The idea of exploring Costa Rica originally entered my head through a few people who had spent some time in the area, particularly Guatemala, Mexico, Haiti and Panama. While the latter few never had much appeal, the stories of Costa Rica and Guatemala drew me in, enough to start reading and exploring the region.
I had read of the volcanoes and rainforests in Guatemala, and the hikes to the top of the mountains before sunrise, were you could sit peacefully amidst the dense clouds, mist and morning fog. As the sun would rise and the morning rolled in, a rich and vibrant jungle would be exposed before your eyes.
Those who spoke passionately of their experiences in Guatemala and Costa Rica were the same people who marveled over the experiences in Thailand, Indonesia and India over a decade ago. Sharing these experiences and this passion and not yet having the opportunity to explore the Central and Latin American region, I had always wondered what a tropical rainforest would ‘feel like,’ how it would engulf you, sweep you away and bring you closer to nature. The stories that we had heard about Costa Rica prior to our arrival, never truly revealed its culture or lack thereof, the friendliness of its people, and ease of travel despite the underdeveloped roads, or the carefree healthy attitude towards family, food and life in general.
I suppose if anything was revealed so apparently to us prior to our departure, was the richness of its tropical rainforests and an inherent belief in preserving them and the rest of the environment. While a little rest and relaxation on a quiet remote beach was in the back of both of our minds, adventure and an increased exposure to and a greater appreciation of nature and the region was a higher priority. I don’t think we really understood the magnitude of the latter until we arrived, and San Jose, like most third world cities, didn’t give us the feeling of what we were about to experience in the country’s interior over the next few weeks.