Monday, October 4, 2010

Trip to Costa Rica - The Trek

 So all set to trek the rain forests of Corcovado. As I mentioned in my previous post, Corcovado is the most diverse area on earth with vast flora and fauna. The peninsula is breath-taking, my words or pictures would not do even a bit of justice to the beauty of this place. I was repeatedly telling my guide "William, you are lucky to be living here".

Our trail was alternating between the rain forests and the Pacific sea coast. As we walked through the forests, the thick canopy and the wet lands beneath our feet, green and marshy foliage all around, the incessant buzz of the insect Cicada, the entire ground covered with thick roots spread and strangling one another; over neath, up above, hanging everywhere. At a close distance was the constant crash of the waves of the sea. The rain forest and the sea just beside one another was truly out of this world.

I am not a regular hiker, it was difficult to walk through the forests, climb up, wade through the numerous rivers and rivulets, jump across huge trees that have fallen down and are decomposing to be a rich manure, walk through slush and crawl across densely grown trees. Got pierced by thorns on trunks of some trees when I tried to hold them for support. Walking through the sand on the sea coast was tough; walking through sand and snow is very touch. If its hike, forget it!! Got my ankle sprained but had to walk along.

Learnt a lot about the flora and fauna, saw so many animals, birds, insects and plants, understood their importance and their uniqueness. Got to experience nature's abundance and generousness, nature's beauty and strength. At few places, we had to hike on the beach as the trees were all fallen and the forest was inaccessible due to gutsy winds and land slides. Whenever we were thirsty, all we had to do was inform William. He would just walk to one of the numerous coconut tree, use his machete and break tender coconuts and give it to us. To savor the sweet water while our eyes feasted on the magnificent sea and the virgin forests and birds flying and our ears were treated with music of waves crashing; sometimes with the song of the scarlet macaws flying in pairs.

Regular breaks for water and food, walked for 9+ hours the first day to reach the camping spot. Covered 20 kms. It was a physically straining experience; taught how magnificent and powerful nature is and what blunder we have been doing by disturbing nature's balance. The hiking had to be timed; there are periods of low and high tide. The sea is shallow and rocky. Rivers to be crossed during low tide else the water from the sea fills the land mass and the rivers have strong currents. High tides bring bull sharks and hammerhead sharks to the river from the sea; dangerous to cross then. Rivers are homes to salt water crocodiles as well. We were playing and bathing in those rivers and my guide was quiet. Only at the end of the day; did he say about the crocodiles. We were like "Oh God!! I would have been a delicious meal". Low tides means it was possible to walk further by climbing over huge and sharp rocks; high tides would not make that possible. These rocks had to be tread carefully so as to not step on countless molluscs that rested and covered almost every face of those rocks.

William knew when to leave us aloof and when to take care of us. We trusted him. Chatted about our work, where we were from; chatted about him. He was fascinated by our English accent and our command over English. He wished to learn more; he was fascinated to hear that we have come from California. He wanted to visit the States while we wanted to stay back in his place. How queer is the ways of the world :-)

This guide knew the place so very well. We would keep hiking, all of a sudden, he would stop, ask us to keep silent and not move and then show us some animal or a bird. It would be just right in front of us, but we would not see them. He sometimes would stop and show us up above; there would be some creature. If not for him, we would not have seen so many animals and birds. Very surprising it was, when we ask how did you find out, he would simply say "I could smell the presence" or "Its my place. My forest. This is where I was born and I grew up here. I know" So true!

The path we tread...Virgin, secluded, serene and mesmerizing. Even though the hike was brutally strenuous, I it seems had a smile on my face. My eyes were not enough to take in, my mind was not able to comprehend the beauty.

A dead tree trunk bathed by sea water. Death is also beautiful, isn't it? 

Our first stop at the ranger station. Now why do anyone say NO to work here? Overlooking the sea, sit back relaxed and sip Costa Rican coffee...

 One of the numerous varieties of mushrooms.

Welcome to the rain forest. In few years, one of these trees will strangle the other and grow. Survival of the fittest.

Endagered Central-American Squirrel Monkey. Its found only in pacific coast of Costa Rica and north western tip of Panama bordering Costa Rica.

Our way...............narrow but definite :-)

Trees are cut to make way. 

Black Hawk.

Striated due to constant crashing of waves.

Molluscs resting all over these rocks. Had to carefully walk on them so as to not to squash them

 Mushrooms again. A separate has to be dedicated for them. They are everywhere, in all shapes, colors and sizes.

Coati. Its a type of Racoon

I dare not hold this for support!!

The water was bluish green - teal color. Due to dull lighting, the color could not be captured.

 Molluscs all around.

Tiny creeks just flow from the forest to the sea.

Breathless :-)

White-faced Capuchin. Its very important to rain forest ecology for dispersing seeds and pollen

One of the many times when we enter the sea from rain forest.

Cicada.  The rain forest is buzz with its song always. To hear the song of the cicada - Cicada song

Green honey creeper. I guess thats the one :-S

Grey-headed Chachalaca

Red tailed squirrel

So many such rivulets. I felt very bad to disturb their natural border while crossing them

 One can keep gaping and gaping....In awe.

A sea life. It was rich red and spongy

:-) I dont have any words to put as caption.

Thick vegetation. The rain forests dont depend on anyone for manure. They feed themselves. Trees and leaves fall down, decompose and the manure is food for others alive.

Thats how rich the soil is.

Baird's Tapir. Its native to Central America.  As we neared our camping station, this one just crossed our path. We were told by other campers that we were lucky to have seen them. Some people wait for weeks to see them but they dont get to see. We saw them all 3 days we camped :-)

The camping station. After 20 kms of trek through rain forest and  the sea. Saw lot more animals and birds the next 2 days.

More later :-)


  1. For the fifth one from the end, the one you had no caption for :

    Life passes by
    like footprints
    in the sand,
    by the dissipating waves.

    For the patriarch,
    ruggedly geriatric,
    it's all about
    holding ,
    with the support
    of a now slim
    but aged
    the roots below.

    Letting the sap of
    family values
    flow through
    as the young ones,
    and younger ones,
    and some
    youngest ones,
    spread out, mix
    and interact
    Bharat Natyam style...

    More footsteps,
    more waves,
    more branches
    finding their place in the world......

    And the dance of life
    on the Beach,

    Greatly enjoyed your narrative and the photos ...wonderful post!

  2. wow..uve nailed it with ur pics yet again..jaw dropping they are!

  3. Super travelogue.I just had armchair travel to Costa Rica:)

  4. This is a gorgeous post! I love the photo of the tapir in the wild. I wonder if you would allow me to use the photo with credit as a link to your blog on my tapir blog? You can see the blog here:

    It's a nonprofit for tapir conservation.

  5. Insignia, just changed my recent post....published the story there itself.

  6. Insignia , What a wonderful trip, You are also lucky to have got a good guide. It was a strenuous trip but definitely worth all the trouble is it no? photos are really great. keep sharing.

  7. excellent photos n post..How queer is the ways of the world :-) u said it friend...

  8. I am bewitched - by your narrative as well as the superb photos! You have become a true wildlifer! Thanks a lot for showing me a different world with such panache! Loved it absolutely. The only problem is -

  9. Beautiful pictures. Excellent travelogue. Detailed but not dragging. As I wrote in your previous post, feels like I have been experiencing this trip myself. Corcovado is one extravagant gesture of creation by nature.

  10. Ugich,

    Thank you so much once again. Your words give meaning and new perspective to the picture. Glad you enjoyed this post. As usual, please go ahead and use them :-)

  11. Madhu,

    Thanks much. Glad you liked them

  12. Holy Lama,

    Thanks so much. :-) Glad you liked them.

  13. tapirgirl,

    Welcome to B Log. Thanks a lot. Sure thing, I could do my bit in helping conserve these gorgeous creatures.

    I am sure you would use it in the right way. Please go ahead.

  14. chitra,

    Thanks. It was one hell of a trip. I was in sheer luck to have such an amazing guide. It was strenuous, trouble? Oh no!! It was pleasure. :-)

  15. Bala sir,

    Thank you so much, its a pleasure. True wild lifer?? Awww thats a long way to go. Its truly a much different world. YOU SHOULD PACK YOUR BAGS AND FLY TO COSTA RICA RIGHT AWAY!!! WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR :-)

  16. SG,

    Thank you so much. I dont wnat to bore the readers, so making sure I dont. :-)
    Corcovado is nature's generous gift to mankind. :-)

  17. Insignia,

    Your words describe the best. I really liked the following

    "The path we tread...Virgin, secluded, serene and mesmerizing. Even though the hike was brutally strenuous, I it seems had a smile on my face. My eyes were not enough to take in, my mind was not able to comprehend the beauty."

    These two sentences tell me the whole story.

    Some pictures are really good but I think I will take your words (literally too) for the beauty of this place. If I get a chance and have money, it is next on my list now.

  18. You can seriously think of compiling the photographs and your excellent narration into a book- a travelogue.
    A few years ago I was in Andaman Nicobar and I see that the Costa Rican land scape, sea line and vegetation are a lot similar.

  19. A,

    Thank you so much. Yet, there are few things that you dont have words to express. This experience is one of them. How much ever I wax eloquent, it wont be sufficient to describe what I felt.

    Again, pictures dont do any justice at all for the beauty of this place. I was in trans. There was no lighting at all when these pictures were clicked.

    You should definitely visit the place if you get a chance.

  20. anil,

    Thank you, I will seriously consider this when I get back to India. I have not been in Andaman, if you say so.

    But the animals and birds are definitely unique to this place :-)

  21. Lovely pictures and words.. What camera do you use?

  22. Oh yes, The fauna I m certain is unique to the central Americas as you say.
    In the Andaman archipelago I saw from your picture the topography and flora seems some what same.
    But you have captured some better and nice pics.

  23. Amazing, Insignia!
    Its a totally wonderful trip, into the wilderness and its awesome sights. The photos filled my eyes. Its great that you took the effort of sharing it all, in a nice way :)
    I'll poke you for the details, Whenever I'll have the chance of reaching out these places!

  24. great pics..loved the narration and description..i SO wanna go there right now!

    we had been to forest visits a few was in remote places of UP - places like Gokul - lord Krishna's birth place and 3-4 more such places.. will discuss the whole experience over chat :)

  25. Bedazzled,

    Thanks much. :-) My camera is a sony point and shoot one. Not that great. We had another camera as well - Nikon D40. But was frustrated with the limitations of 18-55 mm lens. Couldnt capture lot of things which required shutter speed and zoom.

  26. anil,

    :-) Yeah, thats nice that we have something similar in India. I am yet to visit Andaman, I would love to sometime. I should plan for it.

  27. et,

    Thanks. Yeah, it was. My pleasure :-)
    You should go sometime, I will help you with the places for sure :-)

  28. Neha,

    Thank you. Glad you liked them.
    You should go sometime at least once in your lifetime.
    Yeah, waiting to hear the story.

  29. What to say on photos, no words to express. Ek se bhadkar Ek. You made us to view entire Costa Rica thru these excellent photos.

    I love the Cicada Song.

  30. Woah! enjoyed the Pictorial tour! Cool! :)

  31. Naidu sir,

    Thanks a lot. Credit also goes to Gautam. You heard the song of Cicada? Thats nice.

  32. Shesha,

    Thanks, glad you enjoyed them

  33. Wow! You had such a great time...all the pics are simply wow! The tree-cut path for walking looks so inviting, so does the rest of the landscape..beautifully narrated through words and pics :)

  34. Destiny's child,

    Yeah thank you :-) They were inviting for sure. Glad you liked them.

  35. I tread the less trodden path,
    with you leading the way,
    and me following right behind,
    through your words and pictures...

    Thank you for the most amazing journey, discovering the abundant treasures that lay hidden in nature :) Hope to hear more of your experiences that take me to the land yonder, even if miles away!

  36. RGB,

    Hahahaa thank you so much. I am glad you felt if not all; part of the journey.

    Yup, yup, lot more coming your way :-)

  37. I cant say more.Your post is unique.You have a way with words.And your pictures talk as well.I feel sorry I joined you late.

  38. dr.anthony,

    Thank you so much. This is such a wonderful compliment. Oh no! dont feel sorry for joining late. Better late than never. I am glad you really liked the post and my pictures. :-)


I'd love to know what you thought :-) Please shoot!