Monday, February 24, 2014

Paradise - The scariest place ever

Amy hanging with our parrot friend
After deciding the city wasn't for us, we went and ventured off to the complete opposite location. I organized us to do some volunteer working which provided us with accommodation, usage of kayaks, snorkeling gear and horses too! Dolphin Quest Healing and Eco Lodge was to be the next adventure, and an adventure it was. A 7 hour bus ride took us down to the Gulf of Dulce, very near the southern boarder with Panama. We spent a night in Golfito, and expected to be picked up the next day to get to new home, accessible only by boat. We quickly experienced some true "tico time" though, as we waited hours for our boat to come collect us and take us to our wilderness retreat.   

View from our treehouse room
This place was unreal, run by an eccentric gringo who had let the place go a bit. Although a trip to listen to him tell stories, he was very loopy. Another worker from Spain lived and worked there and that was about it. The place was a large area of jungle forest within the National Park Corcovado with just a few open air 'ranchitos' and a main kitchen and dinning house overlooking the bay. We lived in the big house at the back of the property and had the most amazing view from our bed. A complete panorama of the surrounding forest, open to side breeze and all the sounds of the jungle. It was a magical place to sleep. Of course nature enjoyed joining us, bats, bugs, ants and all.  

Thomas, Raymundo and Amy with her fish
Our duties varied, but we quickly realized that this gig might not be for us. The owner wanted us to help restore the place, with six hours of decently grueling work for us to do every day. Amy was sent to clean out spaces that looked like they hadn't ever been cleaned, and I had to do manuel labor. After the first day or two, we decided to just stick it out a week, and then quickly get away from there. As soon as we told our plans to the boss, he let up on the work, and pretty much just let us relax the whole time. So we just enjoyed the free time and came away with a great week experience, which cost us nothing just a few hours here or there raking or helping serve meals to the three guests. 

Scarlet Macaws
The rest of the day was ours so we took advantage of where we were. We went fishing one afternoon and Amy caught two nice fish and I got one. They were our dinner that night and were delicious. We swam multiple times every day, usually watching the sunset from the water too. We walked along the beach, went kayaking and snorkeling, and even once played a game of soccer with a few local ticos. We brought our own food for the week, but Victor (the Spanish worker) showed us how to make our own coconut milk one day. We didn't have to look far for a fallen coconut, and he showed us how to take off the husk, scrap away the inner flesh, and then squeeze the flakes into milk. We did this a few times, adding the milk to our food to make the most delicious meals! We made a fantastic satay for dinner, a creamy pasta and even added some coconut milk to our eggs for breakfast!!

De-husking the coconut

Spider Monkey
During the day, we were in love with all the life around the place. The endangered scarlet macaws were scattered everywhere basically littering the trees and made the most amazing racket. There was a caiman crocodile in a nearby pond. A parrot would join us at breakfast to try to steal food and just chat. A spider monkey would come out and say hello too, and we had a cool moment where I reached up towards him and he stretched down and we 'shook hands'! There were iguanas and turtles by the pond. Dolphins were swimming in the bay and all sorts of birds took to the skies.   

At night however, the wildlife took on a more terrifying nature. Amy in particular didn't like it. She didnt enjoy the bats that lived in our bathroom, the scorpions or the snakes that would lay on the paths to our room. The bugs that enjoyed living in our drying bathing suits or clothes caused her some concern and the ones that tried to join us in bed really worried her. To give her credit she did really well and braved out all that in one of the world's most diverse rainforests. Luckily, we didn't see any jaguars, or else she really would have had a heart attack. With daily highs of 34 degrees C by 10 am, and not cooling off all that much over the evening and with the humidity through the roof, we did take it pretty slow. Lots of showers to cool off in and we would relax in the shade in a hammock during the middle of the day. It was an amazing and unique experience in such isolation. A bit of paradise, maybe not that scary after all.

Thomas and Amy in Paradise


  1. What an adventure. I agree that maybe a week was enough though. I love the photo of Thomas with the monkey but why is Thomas hanging in the tree? Haha. No really I can tell them apart, just! And I'm totally with Amy on the wildlife. No way do I go anywhere near bats in the bathroom. It freaked me out just reading about bugs in clothes and beds!!!!!
    What's next after that?
    Love Mum

  2. Cool Guys you have had amazing experiences!!! Thanks for sharing them. That Croc looked like it wanted you? And you may have been easier to get than the monkeys!! I look forward to your next adventures, you're even more fun than reading 'Biggles' !! More like "The Jungle Book'?
    Cheers DAD D