Landing in Puerto Jimenez, a girl, who is also a fellow volunteer, climbing out of the small plane that held myself, three other passengers and the pilot turns to me and says “even the air smells green”. She is right; I have never before been anywhere where you are so surrounded by nature, day and night.
This is especially true of the national park that Camp Osita lies on the fringe of. The entrance to Corcovado national park is a thirty minute walk from camp where I and four fellow volunteers taking a day away from camp met our guide. Stepping past the boundary of the park it felt like the trees instantly loomed larger and the amount of wildlife multiplied, yet a sense of peace fell on the group. Along the beachside path we were lucky enough to spot sloths, spider monkeys, leaf bitter bats, toucans, countless hummingbirds, scarlet macaws and even a tapir!
For me some of the most interesting parts of the day included our guide telling us about the medicinal properties of the different plants we saw along the way - this highlighted the importance of conserving this beautiful area. He showed us how to use vines as a source of water if in an emergency situation and how termites can be used as a source of protein when food is scarce. The trail culminated in a section of the tropical beach where a young humpback had washed up some time ago. All that remains of it now is an impressively sized skeleton - something I never would have thought I’d have the opportunity to see outside a museum before coming to Costa Rica! A swim in a secluded waterfall pool on the return journey could not have come soon enough for our warm, tired feet!
The best part of Costa Rica for me can be summed up by stopping to eat lunch in the shade on the beach whilst spider monkeys swung in the trees above and anteaters rustled through the leaves. I could not have felt further from civilisation and couldn’t have been happier. The jungle truly has me under its spell!