“Climb the mountains and get their good tidings. Nature’s peace will flow into you as sunshine flows into trees”. – John Muir
Slowly I’ve been trying my best to readjust to being back home to a vastly different life. I spent seven days in the remote jungle of the Osa Peninsula of Costa Rica, a place that contains 2.5% of the world’s biodiversity and is Mother Nature at her best. I basically lived outside for a week, spending my days immersed in rainforests, waterfalls and the sea, and sleeping almost open-air each night to the music of the jungle. The sounds, smells, and sense of being completely engulfed in nature filled my wary soul with much needed rejuvenation and life. It was a magical trip to a stunning place alive with awe and wonder.
I deeply miss the sounds of the jungle – a symphony of music lulling me to sleep each night and waking me as the jungle came alive each sunrise. I miss the pure simple pleasure of the morning sun touching my face and the sweet fragrance of tropical flowers floating over me as I gingerly woke up each day. Most of all, I miss the sublime peace I felt being away from it all. No internet, no distractions, no worries or concerns except for a few itchy bug bites. A feeling of deep, pure freedom and the utter joy of being alive. The simple act of being, observing, enjoying and embracing.
I can hardly wait to share it all and introduce you to some of the most remote corners of Costa Rica. In the meantime, here are a few photos to inspire you to be patient and wait for the plethora of stories to come and entice you to experience Costa Rica through my eyes.
We rose at 3:30 am and hiked up to the top of the rainforest to watch the sunrise and the jungle come to life. Slowly everything woke up and we heard the howler monkeys roar, a pair of scarlet macaws flew overhead and the birds sung to greet another day in paradise.
There was a light mist hanging over the rainforest similar to the coat of humidity blanketing my body with warmth. Even in the wee hours of the morning, I looked forward to my refreshing afternoon swim in the jungle waterfall.
“Mirth is like a blast of lightning, that breaks through a gloom of clouds, and glitters for a moment; cheerfulness keeps up a kind of daylight in the mind, and fills it with a stead and perpetual serenity”. – Joseph Addison
During my week in the Osa Peninsula, I experienced rural tourism at its finest, staying with the locals where no tourists went. I immersed myself in Spanish language and culture, surrounded by the Osa’s incredible flora and fauna. I hiked into the depths of the Corcovado National Park seeing monkeys, macaws and sloths in the wild. I bathed in waterfalls and creeks, rode horseback at sunset, snorkeled in the reef, floated in the pure pristine waters off the coast of Costa Rica, and ate freshly made home-cooked meals every single day. I visited places no tourists have ever been. If there is a paradise on earth, I think I found it.
“We can only be said to be alive in those moments when our hearts are conscious of our treasures”. – Thornton Wilder
“We’re so engaged in doing things to achieve purposes of outer value that we forget that the inner value – the rapture that is associated with being alive, is what it’s all about”. – Joseph Campbell
My photos will never do the immense beauty of the place justice. I am always deeply disappointed in them when I get home. However, hopefully together with my words they will help me share the story of the amazing epic adventure I experienced this past week in one of the most magical places on earth. I’ve taken pages of notes and countless photos and videos which I plan to share. Stay tuned…
Glorious Nicole 😊 Can’t wait for more.
Thanks Andrew! Slowly catching up here!
I think your words and photos get across the beauty very well, even if your reality was even more wonderful. Thank you for sharing.
Oh thank you very much! I needed to hear those words. 🙂
Your photos are life-affirming!! Thank you so much for sharing <3
Thank you so much Hanna! I am truly glad you enjoyed them!
Costa Rica is one of my favorite countries! Your pictures not only are beautiful and render a great part of its homy, cozy, beautiful ambience but also reminds me of those times I spent there. Hiking in Osa Peninsula must have been so soothing… Can’t wait to see and read more of your time there.
Thank you so much! I just loved it there. I had volunteered there about five years ago and loved it but being in the Osa was really special.
Wow! Looks so colorful and beautiful! I love the sky…
Thanks so much! A burst of color and now back to white. The sky in the last two shots is “as is” meaning I didn’t even touch or edit it at all. It was that deep red! Crazy huh?
There are many fascinating sights out there in the world…you’re lucky to have seen so many!
Yes there are and I count my blessings. 🙂
It’s common to return from a trip like yours and think that “the photos don’t do it justice” (because how can they?). But rest assured that your narrative and images are literally breathtaking nonetheless! Thank you for taking the time to share them; I look forward to seeing more.
I wasn’t sure if it was just me! Thank you so much for the wonderful comment! I’m glad that you liked the photos and the words. I look forward to sharing the entire story. It was really a beautiful trip on many levels. Good for the soul. 🙂
Thank you so much! 🙂
What a wonderful experience!
Thanks Sue! I look forward to putting it all together and sharing. A very special trip. Different from any I’ve taken for a long time. Hope you are well! 🙂
😀 I’m fine thanks!
Hi Nicole, Happy New Year. What a lovely post with words and images very much fitting the ambience theme. What a beautiful experience. My husband has been mentioning Central \america as a travel destination a lot lately. I look forward to reading your posts about this.
I read a comment you put on Miriam’s post yesterday – sounds like you needed the recharge and I’m guessing it was sans kids and dog, otherwise waking up gingerly does not happen! Sounds perfect. Louise
Hi Louise! Happy New Year to you too! I had a wonderful time and yes it was just me. We actually are heading to a different part of Costa Rica for spring break this year with the whole family. This other trip I just went on came up after we had booked the spring trip. I had interviewed the founder of the company for my blog and then once I heard about the week long trip they were offering decided to go for it! It was so special. I really needed it. I think you should definitely look into C. America. I have been going a lot over the past few years as it is pretty easy to get there and I love it. CR is very very special. I also love Guatemala. Nicaragua is nice too but they are all so different. You could easily spend a month just in CR. It is so amazing! Hope you are well! Time to touch those toes again! 🙂
All good here. Yes definitely time to touch my toes again. In more ways than one.
Will look forward to hearing about it Louise when you do!
Thank you Ester. I appreciate you stopping by!
What a serene way to start the year! Happy 2017.
Thanks Jennifer! It was just what I needed. I had been feeling really distraught after the election and just needed to be immersed in a beautiful place with a beautiful culture. It made me realize that there is hope. Happy New Year Jennifer and I sincerely hope to see you soon. I miss you! P.S. Lovely post by your daughter on the blog! She is so lovely.
Our older daughter took me to Costa Rica for a week a few years ago. Our accommodations, while not luxurious, weren’t the same as yours, but we had a wonderful time and enjoyed the beauty of the place.
Wonderful Janet. Where did you go? My accommodations were very rustic most of the trip. One place we hiked up to a few hours into the jungle and had no electricity! But it was perhaps the most special night of all, being immersed in the jungle! Every place we stayed at was locally owned and run, and rural. It was quite the adventure. I can’t wait to write about it! Hope you are well! I am trying to catch up on blog reading and writing as the last month has been so busy.
We were near Manuel Antonio (https://www.anywhere.com/costa-rica/destinations/manuel-antonio). It’s a small rain forest area but quite nice. Also wonderful beaches. We went horseback riding with a young man who runs his own tour business (we were the only two, which was fun), on a boat trip to look for whales, etc. (saw a couple whales and tried snorkeling), and visited an organic farm that produces spices and all sorts of other things. It was a wonderful trip and a marvelous Christmas gift.
Sounds amazing Janet! What a lovely gift too! We actually have booked a family trip to CR for spring break. My kids have not traveled much outside the US (only once). It is our first big family trip. We planned this way before this other recent trip came up. Long story which I will share later. But we are
planning on going to Manuel Antonio with the kids as I have always wanted to go there. A Good friend of mine lived in CR last year so gave us the entire family itinerary. I am excited to see what my kids think of going to a new country! Most of our family trips have been to visit family or to amusement or national parks. Should be fascinating.
Remarkable shots, Nicole! Actually, I admire your incredible photo skills! 😍👍
Oh Amy! Coming from you, that truly means a lot. I love your incredible skills. The first set of photos downloaded were nothing like what I saw. I had a hard time working with such intense light and humidity (my lens constantly fogged up!). But I ran them through Lightroom to try to tone them down and do the best I could. I am really glad you enjoy them. More coming soon! 🙂
P.S. Your macro photography skills would have come in handy with all the flowers and the birds. Wished I had a better lens to get the wildlife. That will be a memory inside my head! 🙂
Appreciate your compliment! Your sunsets/sunrises are awesome! I also love your maintain images with clouds and fog. 🙂 💖
Oh thank you Amy!
What a great description of the Osa Peninsula! I was lucky to live in Costa Rica for a couple of years as a Peace Corps Volunteer. Hiking through Corcovado is such a special experience…I remember seeing flocks of colorful macaws flying over the deserted beach, which was one of the most magical sights I’ve ever seen.
Wow amazing!!! What part or CR? My entire trip was rural tourism so I visited the four main rural communities in the Osa and stayed there. It was truly amazing. I was so impressed by their recent conservation and preservation efforts. They are doing a lot to try to protect the unique habitat. I learned about gold mining and how the people are trying to stop it and turn to rural tourism instead. Same with illegal hunting. There is a lot of potential if they can just get the word out there. What a sight of the macaws! I always saw them in pairs never a flock. My favorite was hiking six hours on the newly opened trail at Los Brazos de Tigre into the Corcovado. Just
My friend and a guide. We saw no people and four sloths and countless other animals and birds. It was
Hi. You seem to have experienced a slice of heaven! The pictures are fabulous…but I know what you mean when you say it does not do justice to the real beauty of a place or a moment…I too always am disappointed with the pictures. But thank you for sharing your experience and allowing us a glimpse of it, through the pictures.
please keep sharing these wonders of life….looking forward to more.
Thank you so much for your kind words. I appreciate it and yes more coming soon! 🙂
Beautiful to read and magical photographs, even if you feel they do not do justice to what you actually saw. Thankyou for sharing.
Thank you so much ! So glad you enjoyed the post and the photos! 🙂
Nicole this was a simply stunning post and through your words and beautiful photos I caught a glimpse of the magic of this place. I can’t wait to read more of your posts though I dare think they’ll just make me want to pack my bags and head to the jungles.
Ha love that Miriam! I felt so alive there. More coming soon and yes you may want to head out to the jungle after reading the posts!
Looks fabulous. It’s confirmed my plan to go there in the next two years. Just need to find time. Looking forward to your posts 😆
Thank you so much! Yes finding time is always the challenge but you will love it!!!
Awesome pics! What an great adventure to be out there into the wild and just enjoy the nature on your own! Keep up and would love to see some more of your pics!! 🙂
Thanks so much! Yes it was a very liberating feeling. I felt so alive and well and happy. Thanks for the support and more coming soon. Just going to take my time telling the story so I do it right! 🙂
Sure. It my pleasure to follow your post! All the best! 🙂
What a magical week you had! How did you tear yourself away? There is something about jungle by the water that hold a special spiritual quality, at least for me. The photos were splendid and I look forward to more.
Yes it was my first real time in the jungle and it was magical. I would just sit and listen to all the beautiful sounds. I felt so incredibly alive and at peace. It was very hard to come back. Good thing I had my family waiting for me or else I probably wouldn’t have wanted to leave!
Sounds like it was a magical trip. Looking forward to reading more 🌸
Thank you! More to come!!! 🙂
Best wishes for settling back in Nicole. Your images are amazing and what a good thing to be able to disconnect for a time.
Thanks Sue. I have realized that this is the kind of travel I like best. Getting way away from it all and being immersed in nature. I love to hike and I loved this trip. 🙂 It is hard being back given our current reality here.
I’m always deeply disappointed in my photos as well; they never seem to capture all that the eye can see, but that makes sense, I suppose. Our eyes are attached to our brains, and in there we have the feelings and thoughts we experienced while viewing while the photos can only hope to recreate that whole chain. In any case, I look forward to hearing what (and who) took you to a place where there were no tourists at all!
Yes I haven’t thought about that Lexi but true. I think for me I’m disappointed in how I don’t know how to use all the settings on my camera and how to work with intense light situation. I’m always in a rush too so I never have time to sit still and compose the photos. They are by the fly so sometimes they are blurry. Oh well. Better than nothing I guess. AS for the trip, I ended up doing this one that I posted about! https://thirdeyemom.com/2016/10/16/lokal-travels-upcoming-epic-trips-to-the-osa-peninsula/
I had interviewed the founder and realized that this was the trip for me. I actually think you would LOVE a trip with them too. They are working on a super cool one to Guatemala for this summer and a couple more of what I did. It was one of the best trips I’ve done ever. It was amazing and so immersive.
Thanks – I will check them out! And my photography problems mirror yours: rushing, not a full command of the camera, etc. We’ll always have our memories, though! 🙂
Nicole, what a treasure trove of memories, and what a soulful way to start the year.
Thanks Sally. I think you would have really loved it in the Osa given your passion for nature. I was very impressed too with CR’s conservation and preservation efforts. They are really working hard on protecting the environment and all its amazing wildlife (flora and fauna). I will share more in my upcoming posts.
Wonderful photos Nicole. It sounds like a very special week. I’m looking forward to hearing about it.
Thanks Alison. It was pure magic. I can’t wait to share more!
Wow! That’s amazing pictures. I have always wanted to experience the richness of the Costa Rican rain forest. Thank for bringing me along.
Thanks Otto. This is the place for you. I know you would love it there given what I’ve read on your blog. I will be sharing much more soon. Hope you are well and your year is off to a great start!
I am doing well, thank you. 🙂
Amazing photos! Thank you for sharing. I want to be there right now!
Thank you so much! So glad you enjoyed and yes I want to be back there right now! 🙂
Ah…Costa Rica. Love that place, but don’t think I got to Osa…I’ll have to google it? I did get to Manuel Antonio’s…is that nearby? I have a great story about that place, but no photos as they are in 35mm slide format (I went there ages ago). I know what you mean about the photos disappointing YOU, but others actually get to enjoy them….they are marvelous to our eyes.
Hi Badfish! So, Manuel Antonio is further north. The Osa is the southernmost tip of CR and borders Panama. It is really remote and can only be reached via small plane, boat or terrible roads. I loved it though. Where are you in the world right now?
Yeah, I didn’t get to the border to Panama, though, I did want to see the canal. But most of the roads I traveled were bad, except for the Pan American Hwy, which I drove from Colorado.
Now, I’m in Abu Dhabi, physically.
Wow you sure get around!
I’ve been pretty lucky!
Yes indeed! I feel quite blessed myself in being able to travel a lot. It is harder when you have a family yet thankfully my husband is amazingly supportive. We hope to do a lot more traveling as a family as the kids get older! Wish it wasn’t so expensive for a family of four though.
money…well, that is THE problem isn’t it, that, and food and carrying all the video games!
Yep….and those darn video games indeed!
Sounds absolutely awesome Nicole. Thank you for sharing your story with us 💕
Thank you! It was really soul warming. 🙂
Stunningly beautiful, Nicole, and you have the joy of recalling it all every time you look at the photos. 🙂
Thanks Jo! I needed this trip!
Just passed through your post by a accidental click from another’s blog. Good kick-off for new year, Thirdeyemom. Just fine captures! Love all the shots. Looking to see more 🙂
Wow! I can’t wait to visit CostaRica. 😀
It is amazing! Just posted my first day of the trip! Check it out.
Beautiful photos! Thanks for sharing.
Thank you and so glad you enjoyed the photos!
I volunteered at the Osa conservation in 2013. I had the time of my life there. I’m so glad it hasn’t become a tourist location with big hotels and souvenir shops so it can stay as beautiful as it is.
Wonderful! What did you do as a volunteer? Must have been quite an experience. Yes it is really nice that it is not all built up and they are taking pride in conserving this pristine area. It is quite a treasure.
We built a nature trail for Costa Rican youth and the occasional tourist.
That must have been amazing!
I can’t wait to take my travels to Costa Rica. Great photos 🙂
Check out and follow my blog if you’d like 🙂
Thank you! I just liked your Facebook page so I can get your posts there. Just returned again from Costa Rica on Sunday. Went to a different part. I loved it. Stay tuned as more stories coming. A wonderful place for people who love the outdoors and nature and adventure! 🙂
That’s awesome. I’m glad we connected. I followed you on FB and Twitter as well 🙂
Great! Thanks! I did too.
Beautiful photos. Just stunning.
Thanks so much! Really appreciate the comment!
I spent two weeks on the Oaa Peninsula a couple of years ago. Nice to know it hasn’t lost it’s beauty <3
Yes it is still quite undeveloped. I just got back from another trip to CR and went to Manual Antonio and was shocked by the overdevelopment. It was so disappointing. I found out that the regulations and laws had really changed so hopefully that means the Osa won’t be ruined since now it is protected. M.Antonio had developed before they changed their conservation laws and it is a mess now. Way too many tourists and the poor animals.
I had no idea that Costa Rica was so stunning! The photos inspire me to want to travel there. What camera are you using?
If you have time, check out my latest blog post at https://tootinghustle.wordpress.com/2017/01/24/views-and-motivation/ and let me know what you think!
Happy blogging x
Thanks so much for the comment and sorry for not responding soon! I was traveling. Costa Rica is marvelous. I have a panasonic and honestly use my cellphone a bit as it is amazing. Great blog you have! Thanks for sharing! Nicole