"Do not follow where the path may lead. Go instead where there is no path and leave a trail” - Ralph Waldo Emerson
After reorganizing our bags for our trip into the jungle, we woke up early this morning to catch a boat ride out of Tortuguero. On the ride, we spotted three types of monkeys, sloths, bats, jesus lizards, and various birds. The boat dropped us off at a random spot along the river were a van was waiting to take us to the base camp of Rara Avis. We began our journey into the jungle by travelling along the Tortuguero and La Suerte rivers. Shortly after, we boarded a van and then were transported by a tractor-drawn cart excellent for navigating the jungle along rugged uphill terrain on the way to our special jungle oasis.
At the base camp, we left our packs, and took only waht we would need for the next few days. We were given rubber boats, and were told that we were not allowed to wear our own hiking boats in the rainforest. The bumpy ride into the jungle retreat took about two hours. Then, we hiked the last hour and a half to get to the jungle lodge. We arrived shortly before dark and a huge thunderstorm.
We made it to our rooms right before it started pouring. We shared a room with two other girls on the trip. There was no electricity in the jungle, except for in the open air kitchen where our meals were prepared with the help of a generator. After arriving, we had dinner and met our naturalist guides. They gave us some tips for survival over the next few days.
After eating a nice meal, we moved the tables off to the side, and danced to salsa, merengue, and reggaeton music with our group and the staff at Rara Avis.
The next morning, we ate breakfast at 7:30, and then headed out for a three hour hike with our guide. We both slipped and fell on the muddy jungle paths. However, Kelly got completely stuck once and stepped out of her boot in a particularly muddy area. It took a while to pull her boat from the sinkhole, but eventually she got it back on her foot.
Ben, our guide, taught us about the plants and wildlife and the complex relations between them while on our hike. Over 360 species of birds have been found in the area and the treetops are full of vines, lianas, bromeliads, orchids, and butterflies.
After returning from the kike, we were able to swim in large crystalline pools at the base of the twin waterfalls. This was Laura´s favorite part of the trip by far. It was a nice way to relax and cool off after a busy morning.
Following our dip by the waterfalls, we had lunch and spent time chatting with the group. We both paid extra for an hour long massage. It was a great way to end the day.
We woke up around 5 to leave Rara Avis by way of tractor. It took about three hours to get back to the base of the camp. From there, a van drove us about three hours into La Fortuna where we will be spending the next few days.