For the past few weeks 15minutesofgreen.com has been on hold while I have been experiencing the ‘pure life’ (Pura Vida) in Costa Rica.
This incredible land between the Pacific Ocean and Caribbean has a unique geography, rich in its variety of habitat. I travelled between humid tropical rainforests, jungle-fringed beaches and cool misty cloud forests, all teeming with spectacular wildlife.
Costa Rica covers less than 0.1% of the earth’s surface, yet it is home to 5% of the earth’s biodiversity. More than a quarter of this small Central American country is designated national park, biological reserve or wildlife refuge.
I can’t possibly do justice to the stunning scenery and jaw-dropping wildlife that I encountered, but I hope you will enjoy this brief snapshot of an inspirational country, which has reaped the benefits of putting conservation and the environment at the top of its list of priorities.
If you like trees, you’ll love Costa Rica. There are a lot of them (!) and the view from the top is simply breathtaking.
Below the dense green canopy lies a dimly lit underworld of strangler figs, bromeliads and giant ferns, bejeweled with heliconias and orchids.
Even outside the forests, the vegetation is vibrant and eye catching.
Astonishing bird life
Although we could hear birds wherever we walked, they were often extremely well hidden amongst impenetrable vegetation; even the most brightly coloured species had an uncanny knack of blending in with the nearest tree trunk or branch. It usually took the eagle eyes of our expert guide, Andres, to point them out, and even then it took a while to hone in on what he could see. But it was well worth getting to grips with our binoculars on this trip!
We would never have spotted the silent well-camouflaged sloths without expert help, but if we heard a rustling in the undergrowth, a little patience often revealed something furry snuffling across the forest floor …
… or swinging in the trees above us.
When it came to the reptiles and amphibians there wasn’t actually a lot of leaping going on. Most species were incredibly obliging when it came to having their photograph taken, posing sedately for their close-ups.
Seeing is believing
I could keep going, but you get the gist! In Costa Rica, every person is constitutionally entitled to ‘a healthy and ecologically balanced environment’, and that’s what they appear to have. I’m not saying they’ve got it all sorted (who has?!), but the UK could certainly take a leaf (or several, as they have plenty to spare!) out of their book when it comes to protecting the natural environment and our indigenous species.
I know that I am extremely privileged to have been able to travel to such an amazing place and that such an opportunity is not available to everyone, but if you are a nature lover and it is within the realms of possibility to visit Costa Rica – GO NOW!!
My favourite links to Costa Rica:
- Essential Costa Rica – official tourism website for Costa Rica
- Exodus – Costa Rica holidays (see Discover Costa Rica trip – as above!)
- Something in her ramblings – Lauren’s (mostly) solo travel blog; she’s currently living in Costa Rica
- Two weeks in Costa Rica – Matt and Jen’s fascinating insight into life in Costa Rica, and helpful itinerary planning