Why walking in the Costa Rican rainforest can invoke the power of the present moment?
Costa Rican nature is amazingly diverse. It’s one of the very few tropical forests where wildlife sightings are quite easy and that are small enough as for you to witness the different sorts of ecosystems there are.
The Costa Rican rainforest is absolutely magnificent, however, for you, my dear reader, never mind if you are on top of an alive volcano and surrounded by jungle, it makes no difference if while you are experiencing it, your mind is elsewhere.
And now, you can easily answer to that by saying “But that happens everywhere!” Oh yes, now, the question here is… Do you want to really experience the volcano and the rainforest and all that wonder, or you merely want to take the selfie and put it in your profile? Even if so, that’s all right! However, if you are one of those people who travel abroad and want the Costa Rican rainforest to become an experience to cherish and remember for life, go on reading, as this may be useful…
Be prepared with small things.
There is a saying in Spanish that I love, “The devil lives in the details”, meaning that small detail can ruin a great experience: Let me tell you what I am talking about: You forgot the repellent.
That one little detail can turn the Costa Rican rainforest in hell. Mosquitoes are thousands and you will not be able to slap them all at once. You slap one in your leg while twenty are drinking your blood from the arm slapping.
What are the small things?
- Repellent in cream and spray
- Sunscreen (Even if you will be under the canopy and it smells like rain.)
- A band for your hair
- Comfortable light fibers clothing
- A good pair of socks
- Good and very comfortable hiking boots
- Depending on your interests: Binoculars, good extra memory cards, and wildlife guides.
- A good rain poncho
- A light waist of a backpack
- A water bottle
- Some candy (In case of low sugar problems due to dehydration)
Organize it well
Give yourself the time to live the experience. Make it at the hour of the day when the sun is not perpendicular, either early in the morning or late in the afternoon, and not close to the meals or sunset.
If you are in a lodge, all meals are served at fixed hours. And sunset in the tropics is faster than you may imagine.
The best sunrise I ever experienced in my life was in La Fortuna region when the volcano was incredibly active.
I was spending a few off days with a good friend and decided to go to one of the various outlooks to see the dawn as the lava colors changed dramatically as the light shone over the mountain. This particular viewpoint was totally surrounded by rainforest. A small bench to see it and the frame of the eruptions was an exuberant rainforest teeming with toucans, monkeys and even a couple of scissor-tailed kites.
I had put attention to the moment. That was it. Nothing else. I probably had the same problems that any twenty-something college student has, the coming test, or the boyfriend that didn’t call… God only knows! But at that precise moment, I was not thinking about them, evidently. I was only there.
So, when you are on the trail, pay attention to everything! The shapes of leaves that can be quite surprising, the ant’s trails, the colors of the flowers, the myriad of sounds you hear. Smell the musty aromas, and carefully touch the rough textures of the tree barks (Look before putting your hand to anything! There are spiders that are exactly the color of trees).
This will create a reward for your attention more opportunity for you to see the wildlife. From a tiny red frog in the bottom of the forest floor to the play of monkeys above you.
Shhhhhhhh! Inner and outer silence is indispensable… Especially inner silence!
Focus on your breath and your body, every time a thought hits your mind see it go. Create a walking meditation experience in the Costa Rican rainforest.
When you are in silence, attention is almost effortless. And when you are putting attention, silence is inevitable.
If you follow point 2 and organized your walk in the forest with the good time you can have the gift of the enlightened: Patience.
Go slow. Create a space of silence and pay attention. There is no business meeting after the walk.
Play it safe
- Either if you are planning on walking by yourself or you are taking the hike with your travel mates, tell the hotel staff where you are going and DO NOT detour or exit the trails at any time. No matter what!
- If a storm starts, go back to the lodge immediately. Don’t question if it will stop, the fact is that in thunderstorm there is wind and there is lightning, and you do not want to be under the trees.
- Take the trials map and study it thoroughly and take more than one copy with you when you are walking.
- Always bring a small First Aid Kit with the indispensable including antihistaminic pills and ointment.
- Have an Emergency Self Defense Device (A whistle, pepper spray or similar) with you always. Costa Rica is quite safe, but nasty things have happened, and we do not want to risk anything!