britain but Costa Rica style! The Canopy Tour was in the grounds of Evergreen so I signed up at Reception and off I went. Poppy not being great with heights decided to pop into the Village to sample a Costa Rican massage session instead. Back up in the trees I found two guests from a nearby lodge who were the people sitting next to us on the flight over. We chatted and the tour began. Safety talks were given in both English and Spanish and off we climbed. Thankfully the team take care of all the safety work so we felt safe until we were so high our legs just shook by themselves. We walked along rope bridges, tight ropes and went along a variety of zip lines… it was definitely adrenalin running and felt strange to be so restricted by gravity once back on the ground! When we were in the trees we also spotted miniature tarantulas and Leaf Cutter Ants, fortunately we weren’t joined by any monkeys as they would be sure to show us up!

 

One afternoon Poppy took advantage of the pool and made herself at home whilst I decided to have a wander through the trails around the perimeter of Evergreen. As I entered the rainforest I started following geckos along the path until I stopped and realised I couldn’t see the huts any more. All was fine, until I heard a noise. A noise which sounded like it came straight out of Jurassic Park, and that was it. All sense of bravado had gone out of the window and I quickly scuttled back, hoping a T-Rex wasn’t following me!

On my safe return I found another guest crouching with a camera so I went to see what he had found; none other than the Poison Dart Frog, so there we both sat looking daft together attempting to capture these beautiful small amphibians on our cameras. It was a real fun moment finding someone who shares a love for photography as much as I and we tried hard to see who could get the best shot. The rainforest is a tough setting for photography due to its low light levels under the canopy so it was tricky but a fun challenge! Especially as there was so many things around you that you wanted to capture. A real photographers playground!

On our second night we looked out to the skies and could see lightening in the distance from a storm somewhere inland. We weren’t sure of it’s direction of travel but sure enough from the early hours of the morning until sun up the heavens opened. Tropical rain – is one of a kind! So many different sounds, and such powerful fall rate, it was pretty incredible to witness, even if it did wake me up!

 

After our time at Evergreen we felt sad to leave. Noelle was such a fantastic guide who knew his job and still had passion for it after 17 knowledgable years. He escorted us on our departure morning early at 5:30am to catch a domestic flight on a small plane across the land to our next destination on the Pacific coast – the Osa Peninsula.

Read the next instalment of Felicity’s Costa Rica adventure shortly.

Paradise on Earth

Paradise on Earth

Costa Rica, May 2017 – Paradise on Earth

May, 2017

#edenphotocomp 2016

Costa Rica Holiday

Paradise on Earth.

Costa Rica; a dream. After entering a photography competition I never expected in my wildest dreams that not only did a) my photo rank top of 13,000+ images but b) I won an incredible prize for two to visit Costa Rica.

I love photography and everybody knows me for always having a camera in my hand but after entering the Eden Project’s Competition through Instagram I was overwhelmed when my image was chosen over so many other fantastic photos. The prize was ever more incredible. A whole week of adventures to Costa Rica. Since the competition it has been an adventure from start to finish. I couldn’t quite believe the trip was happening but as the day grew nearer the jabs were sorted, the bug spray was packed and come May we were off! Nine day trip to Paradise.

From frogs who actually spoke ‘ribbet’, guides who mirrored the great Dr. Dolittle, having midnight chats with a bat, screaming macaws making sure you didn’t miss them fly by, a jungle which never sleeps and the local Domino challenge couldn’t be any more serious! To see tropical storms one minute and bright sunshine the next. The calmness and then the opposite. An enchanting experience like no other. To be in amongst the wildlife, to listen to nature. Echoes of birdsong, monkeys or insects continually share the space from sun up to sun up. 24 hours of chitter-chatter of musical ambiance from the nature which finds sanctuary both high and low across the land and more importantly all around you.

“From start to finish Costa Rica
is magical. A real gem in the natural world. ”

From start to finish Costa Rica is magical. A real gem in the natural world. We have so many incredible moments from our short time here in such an incredible country known well by its name “Rich Coast”. We had seven full days amongst the flora and fauna of this paradise land. A Utopia on Earth. It was fascinating and totally unique to anywhere I’ve been before. We packed in so much in just one week, a small time to visit such an enchanting place. There is so much the land offers; the jungle, the rainforest, the coast, the mountains, volcanoes and the villages. Everybody rises early around 5:30am when you catch the good light and there is a steady warm glow from the sun, and the birds are ready to start the day with you. Being so close to the Equator sunrise is around 5:30am and nightfall is approx 6pm, so its get up and get on!

The hardest job I had was choosing one friend to share the experience with, and after much deliberation I chose an old school friend; Poppy, who has always been there for me and we have helped each other through difficult times. Needless to say I had many people plea with me in the run up to the holiday!

Read the next instalment of Felicity’s Costa Rica adventure shortly