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The Gap Year Blog

Turning 19 In The Jungle

23 Feb 2016 15:30 PM

I spent my 19th birthday, rather uniquely, in the depths of the Costa Rican jungle. For the first time, I wasn’t at home for my birthday. I wasn’t really sure what to expect of the day, seeing as half of the camp I had only known for total of a week. Thankfully, I was happily surprised by the bubbly reception I received when I woke up.

Surveys ran as normal but moral was extra high. We played music to and from the trails and I was given gifts of freshly picked flowers and even a dead crab along the walk. The morning survey was a pilot survey, called reptiles and amphibians. As the name suggests, we were tasked with spotting as many reptiles and amphibians as possible on the trail. When we noticed one, we caught and identified it. Since it is dry season and the trail is exposed in some sections, we were unable to see any amphibians. However, we did identify several species of anole lizards.

This year my birthday happened to fall on Pancake Day. As soon as we returned from surveys, Nicole got to work creating her well-practised and refined pancake mix, one of the few luxuries we have on camp. After lunch, I had plenty of time to relax, call my parents and take a much needed shower.

In the evening Jenna (Research Manager) suggested we all go to Lookout, a local bar and lodge 20 minutes from camp, for a celebratory drink and to watch the sunset. It was a really nice idea to get everyone out of camp and we couldn’t have chosen a better viewpoint. When I arrived back to camp for dinner, I was surprised with personalised balloons and a specially made chocolate cake. We had a lovely group meal and then stuffed ourselves with cake.

I had a fantastic day and it truly was a birthday I will never forget.


By Amanda May - Wildlife Conservation Volunteer

Find out more about Costa Rica Big Cats, Primates & Turtles Conservation.

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