After my invigorating bath in a nearby jungle waterfall, it was time to go back to Xiña’s’ cabin and relax a little before dinner. We were going to have an early night as our alarm clock would go off at 3:30 am for a pre-dawn hike up to the top of the jungle to watch the sunrise over the Osa Peninsula.

Xiña’s’ sister Nuria prepared our meal in the rustic cabin kitchen over a wood-burning fire and served us pasta with the vegetables we brought from Puerto Jimenez. We ate by candlelight since her cabin has no electricity and then spent the rest of the evening on our own. I sat on a hammock under the canopy of darkening trees and closed my eyes and listened. I was amazed by all the changing sounds of the jungle. From the continual buzz of the cicadas to the rustling of leaves and branches somewhere high above in the trees, it was a riotous symphony of sounds.

At first it was difficult for me to just sit there because as an active person it is always hard for me to be still. My body and mind seem to crave movement.  Yet once the lights were out for the night, it forced me to embrace the peace and tranquility of the jungle and fully, slowly unwind and relax. It was absolutely mesmerizing.

After a little while, I decided to change positions and left my hammock to move to a new place. Josue placed one of his handmade wooden chairs onto a platform that launches out into the jungle. He laid the chair back for me and told me to just listen. And I did. It was a surprisingly delightful experience somewhat like a deep meditation that made every inch of my body soft and warm. I closed my eyes and let the sounds of the jungle penetrate my soul.

By 9 o’clock, it was time to go to sleep. We had heard that there was a meteor shower so if we went an hour before sunrise perhaps we would see a few shooting stars. I slept in the front room and was lulled to sleep by the sounds of the jungle. The vibrant drum of the cicadas transfixed me and before I knew it I was fast asleep. The magical sounds ebbed and flowed all night, changing in intensity and variation. I slept like a baby feeling fairly refreshed when the alarm went off at 3:30 am.

From Xiña’s cabin, it is about a 20 minute walk up to the top of the mountain where there is a clearing and you can watch the stars and the sunrise. Within five minutes of walking straight up the muddy path, the thick humid heat had me in a deep sweat. I unbuttoned my shirt and let the sticky air kiss my skin thankful there were not many mosquitos out.

It was utterly magical with not a single cloud in the sky. The sky above was covered in glittering stars that looked like a million sparkling diamonds. The hum of the cicadas was the only noise and it was so still that all I could hear was the inhale and exhale of my own breath. I was filled with a serenity and peace like I had not felt for months.

We talked quietly and laid back on the ground, watching for shooting stars. I didn’t see any but the others did. We waited patiently, half asleep, for the first sign of the sunrise. And then it came. Slowly, like a shy stranger opening up the door to a pitch black room and letting in a tiny ray of light.

I sat there in awe and wonder, mesmerized by the raw beauty of the sun rising over the Osa Peninsula and the layers of virgin rainforest below. The display of color and light was so utterly surreal that my heart melted in its pure splendor. It was an incredible gift that made me feel more connected to this planet than ever before.

As the sun rose, I thought of all the hope and beauty in the world that survives despite all the hardship and pain. How the sun rises and sets each day and what an absolute gift it is to be alive. It brought me a renewed sense of hope that I’d been missing.

Sunrise over Osa Peninsula, Costa Rica

Sunrise over Osa Peninsula, Costa Rica

“Life is full of beauty. Notice it. Notice the bumble bee, the small child, and the smiling faces. Smell the rain, and feel the wind. Live your life to the fullest potential, and fight for your dreams”. –  Ashley Smith

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While the sky turned hues of yellow, gold, purple and pink, the jungle woke up and came alive. We heard birds singing, howler monkeys roaring and even a pair of scarlet macaws chirping as they flew overhead.

Slowly, the sun began to illuminate the sleeping jungle below leaving a stunning blanket of mist on the rainforest that tumbles down to the sea.  I could imagine all the sleepy animals waking up after a good night’s rest.



Sunrise over Osa Peninsula, Costa Rica

Sunrise over Osa Peninsula, Costa Rica

Sunrise over Osa Peninsula, Costa Rica

I loved how the light and color of the sky changed, and couldn’t stop taking pictures of what I saw before me.

“Colors are the smiles of nature”. – Leigh Hunt 

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Here is a short video of the sunrise and the glorious sounds of the jungle…

By six o’clock, it was time to head back down to the cabin for breakfast. Of course we couldn’t leave without taking pictures of all the glorious flowers. I adore flowers and they were everywhere!

“The earth laughs in flowers”. – Ralph Waldo Emerson

Sunrise over Osa Peninsula, Costa Rica

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I also asked my new friend Xiña if I could take her photograph. I’d become quite found of her warm smile and loving spirit. She had welcomed me with open arms to her house and invited me into her life. She shared her deep passion of the jungle with me every moment we were together. Meeting Xiña was the highlight of my trip. I adored her.



By 6:30, we were back down at  Xiña’s cabin eating our delicious breakfast of pintos, eggs, and fresh fruit. Today was going to be another big adventure as we were going hiking into the Corcovado National Park with our own private guide. I could hardly wait.

Want to spend a night or two at Descanso El Pizote? You can book it directly here through Lokal Travel.


  1. Here’s how you know the sounds of the early morning jungle really do have magical powers: I just watched your video and it completely relaxed me for a few minutes even as I wait to hear if our offer on a new house will be accepted! Now that’s a powerful relaxant! A week of that and I’d be putty. 🙂

  2. I always loved getting up before dawn and watching the day awaken on the Nicoya Penisula. At the beach I was like the child wondering what the ocean washed ashore in the night, but sometimes I was lucky to see a turtle before she returned to the sea after laying her eggs…

    In the ‘bosque,’ it was also wonderful to live immersed in those nocturnal sounds and to witness the fireflies, which competed with those stunning stars!… ah, and I had the gift of jaguars living in harmony — they ‘taught’ me to recognize some of their sounds, as did the howlers and kinkajous….

    thanks for bringing it all back! am presently back at the ‘earthquake’ zone in ecuador, and the soundtrack is more heavy equipment than nature….

    1. Wow watching sea turtles lay their eggs must have been a pretty spectacular sight Lisa. Do you ever miss Costa Rica? How similar is it where you live now in Ecuador to Costa Rica? Yes the fireflies too! I forgot to mention them!

      1. CR & Ecuador are totally different, not only with the varied landscapes, but also with the culture and food, which points back to culture…

        Costa Rica wins hands down on the most-beautiful beaches… Ecuador has many ‘barren’ type, different soils, climates and at times destructive waves that take away those classic palms that make beaches so visually appealing.
        We’re all wired with ‘mystery’ and sometimes don’t know why a certain area has a strong pull – a bit like a migratory bird not knowing it’s time to fly! But for whatever reason, Ecuador felt like’home’ the first time I visited… I’ve often said if I could take the best of CR and the best of Ecuador and live on that ‘spot’, I might never leave home again!

      2. Thanks Lisa! I hope to get to Ecuador and see for myself some day. It is a place I’d truly love to see and explore. Where would you recommend going?

      3. There are several areas in Costa Rica known for their arribaras, and you’ll see hundreds of turtles come ashore… Debbie in Nicaragua did a lot of research before she and Ron visited a beach – I think south of San Juan del Sur Nicaragua, and her research paid off for catching the arribara…

        October would probably be a good start, but if you decide to consider this, I’ll connect you with friends who either know the areas – or with one who works the entire eastern pacific coastline with her husband and precious young son working to save the hawksbill turtles. .. pondering that, wow, you would make an amazing spokesperson to help them spread the story of the dwindling hawksbill turtles of the eastern pacific..

        I’ll find that info and send you the link… so you can incubate that idea!

      4. That would be wonderful Lisa. I can’t imagine what an amazing experience it would be. I’ll have to look back on Debbie’s posts and see if I can track one down on it.

      5. Una mas.. the video doesn’t show up for me, but the internet is very slow.. it shows in the ‘edit’ mode, however… and now you’ll know lots more about the sea turtles.. THAT would be an amazing experience for your children!

        Debbie in Nicaragua witnessed an arribara (sp?) which is surely one of those lifetime events one never forgets…

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