Lush green rainforest, white-sand beaches, an abundance of wildlife and chocolate growing on trees! Maria Hach discovered that it doesn’t get much sweeter than Costa Rica!…
“Monteverde Cloud Biological Reserve is the closest to heaven that I have ever been. The fog, climate and altitude made the experience of hiking in an area immersed in cloud extraordinarily surreal. Our guide was a native Costa Rican and trained naturalist. As I followed him around the forest, walking on barely discernable trails, I listened intently to him talk about the history and character of the reserve.
Every so often our guide would identify a plant or tree and explain its role; this ecosystem was intricately entwined, nothing works in isolation. The naturalist was implicated in this world, he was a part of the ongoing process, his footprints were our footprints, his knowledge became our knowledge, we saw what he saw. He tapped me on the shoulder, turning to face him, he pointed to a distant tree and set up his telescope. Curious, I looked through the telescope and after several attempts, I spotted a bright emerald snake, happily coiled around a leafless tree branch. What took me five minutes to distinguish through a telescope took the naturalist a few seconds to notice with his naked eye. His ears were attuned to this forest, he could understand the song of birds and sang along, simple, as if it were a universal language.
My boots were muddy and my t-shirt wet, my feet were tired and my legs itchy from insect bites. Ordinarily I would have been uncomfortable and petulant, but hiking in the forest, listening to birds and walking amongst trees with the biggest canopies I had ever seen made me realize something – I was indeed in heaven.”
Costa Rica has also been chosen to host the 3rd International Travellers’ Philanthropy Conference in July, 2011. Please click here for more information.
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* photo by Rebecca Dobson – Intrepid Photography Competition