Today we had the pleasure of experiencing a Costa Rican tropical rainforest hike and let me tell you, most of us wouldn’t last a night out there. It’s beautiful but also designed to bring maximum pain for whoever doesn’t know their role in that stunning yet unforgiving landscape. Luckily most of the lethal creatures are nocturnal but you still need to watch your step despite being drawn to all surreal scenery surrounding you…
Let’s back up a moment, yes? We arrived at this lodge and we were the only people there. Selva Bananito Eco Lodge sleeps 22 comfortably but 44 when it comes to students and volunteers. Eating in the dining room when it’s just your crew and the staff is an experience in itself. It’s like you’re some medieval lord of sorts(or so I always imagine) on a 2000 hectare estate drinking a shot of rum inside a fresh coconut without a care in the world. The meal was great and considering there isn’t much to do, went to bed early. Early to bed, early to rise is the way of nature lovers and the wise…
If you’re going on a rainforest tropical hike, you need to leave early. It’s so humid here that by mid-day, you’ll seriously wish you left earlier as you ring your shirt out as though it had just been washed. We hit the road at 8:30 and even then, would have loved to have left earlier. There is a lot of biodiversity and included in the mix are several species of viper. No joke, no more than 15 meters into the dense brush a snake slithers along the soil between the guide and I to which I bring his attention. He tells me it’s a viper aka “silent death” and just a baby but venomous enough to kill an adult, awesome.
That was the only snake we saw but countless poisonous frogs including the poison dart frog which was cool and colorful. Later we saw one and I got up close for a decent photo, as decent as an iphone can shoot wildlife that is. There were other frogs that wore orange jump suits with little blue boots who looked fun to party with. A basic rule is if an animal is bright and wanting to be seen it means eat me and die. If it’s camouflage it means that it is hiding because it’s a likely meal for a predator, makes sense?
Scared of spiders? Come try your luck as there are massive webs everywhere with all sorts of interesting shapes and sizes of eight legged creatures. Some are even in the middle of the path, I went to answer a call of the wild and found myself inches from this massive one photographed above, sort of scary but they mean no harm, just leave them be, yes? We also heard some other random animals doing their thing and on a side note, a bat named “Pat” appears to live in our cabin.
Make sure you bring a lot of water with you as it’s so humid you feel like you’re melting. We’re located in a mountain range but hiking to the peak is not recommended, simply because if you did step on a snake that deep inside you’d be dead by the time you made it to a hospital. Also it is so humid that unless you’re a glutton for punishment, you’ll want to turn back half way. Remember that the more you move, the faster the poison circulates through your blood and the sooner you expire.
Truth be told, more tourists have died from adventure sports than snake bites but it does happen. Farmers are most likely to get it as they chop some grass, the snakes gets out of the way but coils not much further in a don’t mess with me stance, they don’t notice and keep chopping until the snake chomps on them. As a tourist, unless you get unlucky they want nothing to do with you, having a viper a few inches from my feet was a bit close for this gentleman and I’m not scared of much. That said, I did shriek like a small school girl a few times; don’t act tough and don’t judge as you’d probably do the same…
Great times and very cool experience but no rush to go do it again anytime soon, it’s intense.
Oh yeah, wrote this from blogging station above while at the lodge.
P.S: Still kicking it in Puerto Jimenez on the Osa Peninsula in Costa Rica.